No, Seth (Borenstein), Weather Disasters Aren’t Getting Worse.
No, Seth, Weather Disasters Aren’t Getting Worse.
By Paul Homewood http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hotter-weirder-how-climate-change-has-changed-earth/ Among the various fact free claims made in this Borenstein article, which I debunked a couple of weeks ago, was this concerning weather disasters. Since 1992, there have been more than 6,600 major climate, weather and water disasters worldwide, causing more than $1.6 trillion in damage and killing more than 600,000 people, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters in Belgium, which tracks the world’s catastrophes. While climate-related, not all can be blamed on man-made warming or climate change. Still, extreme weather has noticeably increased over the years, says Debby Sapir, who runs the center and its database. From 1983 to 1992 the world averaged 147 climate, water and weather disasters each year. Over the past 10 years, that number has jumped to an average 306 a year. Sapir and others say it would be wrong to pin all, or even most, of these increases on climate change alone. Population and poverty are major factors, too. But they note a trend of growing extremes and more disasters, and that fits with what scientists have long said about global warming. It’s this increase that’s “far scarier” than the simple rise in temperatures, University of Illinois climate scientist Donald Wuebbles says. So let’s take a closer look at the detail. 1) From 1983 to 1992 the world averaged 147 climate, water and weather disasters each year. Over the past 10 years, that number has jumped to an average 306 a year. According to the Centre’s website: Since 1988 the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) has been maintaining an Emergency Events Database EM-DAT. EM-DAT was created with the initial support of the WHO and the Belgian Government. So they have only been keeping full data records since 1988, making the 1983-92 comparison fraudulently misleading. While they have retroactively compiled records going back to 1900, these are only “mass disasters”, as they themselves describe them. While they are now keeping records of even minor events, the retroactive database prior to 1988 will only include major events. A glance at their list of disasters for the most recent week updated, Nov 17th, shows just how minor many events are. I hardly think that an animal accident or bus falling into a river, which occurred in 1901, would be included in their database now. (Horse drawn buses, of course!). Or, if we are talking about weather, a thunderstorm in Brisbane. 2) Killing more than 600,000 people As is often the case with alarmists, they offer up scary numbers without any context. 600,000 certainly sounds a huge number, even spread over 20 years. As Debby Sapir (or to give her real name, Debarati Guha-Sapir) admits, not all of these disasters have anything to do with climate change, and her figure even includes tsunamis. Their own database shows just how low the number of fatalities is nowadays, compared to the past. http://www.emdat.be/advanced_search/index.html The most deadly event in recent years was the tropical cyclone that hit Myanmar in 2008, killing 80,000. But this had no more to do with climate change than previous deadly cyclones, such as the ones that hit Bangladesh in 1942, 1970 and 1991, or the one that killed an estimated 100,000 in China in 1922. Even a closer look at, say, floods during the more recent period offers no evidence of things getting worse. We cannot, of course, make direct comparisons with events which happened a century ago, as so much has changed. Populations have increased in leaps and bounds, and often live increasingly in vulnerable areas, such as coasts. Nowadays, as well, much more detailed records are kept of disasters. On the other hand, thanks to modern civilisation, many lives are saved which would have been lost in the past. Nevertheless, it is absolutely clear that there is no evidence that there is “a trend of growing extremes and more disasters, and that fits with what scientists have long said about global warming”. Meanwhile, the latest figures for 2014, logged up to November, show fatalities due to all climate disasters running at an unusually low 4977. But apparently that is not scary enough for Donald Wubbles. All data from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters . http://www.emdat.be/
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