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Natural disasters 2010: Munich Re blames climate change


It’s that time of year again, and as the end of year bell rings, Pavlov’s dog begins to slaver, and the ecotards at Munich Re start yelping at the moon. Munich Re are long-term climate alarmists (see here) blaming everything and anything on climate change – remember they are an insurance company, so therefore spreading fear and alarm in the community is good for business. And the Sydney Morning Herald falls for it every year:

The Haiti earthquake and floods in Pakistan and China helped make 2010 an exceptional year for natural disasters, killing 295,000 and costing $130 billion, the world’s top reinsurer said Monday.

“The high number of weather-related natural catastrophes and record temperatures both globally and in different regions of the world provide further indications of advancing climate change,” said Munich Re in a report.

And which natural disaster contributed most of those deaths?

The earthquake in Haiti in January was by far the worst disaster in terms of human cost, killing 222,570 people, Munich Re said. (source)

So unless Munich Re somehow blames earthquakes on climate change, you can forget over 75% of the total straight away. Whilst there were significant deaths from a heatwave and forest fires in Russia, there is no link to “climate change” – it’s just weather – but there is a clear link to drainage of peat bogs in the 1960s which made them susceptible to serious fire, and to the abolition of the national fire service in 2007 which crippled Russia’s ability to deal with the outbreaks. But as always, never let the facts get in the way of a good story (or a good marketing tactic).

Update on Munich Re story

You may recall on 30 December last year I posted about the global reinsurer Munich Re linking disasters to climate change. Roger Pielke Jr over at Prometheus reported on the same issue. Now Munich Re have responded to Roger’s original post here.

Climate nonsense from Munich Re

Blaming everything on “climate change” is the usual response of green hysterics, and shouldn’t be that of the world’s second largest reinsurer. Unbelievably, however, it is (maybe they are trying to reduce their exposure to claims…), and they still wrongly think that warming, even if it is occurring, will cause more severe weather, a scare story that has been debunked thoroughly many times.

The Herald Sun, under the breathless and misleading headling “Record deaths from natural disasters” reports:

Most devastating was Cyclone Nargis, which battered Burma in May to kill more than 135,000 people, and the earthquake that shook China’s Sichuan province the same month which left 70,000 dead, 18,000 missing and almost five million homeless, Munich Re said.

“This continues the long-term trend we have been observing,” Munich Re board member Torsten Jeworrek said.

Climate change has already started and is very probably contributing to increasingly frequent weather extremes and ensuing natural catastrophes.

The world needed “effective and binding rules on CO2 emissions, so that climate change is curbed and future generations do not have to live with weather scenarios that are difficult to control.”

Let’s look at the world’s worst natural disasters. Of the top 10, five are unrelated to climate change (4 earthquakes, one dam failure) and the remaining five all occurred before 1970, i.e. before the global warming hysteria was even thought of – in 1970 we were all getting ready for the next Ice Age, remember?

As for Cyclone Nargis, true, it is the 7th largest death toll from cyclones and hurricanes, however the top 6 all occurred before 1975 (and four before 1881), again, before “global warming” could have had any possible effect. The reality is that the death toll from a cyclone or hurricane has far more to do with its location, and the population density under it, than its intensity…

But hey, who cares about the facts when it makes a good story?

Read it here.

No upward trend in disaster losses

Pompeii: lava in the living room…

Politicians and the media love to bleat about disasters getting bigger, badder, worser (© George Negus), etc., without actually providing any evidence, but as Andrew Bolt points out, our perception is skewed because we’re building more stuff in dumb places.

We build houses on flood plains and then are surprised when we get flooded. We build houses on the seafront and are surprised when a cyclone brings a storm surge. As George Carlin famously said, we build houses on the slopes of active volcanoes and then wonder why we have lava in the living room…! The unfortunate inhabitants of Pompeii learnt their lesson in AD 79, but we still haven’t learnt ours in AD 2011.

From The Australian’s Cut & Paste:

Ross Gittins in The Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday:

SCIENTISTS have long predicted one effect of global warming would be for extreme events to become more extreme, which is just what seems to be happening. And, certainly, the insurance industry, which keeps careful records of these events, is in no doubt that climate change is making things worse.

