Inconvenient data: Fewer and fewer people die from climate-related natural disasters

Bjørn Lomborg writes on his Facebook page of a reverse hockey stick graph, one that is certainly inconvenient to the gloom and doom message of climate alarmists who try to link regular weather events to climate. So, Lomborg plays their game, and the results are surprising.


Fewer and fewer people die from climate-related natural disasters

This is clearly opposite of what you normally hear, but that is because we’re often just being told of one disaster after another – telling us how *many* events are happening. The number of reported events is increasing, but that is mainly due to better reporting, lower thresholds and better accessibility (the CNN effect). For instance, for Denmark, the database only shows events starting from 1976.

Instead, look at the number of dead per year, which is much harder to fudge. Given that these numbers fluctuate enormously from year to year (especially in the past, with huge droughts and floods in China), they are here presented as averages of each decade (1920-29, 1930-39 etc, with last decade as 2010-17). The data is from the most respected global database, the International Disaster Database, http://emdat.be/emdat_db/. There is some uncertainty about complete reporting from early decades, which is why this graph starts in 1920, and if anything this uncertainly means the graph *underestimates* the reduction in deaths.

Notice, this does *not* mean that there is no global warming or that possibly a climate signal could eventually lead to further deaths. Instead, it shows that our increased wealth and adaptive capacity has vastly outdone any negative impact from climate when it comes to human climate vulnerability.

Notice that the reduction in absolute deaths has happened while the global population has increased four-fold. The individual risk of dying from climate-related disasters has declined by 98.9%. Last year, fewer people died in climate disasters than at any point in the last three decades (1986 was a similarly fortunate year).

Somewhat surprisingly, while climate-related deaths have been declining strongly for 70 years, non-climate deaths have not seen a similar decline, and should probably get more of our attention.

Source: The International Disaster Database, http://emdat.be/emdat_db/

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34 thoughts on “Inconvenient data: Fewer and fewer people die from climate-related natural disasters

    • He’s in Margaritaville, he’s OK. You people in the upper midwest(downwind from Yellowstone)-not so much.

  1. This would explain the distorted use of monetary property damage estimates to maintain the fear and loathing theme in place of lives.

    • Especially when inflation is not accounted for, which makes a great deal of difference especially the longer back in time one goes.

  2. Adjusted for population growth, the decline would be even more pronounced.
    Note: the two sources linked asked me for password login.

    • “Death” statistics are frequently reported “per 100,000” (ie: homicide rates). Quick & dirty calculation:
      1930 deaths = 400,000
      1930 global pop = 1.9B
      1930 “climate” death rate per 100k pop = 26
      1990 deaths 40,000
      1990 global pop = 5,3B
      1990 “climate” death rete per 100k pop = 0.76
      YOU’RE GONNA LOVE THIS:
      Death rate per 100K has dropped from 26 (1930) to 0.76 (1990) – A FABULOUS DROP OF 97%!
      No, I did not fudge the numbers, and 1930 v 1990 was my first crack at the calculation. SEND ME MY GRANT MONEY!

      • but a linear extrapolation, out to 2050, shows a very scary number of zombies coming back to life and crawling up out of the graves.
        the resulting deaths, directly due to zombies eating your children, are therefore indirectly related to the climate (and climate change).
        quit trying to smooge the statistics into something that appears positive:) all things, directly or peripherally related to climate change, are bad.

  3. “Notice, this does *not* mean that there is no global warming or that possibly a climate signal could eventually lead to further deaths.”
    …and? waiting on the asteroid

  4. Our adaptive capacity is totally ignored by the doomsayers and yet it is our specie’s greatest strength.

  5. very smart paper
    rather provocative but supercontributive
    what is the international disaster database ? and how did you select the elements to build these two curves ?

  6. The graph also suggests a relationship between predictable and non-predictable events that cause deaths.

  7. It would be a powerful graphic illustration of the deleterious lethal effect of totalitarian and other ideologies to compare the annual mortality rates in the 19th-20th Centuries due to climate and non-climate catrastrophic events from the International Diaster Database (IDD) to estimates of the number of deaths due to ideological, ethnic, and religious civil wars and revolutions (e.g. American Civil War, Turkish-Ottoman War on Armenians, the Marxist-Leninist Russian Revolution and subsequent Communist Civil War of all-on-all, Stalinist strategy of Terrorism and Mass Starvation of Ukrainian Kulak farming communities, the Spanish Civil War, the National Socialist German Workers’s Party’s (NAZI) Holocaust of Eastern European Jews and other minorities, Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Great Awakening in China, Khemer Rouge Communist Revolution in Cambodia) and then to the estimated civilian and recorded combat deaths of declared wars (WWI, Russo-Japanese War, WWII, China Communist Revolution and subsequent famines, the Korean War, French IndoChina and North African Colonial Wars, American Vietnam War, Etc).
    People may die in the thousands and hundreds of thousands in the worst historical natural disasters, whether climate related or not, though the number of deaths have declined during the course of the 20th C; but people have died and slaughtered in the millions in ideological revolutions, and the highest death toll estimates from a number of sources and authors have occurred due to totalitarian revolutions and subsequent civil wars especially those inspired and guided by the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Communist Revolutionary intellectual vanguards. The fact that the actual death toll due to Communism and its revolutions, terrorism and repression can only be estimated bespeaks the vile treachery and evil methods used to achieve their political ends. The Black Book of Communism. Crimes, Terror, Repression. Stephane Courtois, Nicholas Werth, Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karen Bartosek, Jean-Louis Margolin. 1999. Translated by Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer. Harvard.

