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Think of the children

In case you missed it, yesterday was International Disaster Reduction Day. A worthy cause, if it can be done sensibly, but this is what Martin Bell had to say about it:

In my capacity as UNICEF Ambassador for Humanitarian Emergencies I have travelled to some of thet afflicted countries in the world and obtained an insight into the destructiveness of these disasters. Climate change, deforestation and the desertification of arable land have all had their part to play and children are always the most vulnerable.....

UNICEF estimates that there are 756 million of them living in the ten countries most vulnerable to climate change and every year over the next decade 175 million children will be affected by climate related disasters

Clearly the effects of climate change are taking hold across the world...Every pound spent in disaster prevention can save four pounds in disaster relief. This is why the newly established Green Climate Fund is so important. In 2009 the world’s governments committed to provide $100 billion (£62 billion) a year by 2020 to tackle the climate change through this fund and preventing disasters caused by climate change will be a major focus its work....

and so on.

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UNICEF estimates that there are 756 million of them living in the ten countries most vulnerable to climate change and every year over the next decade 175 million children will be affected by climate related disasters
And the evidence is to be found where?

Oct 13, 2012 at 7:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The major focus of the Green Climate Fund will be "preventing disasters caused by climate change". But why would any reasonable person want to spend billions supporting an organisation whose major focus is preventing occurrences for which there is no evidence? They really have all gone quite insane.

Oct 13, 2012 at 7:32 AM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

None honestly caring about children would tolerate $100B/y destined to something ELSE than the fight against malnutrition, early death by preventable diseases, maternal death during childbirth, and the other million things that kill and main thousands of children a day before "climate change" has anything to do with it.

Oct 13, 2012 at 8:08 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Children die of poverty, not climate change.

If the Green lobby hinders Third World development by opposing funding for fossil-fueled power stations, millions more children will die prematurely than would otherwise be the case.

Green policies kill (not that Greens care).

Oct 13, 2012 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Spurious accuracy of estimates always gets my spidey senses tingling.

From the article:

The UK government is yet to say how it will provide its fair share to the fund and it is important that it announces this soon and lobbies other countries to do likewise at December’s climate change talks in Doha.

This article is just Martin Bell lobbying for a slice of the expected $100bn. The examples he gives are war, war, natural disaster and war & natural disaster. Climate change ain't it.

Oct 13, 2012 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

How many children will die in this country from breathing problem because their parents cant afford to heat their homes .

Turning the Thermostat down might save money Wont stop damp and condensation.

Think James Lovelock is looking forward to this coming Winter.

Oct 13, 2012 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

the green climate fund is just more hot air, in tokyo today, in doha in november, and so on and so on...

13 Oct: Gulf Times: Al-Attiyah: Time to focus on vital climate issues
Tokyo: Administrative Control and Transparency Authority Chairman HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, who is also the president of the Climate Change Conference (COP18), yesterday said that the second ministerial dialogue on sustainable development, currently being held in Tokyo, presented an “ideal opportunity to underscore a couple of fundamental issues that would contribute to a successful COP18”, scheduled to be held in Doha, in November...
He noted that the board of the Green Climate Fund was working on its “operationalisation” and that it was likely to take two to four years before the $100bn pledged, can start disbursing at scale.
“While early climate action in developing countries could be supported by the Fast Start Financing, this is merely for the interim years of 2010 to 2012. So, this leaves us with an eight-year financing gap starting 2012 to 2020, without any collective commitment by developed countries to support climate action in developing countries.”...

