Sky Blames Libyan Floods on Climate Change


By Paul Homewood

h/t Ian Magness

Why is a so-called Science Editor allowed to get away with writing drivel like this?

On the face of it there is a clear explanation for the tragedy in Derna.

Two dams across the river that runs through the city were too old and too weak to cope with an unusually heavy rainstorm.

But there’s another story written in the stinking channels of mud that carved through Derna‘s high-rises and low-lying neighbourhoods: that vulnerable places and their people will suffer the most through our failure to recognise and respond to the risks of a rapidly warming climate.

The floods were a direct result of the failure of the two dams up stream of Derna, which were built in the 1970s by a Yugoslavian company (hardly a recipe for success!). Experts say that when the dams broke, 30 million cubic metres of water was released into the city.

Neither dam has had any maintenance for over 20 years.

Before the dams were built, there would only have been minimal flooding of course.

The storm which triggered the collapse was merely a catalyst for a disaster that was waiting to happen, and there is not a single piece of evidence to suggest that climate change had anything to do with it at all.

Instead of printing Clarke’s pack of lies, maybe Sky should have told its viewers the real story:

Clarke goes on to claim that this is an example of how poor countries are most at risk from climate change. What the dolt really means is that they are more vulnerable to all natural disasters, weather and otherwise. That is why it is so important to make their economies richer and infrastructure stronger, by giving them the freedom to use fossil fuels.

That is why the death toll from natural disasters has shrunk to close to zero in recent years:

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September 17, 2023 6:09 am

Wasn’t this a result of – inattention to proper dam maintenance? There was a white paper written about that too, a few years back even …

September 17, 2023 6:11 am

“Everything” is due to CC … one of the latest bone-chilling statements from Josh Green Hawaii´s governor is that the world should apologize for the Maui fires.

Reply to  MB1978
September 17, 2023 6:57 am

Does the Guv live in a mansion? Does he island hop by hydrocarbon powered craft? Is he interested in any human failures including his own connected to the fires?

Reply to  antigtiff
September 17, 2023 7:20 am

Idk and Idc … and propably 100% not he falls under the “wordsalad” BBB, build back better and/or build beyond barriers, “housing is healthcare”.

Reply to  MB1978
September 17, 2023 7:27 am

… And looking at the video posted to the article, we know that Derna was hit by flooding in 1941, 1959 and 1968, why the statement, it´s CC, is a “false flag”, thereby, again, as it was at Maui, lack of human ingenuity and engineering, (un)purposely or not.

Reply to  MB1978
September 17, 2023 7:07 am

Daily 600,000 Hiroshima class atomic bombs can do a lot of physical damage, in addition to their radioactivity. It’s surprising that anyone actually still lives in Hawaii due to the boiling oceans.

Reply to  Scissor
September 17, 2023 7:43 am

The story of the Maldives … AGW 101 = identify a minority, tell them CC is threatening their life, tell the world that Capitalism is causing CC, promise those minorities $$ for the damage (that hasn’t and won’t be realized), demonize the West as the cause. Free money, who would say no?

Tom Halla
September 17, 2023 6:14 am

Libya is not known for having a stable government, especially after Hilary Clinton played with regime change.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 17, 2023 8:05 am

They’re also now known for slave markets, in addition to floods. But, hey, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
September 17, 2023 8:59 am

The woman has a black thumb as far as results.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
September 17, 2023 9:27 am

A centuries old tradition going back to Roman times I think. Perhaps before. And Barbary pirates spent centuries abducting slaves from Europe. Even the US got fed up with them and took them on in 1805 at the Battle of Derna.

Erik Magnuson
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 17, 2023 1:47 pm

I was about to make a similar comment as at least one report mentioned that there were plans 2007-08 for maintaining the dams but were not implemented due to Hilary’s regime change. Ironic in that Hilary C. caused far more death and destruction the recent hurricane Hilary.

I won’t hold my breath for Lame Stream Media to hold Hilary C accountable.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Erik Magnuson
September 17, 2023 2:36 pm

I think Hillary wanted to destroy one positive outcome of GW Bush’s invasion of Iraq, that Qaddafi agreed to destroy his nuclear program, with the understanding the US would leave his regime alone.

