Inconvenient Truth: Climate-related death risk down 99.6% over 100 years

New data shows the global climate-related death risk has dropped by over 99% since 1920.

Despite the near constant caterwauling from climate alarmists that we are in a “climate emergency”, real-world data, released at the end of 2020 shows that climate related deaths are now approaching zero. The data spans 100 years of “global warming” back to 1920 and shows “climate related” deaths are now approaching zero.

Below is an update of the graph in the 2020 peer-reviewed article by Bjørn Lomborg: Welfare in the 21st century: Increasing development, reducing inequality, the impact of climate change, and the cost of climate policies

Plotted by Bjørn Lomborg. Data: The International Disaster Database,

Lomborg posted the updated graph on his Facebook page January 2nd, 2021. Clearly, the risk from climate related disaster has shrunk to nearly nothing.

Lomborg reports:

“Back in the 1920s, the death count from climate-related disasters was 485,000 on average every year. In the last full decade, 2010-2019, the average was 18,357 dead per year or 96% lower. In the first year of the new decade, 2020, the preliminary number of dead was even lower at 8,086 — 98% lower than the 1920s average.

But because the world’s population also quadrupled at the same time, the climate-related *death risk* has dropped even faster. The death risk is the probability of you dying in any one year. In the 1920s, it was 243 out of a million people that would die from climate-related disasters.

In the 2010s, the risk was just 2.5 per million people — a drop of 99%. Now, in 2020, the preliminary number is 1 per million — 99.6% lower.”

This is clearly the opposite of what climate alarmists have been screaming about, but that is because we’re been exposed to a constant stream of “disaster TV” on cable news and Internet news outlets telling us daily about yet another new disaster, which invariably gets blamed on “climate change”.

There’s an important distinction that must be made: increased reports does not equal increased death risk.

While the number of reported events is increasing, that is mainly due to increased reporting. Called “the CNN effect“, we now have 24 hour news, Internet, and people able to make reports of weather disasters from their cellphones, i.e. storm-chasers.

30 years ago, we had none of that, and we weren’t exposed to the constant stream of disaster reporting with the climate blame-game attached.

Despite this good news, it is unlikely to deter climate alarmism, since it has evolved into a belief system, eschewing data and science for “climate justice”.

Originally published on Climate Realism

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Richard M
January 2, 2021 11:40 am

The 2020s are likely to be a decade of global cooling similar to the 1960s. As a result the number of deaths could see a bump especially since many folks will not be prepared.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Richard M
January 2, 2021 12:43 pm

Not prepared by having electrical grids barely capable of supplying demand even today.

Peta of Newark
January 2, 2021 11:57 am

Don’t (over) use the word ‘Climate

You’re talking about weather here.

Weather Events caused those fatalities – Climate does not occur as ‘events’

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 2, 2021 12:06 pm

My thought exactly

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 2, 2021 2:41 pm

The notion that this planet has a climate (generally) is also false. It has numerous, regional climates some being very changeable and dynamic while others have seen no change for 100s … or even thousands of years. Averaging all that makes about as much sense s averaging telephone numbers.

John Tillman
Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 2, 2021 2:50 pm

IMO Earth has a global climate as well. Consider a Proterozoic Eon Snowball Earth interval with average temperature of -50 degrees C. Compare and contrast with the warmest Hot House intervals of the present Phanerozoic Era, when global average toastiness can spike over 25 degrees C. Enjoy the balmy Holocene interglacial’s current mean of ~14 degrees. It’s not going to last many more millennia. We’re still in the 34 million year-long Cenozoic Ice House.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  John Tillman
January 2, 2021 3:11 pm

Good job describing conditions that this planet is NOT experiencing, but currently there is no climate if one uses the definition … ‘climate is the average weather at a particular location over time” and the period is NOT 30 years as the IPCC pretends. The shortest period is over 60 years.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 4, 2021 3:55 pm

I disagree slightly – climate is the sum of all weather. This avoids arguments about averaging periods, etc. It also emphasizes the concept that one cannot describe a ‘number’ to climate in any meaningful way. No number means it cannot be described as ‘smaller’ or ‘larger’

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Nwsage
January 4, 2021 5:21 pm

My point is clearly that “climate” is a local phenomenon, not a global one, just as weather is. One can no more discuss global climate that they can global weather. It simply makes no sense to “average” conditions that arise from different sets of variables. This confusion is what is exacerbating the problem of using “climate change” as some sort of universally understood global standard. The term is intentionally ambiguous at best … a tautology.