more hot air in berlin and bonn and songdo -

12 Oct: 4-traders: Green Climate Fund to decide on host country – Germany bids to host Fund in Bonn
Berlin - The Green Climate Fund Board will hold its second meeting in Songdo, South Korea, from 18 to 20 October 2012. The Board comprises a total of 24 members, half of whom represent industrialised countries and half developing nations. On the agenda, in addition to issues concerning the Fund's governance structure, is also the vote to select the future host country of the Fund. This decision is expected to be ratified by the UN Climate Conference in Doha (Qatar) at the end of the year...
Germany's proposal includes a comprehensive range of privileges and immunities for the Fund and staffing for its future Secretariat, along with a generous financial contribution to the Fund's work. Furthermore, Germany has offered to invest 75.5 million euros in an office building for GCF staff that will combine an exceptionally attractive architectural design with best-in-class energy efficiency performance and green credentials...
During World Bank President Jim Yong Kim's visit to Berlin, Federal De­vel­op­ment Minister, Dirk Niebel, launched a joint initiative with the World Bank worth a further 10 million euros...

when u look into the conditionalities of any funding/loans going to poor countries even now in the name of CAGW, and how it skews their domestic economies, not to mention the push to force them into less than useless renawables, it is bordering on criminal.

Oct 13, 2012 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

You should take articles like this seriously. If CO2 is what threatens all these children more than anything else then you should take note and do what you can. Perhaps write a short note to stuff into charity boxes of those who represent this important issue:-

This is to say thank you. Your charity now puts AGW as the primary threat to [insert name of charity beneficiaries]. I have taken this on board and instead of diluting my donation by giving it to a huge organisation, I use the money directly to cut my CO2 emissions. Thus the [insert cash value] I would have given you will be spent on new boiler/car with lower emissions/insulation/tree planting (there’s this nice acer I fancy)/train fare. I’m thanking you for this opportunity to make my life more environmentally friendly, while at the same time helping [insert name of charity beneficiaries]. Together we CAN make a difference.

Oct 13, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

a "smart paper"! no wonder the world is in a financial mess:

11 Oct: Nature: Daniel Cressey: Global biodiversity priced at $76 billion
Researchers hope estimates of conservation cost will spur government action
Protecting all the world's threatened species will cost around US$4 billion a year, according to an estimate published today in Science1. If that number is not staggering enough, the scientists behind the work also report that effectively conserving the significant areas these species live in could rack up a bill of more than $76 billion a year.
Study leader Stuart Butchart, a conservation scientist at BirdLife International in Cambridge, UK, admits that the numbers seem very large. But “in terms of government budgets, they’re quite trivial”, he says, adding that governments have already committed to taking this action in international treaties — they just did not know how much it would cost...
Under the internationally agreed Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), governments have committed to meeting 20 conservation targets by 2020, including improving the conservation status of threatened species. To come up with numbers for how much this might cost, Butchart and his team asked experts on 211 threatened bird species to estimate the cost of lowering the extinction risk for each species by one category on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature...
The researchers concluded that improving the status of all the world’s 1,115 threatened bird species would cost between $875 million and $1.23 billion a year for the next decade. Adding in other animals raises the number to between $3.41 billion and $4.76 billion a year.
Another target of the CBD is to protect 17% of the Earth’s land surface. Estimates for this are harder to make, but by extrapolating from known land prices and management costs Butchart and his team put the number at $76.1 billion a year.
Exactly how much is now being spent to meet the convention’s targets is unclear, but spending will need to increase by “at least an order of magnitude”, Butchart says...
Henrique Pereira, who works on international conservation issues at the University of Lisbon in Portugal, says that although there are uncertainties inherent in extrapolating from birds to all species, the work is an “extremely smart paper”...
But Pereira also points out that the figure is for just two of the 20 targets agreed by the CBD. “If you look at the range of targets for 2020, the total bill will be higher,” he says.

Oct 13, 2012 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

For "climate change" read "weather".

Oct 13, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Who/what is "Today's Moderator"? If somebody else is posting articles and comments to BH shouldn't they use their real name/initials or at least the nickname they use when posting comments? (I'm assuming anyone moderating would be a sometime poster)

Oct 13, 2012 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterredc

I was curious about the "175 million children a year" figure. Martin Bell says that UNICEF estimates this figure. Here's a UNICEF report which, in turn, cites a report by Save the Children:

The Save the Children report is "Legacy of Disasters", published in 2007:

This report, in turn, cites another report:

This is a considered estimated based on data from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies World Disasters Report 2006. Our estimate assumes that current trends will hold, resulting in increases in natural disasters.

