Climate Journalist Accidentally Makes the Case for Fossil Fuel Powered Industrialization

Raising Chicago – Raising a block of buildings on Lake Street. Public domain image, Edward Mendel – Chicago Historical Society

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A climate concerned journalist has accidentally hi-lighted the common factor uniting poor people suffering horrendously from a succession of severe weather disasters; lack of resources.

Climate change reinforces the world’s inequalities 

Climate change exacerbates inequalities, not only in poor, developing countries, but also in industrialized, wealthy ones. The poor should be given special importance when planning, experts say.

As drought, flooding and fires lay claim to headlines and landscapes across the world, and as countries and cities grapple with the cost of it all, the highest price is already being paid — by those who are poor or marginalized.

Such are the findings of a recent study by  researchers Noah S. Diffenbaugh and Marshall Burke. It reveals that the economic gap between rich and poor countries would have been smaller without the climate crisis.

“India’s per capita GDP [gross domestic product] is approximately 30% lower than it would have been without warming,” Noah Diffenbaugh, co-author of the study, told DW, adding that Brazil’s per capita GDP has taken a 25% hit as a result of climate change. 

“Regions like Southeast Asia are very vulnerable, not only because they are often hit, but because they lack resources to deal with the impact,” David Eckstein, co-author of the Index, told DW.

In the Spanish capital, Madrid, over 20% of households are at risk of energy poverty — the lack of capacity to keep homes warm in winter and cool in summer, a study requested by regional authorities shows. 

People with fewer resources can’t afford to pay for heating or air conditioning and often live in much older buildings without proper insulation,” Cristina Linares, researcher at Spain’s National School of Public Health, told DW. That makes extreme temperatures particularly threatening.

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The common factor behind all of these tragedies is lack of resources.

Imagine if the world really was more equal, if all those poor people had the fossil fuel powered industrial might to cope with bad weather, like rich people do.

Rich people suffering severe weather can hold back storm surges with massive concrete seawalls, pump flood water out of river systems or trap it in dams before it threatens their cities, elevate entire buildings and streets to reduce flood risk (see raising Chicago), and laugh at the worst weather nature can produce from the security of their well insulated strongly constructed steel frame houses.

The poor people in Spain cited by one of the quoted studies could afford home improvements and air conditioning, if they had jobs which paid decent money. But they are unlikely to find such jobs in the economic wasteland a succession of incompetent climate concerned Southern European governments has created.

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October 27, 2019 6:07 am

“Climate change exacerbates inequalities”

Yes. It does! Pls see

Reply to  Chaamjamal
October 27, 2019 7:08 am

It’s not “climate change” that exacerbates inequalities, but “climate change policies”.

James Clarke
Reply to  Petit_Barde
October 27, 2019 9:09 am

Change the words ‘climate change’ to ‘weather’ in the above article and you have something that has been true from the beginning of human history. Weather exacerbates inequalities. It always has and likely always will. Climate change policies also exacerbate inequalities, as Petit_Barde has pointed out.

The impact of climate change itself is unknown and variable. It depends on location and circumstances. For example, the climate of the Central United States has been easier on the poor in recent decades, as it has been more mild than the chilly 1970s, but not as hot and dry as the torrid 1930s.

The poor have two main problems, weather and liberals, but they have an easier time coping with the weather.

Mark Broderick
October 27, 2019 6:20 am

Great post Eric

It is hard to believe how many people cannot comprehend simple logic…

Gordon Dressler
October 27, 2019 6:35 am

I observe also that another factor common to “all of these tragedies”—the droughts, flooding, fires and extreme temperatures noted in the boxed quote of the journalist—is that they did not start occurring in just the last decade . . . or last century . . . or last millennium.

Reply to  Gordon Dressler
October 27, 2019 7:54 am


I have resources that the kings of yore could not even dream of. I have lived longer than the majority of them. I’m a peasant.

Reply to  commieBob
October 27, 2019 9:31 am

Bet you can’t afford all the wives… though otherwise, spot on.

Reply to  BobM
October 27, 2019 4:03 pm

My friend, the serial monogamist, demonstrates that you can have quite a few wives as long as they don’t overlap.

Reply to  commieBob
October 27, 2019 9:45 am

And I am a pissant with a bidet. Eat your hearts out kings of lore!

Reply to  icisil
October 27, 2019 12:21 pm

Do they make Bleachbit for my minds eye?

Reply to  Gordon Dressler
October 27, 2019 8:59 am

You assume ‘climate change’ is meteorological.

