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More Fake Climate Claims From The Telegraph

September 18, 2017

By Paul Homewood

 

 

Today’s fake news comes from the Telegraph:

 

 

image

By Lucy Burton

 

 

It was a summer the insurance industry will never forget. Floods like the one caused by Hurricane Harvey are supposed to happen once every 500 years. But Houston has seen three in three years, with Harvey being the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in half a century. Meanwhile, Irma, which wrought devastation with sustained winds of 185mph, is one of the strongest storms ever recorded.

 

While the costs of the catastrophes are still being assessed, insurers are expecting losses of more than $70bn (£52bn) – down from the initial $150bn feared from Irma but still enough to make 2017 one of the worst years on record. Reinsurance groups are expected to be the hardest hit, with the world’s largest, Munich Re, already warning that the events will threaten its ability to meet full-year earnings. 

But it is not just the financial costs weighing on the insurance industry. Scientists say the scale of the destruction was exacerbated by climate change, and insurers are coming under pressure to do more to help limit the damage as the world prepares for extreme weather to become the new norm – the average number of Category 4 storms per year has already more than doubled since 1900.

The UK isn’t immune to that threat. With annual flood damage costs expected to rise from £1.1bn today to £27bn by 2080, Inga Beale, the Lloyd’s of London chief executive, makes clear that “concerns are mounting” in this country too.

 

 

 

Drone footage shows extent of Irma damage in Florida

 

 

“As an industry on the front line of tackling climate-related catastrophes we have a duty to drive action,” she said. “We need to continue to build up our resilience to these catastrophic events in every way we can.”

As it stands, these include offering premium discounts that encourage certain behaviour – building a house on stilts, for example, could come with a cheaper flood insurance policy because the house is likely to be more protected and the claim cheaper – as well as collaborating with the Government to launch projects in high-risk areas, as seen in the UK last year with the launch of reinsurance initiative Flood Re.  

But as the planet warms, experts argue that the response needs to be bolder and faster. It not only needs to protect society from the risks, but also play an active role in reducing the impacts of climate change.

“[The sector] is well organised, multi national, and with annual premiums amounting to 6pc of global GDP has the necessary financial clout to make it happen,” said University of Oxford statistician Anthony Webster, arguing that insurers need to now take the lead on finding solutions.

“An insurance-led response to climate change avoids the need for binding agreements and complex international negotiations between countries with differing priorities.”

Webster believes that insurers should collect a levy from energy companies based on the carbon intensity of their products, then use the funds for low-carbon energy projects.

“Like a carbon or energy tax, it would have the advantage that the revenues go solely into adaptation and mitigation, not government or individual spending,” he wrote in a paper with research director Richard Clarke, who works for carbon-pricing start-up Predict Ability. “Governments could legislate that it must be paid, as the UK has done with Flood Re.”

The pair are hoping to put forward their proposals at the Baden-Baden Reinsurance Congress next month, Clarke told The Telegraph, adding that they will make their argument to individual insurance companies, as well as international organisations such as the Association of British Insurers in the coming months.

“There is a gap, a need that these insurers could fill, and we’re trying to move this forward,” he said. “There are some things [insurers are doing] but not enough – it’s a conservative industry. Climate change is happening.” 

The sector is well aware it needs to be seen as taking a lead, if only to save itself from future losses, but one of the challenges it faces is coming up with ideas that reduce risk rather than merely responding to natural disasters.

 

 

Flooding following Hurricane Harvey

Flooding following Hurricane Harvey Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

 

 

With scientists warning that climate change is worsening, insurance chief executives will be under increasing pressure to come up with products or investments that could actively delay its impact. Some examples exist, which could be built on. Aviva, for example, launched a “pay-as-you-drive” scheme a number of years ago with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions, while Lloyd’s has suggested that insurers invest in coral reefs and mangroves to dampen the impact of coastal storms after finding that coastal habitats absorb wave energy and so act as a natural defence, therefore reducing the amount insurers pay out in claims. 

“We’ve got to do it right,” said Maurice Tulloch, Aviva’s chairman of global general insurance and chairman of ClimateWise, an industry group that drives research on climate risk. “The frequency of more severe events has been increasing year on year. I’m no longer having to convince people when I speak to them that we’re going to see more of these. As an industry we’ve got a role to play, we have to act now.”

But as insurers around the world ramp up efforts to adapt and manage risks, the list of tasks they face is endless. The full impact of Irma and Harvey will be unclear for some time, and the sector is under pressure to make sure that those in developing economies, who do not have insurance cover, are protected, with countries around the equator most vulnerable to extreme weather disasters.

“We need to look at ways of paying for natural disasters in less developed parts of the world, which also happen to be the areas that are most exposed to the worst effects of climate change,” Lloyd’s chief Beale has urged, flagging an issue that is becoming more important as storms and droughts grow fiercer and more frequent. Looking to the future, she said insurance firms cannot do it alone – they will need partnerships with governments, each other and even policyholders themselves to slow the impact of global warming.