This report is here:

I have looked through the Red Cross/Crescent 2006 report, which barely mentions climate change at all, although it mentions AIDS, tsunamis, poverty, war, famines and every other kind of disaster. I still don't know how this "175 million children" figure was arrived at. Can anyone help?

Oct 13, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Look out for the wording. 175 million children are 'affected'. Meaningless, except as an emotion-grabbing high number. It doesn't even say unfavourably affected.

I think the alarmists ought to be at least held to the Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification map. Only in areas where the boundaries between climate areas have moved should they claim any climate change effects. Anything less is mere weather. Which can kill you, but is nott climate change.

Does anybody have a clear idea of where the Köppen-Geiger boundaries have changed, and over what timescale? Can they make an actual case for pervasive climate change of the demonstrable variety?

Oct 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Responsible helping of the poor requires trying to obtain the maximum impact with very limited resources. That requires very closely aligning the direction of resources with the most critical problems.
What Martin Bell, as a spokesperson for UNICEF, is doing is misidentifying the magnitude and likelihood of some future events. This is largely due in turn to a gross misinterpretation of current weather patterns and human beings adaptation to them. UNICEF has very limited resources, which will probably mean that a major part of its funding is completely wasted. That is a tragedy if there is genuine needs that could have been met.

Oct 13, 2012 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

Industrialisation - where tax, law and regulation permits it - has a far greater net positive benefit in the poorer and late developing parts of the world than the efforts of all charities put together, whether they be fake or genuine. Fossil fuelled growth saves lives.

Oct 13, 2012 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Layson

Oxfam willingly jumped on to the CO2 Crisis bandwagon thereby giving tacit support to the push for bio-fuels that even some eco-zealots now concede are harmful not just to the environment but for humans as well (as if the latter would cause them much concern). And now Oxfam is against bio-fuels since it has noticed the additional starvation they have caused. Out of false premises anything can follow. The false premise that we are in imminent danger from rising CO2 has been lucrative for many NGOs, but what is following from it is ugly and destructive.

Oct 13, 2012 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

What excellent timing. I have only just finished writing a comment that mentioned the BBC's obsession with celebrity presenters/journalists on the "We need to talk about free speech" thread.

Coupled with the apparent inability of the BBC to employ many people who don't have a surfeit of confidence over competence when it comes to matters scientific, I am not surprised by this Martin Bell-ism. Just wearied. [Yes, he no longer works at the BBC.]

The less generous might point out that there is a medical condition of mental retardation known as Martin Bell syndrome.

Humour aside, much as I do respect the competencies that he does possess in large amounts, "science and environmental" reporting is not one of them.

Oct 13, 2012 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Still trying to track down those 175 million children. Here's the Guardian in 2009, mentioning Save the Children's report "Feeling the Heat":

The charity predicts that 175 million children a year - equivalent to almost three times the population of Great Britain - will suffer the consequences of natural disasters such as cyclones, droughts and floods by 2030.

Here's "Feeling the Heat":

However, it doesn't have the "175 million" figure. Also the "by 2030" deadline is interesting. The year 2030 isn't mentioned in "Feeling the Heat". It isn't mentioned in the 2007 "Legacy of Disasters" report either, which merely says "in the next decade". But StC did mention this in an article during the Cancun conference in 2010:

And here's some more ambiguous phrasing, this time from StC Australia, and a totally different deadline:

By 2015 up to 175 million children will be affected each year by natural disasters. As the impacts of climate change impacts intensify, more children will be put in harm's way.

I'm probably being way too analytical about this.

Oct 13, 2012 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

I care for all children. Please mail my billion dollar check to: xxxxxx.
P.S. Make the check payable to cash.

Oct 13, 2012 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterReed Coray

Alex, it looks like Save The Children took the linear trend from the 1996-2005 data in the 2006 World Disasters Report and doubled it for luck, giving a 10 million per year increase in the total number of people affected annually by natural disasters, or 5 million a year for children.

