David Harsanyi has an essay over at The Federalist titled Environmentalists Will Lose, And That’s Great News For Mankind. Taking a critique of a recent piece by Jonathan Chait as his starting point, Harsanyi debunks the idea that climate change is our biggest bugaboo since the Second World War. He points out that the significant improvements in living conditions around the world had been almost completely driven by market forces bringing the benefits of technology to an increasingly greater share of the world’s people and that command economies have stunted economic progress, holding billions in poverty.
Now, unlike coal, oil, gas, and market economics, an environmentalist has never lifted anyone out of poverty. But if you’re convinced that every wildfire and tornado is the fault of Koch Brothers, Ayn Rand and a recalcitrant GOP Congress, this moral structure probably makes some sense to you. If you believe the moral magnitude of climate change falls somewhere short of the killing of 70 million people (we don’t know the exact number World War II took), but is a more a pressing problem than mass hunger or disease or war, I can understand why you think doing nearly anything to stop it is okay. Like emulating one-party authoritarianism, for instance.
Not many people are going to volunteer for a life of poverty. The numbers are not on the environmentalists’ side.
Read the whole thing.