It’s easy to believe that life on Earth is getting ever worse. The media highlight one catastrophe after another and makes terrifying predictions. With a torrent of doom and gloom about climate change and the environment, it’s understandable why many people — especially the young — genuinely believe the world is about to end. It's a fear tactic used by Dems.
The fact is that while problems remain, the world is in fact getting better. We just rarely hear it. We are incessantly told about disasters, whether it is the latest heatwave, flood, wildfire or storm. Yet the data overwhelmingly shows that over the past century, people have become much, much safer from all these weather events. Indeed, in the 1920s, around half a million people were killed by weather disasters, whereas in the last decade the death-toll averaged around 18,000. This year, just like 2020 and 2021, is tracking below that. Why? Because when people get richer, they get more resilient.
Weather-fixated television news would make us all think that disasters are all getting worse. They’re not. Around 1900, around 4.5% of the land area of the world would burn every year. Over the last century, this declined to about 3.2%. In the last two decades, satellites show even further decline — in 2021 just 2.5% burned. This has happened mostly because richer societies prevent fires. Models show that by the end of the century, despite climate change, human adaptation will mean even less burning. And despite what you may have heard about record-breaking costs from weather disasters (mainly because wealthier populations build more expensive houses along coastlines), damage costs are declining, not increasing, as a percent of GDP.
But it’s not only weather disasters that are getting less damaging despite dire predictions. A decade ago, environmentalists loudly declared that Australia’s magnificent Great Barrier Reef was nearly dead, killed by bleaching caused by climate change. The UK Guardian even published an obituary.