If we’re in a ‘climate crisis’, why are most people better off?

Fossil fuels have dramatically improved humanity’s quality of life. This would not be true if fossil fuels were the enemy climate alarmists want us to believe

A questioner on Quora asks: “If we are in the middle of a ‘climate crisis,’ as is alleged by many, then why is the health, wealth, and quality of life for the majority of people still improving so rapidly?”

A good question, and here’s a possible answer. Look at the following chart, from Alex Epstein’s book The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, keeping in mind that we measure a country’s fossil-fuel consumption by the amount of CO2 produced:

Fossil fuel use and human progress—the big picture. Source: Alex Epstein, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Chapter 3.

Note that for almost all of the last 2,000 years (and, of course, long before that), the condition of humanity did not substantially improve.

Then, about 200 years ago, we saw CO2 production skyrocket, first with coal and later by adding oil and natural gas. The top right panel shows average life expectancy. It hovered around 30 years, with a small improvement around the Renaissance, then more than doubled to over 70 years in tandem with the increased fossil fuels burned through CO2 production.

The bottom two panels tell the same story of growth in terms of GDP per person and global population. In other words, fossil fuels/CO2 production are major contributors to a world in which people live much longer, get wealthier and stay healthier.

These improvements aren’t evenly distributed of course: we still have rich and poor. But overall, even the poorest are better off than ever before. How could so many of us be better off if we were in the climate change “crisis” that climate alarmists would have us believe? We have run the experiment and the results are clear.

With thanks to Tom Gallagher of Friends of Science for this information.

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