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Extreme Weather Events Are Killing Fewer People Than Ever Before
09-30-2011, 08:49 AM,
Information  Extreme Weather Events Are Killing Fewer People Than Ever Before
I'll have to venture into the details but assuming this checks out, don't beleive the hype from. It's a lot harder to manipulate death statistics, sort of like crime rate vs murder rate.

Quote:Extreme Weather Events Are Killing Fewer People Than Ever Before
The worldwide death rate from weather happenings has dropped over 98 percent since the 1920s

September 22, 2011

Despite concerns about global warming and a large increase in the number of reported storms and droughts, the world’s death rate from extreme weather events was lower from 2000 to 2010 than it has been in any decade since 1900, according to a new Reason Foundation study.

The Reason Foundation report chronicles the number of worldwide deaths caused by extreme weather events between 1900 and 2010 and finds global deaths caused by extreme weather events peaked in the decade running from 1920 to 1929, when there were 241 deaths a year per million people in the world. From 1930 to 1939 there were 208 deaths a year per million people. But from 2000 to 2010 there were just 5.4 deaths a year per million people in the world. That’s a 98 percent decline in the weather-related death rate since the 1920s. Extreme weather events were responsible for just .07% of the world’s deaths between 2000 and 2010.

The extreme weather categories studied in the Reason Foundation report include droughts, floods, wildfires, storms (hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, typhoons, etc.) and extreme temperatures, both hot and cold.

Droughts were the most deadly extreme weather category between 1900 and 2010, responsible for over 60 percent of extreme weather deaths during that time. The worldwide death rate from droughts peaked in the 1920s when there were 235 deaths a year per million people. Since then, the death rate has fallen by 99.9 percent. The study finds that global food production advancements, such as new crops, improved fertilizer, irrigation, and pesticides, along with society’s better ability to move food and medical supplies, were responsible for reducing the number of deaths in times of severe drought.

Floods were to blame for 30 percent of the deaths during the timeframe studied, making them the second most deadly extreme weather category. The death rate for floods topped out in the 1930s at 204 deaths a year per million people. Deaths from floods have fallen by over 98 percent since then and there was an average of approximately one flood death per year per million people from 2000 to 2010.

Deaths from storms spiked as recently as the 1970s, when there were 10 deaths a year per million people. But the death rate has dropped by 75 percent since then, with storms being blamed for two deaths a year per million people from 2000 to 2010.

The average number of extreme weather events recorded increased from 2.5 per year in the 1920s to 8.5 in the 1940s to 350 per year for the period 2000-2010. The study notes technological and telecommunication advances made it significantly easier to learn of and respond to weather events. Broader news coverage and an increased tendency by authorities to declare natural disaster emergencies have also contributed to the large uptick in the number of storms recorded.

“Overall mortality around the world is increasing, while mortality from weather events is decreasing,” said Dr. Indur Goklany, the author of the Reason Foundation study. “Despite the intense media coverage of storms and climate change’s prominent role in political debates, humanity is coping far better with extreme weather events than it is with other much more important health and safety problems.”

“The number of reported extreme weather events is increasing, but the number of deaths and the risk of dying from those events have decreased,” said Julian Morris, the study’s project director and vice president of research at Reason Foundation. “Economic development and technological improvements have enabled society to protect against these events and to cope better with them when they do occur.”

Full Report Online

The full study is online here and here (.pdf).

Excerpt from the report on how an assumption is effecting policy, particularly in regards to climate change:

Quote:International humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been
particularly vocal and insistent about the relationship between global warming and extreme
weather. For example, Bekele Geleta, secretary general of the International Federation of Red
Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Sir John Holmes, United Nations undersecretary general for
humanitarian affairs, wrote in a letter to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCC) that: “[I]n the coming decades, climate change is expected to exacerbate the risks of
disasters, not only from more frequent and intense hazard events, but also through greater
vulnerability to the existing hazards.”3
Based partly on the notion that weather-related disasters have increased—and will continue to
increase—because of global warming, Kofi Annan, erstwhile UN secretary-general, and president
of the now-defunct Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF), declared:
Climate change is a silent human crisis. Yet it is the greatest emerging humanitarian
challenge of our time. Already today, it causes suffering to hundreds of millions of people
most of whom are not even aware that they are victims of climate change. We need an
international agreement to contain climate change and reduce its widespread suffering.4

The deadliest extreme weather events during much of the 20th century were droughts, followed by floods and storms.