    • Gerard
      Here’s my crack at it:
      From eyeballing the article’s “Deaths From Climate and Non-Climate Catastrophes: 1920-2017” chart, the “Climate” death rate is around 25 per 100,000 population.
      WWII 1942-45 deaths = 60-80M (4 full years of total war; estimates range as high as 120M)
      WWII average death/total war years = 20M (“conservative” estimate)
      1940 population = 2.9B
      WWII average death rate per total war year = 690 deaths per 100,000 population (rate is “per year” for each of the total war years: 1942. 1943, 1944, 1945).

    • Good idea, GO’D. It would also appear a handful of international banking families who’ve specialized (through descendants) over the centuries in providing high volume/high interest financing—even in orchestrating an event itself—to both sides during major revolutions and wars, then holding their coats while the combatants went at it while simultaneously selling war material to both from manufacturing industries they either owned or controlled financially during the war/revolution.
      Of the major conflicts you mention, the Bolshevik “revolution” has to rank close to the top for resulting deaths. Swedish writer Juri Lina has compiled one of the most extensive, heavily footnoted volumes about this revolution from the archives opened thus far in Russia. He puts the number of deaths caused by Zionist communists somewhere north of 60 million circa 1917-1950
      Book: UNDER THE SIGN OF THE SCORPION (Jüri Lina, Updated, 3rd edition)
      https://www.amazon.com/Under-Sign-Scorpion-Soviet-Empire/dp/9197289779/ref=pd_sbs_14_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=9197289779&pd_rd_r=B0VFVSHM90WZXTFV0CE8&pd_rd_w=A5qiM&pd_rd_wg=GekFF&psc=1&refRID=B0VFVSHM90WZXTFV0CE8
      Documentary taken from the book: IN THE SHADOWN OF HERMES Jüri Lina (2009)

      Nobel winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, arguably Russia’s greatest writer and chronicler of the Russian tragedy, finished two volumes about these same killers more than a decade ago before he died.
      Both are blocked from English translation except for “select” chapters.
      200 YEARS TOGETHER
      http://truedemocracyparty.net/2012/05/most-banned-book-in-the-world-200-years-together-aleksandr-solzhenitsyn/

  8. Meanwhile, probably the finest scientific mind of a generation died yesterday. Stephen Hawking was a remarkable man and scientist and worthy of a mention on a science site… I would have thought.

    • Given Phillip’s definition: “…climate-related death would happen slowly over a period of more than 30 years…”, and having recently passed my “70 1/2” birthdate (a date of special tax significance for American geezers with IRA accounts…), I now appear to be qualifying, albeit slowly, as a climate death.
      Who knew?

  9. ‘Fewer and fewer people die from climate-related natural disasters’
    Nonsense. People die from weather natural disasters. Climate is an analysis of weather.

  10. Oh come on, get over it, he has some theories about theoretical black holes, and sold some books. What’s with all the genuflecting? No scientist should ever get a free-pass or hero worship status.

  11. Someone please define for me what is a “climate-related disaster”?
    After we have common definition of that term, then we can begin discussing it.

    • “a weather event that would be reasonably expected to occur on a regular basis, given a regions’ climate”

  12. Beware of political movements seeking perfection:
    In the 1500s, the Church turned murderous in its drive for the “Perfect” soul.
    A side issue was that it already had the “Perfect” solar system as it revolved around the Earth.
    Communists were out to create the “Perfect Man”, and the Black Book of Communism places the death toll at 100 million.
    Nazis wanted the “Perfect” race and land space.
    Today’s activists demand a “Perfect Climate”.
    Show this to a Liberal-Democrat and they won’t see the connection.
    Shudder.
    Bob Hoye

  13. It is clear enough, substantially fewer people are dying from droughts, crop failures, heat waves etc than in the past. The shrill claims of climate/weather change today killing millions in some kind of never seen before gorefest is a bare faced piece of nonsense which is comprehensively dismantled by this excellent and informative posting. It needs to be stuck on the noses of the Pinocchio hysterics trying to frighten people worldwide with fairy tales of more extreme weather events.

  14. I have been pointing this out for years and years. By 2100 nobody will be dying of any natural disaster caused for any reason. We will also get this improvement regardless of whether we do it for “environmental” reasons. People improve the response and the standards as a natural part of the process of improving living standards. Thus we will spend all the money to do this anyway one way or another.
    The same can be said for sea level increase. The seas have risen 8 inches in the last 100 years. It will probably rise 8 inches in the next 100. Some people predict 18 inches. In any case we will have to adjust to change. In other words, houses will have to be lifted, some islands will have to be evacuated, barriers will have to be created anyway. The technology for doing all this will be developed anyway.
    Most buildings don’t last 100 years. Most buildings were built in the last 100 years. The idea that over 100 or 200 or 300 years we might have to rebuild things is not “catastrophic.” It is normal and going to happen anyway. Behind the catastrophe posturing is the assumption that somehow if we do all this global warming mitigation we will stop sea level rise or that natural disasters will stop. As the article points out, natural disasters have always happened and were far far far worse in consequences years ago. The same natural disasters will happen again. All that all this spending on climate change means is we will have less to spend on the disasters and the consequences will be worse.

  15. I have mentioned that here before:
    From 1946–72 259 people have died from „climate“-related disasters (storms, floods, etc. – not avalanches) in Switzerland (= 9.6 per year). From 1973-2015 only 129 people died (= 3 per year), although the population had nearly doubled.
    No squeak was heard from the Swiss Climate Establishment about that.

  16. The analysis of climate change consists of two major components: A Causal component and a Consequential component.
    Estimating the severity of Climate Change (CC) by counting the number of deaths per unit time resulting from all natural disasters – including CC – reveals very little about CC per se, especially because such numbers also depend upon social factors unrelated to CC, which is measured in degrees Centigrade, NOT in the number of deaths.

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