Tuesday, January 12, 2016

An Inconvenient Truth +10

Al Gore first put together his slide show about what he claimed would be the devastating effects of global warming over a decade ago.

With the help of Producer Laurie David, the Gore material was made into a documentary in 2006 entitled, "An Inconvenient Truth" for which the film won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

In the film Gore claimed that our weather would get increasingly warmer. That our climate would become more severe with more hurricanes and tornadoes. And that by the summer of 2015 the Arctic sea would be ice-free.

Now that a decade has passed, how have Mr. Gore's predictions turned out?

I thought about Mr. Gore and "An Inconvenient Truth" as I came across this press release last week from the global reinsurance company Munich Re. These people know a lot about everything involving catastrophes around the world and they compile all of it in an annual summary of global natural catastrophes.

What was their verdict on 2015?

The year at a glance with my emphasis in bold.

2015 saw the lowest losses of any year since 2009. Overall losses totalled US$ 90bn (previous year US$ 110bn), of which roughly US$ 27bn (US$ 31bn) was insured.
The loss amounts were also below the long-term inflation-adjusted average for the period 1985–2014 (overall losses US$ 130bn, insured losses US$ 34bn).
The natural catastrophes of the past year claimed 23,000 lives, substantially more than the previous year's figure of 7,700. However, the number of victims was still some way below the annual average for the last 30 years (54,000).
For the first time, more than a thousand loss events were recorded in a single year. However, this is primarily due to improved communication of such events. In particularly benign years, a lot of minor events are recorded.
In summary 2015 saw:

The lowest economic losses from catastrophes since 2009.

Loss amounts below the 30-year average of economic losses.

Number of victims less than one-half of the average for the last 30 years.

In fact, the biggest single catastrophe for 2015 had nothing to do with the weather---the earthquake in Nepal.  However, I am sure that earthquakes will soon be blamed on climate change as well.

Let's look at a few more of Gore's predictions from a decade ago.

There has been no discernible increase in temperatures in over 18 years.

Source: RSS Satellite Data

In 2006, there were 1,333 tornadoes that touched down in the United States.

The average number of tornadoes for 2012-2014 were 909.

No major hurricane has made landfall in the United States in ten years. This is the longest period in recorded history.

And that ice-free Arctic?

This is the Arctic this summer, when Gore said it would be ice-free.

Not quite.

I guess it is an inconvenient truth to remind everyone that in 2000 Al Gore came within 537 votes in Florida of becoming President of the United Staes.

Just another reminder that no matter how bad things you think things have been, they could have been much, much worse.

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