“No one industry sector or government can do it themselves, progress is dependent on everyone working together,” she said. “The insurance industry takes the issue of climate change very seriously, because it knows all too well the damage it can cause.”

 

18

Graph included in the printed article, but not online

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/09/16/insurers-pressure-do-summer-will-never-forget/

 

 

 

It is hard to know where to start with this pile of drivel.

 

 

One commenter has rightly complained about the misleading use of the Munich Re graph:

image

 

Let’s look at some of the other fake claims:

 

 

 Floods like the one caused by Hurricane Harvey are supposed to happen once every 500 years. But Houston has seen three in three years, with Harvey being the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in half a century

As we know, the history of Houston is littered with floods every bit as bad as this year’s. And Texas had two storms every bit as intense as Harvey in 1978 and 1979.

 

 

with Harvey being the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in half a century

Harvey came ashore with winds of 130 mph, which made it the strongest since Hurricane Carla in 1961. However, Carla was a different beast entirely, with winds of 175 mph.

image_thumb152

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/08/28/storm-harvey-update/

Prior to Carla, other Cat 4 hurricanes hit Texas in 1886, 1900,1915,1916 and 1932. These included two of the worst US hurricanes on record, Indianola in 1886, and Galveston in 1900.

The fact that Harvey is the most powerful to hit Texas in half a century is testament to the fact that such storms are becoming less frequent, and not that Harvey was unusually strong.

 

  Meanwhile, Irma, which wrought devastation with sustained winds of 185mph, is one of the strongest storms ever recorded.

Since monitoring by satellites began in the 1970s, there have been four storms of 185 mph and more. In other words, an average of about one every decade. There is therefore nothing unusual at all about Irma.

Prior to satellite monitoring, there was very little data available for mid Atlantic storms, until they approached land.

 

 

Scientists say the scale of the destruction was exacerbated by climate change, and insurers are coming under pressure to do more to help limit the damage as the world prepares for extreme weather to become the new norm

Sheer drivel.

“Scientists say” is one of the usual copouts for lazy, incompetent journalists. If hurricanes really were exacerbated by climate change, we would see the evidence, which we don’t.

As for “extreme weather” to become the norm, even the worst junk scientists don’t claim this.

 

 

The average number of Category 4 storms per year has already more than doubled since 1900.

Below is the NOAA chart for Atlantic hurricanes, and it shows that reported major hurricanes have indeed become more common.

Atlantic_Storm_Count

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/climo/#ncy

But, as already noted, we have only been monitoring them by satellites since the 1970s. Monitoring by hurricane hunter aircraft began in 1944, and even then planes often did not fly into the centre of the strongest storms, which as a consequence were underestimated.

Prior to 1945, there was little to rely on other than ships, which again would stay clear of storms where possible.

To make comparisons of today’s storms with those of the early 20thC shows naivety of the highest order.

Yet, even allowing for these factors, when we take a closer look at the NOAA data, we find that major hurricanes in the Atlantic were just as common in the 1950s and 60s as now. This cyclical pattern we see is connected with the AMO.

image

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/climo/#ncy

It is worth taking particular note of the apparent jump around 1950. This correlates closely with those hurricane hunter aircraft.

The only meaningful way we have of identifying long term trends is to look at landfalling hurricanes.

As far as the US is concerned, the worst decade was the 1940s, and, until Harvey arrived, we have just gone more than 11 years without one, the longest period on record.

image_thumb47

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/history-shows-there-was-nothing-unusual-about-hurricane-irma/

 

The rest of the article is little more than advertising space for insurance companies to tell us how wonderful they are. The same insurance companies, of course, who have a vested interest in persuading us that climate change is making the weather worse.

And who might benefit from their solutions? Why the insurers themselves!

Webster believes that insurers should collect a levy from energy companies based on the carbon intensity of their products, then use the funds for low-carbon energy projects.

Like a carbon or energy tax, it would have the advantage that the revenues go solely into adaptation and mitigation, not government or individual spending,” he wrote in a paper with research director Richard Clarke, who works for carbon-pricing start-up Predict Ability. “Governments could legislate that it must be paid, as the UK has done with Flood Re.”

So energy consumers will have to pay a premium to the insurance companies! What’s not to like?

 

For a balanced view on weather related disasters, we only have to look at what Roger Pielke Jr has to say:

 

image_thumb33_thumb_thumb

https://twitter.com/RogerPielkeJr/status/684740869707071488

 

I’ve given up expecting any proper journalism from the MSM these days, but this load of old tosh from Lucy Burton must rank up there with some of the worst.

 

 

FOOTNOTE

 Judging by Munich Re’s accounts, all of these “extreme weather disasters” don’t seem to be making much of a dent in their profits!