Don Forcash
Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 2, 2021 7:37 pm

I see average misused far to often. The illustration that wakes people up is averaging one person with $1M in annual income and 10 in poverty earning $10k. The average of $100k/year tells a hugely erred story.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Don Forcash
January 2, 2021 8:58 pm

Trying to make any sense from averaging discrete information is a fool’s errand. The reasons why one specific location is warming and why some other location is warming could be completely different. Averaging the product of other averaged conditions is just plain idiotic … but that is how the vast number of “data” points for GCMs are assembled … interpolation = nonsense.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 2, 2021 10:51 pm

Interpolation, as used by climatology, is averaging out any region’s real data with numbers that better reflect the party line. Hence Nasa’s maps of temperature increases showing rising temperatures over Iceland, yet their own meticulously measured data shows stability.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  PCman999
January 3, 2021 12:08 am

Right … for instance, here in Canada, they can dispense with most of the measured data and choose half a dozen selected sites (imaginary if necessary) and interpolate the entire country in a 1500 km grid. They can produce any temperature profile need for the current party line … “science”.

Now they simply plug the imaginary data into their imaginary “climate” models and hey presto … imaginary weather and imaginary crisis to feed the “fake news” outlets.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 2, 2021 10:45 pm

That’s the whole point! Even using alarmists’ own talking points, looking at the actual data shows life on Planet Earth is getting better, and for humans it’s probably been the best time ever experienced by homo sapiens, considering the serious lack of predators, ice, plagues, and famines affecting us. Seriously, the biggest real health concern in most countries is obesity, diabetes and heart disease – issues from having too much of a good thing.

Ron Long
January 2, 2021 11:58 am

Thanks for the post, Anthony. This type of data should be a smack upside the head to the doomsters, but, like it says, CAGW has become a religion. Joe B. is going to deal with this “existential threat” and make it a central part of his administrations agenda. With developing data like 99% reduction in climate deaths he may declare victory after a year or so. Wait for it. Or don’t.

Reply to  Ron Long
January 2, 2021 1:36 pm

Similarly, hundreds of millions of people were to die from starvation in the 1970’s according to Ehrlich.

Reply to  Scissor
January 2, 2021 2:47 pm

Tell me about it. I was disturbed at having to study Erlich’s Population Bomb in first year university in 1969. Seems I’m still here anyway.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Ron Long
January 2, 2021 2:44 pm

Joe B isn’t going to be doing anything at all. It’s still an open book what his handlers have in mind. China isn’t renowned for showing its hand before it acts.

Reply to  Ron Long
January 2, 2021 11:05 pm

Please don’t denigrate religions, even cults, by comparing them to Climate True Believers and their handlers. I was just reading up on the Nazi SS, where they had to renounce Christianity and swear fidelity to the made-up neo-pagan cult – sounds very much what’s going on today with green politics. Doesn’t matter what the data says, they ‘know’ that they are right, and no one is allowed to stand in their way. All very similar to how brainwashed the Communists are too. The only difference between the Nazis/Fascists and the Communists is the quality of their uniforms. Either way you end up with concentration/labour camps and people living in fear of the secret police.

Pasi Autio
January 2, 2021 1:09 pm

EMDAT data quality is poor prior to 1980s and only to small part of actual disasters even exists in this database. Thus, the real number of deaths in the past is much higher and the decrease of deaths is mispresented by this data.

Reply to  Pasi Autio
January 2, 2021 11:08 pm

The decrease in deaths would be even greater then if we new the true level of disasters in the past. So the graphs show a conservative estimate.

Tsk Tsk
January 2, 2021 1:13 pm

Mother Gaia is perfectly willing to kill you. Energy makes you independent of that which is why deaths have plummeted. The only guaranteed way that CAGW will kill you is if the econuts take away your energy and force you to be at her very untender mercies.

