We aren’t suffering more disasters, we are just logging more of them into the UN database. What we should worry about is the looming energy shortage if we hope to read ‘Net Zero’
Paul Homewood, The Conservative Woman, May 5, 2023
According to Associated Press last year: “A disaster-weary globe will be hit harder in the coming years by even more catastrophes colliding in an interconnected world, a United Nations report issued Monday says. If current trends continue the world will go from around 400 disasters per year in 2015 to an onslaught of about 560 catastrophes a year by 2030, the scientific report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction said. By comparison from 1970 to 2000, the world suffered just 90 to 100 medium- to large-scale disasters a year, the report said.
‘The number of extreme heat waves in 2030 will be three times what it was in 2001 and there will be 30 per cent more droughts, the report predicted. It’s not just natural disasters amplified by climate change, it’s Covid-19, economic meltdowns and food shortages. Climate change has a huge footprint in the number of disasters, report authors said.”
The UN report included this graph, showing how the number of disasters were now five times as high as in the 1970s:
Last week it was the turn of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to bang the climate-change drum. Their State of the Global Climate 2022 report commented: “From mountain peaks to ocean depths, climate change continued its advance in 2022. . . . Droughts, floods and heatwaves affected communities on every continent and cost many billions of dollars. While greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the climate continues to change, populations worldwide continue to be gravely impacted by extreme weather and climate events.”
The WMO is, of course, a UN body, so unsurprisingly this report has little to do with science and everything to do with politics.
Natural disasters not more common, just more complete reporting of them
But have natural disasters become so much more common in recent years? A closer look at that graph above reveals that the number of disasters has actually been declining since 2000, a fact which should immediately cast doubt on the “global warming is making everything worse” meme.
The real reason for the “increase” is that many natural disasters in years past were never officially logged in the UN database, called EM-DAT, which is compiled by CRED, the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. The database was not created until 1998, and CRED relied on informal reports for disasters prior to that year.
CRED has acknowledged that many events were missed by them in the past. In their 2006 report, they warned that earlier data was incomplete and should not be used for comparing long-term trends. In particular, over the past 30 years development in telecommunications, media and increased international cooperation has played a critical role in the number of disasters reported. In addition, increases in humanitarian funds have encouraged reporting of more disasters.
In fact the unreliability of the database in earlier years is much worse than we thought. Take a look, for example, at the official data for the number of deaths from floods in the UK:
Now look again, and see if you can spot what is missing. Yes, the North Sea floods in 1953, recognized as one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit Britain, and which left 307 dead on the east coast alone. The death toll in 1952, by the way, reflects the Lynmouth disaster, which killed 34.
How any supposedly reputable database can omit an event like the 1953 flood and still claim to be credible is beyond me. Other bad flooding events have also been missed, such as those in Somerset in 1968 that killed 15 people.
Flooding events in the UK have been thoroughly recorded as far back as the 19th century and beyond. If CRED cannot even get accurate data for the UK, what chance is there of compiling full and accurate data for the rest of the world?
The truth about the looming energy shortage
UK FIRES is a five-year research program funded by £5-million of government money, a collaboration between the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Nottingham, Bath and Imperial College London. Its job is to look at what Net Zero means in practical terms for the economy.
The researchers have a habit of revealing the harsh realities of Net Zero that are deliberately hidden from us by the government and its advisers. For instance, in their 2019 report, called Absolute Zero, they calmly informed us that we would all have to drive less, use less energy, and stop eating beef and lamb. All UK airports except for Heathrow, Glasgow and Belfast would have to close by 2030, and those three would also have to go by 2050. All shipping to and from Britain would have to be phased out as well.
Their report on the construction sector last November told us that no bricks, cement or glass would be allowed in our bright new future. Instead we would have to make do with recycled materials, along with stone, earth and timber. A sort of cross between Fred Flintstone and Mad Max!
Their latest analysis came out last month, looking at the prospect for UK energy supplies under current emission reduction targets. The government has pledged to reduce emissions by 68 per cent from 2018 levels by 2035.
According to UK FIRES, to do this we need to be constructing 14 Gigawatts of low-carbon generation every year until 2035, whereas the current rate is only about 2GW. (They do not tell us, by the way, how we can build wind farms and nuclear plants without cement and steel!)
One problem is that it is now taking more than 20 years to build a large nuclear-power station. It seems unlikely therefore that we will see the proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant before the 2040s, even if contracts were signed today.
According to UK FIRES, they have been pointing out this energy shortfall for a while, but government and the civil service prefer to stick their heads in the sand. Not that UK FIRES are concerned either, because they just want us to drastically cut the amount of energy we use instead.
Over the next eight years, they say, we must cut our car mileage by a fifth, consume a third less beef, lamb, milk and cheese, replace millions of gas boilers with heat pumps, and spend tens of billions that we haven’t got on insulating our homes.
Industry must halve its use of construction materials, such as cement and steel, and shut half of the county’s blast furnaces. With all this and more, we will be able to reduce the country’s energy use by 30 per cent. All in the next eight years; after that it really gets tough!
For years, successive governments, along with the Committee on Climate Change, other advisers, and the complicit media, have lied to us, pretending that we could chart a path to Net Zero without any real cost or consequences. Thanks to UK FIRES, we are beginning to get a glimpse of the truth. And the public will be horrified and extremely angry when they discover they have been duped.
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