 

image

https://www.munichre.com/en/group/reports/key-figures/index.html

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21 Comments
  1. Dung permalink
    September 18, 2017 2:16 pm

    I get the DT on subscription but that ends today, I will miss Matt but little else.

    • September 18, 2017 3:16 pm

      You can see Matt every day on line for free.

    • September 18, 2017 3:18 pm

      I don’t think you need to subscribe to get Matt, do you? Unless they’ve changed the rules recently.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        September 19, 2017 11:09 am

        beyondthepaywall or as I found out today – never too old to learn – news media are so keen for their drivel to be read that if you google the headline, voila free reading.

  2. Wil Pretty permalink
    September 18, 2017 2:28 pm

    Death toll for Harvey was probably under 100.
    400,000 estimated died in the Syrian War.
    250 000 in the Indian Ocean earthquake and Tsunami in 2004.

  3. Green Sand permalink
    September 18, 2017 2:31 pm

    Well I never!

    ‘BBC Reprimands Science Presenter For Campaign Against Labour MP Graham Stringer’

    “The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has welcomed the BBC’s reprimand for one of its science presenters who started a political campaign against Graham Stringer, Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton and a member of the GWPF’s board of trustees.

    Dr. Adam Rutherford who presents the weekly BBC Inside Science programme on Radio 4 recently organised a campaign against Graham Stringer in protest against his selection to the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee.

    On social media, Dr Rutherford called on his readers to show ‘righteous indignation’ and to complain about Stringer in letters to their MPs……

    https://www.thegwpf.com/bbc-reprimands-science-presenter-for-campaign-against-labour-mp-graham-stringer/

    • dave permalink
      September 18, 2017 2:56 pm

      A tap on the wrist with a feather.

      • dave permalink
        September 18, 2017 3:10 pm

        And speaking of feather-blows, the latest news (two years, seven months after he was accused of sexual harassment) about RK Pachauri (sometime Chairman of IPCC) is…he has come back as Vice-Chairman of TERI and the Court case is being dragged out by the Establishment until he can claim dementia.

      • September 18, 2017 3:29 pm

        Better than no tap at all! And there isn’t a great deal the Beeb can do about freelances when not working for them.

        In fact to be fair to the BBC (which I do try to be. Mostly), I would bet that if Rutherford had tried this on Inside Science his feet wouldn’t have touched! The Beeb guards its appearance of objectivity jealously and this would have been too obviously out of line.

        It wouldn’t surprise me to find a new presenter in his seat once the furore has died down.

      • dennisambler permalink
        September 18, 2017 5:25 pm

        There’s more:
        http://astanatimes.com/2017/09/expo-2017-manifesto-lays-out-environmental-calls-to-action/

        “The Manifesto of Values and Principles, presented Sept. 5 during the EXPO 2017 Future Energy Forum (FEF) at the capital’s Congress Centre, addresses global environmental issues and calls for action.

        The manifesto is the concept combining project papers and proposals voiced during the exhibition, according to steering committee head Dr. Rajendra Pachauri.

        “The manifesto is the product of the group of experts who constitute the steering committee and the result of various conferences with fine speakers.”

        Scroll down the link for a cast of thousands,
        https://futureenergyforum.org/en/speakers/prof-dr-rajendra-k-pachauri

        “Pachauri is the chief mentor of the Protect Our Planet Movement and president of the World Sustainable Development Forum.”

    • dave permalink
      September 18, 2017 3:21 pm

      A leftie who doesn’t toe the line on global warming. How IS the BBC to deal with that? Perhaps some of the circuits in their ‘we say so!’ machine will burn out.

    • Martin Howard Keith Brumby permalink
      September 18, 2017 3:29 pm

      “Today, Paul Smith, Head of Editorial Standards and Commissioning Policy, BBC Radio issued the following statement:…
      waffle
      waffle
      waffle
      “The composition of the STC and its work remain a legitimate area for Inside Science to cover. I can assure you that any coverage of this issue on the programme will conform to the high standards of fairness and impartiality listeners have come to expect.”

      The fairness and impartiality listners have come to expect??
      From an outfit that would make Dr. Goebbels blush?
      What I expect from the BBC is more and more re-runs of 28-Gate. And not just on Climate Change.

  4. Andrew permalink
    September 18, 2017 2:41 pm

    The business pages have the odd good article and Mr Booker is still there in a suppliment but otherwise the ST is now a waste of time. At least it doesn’t take long to read anymore. I gave up on the DT a long time ago.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 19, 2017 11:12 am

      Now that Mr Booker has been banished to the supplement for his non-DT approved Brexit views, is his column no longer ‘premium’ content as I seem to be able to read it every week without the too many articles block coming in?

  5. September 18, 2017 3:20 pm

    The radio programme “More or Less” recently covered how people (those who have zero knowledge of statistics such as the MSM) do not understand what a 1 in 500 year event actually means.

