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Why Climate Advocates Need To Stop Hyping Extreme Weather

December 18, 2019

By Paul Homewood




A useful recap from Roger Pielke Jr at Forbes, (and more shenanigans from the Lancet!)



Data recently published in The Lancet tells an amazing story about weather-related disasters worldwide over the past three decades. As people around the world have become wealthier, the fraction of that wealth that is destroyed by extreme weather has gone down. This trend holds for rich and poor nations, and remarkably across all types of weather phenomena. It also helps us to understand why the focus on extreme weather among climate advocates is badly misguided.

The new data was published earlier this month in the scientific journal The Lancet, in its annual review of climate change and health. The data comes from the German reinsurance company Munich Re, which tabulates global disaster costs on an annual basis. The authors of The Lancet assessment presented weather-related disasters losses from 1990 to 2016 (2017 and 2018 are included but are not adjusted to a common base year) as a proportion of overall GDP for four different country groupings, ranging from the lowest income to the highest.

The figure below shows disasters losses as a percentage of GDP for each country grouping. You can see that the decrease in losses as a fraction of overall GDP is the greatest for the poorest countries. This is great news, as it means that as the world has become wealthier, weather disasters are costing relatively less.

Disaster losses as percentage of GDP

Disaster losses as a percentage of GDP for four different country regions. Source: The Lancet,

The regional trends are consistent with the overall global trend that I have recently documented in decreasing overall and weather-related disaster losses as a proportion of global GDP. The United Nations, under its indicator framework associated with its Sustainable Development Goals has identified a reduction in disaster losses as a proportion of GDP as a key indicator of progress.

In an era where gloom and doom dominate our discussions of the environment, the remarkable progress in reducing the relative impact of disasters on society stands out as good news. Given today’s zeitgeist, it is perhaps not at all surprising that The Lancet article buried its disaster data deep in an appendix and in the main text displayed a misleading figure with only a small subset of the data.

Many people I speak to and hear from on social media are surprised, shocked even, to learn that in recent decades disaster losses have actually decreased as a proportion of GDP. A big part of this surprise is surely due to hyperbolic media reporting of disasters and climate change. But journalists share responsibility for such hype with some in the scientific community who have also been seduced by the siren song of apocalyptic visions.

Full post here.


Roger makes a particular about the Lancet keeping this information hidden away and choosing to highlight a highly misleading subset, and does not hold back:



This is the full graph from the Lancet report:



Figure 20Economic losses from climate-related events relative to GDP

Note that the series begins in 2011, whereas the full dataset, provided within the report and which Roger uses for his graphs, begins in 1990. Needless to say, if the Lancet graph started in 1990, it would show the opposite of what they show now.

To make matters worse, the losses for 2017 are inflated by Hurricane Harvey, which cannot be used for trend purposes, given that it is an obvious and significant outlier, and has no climatic significance. This creates an artificial bias.

In any event, no serious statistician would use such a short period as 8 years to claim any significant trends.

Unfortunately, we are only too familiar with this sort of shoddy behaviour from the Lancet.

  1. December 18, 2019 5:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate-

  2. December 18, 2019 5:44 pm

    The gullibility of apparently intelligent people is truly astonishing. The only element of certainty is a lot of people are making a lot of money on this scam.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      December 19, 2019 8:15 am

      Everyone ought to read “How to lie with Statistics” Darren Huff.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    December 18, 2019 5:48 pm

    “Climate Change Kills”? Not like what reducing carbon fuels quickly would do. The world transports goods and services using petrols delivered to gas pumps from refineries. Food and potable water, from farm to table. Hello? Wake up!

    • A C Osborn permalink
      December 18, 2019 7:26 pm

      Sorry “Climate Change” does not kill, weather does.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      December 18, 2019 7:37 pm

      …as I was just about to say. +1

      Then again, people could be dying of boredom from the persistent banging on about CC. Much better than dying of the cold yet to come.

  4. December 18, 2019 6:16 pm

    Climate alarmists ‘playing it straight’? That’ll be the day.

    One problem with any ‘extreme weather’ claim, even if occasionally true, is there’s no way to prove attribution. Asserting it’s the fault of humans is just a political stance.

  5. Paul Reynolds permalink
    December 18, 2019 6:16 pm

    It is both depressing and shocking that responsible intelligent people in positions of significance blatantly distort or hide facts from the populace. Is the climate scam groupthink so pervasive that peddling the truth is a treasonable offence?

    • Broadlands permalink
      December 18, 2019 7:13 pm

      Peddling the truth, an offense? Yes, it seems to be at places like the AAAS Community Discussions in Washington, DC. Some skeptical members have been repeatedly verbally assaulted as global warming “denialists”…and worse? Ad hominems run amok? It seems to be more common in many public venues that free speech is being suppressed…unless you are a climate change alarmist protesting?