ABC1’s Lateline on Wednesday:

REPORTER Margot O’Neill : Australia’s climate seemed to flip into overdrive this summer. So, are these extremes the new normal? It’s what climate change models have been predicting, after all. Big international insurers are mopping up after more than 850 global weather catastrophes in 2010, and they say there’s no doubt: global warming is destabilising the climate.

Peer-reviewed paper by Eric Neumayer and Fabian Barthe of London School of Economics and funded by re-insurers Munich Re in Global Environmental Change, November 18, 2010:

APPLYING both [conventional and alternative] methods to the most comprehensive existing global dataset of natural disaster loss [provided by Munich Re], in general we find no significant upward trends in normalised disaster damage over the period 1980-2009 globally, regionally, for specific disasters or for specific disasters in specific regions. (source)

Munich Re (or Moonbat Re as they should be called, see here and here) is firmly ensconced on the climate alarmist bandwagon. They must be spitting chips that their hard earned dollars were spent on a report that gave them the wrong answer… oops.

Scientists: no need to panic about "global warming"

WSJ Online

Sixteen scientists, including such luminaries as Lindzen, Kininmonth, Happer and Shaviv, write to the Wall Street Journal, expressing the view that the global warming scare is completely overblown, and that AGW alarmism may result in increased research funding. Shock!

What heresy! Wait for the excuses: they’re not the “right” scientists, of course. They’ve all been “bought off” by big oil. They’re all probably suffering from delusions caused by mental illness. The fact that they may have reached these conclusion by means of proper impartial scientific enquiry wouldn’t occur to the alarmist head-bangers (given they haven’t a clue what “impartial scientific enquiry” is – “Surely science is avoiding FOI requests, deleting data and fudging results? That’s what I was taught!”).

Cue collective warmist head-pop in 3, 2, 1…

Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse. They have good reason to worry. In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years. The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.

This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before—for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.

Why is there so much passion about global warming, and why has the issue become so vexing that the American Physical Society, from which Dr. Giaever resigned a few months ago, refused the seemingly reasonable request by many of its members to remove the word “incontrovertible” from its description of a scientific issue? There are several reasons, but a good place to start is the old question “cui bono?” Or the modern update, “Follow the money.”

Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet. Lysenko and his team lived very well, and they fiercely defended their dogma and the privileges it brought them.

Read it all.

That distant explosion was Monbiot, by the way…

(h/t Climate Depot)

UPDATE: Check out Un-skeptical Pseudo-Science’s hilarious over-reaction to this article here (the only reason I know about it is because they linked to me as a “denier blog” – LOL!)

UPDATE 2: Lubos Motl assembles links to all the hysterical responses from the headbangers here. Probably best to be sitting down when you read them.

UPDATE 3: Add to the list Andrew Glikson from ANU writing at The [One-sided] Conversation. Glikson cites NASA GISS (i.e. Hansen) data for global temperatures, and Munich Re (alarmist insurers) for “evidence” of more extreme weather. Would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragic. Go here (if you really must).

IPCC: Integrity-challenged, Politicised, Compromised and Corrupt

Essential reading

Donna Laframboise’s new book “The Delinquent Teenager who was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert” blows the lid clean off the biased and politicised organisation otherwise known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We have always known that the IPCC was a political construct. Senior figures at the World Meteorological Office and the United Nations had already formed the view back in the mid-1980s (based on virtually no evidence at all) that man-made carbon dioxide was damaging the climate, and all that was required was to find some science to back it up. Enter the IPCC. Established to find the evidence that was at the time so sorely lacking, the IPCC is manacled to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – a political agreement between nations signed in 1992 – which has been described by Rajendra Pachauri as the IPCC’s “main customer”.

Even from that short introduction, it is utterly baffling how anyone (including our deluded government) could possibly still believe that the IPCC is an impartial scientific body. And yet the majority of the world’s climate policies are based on this organisation’s pronouncements.

