12 October 2012

Op-Ed on Climate Change and Disasters in The Denver Post

After Munich Re announced earlier this week for the eleventy-third time that it had found the elusive "footprint" of climate change is disaster loss data (it had apparently been hiding in the tail section of Amelia Earhart's long-lost plane, who knew?), I was invited by The Denver Post to write an op-ed.

Here is how it starts:
Over the years, the political debate over climate change has been waged on many fronts. At various times at the center of the debate, we've seen green jobs, SUVs, Al Gore and climate "deniers." The latest front in this battle is extreme weather.

Earlier this week, Munich Re, a large German reinsurance company, fueled this debate with a report claiming that it has identified "the first climate change footprint in the data from natural catastrophes" in the damage caused by thunderstorms in the United States since 1980. USA Today put the claim on steroids by announcing on its front page, "Climate change behind rise in weather disasters."

A big problem with the claim by Munich Re and its amplification by the media is that neither squares with the actual science of climate change and disasters.
To read the rest, see it here, and please feel welcome to come back here and comment.


  1. I actually think the answer to the 'cui bono' question is the insurance companies. By exaggerating the perceived effect of natural disasters and attributing it to a deus ex machina they can increase rates without pinning them to increased risk.

    And I sort of think it's time to step up and say that plainly.

  2. It appears from comments over at the DP, that people are working very hard to pass you off as a fossil-fuel funded Denier. Always a sign that they have Nothing to offer in rebuttal of your work.

    My other comment / question, is still in moderation, may I hope for an answer at some point? My whole purpose in asking, is to put information out there, on a site where such anti-sience thinking runs rampant.

  3. 2-kajm-

    Thanks for asking, not everyone does. You are free to republish what you find here with proper attribution.


  4. Roger,

    Good op-ed. Hits all the right points. I also got a laugh out of one of the comments:

    "This marks the author as just one more anti-Obama hack."

    I'm reminded of "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel:

    All lies and jests
    Still a man hears what he wants to hear
    And disregards the rest

  5. Roger - you need to start calling Munich Re 'Big Insurance.' Then they'd understand.

  6. Is the report, or even a press release from Munich RE, visible anywhere?


  7. It seems to me they are attributing the increase in losses due to natural disasters to climate change. As reinsurance company, they certainly know when they are writing checks.

  8. Thank you for having both integrity and good communication skills.

  9. Brian,
    If you knew how these reports are being used by the reinsurance industry to justify rate increases you might think a little more critically about this. The idea of the least regulated part of the insurance industry funding studies that are then used to create public panic about what they increase their premiums for is pretty transparent.
    Look at the reactionaries seeking to dismiss what Roger wrote: He is a schill, he is a denialist, he is working for Koch industries. The credulity that has been created in the minds of AGW extremists is an amazing bit of marketing. Munich RE, and the other reinsurance industries are much to be admired for this.
    The plain facts that weather events are not increasing is literally not perceived by the true believers. And so their shake down by ridiculously high insurance premiums, driven by reinsurance costs, are ignored.
    It is astounding.

  10. Follow the money. A good idea generally, and especially in climate. Big insurance or Wall Street investment partnerships like the ones from which Al Gore has become very wealthy all benefit dramatically from claims of catastrophe. Scientists who once toiled in an ignored science backwater now get showered with billions in research dollars, book contracts, nice speaking fees, and the adulation and adoration of lefties all over the world.

    Conflict of interest is a legitimate area for cross-examination and witness impeachment. Follow the money.