So lets look at droughts:

Quote:Annual drought fatalities between the two periods shown in Table 1 declined by a remarkable
99.8%, from 130,000 to 200. Annual death rates dropped an even more remarkable 99.9%. Both
declines are explicable largely by the fact that available food supplies outstripped even the
unprecedented population increases of the 20th century, which combined with a dramatic increase
in societies’ ability to move food, medicines and other supplies from surplus areas to deficit areas,
particularly in times of drought and other stresses.
Food supplies increased for a number of reasons:
 Greater use of existing technologies (i.e. irrigation, fertilization and pesticides) and the
development of new technologies (i.e. the suite of technologies constituting the Green
Revolution), which resulted in increased crop yields on the farm and reduced pre-and postharvest
losses and wastage at every stage of the food chain.
 Expanded commerce allowed food to move rapidly and in unprecedented quantities from
surplus areas to deficit areas.
 Greater wealth increased the purchasing power of consumers and governments in developing
countries, allowing imports to compensate for shortfalls in production. It also allowed
developed countries and charities to establish food aid programs to help out in both chronically
food-short areas and during emergencies.16
Essential to each of these factors was increased availability of relatively cheap electricity and
petroleum-based fuel and other products for transportation, fertilizer, food packaging, refrigeration
and pesticides

Seems drought deaths are in part caused due to globalization of markets for cash crops, agriculture agreements and poor distribution. I looked a the food supply and production in this thread. Seems we can do better in distribution. The Ethiopian famine was largely due to people being kicked off of rich farmland and dropped into a dust bowl by war, refugees and no backup plan accented by health and aid cuts by their government to the tune of 50% during the 1984 crisis.

GMOs could help or hurt depending on how that massive experiment plays out but (aside from seed economics) indicators appear to be slanted towards a negative impact on the available food supply. Monoculture, environmental impact laws and a trend away from fallowing are also serious threats.

Many floods are caused by dams (recent flood disasters include China, Fukushima and Ethiopia ..) and it's debatable whether they would fall into the natural disaster column.

Where's the Beef? Global Livestock Population and Agricultural Production Statistics

Here's a little perspective in the larger context of premature deaths:

Quote:To place the public health consequences of extreme weather events in a wider context, consider
that the average annual death toll for 2001–2010 due to all weather-related extreme events was
38,321.19 By contrast, the World Health Organization (2002) estimates that in 2004 a total of
58.8 million people died worldwide from all causes, including 3.9 million from various kinds of
accidents.20 Of these, road traffic was responsible for 1.3 million deaths, violence (other than war)
for 0.6 million, and war for 0.2 million. Thus, while extreme weather-related events, because of
their episodic nature, garner plenty of attention worldwide, their contribution to the global
mortality burden — 0.07% of global deaths —is relatively minor. Their contribution to the global
burden of disease should be similarly small. Even the contribution of extreme weather events to
mortality from accidental causes of death (at 1.0%) is minor, if not minuscule.
There are no others, there is only us.
10-01-2011, 09:18 PM,
RE: Extreme Weather Events Are Killing Fewer People Than Ever Before
this does not feed well into my Armageddon complex
10-02-2011, 12:25 AM,
RE: Extreme Weather Events Are Killing Fewer People Than Ever Before
Amazing report. Thanks for that one, FT.

It's just another example of how global warming/climate change is nothing more than a load of hot air. The IPCC is a farce.

(10-01-2011, 09:18 PM)psilocybin Wrote: this does not feed well into my Armageddon complex

There's nothing complicated about it. An aging actor dies blowing up an asteroid and makes more movies afterwards. It's truly CGI at its finest!
Truth appears in many forms. Find those that resonate with you.

- "If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise, we do not believe in it at all." - Noam Chomsky
- "Humans are not a rational animal, but a rationalizing one." - Leon Festinger - The World In Action

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