One of the great green urban myths is that extreme weather events are on the increase. To prove it, environmentalists like to cite reports by ‘independent’ industry sources such as the big reinsurance company Munich Re, which show that the cost of dealing with climate-related disasters is rising year on year.
Not really. The first thing to remember is that companies like Munich Re have a strong vested interest in talking about the “climate change” threat because that way they get more business.
More importantly, though, you need to realise that these figures say rather less about climate change than they do about economic growth. As societies grow richer, so there’s a much greater quantity of expensive property – waterfront and elsewhere – to get damaged when the next hurricane or typhoon or tsunami comes along.
This point is well made in a recent post by Roger Pielke Jr, in his new role as science columnist for Nate Silver’s Fivethirtyeight site.
When you read that the cost of disasters is increasing, it’s tempting to think that it must be because more storms are happening. They’re not. All the apocalyptic “climate porn” in your Facebook feed is solely a function of perception.
In reality, the numbers reflect more damage from catastrophes because the world is getting wealthier. We’re seeing ever-larger losses simply because we have more to lose — when an earthquake or flood occurs, more stuff gets damaged.
And no matter what President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron say, recent costly disasters are not part of a trend driven by climate change. The data available so far strongly shows they’re just evidence of human vulnerability in the face of periodic extremes.
And he’s right. Even the licensed alarmists at IPCC and the UN – through gritted teeth – agree with him: what the evidence shows is that “global weirding” – the idea that climate change is causing weather to behave in ever more extreme ways – is a nonsense.
As Pielke says:
To identify changes in extreme weather, it’s best to look at the statistics of extreme weather. Fortunately, scientists have invested a lot of effort into looking at data on extreme weather events, and recently summarized their findings in a major United Nations climate report, the fifth in a series dating back to 1990.
That report concluded that there’s little evidence of a spike in the frequency or intensity of floods, droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes. There have been more heat waves and intense precipitation, but these phenomena are not significant drivers of disaster costs.
In fact, today’s climate models suggest that future changes in extremes that cause the most damage won’t be detectable in the statistics of weather (or damage) for many decades.
This is the kind of information which, needless to say, the climate alarmist establishment would rather you didn’t hear. Which may explain the piece which has just appeared at the George-Soros-funded climate alarmist attack dog website Think Progress under the heading “Nate Silver’s New Science Writer Ignores The Data On Climate Science.”
Pielke routinely seeks to minimize the impacts and severity of climate change and in the process, has been repeatedly criticized as inaccurate and misleading by some of the nation’s top climate scientists.
Wow! Sounds bad! And who are these “top climate scientists” who have “repeatedly criticized” Pielke?
Well, if you’re familiar with the Climategate emails – the private correspondence between the alarmist scientists at the heart of the IPCC’s green scaremongering – you’ll know quite a few of them: Michael Mann (creator of the multiply-discredited Hockey Stick); John Holdren, the green activist and White House “science czar” who once wrote a book calling for a “planetary regime” which would regulate all international trade and take charge of population control in the name of environmental justice; James “Death Trains” Hansen, the widely-derided alarmist former head of NASA GISS, who has been twice arrested with mermaid-impersonator Darryl Hannah for his environmental activism; James Annan, a crony of Michael Mann’s; Tim Lambert, the Australian version of Think Progress’s Joe Romm.
Now it may perhaps be that, contrary to all current available evidence, these men are towering figures of scientific integrity whose doomy prognostications about man-made climate change are fully justified by the evidence.
But if this is the case, they surely have a responsibility as scientists to present their case using actual evidence. Nowhere in the Think Progress hatchet job does it appear that any attempt has been made to rebut Roger Pielke’s arguments. It’s just the usual baseless ad hom, aimed by the usual, charmless suspects.