The latest WDR shows that the 10-year annual average of those affected by natural disasters increased by about 17.5 million between 2005 and 2010. That's about a third of STC's predicted rate of increase. If STC's guess that half of those affected are children then currently about 135 million children are affected by natural disasters in an average year. There'll have to be some spectacularly horrible disasters in the next five years for reality to come anywhere near STC's 'considered estimate' of 175 million, especially as some big numbers are going to drop out of the 10-year average in the next few years.

STC's _Feeling The Heat_ has even less chance of being right. It said that the number affected by natural disasters will rise by 320% over the next two decades: it'll more than quadruple. (They didn't actually give a time-scale but the cited source of the prediction said that the 330% - not 320% - increase would happen over twenty years. Bafflingly, it also said that this increase would take the number from 250 million to 370 million, which I reckon is an increase of about 50%, not 330%. NGO maths, I suppose.)

Oct 13, 2012 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterVinny Burgoo

Many thanks, Vinny! I just wish UNICEF, StC and the rest would include all their workings-out, when they publish these things. It would make fact-checking so much more straightforward. As it is, they - and the Guardian and so forth - just appear to be repeating certain numbers ad infinitum, as if repeating them would make them more factual. The "66.5 million" children per year already affected by "natural disasters" (or "weather-related disasters", take your pick) is another one.

"NGO maths" - love it. Proof perhaps that these people emanate from a parallel dimension, where different laws of reality apply. :)

Oct 13, 2012 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull


This is an interesting site:

It includes both observed climate zones and projected changes out to 2100 in accordance with various IPCC scenarios. You can download the maps and also data which will allow you to drape the zones over Google Earth.

Worth archiving just to see how wrong the projections of future climate turn out to be.

I note for instance that most of southern England moves from 'fully humid' to 'summer dry' and from 'warm summer' to 'hot summer' by 2076 in the A1F1 scenario.

Roll on the hot dry summers of the Sussex Riviera, though we may have to wait for the AMO to change phase:

Oct 13, 2012 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Alex, include their workings? Are you mad? That'd reveal that they get everything from the Institute of Made-up Numbers.

I had a look at _Feeling the Heat_ when it came out. The wonderful Louise Gray managed to get two almost identical stories out of it. First headline: 'Climate change could kill 250,000 children'. A month later: 'Climate change "could kill 400,000 children every year". There's quick! (Neither of these numbers were in the report but they were in the press release for the report.)

Incidentally, Martin Bell plugged the wrong day. Today is International Disaster Risk Reduction Day. Perhaps he was thinking of The Day of Global Indigenous Resistance, which was yesterday. Or even National Curry Week. Or perhaps he was thinking of the Battle of Hastings, whose anniversary is tomorrow. Who knows what goes on in the minds of UNICEF Ambassadors for Humanitarian Emergencies?

Oct 13, 2012 at 7:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterVinny Burgoo

rhoda - "Look out for the wording. 175 million children are 'affected'. Meaningless, except as an emotion-grabbing high number. It doesn't even say unfavourably affected."

Yup, this type of lingo has been well-rehearsed by the anti-smoking lobby (the dry run for climate change?). "X millions of people a year die from smoking-related illnesses"...

Translation - Lots of people die from the same illnesses smokers get.

Oct 14, 2012 at 1:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

First it was the UN generated (and now disappeared) 50 million "climate refugees", now it's the UN generated 175 million "affected children".

But if we all reduce our "carbon footprint" (which I suspect will soon be subsumed as part of our "ecological footprint", since "carbon footprint" seems to have backfired bigtime amongst rational thinking beings) this will somehow fix the climate and save the children (if not the planet).

Except that the UN also wants gazillion$ to do all this. Every year they seem to invent a new fund and/or "mechanism" for the "climate regime" (their term, not mine) which will save the planet (and the children, of course).

One thing I've never understood, though, is that by insisting that the West invest gazillion$ in "green" renewables, they don't seem to realize that there can be no money left in the till to meet their "climate regime" funding requirements.

Oct 14, 2012 at 11:24 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

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