FRIDAY GRAPH: A CLIMATE-CHANGE DOOMSAYER BET

 Don Boudreaux masterfully continues the Julian Simon tradition in his WSJ article “More Weather Deaths? Wanna Bet?”, according to Mark Perry in his blog Carpe Diem:

Writing recently in the Washington Post, environmental guru Bill McKibben asserted that the number and severity of recent weather events, such as the tornado in Joplin,Mo., are too great not to be the result of fossil-fuel induced climate change. He suggested that governments’ failure to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases will result in more violent weather and weather-related deaths in the future. And pointing to the tragedy in Joplin, Mr McKibben summarily dismissed the idea that, if climate change really is occurring, human beings can successfully adapt to it.

“There’s one problem with this global-warming chicken little-ism”, Perry writes.  “It has little to do with reality. National Weather Service data on weather-related fatalities since 1940 show that the risks of Americans being killed by violent weather have fallen significantly over the past 70 years.”

Perry notes that:

The annual number of deaths caused by tornadoes, floods and hurricanes, naturally, varies. For example, the number of persons killed by these weather events in 1972 was 703 while the number killed in 1988 was 72. But amid this variance is a clear trend: the number of weather-related fatalities, especially since 1980, has dropped dramatically.

For the 30-year span of 1980-2009, the average annual number of Americans killed by tornadoes, floods and hurricanes was 194 – fully one-third fewer deaths each year than during the 1940-1979 period. The average annual number of deaths for the years 1980-2009 falls even further, to 160 from 194, if we exclude the deaths attributed to Hurricane Katrina, most of which were caused by a levee that breached on the day after the storm struck land

This decline in the absolute number of deaths caused by tornadoes, floods and hurricanes is even more impressive considering that the population of the United States more than doubled over these years – to 308 million in 2010 from 132 million in 1940.

 

 This is Don Boudreaux’s bet:

“So confident am I that the number of deaths from violent storms will continue to decline that I challenge Mr. McKibben – or Al Gore, Paul Krugman, or any other climate-change doomsayer – to put his wealth where his words are. I’ll bet $10,000 that the average annual number of Americans killed by tornadoes, floods and hurricanes will fall over the next 20 years. Specifically, I’ll bet that the average annual number of Americans killed by these violent weather events from 2011 through 2030 will be lower than it was from 1991 through 2010.

“If environmentalists really are convinced that climate change inevitably makes life on Earth more lethal, this bet for them is a no-brainer. They can position themselves to earn a cool 10 grand while demonstrating to a still-skeptical American public the seriousness of their convictions. But if no one accepts my bet, what would that fact say about how seriously Americans should treat climate-change doomsaying? Do I have any takers?”

 

 

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5 thoughts on “FRIDAY GRAPH: A CLIMATE-CHANGE DOOMSAYER BET

  1. leaving out the inverse graph accounting for the rise in building quality, communications and warning systems over the same time period? why are you so scared to own your greed in the plague called humanity? worst case scenerio is a slightly more peaceful existence.

  2. Goodness me, this is incredibly idiotic. Of course the number of deaths from weather events has fallen since 1940 – technology has allowed us to protect ourselves from these events. In mid west America, every public building has ‘tornado safe corners’ that are clearly marked for people to move into, and the advent of flood protection technology has also assisted in this declining figure. The problem we face now is that weather patterns have become so extreme (due to climate change) that our technology is no longer withstanding the brute force of nature. For goodness sake, you don’t even need to have any scientific background to deduce that, it’s basic logic.

    On top of that, it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe that climate change is real, filling the air with CO2 has already been proven without a doubt to have increased cases of respiratory illnesses by drastic amounts, to the point where people in smog ridden cities are at severe risk of various cancers and diseases every day. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in climate change, oil is going to eventually run out so we have to move to renewable energy anyway. Don’t you get it? What we’re proposing is a world that has clean air, clean land, clear water and energy that will last for future generations. How can you possibly disagree with that?

    • Blithering nonsense! CO2 has nothing whatever to do with respiratory disease.

      Climate is changing as it has always changed. Recent changes, such as they are, are well within the limits of the last two million years.

  3. filling the air with CO2 has already been proven without a doubt to have increased cases of respiratory illnesses by drastic amounts, to the point where people in smog ridden cities are at severe risk of various cancers and diseases every day.

    Goodness me, this is incredibly idiotic.

    CO2 is a colourless, odourless, completely non-toxic gas. It is what we human being breathe out (our respiratory system converts some of the oxygen in the air we breathe in into carbon dioxide — CO2).

    All plant life requires CO2. Plants (whether grass, trees, vegetables, fruit) absorb CO2 and give off oxygen (O). Without CO2 there would be no plants and no life on this Earth.

    Greenhouse operators pour pure CO2 over their plants to make them grow faster and bigger.

    Additionally, without the greenhouse effect created mostly by clouds and water vapour but also by the 3.8 parts of CO2 in every MILLION parts of air, there would be no life on Earth as the planet would be too cold to sustain life. Life exists on Earth because the greenhouse effect traps a portion of incoming sunlight, resulting in temperatures warm enough to sustain life.

    The smog of which you speak is a completely different issue which has nothing to do with CO2. It’s largely pollutants from car exhausts and certain industrial processes and very much does need to be tackled and has been tackled for decades in developed countries which have much cleaner air than 50 years ago as factory filth is no longer spewed untreated into the air and waterways.

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