Dodgy Geezer
October 27, 2019 6:40 am

It is hard to tell whether that link is satirical or not….

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
October 27, 2019 10:03 am

I know the feeling. Like the time a twitter climate communicator claimed that inner city blacks suffer more from cow methane emissions than white people do. I wish I could find that comment. This was the same guy who claimed seaside property values would drop worldwide due to the recent anomalously high 2-day melt in Greenland. What a successful career he could have at the Onion or Babylon Bee.

Reply to  icisil
October 27, 2019 12:57 pm

With the amount of absurdity being put out as serious statements, I’m surprised that The Onion and Babylon Bee can keep up. Poe’s Law is confirmed each second of the day now.

October 27, 2019 6:42 am

The opening sentence reads, “Climate change exacerbates inequalities, not only in poor, developing countries, but also in industrialized, wealthy ones.”

“Wealthy” countries and “rich” countries. So many writers use these adjectives as if they assume/believe/wish that the wealth of countries is communally held.

Carl Friis-Hansen
October 27, 2019 6:52 am

“Climate Journalist Accidentally Makes the Case for Fossil Fuel Powered Industrialization”

I do not think it is that powerful.
Seen in another light, the journalist is more likely to be speaking of financial resources and has the idea that if we are more equal, then the poorer will get richer and have more resources. He probably never read Animal Farm.

Mathieu Simoneau
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 27, 2019 8:16 am

I think you missed the whole point. A free economic system/policy will help the poor get richer and make the rich even richer. Which is exactly the opposite of what the climate policies does.

Constraints will hurt everyone but the rich can get by and get richer while the poor will stagnate or get poorer.

Their policies is to prevent the raise of more rich peoples which result in an overall decrease in a society capacity to withstand natural events, support the poors and progress in science and tech.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Mathieu Simoneau
October 27, 2019 9:32 am

I agree totally with you statement. My statement was about the journalists presumed view. – Your explanation makes much more sense.

October 27, 2019 7:05 am

Sacramento was raised about 10′ in the 1860’s to mitigate flood risks. I find this particularly relevant because it shows how California used to deal with crises.

Ron Long
October 27, 2019 7:33 am

So let’s test the idea that it is a lack of resources that lowers the standard of living of the “poor”. The riots in Chile, now demanding the removal of a duly-elected President (Piniero, a Conservative, sound familar?), started as a 30 cent Chile Peso bus fare increase ( 4 cents USA) which led to the “poor” burning a lot of the buses and bus terminals (and looting supermarkets where they carried off TV’s instead of food) and then expressed surprise when they had to wait more than an extra hour for bus service because there weren’t enough buses left. And from this we learn what? I reinforced my observation that the poor have a root-cause to their condition and it isn’t an excess of intelligence. Sure, some unscrupulous college Professors utilize misinformation to steer the “poor” into helping achieve their goals, but mostly these destructive events are the “poor” acting counter to any presumed reasonable goals, ie, they are the ones waiting for the bus to come.

John Adams
Reply to  Ron Long
October 27, 2019 7:55 am


Duncan Smith
October 27, 2019 7:43 am

“India’s per capita GDP [gross domestic product] is approximately 30% lower than it would have been without warming,”
India’s GDP has skyrocketed since 2000. If warming has an effect on GDP, it is an inverse relationship.

comment image

Here is a link to Noah Diffenbaugh (Climate Scientist at Stanford) study.

David Hoffer
Reply to  Duncan Smith
October 27, 2019 9:30 am

To add to the numbers re India, Brazil’s GDP and per capita GDP has sky rocketed in the last few decades. As has China’s. And Mexico’s.

So those nations are growing liking crazy regardless of climate change. Why? Consumption of fossil fuels, that’s why:

Reply to  Duncan Smith
October 27, 2019 11:51 am

Notice the PNAS paper is pal reviewed by a Potsdammer, who are renowned for their hyped up vision of climate change. It contains so many mis-statements and exaggerations that PNAS must have published it without reading it themselves, and they certainly didn’t send it to anyone named Pielke for review….

M Courtney
Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 27, 2019 1:49 pm

The article claims that the loss to GDP from climate change is on average 0.5% every year for the last half century.
As the population has increased over that time the mass starvation in India and Brazil would have been catastrophic.
It’s obviously ridiculous.
Only true-believing idiots would give this paper the time of day. It’s just preaching to the choir.
In intellectual terms it’s circling the wagons and not posting sentries.

Indeed I note there is a letter pointing out that thee result is ridiculous.