Bernie Goetz
January 2, 2021 1:15 pm

I think atmospheric CO2 negligibly affects surface temperature but massive human industrial and biological pollution has caused significant ocean surface temperature rise, resulting in more severe storms and rain.

Reply to  Bernie Goetz
January 2, 2021 2:35 pm

Where is this alleged warming taking place? Using the most sophisticated instruments, they have only been able to find a couple hundredths of a degree warming.

Beyond that, where are these more severe storms that haunt your dreams. The actual data shows that storms are decreasing.

Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  MarkW
January 2, 2021 4:18 pm

But give Bernie a little leeway here. He is a true believer, faithful to the cause even in the face of contrary data.

John Tillman
Reply to  Bernie Goetz
January 2, 2021 3:07 pm

A warmer, more equable world is more tranquil.

Temperature differential across latitudes drives storms. A colder world is stormier.

Reply to  Bernie Goetz
January 2, 2021 4:01 pm

“I think.” You guess? If you were to think, and then research, you would find the last segment of your sentence is total hooey. Multiple posts on this site have discussed the “more severe storm” meme, with references and facts, not feelings.

Reply to  Bernie Goetz
January 2, 2021 11:16 pm

Actually storm intensity/energy has been decreasing over the last few decades, and as others have pointed out ocean temps haven’t risen at all if you know how to read a thermometer and realize an increase of .01° is not statistically significant. And even going back to your original premise, if CO2 isn’t causing the land to heat up, then how are the unnamed reactions from industry causing the ultimately non-existent ocean temp and storm increase?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Bernie Goetz
January 3, 2021 10:51 pm

Hey Bernie, been on any subways lately?

Bill Taylor
January 2, 2021 2:01 pm

any thinking HONEST person knows a warmer planet is great for life on this planet….and they would understand the “climate” is a set of statistics NOT a force, and has NO power to cause any weather event.

Joao Martins
January 2, 2021 2:12 pm

Pleas, Please, PLEASE!

Stop talking of “climate”-related death risks!

All your examples are of “WEATHER”-related death risks!

Reply to  Joao Martins
January 2, 2021 11:18 pm

Well one has to use the same language as the climate alarmists in order to begin to get some of them to understand they have been scammed.

Climate believer
Reply to  PCman999
January 3, 2021 5:26 am

I would be very wary of your game plan there, you are conceding an enormous amount of very important ground in the battle.

If sane people don’t start taking back the language the left have been co-opting for decades, we will be complicit in perpetuating the process of “creeping normality”, and the Overton window will move further in their favour.

The left use language as a weapon to force their otherwise disastrous ideas onto the world, often in a very subtle, under the radar manner.

The rest of us need to start advancing through this minefield, as Douglas Murray puts it, defusing one word mine at a time.

Climate = weather is 2+2=5

Reply to  Joao Martins
January 3, 2021 10:00 am

This is your President-elect

“Jill and I continue to pray for everyone in California, Oregon, Washington and across the West as the devastating wildfires rage on—just as we’ve held in our hearts those who’ve faced hurricanes and tropical storms on our coasts, in Florida, in North Carolina, or like in parts of New Orleans where they just issued an emergency evacuation for Hurricane Sally, that’s approaching and intensifying; Floods and droughts across the Midwest, the fury of climate change everywhere—all this year, all right now.”

January 2, 2021 2:14 pm

Climate related deaths are not random.
They disproportionately impact elderly.
It is the same problem as COVID and flu.
Died of heatwave vs died with heatwave.
The 2003 European heatwave caused an estimated 15,000 extra summer deaths in France ( French excess winter deaths are usually between 5000-10000).
86.5% of heatwave deaths were over 65.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Waza
January 2, 2021 2:51 pm

We have far more to fear from the cold than the occasional instances of heat waves (weather). The Lancet showed that COLD was 20 times deadlier than heat.
“Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries. The findings, published in The Lancet, also reveal that deaths due to moderately hot or cold weather substantially exceed those resulting from extreme heat waves or cold spells.”

Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 2, 2021 3:53 pm

Plus, when wind & solar boondoggles drive the cost of heating up, low income people can be forced to choose between food and heating — and either choice can be deadly, in winter, especially for the elderly. It’s called “energy poverty,” and it’s killing Europeans by the tens of thousands:

15K Brits:

40K Europeans:

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Dave Burton
January 2, 2021 6:06 pm

But killing off old people is all part of the Brave New World, just like the Chinese flu and sky high energy prices. If nothing else, these imagined crises have convinced me just how credulous the general public is and how readily they offer up their freedoms and their taxes to marauding politicians in search of more pork.

Reply to  Waza
January 13, 2021 9:34 am

You are missing the point here, where I live heat waves are far hotter (100 F and higher about 15 times a summer) than in the 2003 French heatwave, yet maybe 1-2 person a year dies from it.

January 2, 2021 2:32 pm

Were those who died because they couldn’t afford both heat and food counted?

Rory Forbes
January 2, 2021 2:37 pm

Despite nearly 50 years of non stop false predictions and whining about man-made climate nonsense. In spite of the embarrassing fact that there have been no occurrences of any unusual weather events. There are still people who believe in the AGW fraud and still haven’t worked out that this planet does not have a climate.

Dave Fair
January 2, 2021 7:20 pm

The only question I have is how will the UN IPCC AR6 treat information such as Lomborg’s?

Reply to  Dave Fair
January 2, 2021 11:39 pm


January 3, 2021 12:18 am

If arguing over these stats, you need to look at the very widespread emergency response efforts put in place globally over the last few decades…

Bangladesh for example has now got an effective typhoon warning system, evacuation plans and refuges in place: the drop in casualties in typhoon events has dropped entirely and directly from these efforts. The Phillipines have similar and large parts of SE Asia, Mexico etc.

Severe storm events cause less casualties because of evacuation and warning. Not due to any lessening of climate impact!

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
January 3, 2021 8:01 am

“If arguing over these stats, you need to look at the very widespread emergency response efforts put in place globally over the last few decades…”

The major decline was before 1970, what was going on then?

Reply to  Climate believer
January 4, 2021 7:48 am

The major decline was before 1970, what was going on then?

The post-war period saw the biggest increase in these measures. So no wonder. Even such simple things like radios in every household (and in cars) gave the government such a tool that made shelter and evacuation warnings etc. possible.

Reply to  griff
January 4, 2021 7:45 am

Severe storm events cause less casualties because of evacuation and warning. Not due to any lessening of climate impact!

Exactly. Another factor in the developed world (like the US) is better building standards and the much more widespread use of reinforced concrete after the war.

Reply to  nyolci
January 13, 2021 9:42 am

NOT in Bangladesh!

Reply to  griff
January 13, 2021 9:41 am

Very good of you to make an useful post, but you might be missing the point anyway, since rate of deaths plummeted from 1920 (250) to 1950 (75) long before early warnings system came in place, which started in the 1950’s in America, later in a few countries.

Bangladesh death rate INCREASED in the 1980’s

January 3, 2021 8:23 am

Global death risk from extreme weather has declined 99% over 100 years and global costs have declined 26% over the last 28 years.

Maybe Lomborg was referring to risk per capita, which would go down significantly with billions more people living in 100 years, even with an absolute increase in aperiodic extreme disasters. Naturally, due to higher population there will be more deaths and property risks to add to the unnatural disaster of ongoing monetary devaluation that also helps inflate weather disaster figures.

To be fair, his paper was published in July 2020 so he can’t be blamed for missing the heat waves in the US and elsewhere from July-September 2020.

I estimated in my 2020 AGU poster that there were 50,000 – 70,000 heat-related deaths in the US during the 2020 summer, misattributed to CV19. Those heat deaths resulted from climatic changes that I successfully predicted in my 2018 AGU poster.

Those US deaths closely compare to the 2003 European Heat Wave death numbers.

Add to those missed US heat deaths the people who died elsewhere in the world from heat in 2020, then take those totals away from an equal number of over-counted CV19 deaths to get a clearer picture of the size of the problems we are truly faced with because of the ignorance of natural climate changes/effects and the eagerness to blame more deaths on CV19.

From Lomborg’s paper:

Climate change is real and its impacts are mostly negative, but common portrayals of devastation are unfounded.

Why does he say climate change impacts are mostly negative? More heat, rain, and CO2 from solar-driven climate change has lead to growth in the food supply and the human race.

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