  6. Rupert Wyndham permalink
    December 18, 2019 6:24 pm

    “Climate change kills” – you bet, especially what passes for grey matter between the ears of this dumb broad!

  7. johnbillscott permalink
    December 18, 2019 7:00 pm

    Is this irresponsible reporting having the same effect in the UK – Extreme and fear tactics by the eco lemmings is developing a death cult – think Jones Town.

    • December 19, 2019 9:51 am

      Yes, the UK is as mad as most other Western countries – the Extinction Rebellion muppets glue themselves to whatever fixture that will catch the imagination. Latest to – wait for it – an electric bus!
      Young people are being scared by the pervasive, misleading preaching by schools and Universities – and mass hysteria finds no better source than Greta Thunberg’s doomsday message.
      Science, common sense and respect for facts and knowledge – – villages in Siberia

      • Broadlands permalink
        December 19, 2019 3:05 pm

        Little St. Greta has no formal education in climate science. She seems to be a puppet for the establishment but which one of several puppeteers are advising her appears to be an unknown. Follow the money?

  8. December 18, 2019 9:17 pm

    Reblogged this on Utopia, you are standing in it!.

  9. Gamecock permalink
    December 18, 2019 10:22 pm

    ‘Why Climate Advocates Need To Stop Hyping Extreme Weather’

    “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

    Napoleon Bonaparte

  10. Adam Gallon permalink
    December 19, 2019 8:02 am

    Looks like the Jocks have finally twigged, that all the money pouring into their wonderful windmills, is going abroad.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      December 19, 2019 1:24 pm

      When they look around they might notice that “Oor oil” is also financially benefiting Chinese Nexen, and Petrochina now owns half of Grangemouth.

  11. December 19, 2019 8:30 am

    It is not Extreme Weather that many have to worry about it is Extreme Whether . That is Whether some one starts dropping bombs on your head. This is a very Extreme event and quite deadly. Those that have suffered from this Extreme Whether of late are many including.
    Yemen where many have died from this Extreme event of having bombs dropped on there heads. More have died due to there sanitation infrastructure being destroyed.
    Then there is Syria bombed by many countries and invaded by mercenaries apparently to try to save it from Assad and to prevent it from being saved . Libya saved from Gaddafi but reduced to a lawless country with slave markets.
    Then there is Iraq saved from Saddam and the hard to find weapons of mass destruction.
    Millions of lives ruined dead or displaced .
    Then there is Afghanistan a country people like to invade from Britain to Russia and the USA
    But at least the poppy fields are flourishing
    Then not forgetting Yugoslavia a country that no longer exists.
    Sorry if your war did not make the list.

  12. Athelstan. permalink
    December 19, 2019 9:26 am

    Using the children for ‘proof’.

    This sort of tenuous association and hoohah, what the experts say is science?

    Be wary, this is the start and because no UK death certificate notes cause of death as ‘air pollution’ – yet this would give the green blob but far more importantly the PTB all the excuse they have been seeking.

    This poor wee lass, her very sad all too early demise, surely deserves sympathy and respect – not to be made some political football for the shroud wavers.

    Ella Kissi-Debrah lived 25m (80ft) from London’s South Circular Road – a notorious pollution “hotspot”.

    She experienced three years of seizures and hospital stays before her death in February 2013. During that time, local air pollution levels breached EU legal limits.

    No individual death has previously been directly linked to air pollution.

    According to a report by one of the UK’s leading experts on asthma and air pollution, Prof Stephen Holgate, there was a “striking association” between Ella’s emergency hospital admissions and recorded spikes in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM10s, the most noxious pollutants.

    His report said there was a “real prospect that without unlawful levels of air pollution, Ella would not have died”.

    The evidence will be submitted in an appeal to the attorney general to re-open an inquest in to Ella’s death.

    Ella often walked to school along the South Circular Road and Lewisham High Street, a journey that would take 30-40 minutes. Or she would be driven and have to sit for lengthy periods in traffic jams.

    cue the campaigning, but will it be an objective and truly medically scientific inquest – no chance.

    bbc here

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      December 19, 2019 11:03 am

      Well from personal experience with one of my children all I can say is natural causes are more common. My son between the ages of 3 and 9 had 5 stays in hospital including the ICU during May all covering the FA Cup Final weekend and 4 in September being admitted on the 18th or 19th. Normally usually busy according to staff and usually with other children we’d met on other visits. Pollen and fungus spores seem a better bet.

      • Athelstan. permalink
        December 20, 2019 1:16 am

        I greatly sympathize for and with your son’s battles – Ben

        I suffered plenty, pretty bad asthma attacks as a child, I also lived right next to an arterial, a very busy road. The attacks were always in spring and through the summer months, exclusively during peak pollen periods, grass and tree and certain flowers would trigger me, eyes, nose, throat, shortness of breathing.

        I came through it, I ran marathons, played Union and association football, martial arts and still road cycle, road run ,swim and go up mountains for fun.

        I don’t use an inhaler, I made my lungs draw enough breath and btw, CO2 is good for expanding the alveoli, yoga is v good and a series of breathing exercises and control – inclusive of holding your breath – but note for short and regular periods only.

      • Steve permalink
        December 20, 2019 12:54 pm

        The Times just ran an editorial demanding reduction in the air pollution standards are changed to WHO lower levels, which are way below the pollution experienced by the parents and grandparents of the children who are supposed to be experiencing an epidemic of asthma. The journalists quote the usual 50,000 premature deaths in the UK and do not mention that if all diesel and petrol vehicles are banned, the estimated extension of life will be in weeks or days over 80 years. And never mention that the whole calculation is based on one American study which has been contradicted by another which found no small difference in lifespans. The results are so insignificant that they will never be provable and the forecast increases in lifespans because of improving in medical treatment and nutrition which will be far greater.
        It might be expected that the Times journalists would be incapable of understanding the science, but the Lancet, as the British journal of doctors of medicine, would get things right about deaths from extreme weather and climate change. Their misguided article about air pollution was just as incompetent. It makes people wonder how they are going to obtain a correct diagnosis and treatment. Perhaps this explains why the NHS kills so many patients.

  13. tom0mason permalink
    December 19, 2019 9:59 am

    Cold Weather Kills!
    Starvation Kills!
    Heart Attacks Kills!
    Drowning in Water Kills!
    Fire Kills!
    Wars Kills!

    All the above and more, kill people NOW — today — no one has been proven (by a court) to have been killed by the climate.

    To the person with the sign say “Climate Kills” –> “Stupidity Kills” you moron!

  14. December 19, 2019 6:11 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    As usual the narrative is nowhere near the reality.

  15. Washington 76 permalink
    December 19, 2019 8:01 pm

    Right on! Sep 30, 2019 ‘Hysterical’ Thunberg needs more life experience

    Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg may “want to meet some disadvantaged kids from Somalia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh or even outback Australia before she talks about stolen childhoods,” according to Sky News host Chris Kenny.

  16. jack broughton permalink
    December 19, 2019 9:31 pm

    Almost every news bulletin focuses on the Australian fires, with the oft-repeated suggestion that this is evidence of Climate change. Today’s claim is that the Australian temperature records are being broken every day.

    As the earth has warmed by about 1 C since the LIA it is surely to be expected that records will be broken sometimes: the alarmists seem to conveniently ignore this.

    • Athelstan. permalink
      December 20, 2019 1:24 am

      and um, Australia majority is semi desert raging in the south and west to very dry desert, where, temps of 40 deg C+ are not that unusual.

      The scrub land needs managing – correctly and we should note, not all of Aus at 2.9 million square miles YES 2.9 Mil ! – is burning – and as the UK tv media would have us think.

  17. Richard Bell permalink
    December 20, 2019 7:50 pm

    This exposes another underlying issue with climate alarmism:

    Not only has there been a downward trend in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, the Laws of Thermodynamics predict that global warming will lead to a decrease in the frequency and severity of extreme weather.

    The effects of extreme weather come from the conversion of heat to mechanical work, whether that mechanical work is the production of severe winds or the raising of a storm surge. Sadi Carnot determined that there is a maximum ratio of the total available energy that can be converted to mechanical work, regardless of the exact process used to convert the heat energy to mechanical work (because heat only flows from warmer masses to cooler masses):

    Available work = (Total heat) x (warm temperature – cool temperature) / (warm temperature).

    If a change in average global temperatures raises both the warm temperature and the cool temperature by the same amount, we would still expect a small decrease in the severity and frequency of extreme weather, but that is not what actually happens.

    The reason we keep being told about the average change in temperature is that the entire globe is not warming at the same rate. The reason that Canada is warming at twice the average rate and Greenland is warming at three times the average rate is that there are larger areas that are warming at less than the average rate. All of the areas warming at less than the average global rate are closer to the Equator than Canada and Greenland.
    As the globe warms, the hottest temperatures increase by the smallest amount and the coldest temperatures increase by the largest amount. This means that the differences between the warm temperatures and cool temperatures will decrease, so there will be less energy available to drive extreme weather, even though the weather systems will have more heat within them.

    The observed decreasing trend in the frequency and severity of extreme weather is not a statistical anomaly, but a predictable result of global warming.

  18. December 24, 2019 4:54 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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