However, the story is far more complex and shocking than that. The Delinquent Teenager describes numerous examples of the scientific message being massaged and manipulated to fit the preordained outcome. Grey literature is welcomed when it fits the agenda (despite Rajendra Pachauri’s protestations that the IPCC is nothing but peer-reviewed literature) – but oddly that peer-reviewed literature is excluded or played down when it doesn’t. Lead authors in IPCC reports write articles in journals which are then cited in the report – even when those journals were published after the official cut-off date. But who cares if it helps bolster the case? The lack of scientific integrity would shame a senior school physics student.

A classic example from the book is the much-touted link between natural disasters and “global warming”. The 2001 IPCC report claimed such a link, but the conclusion was based on a report prepared by an insurance company (Munich Re, an organisation which is well known for peddling climate alarmism, see here for example) which, naturally, would benefit financially from the greater demand for insurance that such a link may generate. The fact that this presents a clear conflict of interest seems to have escaped everyone down at IPCC Towers (funny how conflicts of interest with sceptics and oil companies seem to be pounced on rather more eagerly – as Daily Bayonet puts it, even accepting a free mug from a gas station is enough!).

If that wasn’t enough, one of the Munich Re report’s authors was also a lead author on the IPCC report. But the story doesn’t end there.

In 2005, the journal Science published a commentary on the subject by Evan Mills, citing the Munich Re report and the IPCC report as separate, independent sources. A few years later, Barack Obama’s scientific adviser John Holdren later prepared a report on the impacts of climate change, which cited the Mills paper as the definitive source on disaster costs and climate change. In a pithy summary of this incestuous series of events, Donna concludes:

So a dubious finding that originated in a document written by an insurance company was included in the Climate Bible in 2001. It then made its way into the peer-reviewed scientific literature in 2005. By 2009 it was being treated as gospel by a US government report. Welcome to the confidence-inspiring world of climate science.

There is much, much more. Every MP and Senator in Australia (and every attendee at the Durban Climate Summit) should be forced to read this book from cover to cover. Then maybe they would think twice about accepting without any critical thought the partisan conclusions of the IPCC.

This is a must-read book, and it’s a bargain at only $4.99 on Kindle. It expertly and thoroughly exposes the IPCC for the compromised and corrupt organisation we always suspected it to be.

Buy it here.

Donna’s excellent blog, No Frakking Consensus, is here.

Weather disasters: global warming "the only logical explanation"

Because, er, we can’t think of anything else it could be (or more truthfully, we haven’t bothered really looking, ‘cos we’ve pinned it on global warming already). That’s the level we have reached. More moonbat nonsense from the alarmist reinsurer Munich Re (see here for previous scaremongering by this bunch). From the UK Times (regurgitated in The Australian – shame on them):

THE number of weather-related disasters has more than doubled in the past 30 years.

And global warming is the only logical explanation, according to a comprehensive analysis of storms, floods and droughts.

There were 828 “weather catastrophes” involving loss of life and major economic damage across the world last year, compared with 317 in 1980.

The analysis by Munich Re, the reinsurance company, found 385 such events in the first six months of this year – the second highest in any January to June period since records began in 1974. The report does not include this week’s flooding in Pakistan, landslides in China and wildfires in Russia. (source)

So “global warming” causes more severe weather? That’s odd, because accumulated cyclone energy is at a 30-year low:


Who cares? As long as we can continue to blame “global warming” for weather related death and destruction.

UPDATED: Idiotic Comment of the Day – Sydney Morning Herald editorial

Those voices opposing change – or trying to delay it – are ignoring the expense of inaction. What is the cost of roads washed away, schools closed, homes inundated, and cities the size of Grafton and Lismore evacuated in the worst floods in 20 years in northern NSW? Insurance companies know, and you can bet premiums will rise. As an analyst from the global insurance giant Munich Re said last week, extreme weather disasters are on the rise while earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are not. How many glaciers need to melt, with potentially catastrophic consequences, before common sense prevails?

Beyond parody.

Read it here.

UPDATE: Even more idiotic comment from The Canberra Times:

A deal like this [between the US and China] will not end the climate crisis, even if all the other big emitters accept similar terms. Past emissions have already committed us to so much warming that there will be famines, waves of refugees and wars in some of the worst-hit regions no matter what we do now.

