Bret Stephens, who wrote “Hurricanes, Climate and the Capitalist Offset” for the New York Times, is an economic ignoramus.
“Climate activists often claim that unchecked economic growth and the things that go with are principal causes of environmental destruction. In reality, growth is the great offset. It’s a big part of the reason why, despite our warming planet, mortality rates from storms have declined… Death rates from other natural disasters such as floods and droughts have fallen by … staggering percentages over the last century.
“That’s because economic growth isn’t just a matter of parking lots paving over paradise. It also underwrites safety standards, funds scientific research, builds spillways and wastewater plants, creates “green jobs,” subsidizes Elon Musk, sets aside prime real estate for conservation, and so on.”
Stephens also writes as follows: “Why do richer countries fare so much better than poorer ones when it comes to natural disasters? It isn’t just better regulation. I grew up in Mexico City, which adopted stringent building codes following a devastating earthquake in 1957. That didn’t save the city in the 1985 earthquake, when we learned that those codes had been flouted for years by lax or corrupt building inspectors, and thousands of people were buried under the rubble of shoddy construction. Regulation is only as good, or bad, as its enforcement.”
They can have all the regulations and “safety standards” they want in poverty-stricken nations such as Bangla Desh. Either these bureaucratic rules will be ignored, or, if they are rigidly upheld and enforced, then virtually no new houses will be built, and almost all extant houses will have to be torn down….