It is widely believed that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are increasing overall vulnerability to climate-related disasters, and that, consequently, policies aimed at cutting off these emissions are urgently needed. But a broader perspective on climate vulnerability suggests that the most important factors influencing susceptibility to climate-related threats are not climatologic, but political and economic. The dramatic degree to which industrial development under capitalism has reduced the risk of harm from severe climate events in the industrialized world is significantly under-appreciated in the climate debate. Consequently, so too is the degree to which green climate and energy policies would undermine the protection that industrial capitalism affords—by interfering with individual freedoms, distorting market forces, and impeding continued industrial development and economic growth. The effect of such policies would, ironically, be a worsening of overall vulnerability to climate.
Keith H. Lockitch
Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights