RUNAWAY climate chaos, catastrophic climate breakdown, the climate apocalypse. It’s happening now! So what is it like?
A report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation looks at extreme weather trends around the world and reveals all. Climate chaos, it turns out, is all right, and certainly no worse than whatever the climate was before it earned this dramatic new moniker.
The number of climate-related disasters, down 11 per cent since 2000. Wildfires, down by 24 per cent since 1998. Drought, hurricanes and tropical storms, all relatively unchanged. And while precipitation levels are higher due to increased moisture in the atmosphere, this does not seem to have resulted in an increase in flooding globally.
That’s just looking at the physical processes themselves. Where climate chaos turns out to be better than all right is in its increasingly limited ability to harm human beings.
Dr Ralph Alexander, the report’s author, points out that the number of people dying in extreme weather events has fallen dramatically since the 1920s, and the cost of the damage they do has fallen as a proportion of global Gross Domestic Product.
That this good news story is not better known is a matter of distorted media coverage but also deliberate deception.
Two prominent studies, one from the International Red Cross and another joint study from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the Centre of Research on the Epidemiology of Disaster (CRED) both claimed that we were seeing a huge rise in climate-related disasters.
To make this claim, they both relied on the same data – from CRED’s International Disaster Database, known as EM-DAT. This data does show a significant increase in the number of reported disasters since the 1960s, but the increase is almost wholly attributable to the fact that we have become much better at recording these events. The arrival of the internet has been transformative in this regard, as has the role of media organisations.
It is impossible to believe that the authors of these reports didn’t know their purported ‘huge rise’ in climate-related disasters was illusory; they have acknowledged as much themselves.
On multiple occasions, CRED has explained how the number of recorded disasters is strongly linked to improvements in telecommunications, and increased reporting by press organisations and others.
Clearly the authors have knowingly put out misleading headlines and conclusions to generate press attention, and further a political agenda related to climate change. It is hard to see another explanation for their actions.
One expects they always knew they would have cover from our bereft political and media establishment, which refuses to cast a critical eye over climate change claims.
There is no doubt that the climate will continue to be chaotic, however. In his report, Dr Alexander concludes by noting that 2020, just like any other year, saw a series of weather extremes.
These included a heatwave in Siberia, a cold summer in the Northern hemisphere, an active hurricane season in the North Atlantic, and wildfires in the US and the Arctic. But he observes that there is little evidence of any long-term worsening of these events, and many can be linked to natural climatic cycles.
If this is climate chaos, and we are assured that it is, then maybe we can breathe a little easier.
Extreme Weather in 2020 by Dr Ralph Alexander is available to read now on the GWPF website.