Alex Epstein: Predictably, we’ve seen many stories blaming the damage of the storm on the fossil fuel industry and “climate change.” But those in the industry should feel proud of producing the affordable, reliable energy we need to cope with an inherently dangerous climate.
Before industrial development, and in the underdeveloped world today, storms like Harvey routinely claimed tens of thousands of lives. That equates to thousands upon thousands of lives saved in Texas thanks to fossil fuels and the development they make possible.
The opponents of fossil fuels trying to use this tragedy to promote their anti-energy, anti-development agenda should be exposed as advocating policies that would make storms like Harvey more dangerous and more deadly.
More broadly, in addition to not demonizing fossil fuels our society should take this occasion to think about how to use industry and technology to become far more storm-proof. Instead of trying to decarbonize our way to some fantasy climate, we should be trying to industrialize and technologize our way toward being able to handle (and maybe even benefit from) large amounts of rain, to make far sturdier buildings, and eventually to neutralize these storms before they make landfall.