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 18, 2023 4:20 am

and Gaddafi annouced hed trade oil for gold and that signed his fate, cant upset the us$hegemony can we?
if the BRICS guys get their act together..I cant wait;-)

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 18, 2023 4:18 am

yup not only did the quality of life drop after that cow murdered gaddafi (say what you like he ran the country FOR the peoples benefit) the aftermath and stuffing up another nation also enabled the massive flowthrough Gaddafi kept at bay and the invasion of EU italy greece right now is a direct result of usa interfering

Phil Salmon
September 17, 2023 6:31 am

Yes those bombs and missiles were released over Libya from those NATO aircraft by climate change

Reply to  Phil Salmon
September 17, 2023 10:03 am

Ursula FondOfFlying would agree with that!

September 17, 2023 6:36 am

There are also cellphone cameras and the Internet everywhere so that weather disasters that were seldom reported in the past now make headline news.

Phil Salmon
Reply to  scvblwxq
September 17, 2023 9:03 pm

Oh – you mean, we’re lucky someone’s mobile phone camera was pointing in the right direction otherwise we would have missed 11,000 lives being destroyed in a (NATO) man made flood?

It doesnot add up
September 17, 2023 6:39 am

I looked at the satellite images of the dams, which are highly visible because water levels were very low when the images were made. Here’s the upstream one:

and here’s the one on the outskirts of Derna itself

Both show vegetation and erosion/cracking of concrete on the faces of the dam. Neither has a formal spillway – the dam is simply overtopped and the roadway across submerged. Water getting into the dam core would see it collapse. There is only a small horn shaped opening to a bypass tunnel that would be quite inadequate when the wadi fills – which can happen at shocking speed, as my own experience in Fujairah many years ago attests – we only made it out by being in a bus with a good ground clearance, sufficient to get across the submerged bridge over a wadi.

Lack if dam maintenance is of course not just a Libyan problem. The UK had a near disaster at Whaley Bridge not so long back, and the US likewise: the Oroville dam problems being a memorable recent example.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 17, 2023 7:21 am

Both show vegetation and erosion/cracking of concrete on the faces of the dam.

The dams were constructed of compacted clay. No concrete involved.

John Hultquist
Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 17, 2023 8:39 am

 Both Derna dams were made of compacted earth with a concrete core to prevent leakage. Both had “glory hole” spillways where the water spills into a vertical shaft that leads under the dam. If the water flow is greater than the spillway capacity the water can rise and top the structure.
The southern-most dam’s glory hole is here:

32.65857, 22.577859 [Lat/Long on Google Earth]  

It doesnot add up
Reply to  John Hultquist
September 17, 2023 9:23 am

All visible on the map links I posted.

Reply to  John Hultquist
September 17, 2023 9:50 pm

Overtop either of those dams, and the earth at the front will be washed away leaving the concrete core unsupported against upstream pressure.

Guaranteed to fail !!

Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 17, 2023 9:55 pm

At least Oroville had decent spillways designed.

It just wasn’t implemented or build very well.

These dams in Libya don’t even have proper overflow spillways.

Considering they were built to stop floods, that is an unbelievable thing to leave out !

September 17, 2023 6:47 am

Amazing how media spins stories like thes. Both the UN and WMO are on record announcing this was NOT due to climate change, but rather caused by the coup and lack of maintenance.

William Howard
September 17, 2023 6:53 am

What he really means is that Western advanced societies should pay trillions to 3rd world countries because you know equity err to help them mitigate the changes in the climate caused by advanced countries burning fossil fuels – more communist clap trap

September 17, 2023 7:15 am

Why is a so-called Science Editor allowed to get away with writing drivel like this?

Entomology is not what I would consider a numerate science. He’s going to struggle to make sense of a subject confected entirely from statistics—often novel statistics.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  quelgeek
September 17, 2023 7:40 pm

Entomology? That’s bugs. I’ll go with etymology. Agree otherwise.

Reply to  Mike McMillan
September 19, 2023 10:23 am

Bugs. From his LinkedIn profile.

