After the recent natural disasters of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, a vocal segment of the media is once again placing blame on familiar targets. This is not surprising, as we have become way too familiar with the shameful practice of using disasters to promote unwise policy suggestions.
The Herald-Leader editorial board seems to enjoy doing this more than anyone. Editorial writer Jamie Lucke’s recent tweets damning the fossil-fuels industry highlight this bias and are an example of how the media ignores facts in favor of fostering division amongst people with differing viewpoints.
Here are some of the facts:
▪ Even some groups that fully agree with the climate-change narrative don’t believe that there is a link between fossil fuels and hurricanes.
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▪ The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it lacks evidence to show that global warming is making storms and flooding worse.
▪ The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says, “it is premature to conclude that human activities — and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming — have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity.”
▪ Through the use of geology, we are able to observe that the Earth has gone through periods of heating and cooling for millions of years. So there is no factual basis for blaming people, industries and political ideologies when disasters occur.
One thing we can agree on is that the climate is changing, but we should not use natural disasters to further an agenda that neglects to acknowledge the societal benefits of abundant, affordable and reliable fossil fuels and would render our country and world less prosperous and less prepared for disasters in the future.
The devastation caused by natural disasters is heartbreaking and should not be taken lightly. But the fact remains that the fossil-fuels industry provides affordable and reliable energy which allows our society to better prepare for, battle against and rebuild after extreme weather events.
Clean, affordable energy and the prosperity it provides also allow for rapid growth and complex problem solving, and the ability to unleash new technologies in numerous ways that help protect against future climate-related events.
Imagine the devastation that would have taken place in Houston before industrial development? In fact, we don’t have to imagine it. A similar hurricane hit Galveston, Texas, in 1900, and that storm killed 6,000 to 12,000 people out of a population of 38,000.
Why was the loss of life so much lower in Houston? Because a century of industrial development allowed the city to be stronger and more resilient than anyone could have even imagined in 1900.
This is one reason why developing nations will continue to turn to fossil fuel energy sources — they are simply the quickest and most reliable way to provide opportunity, upward mobility and a better environmental quality of life.
The truth is that a segment of our media and political elites would rather have people trapped in poverty than be given the opportunities that are provided through the use of affordable and reliable energy sources.