Global Warming and Poverty

Several days ago in this post I made the point that the only connection between the recent tsunami deaths and global warming I could find was that 3rd world poverty, which global warming treaties will likely help lock in place, made people more vulnerable to the disaster.  Kendra Okonski makes a similar point in the Asian Wall Street Journal.  Note:

Appropriate infrastructure, including warning systems that can save lives, communications systems, transportation infrastructure, medical facilities, and sophisticated construction methods are the tangible benefits of economic development. Just look at the much lower death tolls when tsunamis strike Japan, where the average citizen is 43 times wealthier than his counterparts in countries such as Indonesia, and so much better placed to afford the infrastructure needed to minimize loss of life.

He goes on to point out how focus on the focus on global warming, combined with growth destroying treaties like Kyoto as well as a hodge-podge of other statist policies will conspire to keep many people locked in poverty:

This week's tragedy illustrates why environmentalists' proposals are preposterous and counterproductive. Policies such as the Kyoto Protocol -- a global treaty to limit emissions in industrialized countries -- would in fact harm the poor the most, by slowing economic growth and distracting attention from real and present problems.

So, in conclusion

The real problem for most of the people affected by the disaster is poverty. Whatever the earth, or its climate, may have in store in the next few decades, the best strategy to minimize human deaths and suffering is to tackle poverty through economic development and technological progress.

UPDATE:  More here at Cafe Hayek

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