September 17, 2023 7:29 am

Clearly building a city in the middle of multiple flash flood zones had NOTHING to do with this disaster. Add to the poorly planned location building substandard dams and then NOT MAINTAINING them and of course it is all the fault of humans. These leftarded morons at sky are just too stupid to figure out the REAL causes of this disaster.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  2hotel9
September 17, 2023 8:06 am

The city is on the coast, and Mediterranean tides are no problem being limited in range. It has been there since antiquity – I.e. at least Greco-Roman times. The wadi forms a deep ravine and has provided water. The dams are more recent, and properly maintained and managed would not have been so much of a problem. Without them there would have been little flooding. However dam collapse released a massive reservoir of water that also destroyed the lower dam.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 17, 2023 9:39 am

Yes, the Old City sections of Derna were not built in the bottoms of the wadi, the modern sections and expanded “slum” areas were built in the well-known flash flood zones in wadi bottoms. When you stand at lowest point and look up the sides and see the clear evidence of how high flash floods had been in past what would possess you to build there? As for the dams, what moron would build packed earth/clay dams above a large populated area? The same kind of moron who would build in a well know and historically documented flash flood zone. There is zero defense for this stupidity.

September 17, 2023 7:29 am

The underlying cause of mass death from flooding in Libya is the destruction of that nation by a NATO-directed regime change operation in 2011. The perpetrators behind it, and the murder of its leader, Muammar Ghadaffi — UK PM Cameron, French President Sarkozy, and U.S. Pres. Obama — have never been held accountable for their crimes. Ghadaffi’s crime, in their eyes, was his unwillingness to allow western-backed jihadists to tear apart his country. Neither the BBC, nor any MSM, will tell the truth; nor will they tell the truth about the uprising underway against neo-colonialism in the Global South. 

Ghadaffi wanted a new Currency to replace France’s CFA, recently in the news again with BRICS11 and a series of coup’s. Libya had even ordered French nuclear reactors. The US AfriCom was not ready in Germany, so NATO was tasked to tear the country apart, no infrastructure or resue services function.

All MSM is using “climate” to cover for mass murder by Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama, as well as grinning Hillary Clinton “We came, we conquered, he died”.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  bonbon
September 17, 2023 9:08 am

Good summary. How’s the ‘NATO-directed regime change operation in 2011’, er, 2014 going, I wonder?

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
September 17, 2023 9:53 am

Only an other $150 billion and it should be done, yet again, before the election, any day now.
Meanwhile 500,000 casualties, but, hey, they are cheap, no expensive US boots on the ground (officially, they all died from holiday accidents, COVID jabs, suicides).

Phil Salmon
Reply to  bonbon
September 17, 2023 9:06 pm

Don’t forget mountaineering falls in the French Alps – the Europeans aren’t being left out of Barbarossa 2.0.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  bonbon
September 17, 2023 9:20 am

Inevitably an inadequate representation of a much more complex history that in the case of the US goes back as far as its first overseas battle – of Derna as luck would have it, in 1805 against Barbary pirates.

Gaddafi was no angel, starting with his military ouster of King Faisal in 1970, and continuing with adventures in courting Soviet support, providing arms and assistance to the IRA, etc. He was nearly taken out by Reagan in 1987, but the bombs only killed a couple of his wives. Perhaps it was intended as a warning. His revenge was the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing.

The Libyan adventures were part of the failure of the much wider Arab Spring interventions that were meant to install pro Western regimes across the Arab world. Some of that was to counter the increasing Russian and Chinese influence as well as the proxy Sunni/Shia war between the Wahhabi and the mullahs of Iran, which makes a change from Greeks, Romans, Phoenecians, Turks etc. or the interludes when local tribes were the aggressors with the Barbary being the most notable for their far flung capture of slaves. It was a bad misstep, born of idealism and not realism and of poor intelligence understanding of local conditions all across the Maghreb. Libya has returned to historic tribal division.

In geopolitics everyone must play or lose by default. Maintaining stability has to be counted as at least not losing, and that applies to the other players as much as ourselves.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 17, 2023 10:01 am

Of course the angel’s in D.C. London, are hallowed.
MI6 admitted the method used to assassinate Diana was tried first on Ghadaffi and they then failed.
Ghadaffi’s “crime” was to industrialize.
China’s “high crime” was to industrialize leaving the US far behind.
OMG the world is full of criminal’s, authoritarians industrializing – how dare they!”
Harrumph – look at the CO2!

It doesnot add up
Reply to  bonbon
September 17, 2023 11:07 am

I did not describe Western politicians as angels, but as originators of failed policies. Not sure where your deep dive down conspiracy theory dreams up your story about Diana. I note you ignore Ghadaffi’s wanton attacks and the many other factors taht go to make up the mess. Life is not as simple as you would like it to be.

