Nature is not naturally benevolent. We have to work to make it so, for us. The point of human production – the reason we get up in the morning and go to work, if we can – is to make our lives better. If human life is our standard, then making human lives better and the natural environment more humane is a good thing.
So when you see dozens killed by Europe's coldest weather in years you may realise that cold weather kills – kills vastly more than warmer weather does – and that human production that makes the human environment warmer may not be a totally bad thing. And, therefore, that the fossil fuels people burn to stay warm are not a bad thing.
“Most of the Northern Hemisphere is now in the throes of the deadliest time of the year [writes Jane Brody in the ‘New York Times’]. Cold kills, and I don’t mean just extreme cold and crippling blizzards. I mean ordinary winter cold, like that typically experienced, chronically or episodically, by people in every state but Hawaii from late fall through early spring.
While casualties resulting from heat waves receive wide publicity, deaths from bouts of extreme cold rarely do, and those resulting from ordinary winter weather warrant virtually no attention. Yet an international study covering 384 locations in 13 countries, including the United States, found that cold weather is responsible, directly or indirectly, for 17 times as many deaths as hot weather.
Cold weather kills vastly more than warmer weather does. Think about that.
According to Alex Epstein: “Fossil Fuels don’t take a safe climate and make it dangerous, they take a dangerous climate and make it safe.” So as the northern hemisphere is in the grip of its deadliest time of year he asks of those afflicted,
How habitable is the world outside your door right now? Are fossil fuels keeping you safe from the climate, or are they making the climate dangerous for you? Is it time to re-evaluate our relationship with the fossil fuels and our environment?