Beyond belief.

Read it here.

Moonbat insurance companies blame climate change for "weather"

Of course it’s climate change, you denier you. Floods in SE Queensland and NE New South Wales, which are simply “weather”, are being blamed (without any evidence whatsoever) on climate change, because it’s the thing to do these days. And the media just lap it up, with no tricky questions – “why?” might be a good one to start with, since all the indications are that warming, if there is any, will, if anything, reduce the intensity of severe weather events.

And the insurance companies can then award themselves a hefty profits increase. How? By increasing your premiums, mate. This is especially true of Munich Re, the most moonbattish insurer, that blames everything on climate change:

“If you calculate the trends in weather-related natural catastrophes you find a distinct difference in recent years,” Dr [Peter] Hoeppe told the Herald.

“It’s quite obvious that something has changed here and I think that is really the effects of global warming [oops, “climate change” I think you mean, since global warming stopped in 2001 – Ed] … We are seeing that serious weather events are becoming much more common, while the other kinds of catastrophes like the earthquakes and volcanoes are, of course, not changing.”

And now back to reality, from my original post:

Let’s look at the world’s worst natural disasters. Of the top 10, five are unrelated to climate change (4 earthquakes, one dam failure) and the remaining five all occurred before 1970, i.e. before the global warming hysteria was even thought of – in 1970 we were all getting ready for the next Ice Age, remember?

Read it here.

IPCC: 'an embarrassment to science'


Hang on, surely the IPCC is the ‘gold standard’ of climate science, impartially reviewing all the available peer-reviewed (and peer-reviewed only) papers and presenting a balanced and apolitical position? Why else would governments around the world base their entire climate policies on its pronouncements?

Hardly. Not only is it an organisation that was established specifically to find evidence to prop up a conclusion already reached (namely that CO2 emissions will cause dangerous climate change), but it is riddled with environmental activism posing as science. Grey literature? Just fine – as long as it supports the Cause, of course.

It also regularly fails to correct errors, as Roger Pielke Jr reports:

Alleged errors in the treatment of disaster trends in Chapter 1, WGII, AR4
CLA response from Cynthia Rosenzweig and Gino Casassa
August 23, 2012

Alleged Error #1

Text from Roger Pielke, Jr.

Error #1: IPCC p. 110: “These previous national U.S. assessments, as well as those for normalised Cuban hurricane losses (Pielke et al., 2003), did not show any significant upward trend in losses over time, but this was before the remarkable hurricane losses of 2004 and 2005.”

FACTUALLY INCORRECT: Figure 5 in the following paper, in press prior to the IPCC AR4 WGII publication deadline, clearly shows that the addition of 2004 and 2005 losses do not alter the long-term trend in hurricane losses:

Pielke, Jr., R. A. (2006), Disasters, Death, and Destruction: Making Sense of Recent
Calamities. Oceanography 19 138-147. (link – PDF)

This same information was also in the report of the 2006 Hohenkammer Workshop on Climate Change and Disaster Losses, which was cited by the AR4 WGII: (link – PDF)

RECOMMENDED CORRECTION: “These previous national U.S. assessments, as well as those for normalised Cuban hurricane losses (Pielke et al., 2003), did not show any significant upward trend in losses over time, and this remains the case following the remarkable hurricane losses of 2004 and 2005.”

CLA Finding

There is no error in the statement. No correction is needed and the text can stand as is.


The clause about the published analyses being before the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons is a statement of fact about the time line, and it is not a statement that the results were different after including 2004 and 2005. The statement does not infer that the overall pattern of losses would be different; instead it suggests that 2004 and 2005 were remarkable years in terms of hurricane losses, which they were.

PIELKE RESPONSE SEPTEMBER 13:  This boggles the mind. The time line was such that published analyses (I provided 2!) that were available to the IPCC when drafting the AR4 included 2004 and 2005. The IPCC is say that up is down, and with a straight face. Did they not even read what I wrote? (source)

Why should the IPCC dilute its political message, just because it’s factually incorrect? As Pielke tweets, the IPCC is an embarrassment to science.

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