Reply to  bonbon
September 17, 2023 3:18 pm

So the fact that Ghadaffi backed terrorists and was directly responsible for the Lockerbie bombing, had nothing to do with it. It was all western industrialists.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 17, 2023 11:49 am

Reagan ordered the attack on Daffy to avenge the Libyan bombing of a West German night club, in which two US soldiers and a Turkish woman were killed and many maimed and wounded:

Reply to  Milo
September 17, 2023 12:33 pm

Then ‘Daffy’ hit back with the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie bombing, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew & 11 residents = total 270.
So what does that tell us ?

It doesnot add up
Reply to  1saveenergy
September 17, 2023 1:55 pm

In cases of retribution Ghadaffi believed in payback with interest. Not just an eye for an eye.

Reply to  1saveenergy
September 17, 2023 3:19 pm

It tells us that we should have made sure to kill Ghadaffie, rather than just send a warning.

Reply to  MarkW
September 17, 2023 4:05 pm

We would have got him, but for having to avoid flying over France. Then France ordered Hillary to kill him. Strange.

Reply to  Milo
September 18, 2023 4:28 am

I heard tell that France aquired a LOT of gold as Gaddafi got killed…hmm
and it seems a few mil/bil of ukies gold vanished after maidan toward ussa from accounts around at the time
regime overthrow makes some very rich
hmm like usa stealing 800bil barrels of oil a day from Syria for the last few yrs as well?

September 17, 2023 8:20 am

The wadi is an ancient naturally formed feature that predates Derna. A wadi is an often dry gulley in desert regions formed by sporadic extreme rainfall events. They built a town, discovered it suffered occasional flooding from said events, and tried to solve the problem by holding back the water with not very sophisticated dams that needed monitoring, managing and maintenance. Then the country became a basket case and the dams were forgotten, only for a recent assessment that warned of the risk of an imminent catastrophic cascading failure and flood based on known expected historical extreme rainfall events. As predicted the top dam failed, the surge and debris took out the second dam and released the entire rainfall for the catchment in one instant.

Yes this was a man-made disaster, but not from climate change.

See my post #3 here.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  MrGrimNasty
September 17, 2023 9:31 am

The city was built in ancient times precisely because the wadi concentrated the water supply and it offered a harbour location. The dams were built in part to try to enhance the water supply, rather than leave it to run into the sea. A very late addition in the history.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 17, 2023 2:01 pm

The link I included has far more information.
“So, in the 1960s studies indicated that the dams should be constructed to protect the city. The dams were constructed in the 1970s by a Yugoslavian company. “

September 17, 2023 9:16 am

Whenever I get constipated, it is a result of climate change. I know this because before the climate was changing, I never got constipated. The same can be said about the Libyan floods.

Remember, all climate science writers now say that correlation equals causation. It makes writing about current events so much easier.

September 17, 2023 9:32 am

The floods were a direct result of the failure of the two dams up stream of Derna, which were built in the 1970s by a Yugoslavian company (hardly a recipe for success!).

It’s a bit harsh to blame the builders. The dams lasted half a century. And they have not been maintained for a third of their lifetime.

It’s not a installation fault. It’s a maintenance fault.

This is important. Many governments can get funding for a one-off capital investment with a glamorous opening and lots of chances for rewarding their backers through big contracts.
But then they cannot maintain the political will to raise the taxes for ongoing investment.

And that’s not just a Third World problem.
The rich West is also suffering from collapsing infrastructure due to austerity.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  MCourtney
September 17, 2023 10:08 am

I do think the design was on the cheap. Construction techniques were a bit rudimentary, and spillway provision was plainly inadequate. Happens all 9ver the world. I have been following the troubled Hidro Ituango project in Colombia for years now. It’s still a mess, and very nearly a disaster.

Reply to  MCourtney
September 17, 2023 12:50 pm

The 2017 Oroville dam spillway collapse would support what you suggest. This too was a case of maintenance neglected for years and not a function of the construction of the dam. But it’s not austerity. Western governments have all kinds of money to waste on useless things.

Reply to  cgh
September 17, 2023 8:53 pm

Western governments have borrow all kinds of money to waste on useless things.