    Even if it is explained using dice, these people still think every sixth throw will be a six and that you can’t possibly get three sixes in a row. The dumbing down continues.

  6. Athelstan permalink
    September 18, 2017 5:03 pm

    Multinational companies, and insurance leeches, this is how it goes down!

    First, dream up a non problem and chimera – excellent! Next, get your mates in the dead tree press to write about it = no questions asked, eh Lucy. erm buddy?
    Borrow a uni statistician or two and lobby, lobby, lobby and throw out all sorts of flack and bogus statistics, non sequiturs and no one will ever notice a new levy, to build, er well yes – levees!
    Thus, kick off another massive revenue scheme under the umbrella of mere altruism……………..sob, it can’t fail can it?

    Oxford bean counter and manic man child Webster said:

    “Webster believes that insurers should collect a levy from energy companies based on the carbon intensity of their products, then use the funds for low-carbon energy projects.

    Like a carbon or energy tax, it would have the advantage that the revenues go solely into adaptation and mitigation, not government or individual spending,”

    Whoa boy, jus’ a dang minute: stop right thar.

    Insurance giants able to levy taxes? WTF?

    “tax energy companies”

    I see said the blind man to his deaf daughter…………… and how would that work exactly?

    BUT shurely some government involvement somewhere just to add in EXTRA encouragement?

    But But But you can see where the dollars will eventually come from [can ya guess?] this is the problem when massive conglomerates have loads of bod’s with FA to do, we used to call it ’empire building’ and once again, big becomes too powerful when they start acting like Gods instead of paying obeisance.

    I thought that, these ignoble insurers had a clause in their waffling, caveat laden policies water tight contracts, ie ‘act of God’.

    Shurely, they just increase their prices according to risk, and claims?

    Second guessing the weather, in an area known as ‘big wind’ – what else is gonna happen and extrapolate, over to lil ole Englandland.

    “Man made” and by implication: the proles – so it’s all your fault!! wot’s not to like?

    yippee! – it’s a gold mine insurance scam – in dem der bills!

  7. dennisambler permalink
    September 18, 2017 5:32 pm

    The ignorance about the meaning of a 500 year flood, or a 100 year flood is widespread and journalists never work through these things to enlighten themselves.

    http://water.usgs.gov/edu/100yearflood.html

    “The term “100-year flood” is used in an attempt to simplify the definition of a flood that statistically has a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year. Likewise, the term “100-year storm” is used to define a rainfall event that statistically has this same 1-percent chance of occurring. In other words, over the course of 1 million years, these events would be expected to occur 10,000 times. But, just because it rained 10 inches in one day last year doesn’t mean it can’t rain 10 inches in one day again this year.”

    http://gallery.usgs.gov/audios/50#.VmqbzcRKV_A

    Radio interview:
    “We want to talk today with Bob Holmes who is the National Flood Coordinator for the USGS.

    …you know we hear this phrase “500 year flood.” And supposedly this is the 2nd 500 year flood within fifteen years. Is that correct?

    Bob: That’s right, I mean, some of our numbers are showing that this, least on our frequency probability curves is about the second 500 year flood we’ve had in 15 years.

    Scott: What exactly does that mean? How can you have two 500 year floods in 15 years?

    Bob: Essentially, I think as hydrologists, we’ve done ourselves a disservice by calling it that. Essentially it’s a probabilistic measure. A lot of people think “OK, if I’ve had a 500 year flood now, this year, we’ve got 499 years. We don’t have to worry about it again.” And that’s simply not the case. Essentially, a 500 year flood is just that quantity of water that has the 1 in 500 chance in happening in any one year.”

  8. dave permalink
    September 18, 2017 6:01 pm

    Anything which is expressed as a rate or a ratio is beyond the grasp of most people. For example, I was completely unable to clarify for somebody that you measure pressure in a static fluid AT A POINT, that it is defined (and equal) for ALL DIRECTIONS from that point, and that it is expressed as pounds-weight PER SQUARE INCH. He kept saying “How can there be a square inch at a point ?”

  9. Chris Lynch permalink
    September 18, 2017 10:39 pm

    Gird your loins for a winter of hyperbole and exaggeration in the UK. The Met Office has set out its stall early predicting the stormiest year evah and I don’t think it’s going to let facts get in the way of narrative. Clearly trying to offset its disappointment at last winter being the quitest on record!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 19, 2017 11:14 am

      It can always change the facts to create a new record when it pleases – August bank holiday anyone?

  10. Tim Hammond permalink
    September 19, 2017 9:02 am

    It is absurd that what is supposed to be a reasonably sensible, intelligent newspaper can spout such dumb stuff on things like 500 year events. Do the journalists not even question when the 500 year period might start or end in their dumb understanding of it?

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