John the Econ
October 27, 2019 7:53 am

A dozen or so years ago, Progressives were arguing that we should be emulating the Spanish economy as it was going all-in on the “green jobs” agenda.

Is this an admission that they were wrong about that too?

October 27, 2019 7:54 am

Hmmmmn, most of the southern european economies are suffering because they are in the Eurozone, with an artificially high valued Euro. It’s purely self induced.

October 27, 2019 8:05 am

Could someone please tell me what, specifically, has changed in the climates of Brazil or India, regardles of the change being natural or human-induced? What climate change has caused the 25% and 30% GDP hits in those countries?

I can’t find a change in weather patterns lasting multiple years in either country. Obviously, I am missing data from large areas.

Tim Vrome
October 27, 2019 8:06 am

This claim; “India’s per capita GDP [gross domestic product] is approximately 30% lower than it would have been without warming”, is based on a mix of climate models and economic models.

Somehow I have trouble believing it can be true!

October 27, 2019 8:13 am

The cost of residential electricity is Spain is about 26.5 US cents per KWH. I pay about 7.5 cents in Maryland, USA. The reason for the difference is the high penetration of wind and solar energy in the Spanish grid. It could be worse. On the Spanish island of El Hiero, electricity is supposedly all “renewable,” except when the wind doesn’t blow when it is all diesel, and the cost runs around $1 US per KWH (reports vary) although the Government subsidizes that heavily. Such costs might have something to do with energy poverty in the country.

October 27, 2019 8:18 am

Minorities, children, and puppies to suffer the most.

Reply to  Tim
October 27, 2019 10:03 am

And the kittens, you forgot the poor kittens whose owners cannot afford a ball of yarn.

October 27, 2019 8:21 am

These people lie like rugs. diffenburger is an embarrassment to Stanford. Made-up statistics, and somehow it got posted on the Net. Wow…

Jeff Alberts
October 27, 2019 8:25 am

“They” seem to be saying they can attribute individual weather events to “climate change”, with no supporting evidence.

Bruce Cobb
October 27, 2019 9:06 am

Climate Numpties are always confusing weather with climate. Hard to say if they are just plain stupid, or ignorant. They then further their forray into the realm of Stupid/Ignorance by misunderstanding what causes poverty. It sure isn’t “climate change”. Bad weather has always been around, so no, it isn’t that either.

Ed Zuiderwijk
October 27, 2019 9:06 am

India and Brazil GDPs took 30% and 25% hit because of you know what. Really? How did they measure that, exactly? Let me guess: model projections. Well, my left foot.

Chris Hoff
October 27, 2019 9:34 am

Rich people can afford to by carbon credits in order to maintain their fossil fueled lifestyle. Probably use them as tax deductions assuming they pay taxes at all, those are for little people.

October 27, 2019 9:47 am

A/C is the solution to global warming. A climate solution anyone can buy at Walmart.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  icisil
October 27, 2019 10:13 am

Yes, but can the polar bears afford the A/C units and do the Russian floating nuclear power plants provide enough juice for bear/A/Cs?

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  icisil
October 27, 2019 10:21 am

Home Depot’s good too.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  icisil
November 8, 2019 2:18 pm

Carl Friis-Hansen October 27, 2019 at 10:13 am

Yes, but can the polar bears afford the A/C units and do the Russian floating nuclear power plants provide enough juice for bear/A/Cs?

That female polarbaer collusion fixation.

Easy. Uneasy.

October 27, 2019 10:43 am

David Attenborough’s new series (seven worlds, one planet) is just about to begin on the BBC, claiming that all the vast areas of wilderness in the world are under threat, and we must deprive ourselves of low cost fossil power, totally deluded that that act would not create 7 billion people trashing those areas for food and wood.

Attenborough and Greta are just ignorant puppets.

Robert B
October 27, 2019 5:56 pm

Its leftwing so they are arguing for more white people to die in storms to even things up.

Kiwi Gary
October 28, 2019 1:18 am

Even though the Western-controlled World Bank and International Monetary Fund are now, as formal policy, refusing to finance fossil-fuelled power stations in developing countries, those countries are not sufficiently stupid to believe that sunbeams and gentle breezes will enable them to improve their standard of living. Russia is setting up an African nuclear research centre in Uganda for civilian nuclear power. Separately, a co-operation agreement on nuclear power has been signed between Russia and Ethiopia. Incidentally, the Russian floating nuclear power plant has attracted interest from at least 15 developing countries, with Brazil looking for a co-operation agreement for powering its intended off-shore minerals extraction. Disastrists Beware !!! The Third World is on the march.

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