September 17, 2023 10:10 am

A direct result of the destruction of the Libyan state is the migrant crisis hitting Italy right now.
Of course MSM opines they are climate migrants.
Not to mention the US migrant crisis.
And recently :

September 17, 2023 10:46 am

I now realize my grandfather died due to climate change.
He died in 1962 from a heart attack, but if it weren’t for CO2’s devastating effects, he would still be alive today. It’s settled science. Probably.
I’m suing Exxon.

Krishna Gans
September 17, 2023 11:09 am

Wadis are well known and feared for strong water flow in case of rain.

Erik Magnuson
Reply to  Krishna Gans
September 17, 2023 2:01 pm

Very true for the arroyos, gullies and gulches in the western US deserts, hence the very well known term “flash flood”.

R Taylor
September 17, 2023 11:30 am

Maybe climate/weather ranks about the same as maintenance of infrastructure on the list of Libyan priorities, as there are no easily accessible records for the country. There is, however, a record of precipitation for Marsa Matruh, a few hundred km away in Egypt, available at

I hope the chart attachment works, because it shows no apparent indication of precipitation becoming more erratic (or even greater) since 1982.

As usual, Sky News and the rest of the media members of the political class want to blame Climate Change for the disasters of wretched governance.

MM PPT.png
It doesnot add up
Reply to  R Taylor
September 17, 2023 1:59 pm

Paul Homewood has unearthed catastrophic flooding in Tunisia in 1973 and even worse in 1969.

September 17, 2023 11:50 am

I was surprised when the news first broke that certain news outlets were not immediately blaming climate change.

Reply to  Hysteria
September 17, 2023 2:06 pm

Even the BBC has produced much more rounded analysis than the usual CC mania. If that doesn’t indicate that it has absolutely no credible direct connection whatsoever?!

Martin Brumby
Reply to  MrGrimNasty
September 18, 2023 7:32 pm

BBC’s initial report (seen on overseas transmissions World Service), specifically blamed Climate Change.

September 17, 2023 2:33 pm

How responsible is Hillary ” we came, we saw, he died” Clinton who instigated the civil war that led to the collapse of any operational Libyan government?

Robert B
September 17, 2023 10:13 pm

The risk was identified last year

Furthermore, a volume flood has been estimated, based on the flood of October 1945 and late November 1986. Those events called for average precipitation of 145 and 64.14mm respectively. The rainfall of 1945 produced a volume flood of 53.36 Mm3, which represents 40 % of annual runoff volume, while the flood of November 1986 was 14.8 Mm3, which is in good agreement with the recorded flood in the basin. The results demonstrated that the study area has a high potential for flood risk. Therefore, dams of Wadi Derna basin is needed periodic maintenance. Moreover, increasing vegetation cover is required to reduce the phenomenon of desertification.

its hard to compare with previous storms, but Derna only recorded 73 mm, only 13% more than 37 years ago, and half of that in 1945. The catchment area appears to have gotten 100 mm at most while elsewhere in Libya, well away from the disaster, there was 400 mm.

comment image

Purely I’ll prepared for rainfall that doesn’t just appear to be a one in 40 year event, it looks like it happens every 40 years or so.

Reply to  Robert B
September 18, 2023 2:04 am

Yes I/my link mentioned it, also that most of the downpour was over the sea according to the BBC graphic.

Richard Barraclough
Reply to  MrGrimNasty
September 21, 2023 3:00 am

The trouble is, the simple message rubs off on most people who aren’t all that interested in the detailed analysis of rainfall totals, catchment area runoff, etc.

I just heard a conversation on the radio station LBC. A caller phoned in to praise Rishi Sunak for pushing back (slightly) on some aspects of the “net-zero” legislation, but the hysterical lady presenting the program shouted him down, saying that the Libyan flood was 50 times more likely because of human induced climate change.

A very sad state of affairs

September 18, 2023 3:35 am

Even the Ecologist Magazine reported this :War crime: NATO deliberately destroyed Libya’s water infrastructure Nafeez Ahmed 14th May 2015

“The deliberate destruction of a nation’s water infrastructure, with the knowledge that doing so would result in massive deaths of the population as a direct consequence, is not simply a war crime, but potentially a genocidal strategy.”
BBC got a Community Note for omitting NATO’s culpability :

September 18, 2023 4:13 am

Id hope Andrew Bolt sails into the daft broad and sets it to rights, amazed sky let it go actually

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