Optimism

I got so wrapped up in kvetching about that awful Bobby Jindal piece in Esquire a month back, I forgot to give them their propers for letting Bjorn Lomborg rattle off a couple hundred words on the future. Writes Lomborg:

We constantly fear that any future will overwhelm us, though this often comes from faulty analysis. We worry about the seemingly ever-increasing number of natural catastrophes. Yet this is mainly a consequence of CNN–we see many more, but the number is roughly constant, and we manage to deal much better with them over time. Globally, the death rate from catastrophes has dropped about fifty-fold over the past century. We also worry that global warming will increase flooding and hurricane damage. And yes, sea levels will rise by up to two feet over the coming century. But we must remember that over the last 150 years, sea levels rose one foot, and nobody noticed. We adapted….

The single most important environmental problem in the world today is indoor air pollution, causing about 1.5 million deaths annually. it is the result of poor people cooking and heating their homes with dung and cardboard. But the solution is not environmental–to certify dung–but rather economic: to make those people rich enough to afford kerosene. …

The future of the world will be much better than the past. The trick is to worry about the right things first.

I think my favorite part about this piece was that it was on the same page as Al Gore’s write up, directly on top of the former VP/foremost global warming apocalypse crank. Lomborg rated 75% of the page, Gore 25%. Maybe Esquire does have their priorities straight after all…

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