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FREEDOM RESEARCH PODCAST #12. Dr. Jessica Weinkle. Climate Anxiety and the Rationality of the Climate Debate

When the economic losses caused by natural disasters or extreme weather events tick upwards, does that mean they are getting worse due to climate change?

Dr. Jessica Weinkle, an associate professor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, explains in the interview that natural disasters such as hurricanes or tornados are not costing mankind more than before – if you factor in inflation, as well as global changes in population and wealth dynamics, the upward trend is minimised or to be precise, there is factually no trend. “So the increasing trend we see in disasters over time is a product of us, of there being not just more of us, but for us being wealthier,” she assures.

Another thing related to that, Weinkle explains, is that wealth makes people better equipped against such misfortune, and makes them more resilient. “Those that feel disasters the most, those that have the hardest time being resilient, rebuilding, tend to be less economically advantaged. They are poor. Poorer nations, poorer states, poorer people. These disastrous events are incredibly challenging for individuals, communities, and nations that don't have the wealth to deal with them,” she says. The more wealth there is destroyed, the more difficult it will be to deal with it. But at the same time, the fact that there is wealth to be destroyed could still be an indication of the prosperity of the people, which in turn could mean that their ability to manage these unfortunate conditions is still better than amongst the poorer nations.“The dynamics in there are complex and the way that they are portrayed is incredibly misleading,” Weinkle says.

Weinkle's research interests are broadly in the area of science, policy, and politics, with current projects examining issues of climate science and conflicts of interest, regulatory capture, and state level science advice. She holds a doctorate in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. Her Substack publication is called Conflicted. She is also an author at The Breakthrough Institute.

Listen to the podcast to hear more about her views on the current climate debate and what she considers the main problems in this discussion as of now.

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