Pielke and Sarewitz on Disaster’s Toll and Implications

Roger Pielke Jr. and Daniel Sarewitz argue in TNR that the way to reduce the damage from things like climate change and tsunamis is to, in essence, help people be less poor:

Disparities in disaster vulnerability between rich and poor will continue to grow. About 97 percent of population growth is occurring in the developing world. This growth, in turn, drives urbanization and coastal migration. The result is that, in the next two decades, the population of urban areas in the developing world will likely increase by two billion people. And this population is being added to cities that are mostly located on coastal or flood plains–or in earthquake zones–and are unable to provide the quality of housing, services, infrastructure, and environmental protection that can help reduce vulnerability.