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« Walport's platitude and attitude | Main | Cult science - Josh 244 »

Making mileage

Photo by Giro555 on Flickr. Click for link.The number of articles discussing possible links between Haiyan and global warming is something to behold given that, at least as far as I can see, most are correctly concluding that this particular beast of a storm cannot be attributed in this way.

  • The BBC's Newsnight show was pretty good on the subject too, making a fairly clear statement on attribution (video here if you are in the UK), followed up with someone from the Met Office making the same statement

Not everyone is taking the scientific high road though

However, surprisingly for one not normally given to questioning the green orthodoxy, although quite correctly, the AGU's Dan Satterfield describes such conclusions as 'ridiculous'.

Almost everyone has raised the predictions of the models as well, and to the best of my knowledge not one single solitary report has raised the questions of

  • whether the models are correct
  • the extraordinarily low levels of hurricane activity in recent years.

This is very poor. We are left with statements along the lines of "most scientists believe", and a public that is being left in the dark.

Of course the greens are beavering away furiously, trying to make some mileage out of the disaster regardless of the science. Just this morning we had Jon Snow of Channel Four News tweeting:

Shocked by the level of climate change denial exhibited on Twitter. The Philippines tragedy demands more intelligence..

while Jeffrey Sachs managed to combine unscientific, unhinged, and full-on conspiracy theorising in his 140 characters:

Climate liars like Rupert Murdoch & Koch Brothers have more & more blood on their hands as climate disasters claim lives across world.

On the Newsnight piece linked above, we had Justin Forsyth from Save the Children saying that "we are already seeing intense weather events" and saying that for his organisation, it "clearly is" to do with climate change. There's probably an interesting philosophical debate to be had about the morality of this kind of behaviour from aid agencies. In unrelated news, Mr Forsyth turns out to have been a climate campaigner in the Blair and Brown governments.

In the meantime, here's link to a different aid agency working in the Philippines who need donations now.

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Reader Comments (11)

You gotta love Jon Snow mistaking an instinct for ignorant posturing for intelligence.

Nov 12, 2013 at 10:01 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

And then we have AP's so-called "science writer", Seth Borenstein who, it would seem, cannot bring himself to write an article about weather events without mentioning "climate change":

Experts: Man, nature share typhoon tragedy blame

WASHINGTON — Nature and man together cooked up the disaster in the Philippines.

Geography, meteorology, poverty, shoddy construction, a booming population, and, to a much lesser degree, climate change combine to make the Philippines the nation most vulnerable to killer typhoons, according to several scientific studies.

[but the only "climate change" mileage Borenstein could milk out of Haiyan was:]

Scientists say man-made global warming has contributed to rising seas and a general increase in strength in the most powerful tropical cyclones. But they won't specifically apply these factors to Haiyan, saying it is impossible to attribute single weather events, like the typhoon, to climate change.

Pielke Jr. had provided some very reasonable and responsible [see comments 4. & 5] answers to Borenstein's ten questions about (as you quite rightly dubbed it) "this beast of a storm". Although, as Pielke notes, Borenstein did not use any of his quotes.

It's somewhat surprising that Borenstein didn't call on that dynamic data-free duo (aka Mann & Lewandowsky) for their "reticent ... [and] "overly conservative" assessment, which they succeeded in weaving into a "response" to Warren Pearce (as I had noted yesterday, under Josh's brilliant sketch ... sorry for repeating myself, but this quote really does belong here, too!):

Subterranean War: Some Reasonable Questions and Answers
This week’s typhoon that is now estimated to have killed 10,000 people in the Philippines might have occurred in the absence of climate change, although global warming likely put it on steroids.[emphasis added -hro]

Perhaps Satterfield could have a chat with Borenstein ... and Mann, and tell them how utterly ridiculous this claim is.

Then there's the UNFCCC, whose annual meet-for-two-weeks-accomplish-zilch-but-let's-do-it-again-next-year confab began yesterday. The IISD's summary of highlights of the day had six mentions of Haiyan, including the following milking of mileage from the Warsaw concerto:

While the adoption of the agenda did not create any drama, the COP opening plenary was nonetheless highly emotional with many evoking the devastation caused by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Viet Nam and other countries in the region. A powerful speech by Nadrev Saño, the Climate Change Commissioner from the Philippines, brought tears to the eyes of many, as he announced that, in solidarity with his people, he would voluntarily fast until the COP reaches a meaningful outcome and delivers real ambition on climate action.


Nov 12, 2013 at 10:15 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Yes BBC Newsnight put the issue to bed last night ..then at 6.35am this morning the breakfast numpty on BBC Radio Lincolnshire was off making the most of errors to play the issue up "235mph winds yes 235 miles an hour winds, bigger than tsunami (what that killed 200,000 ?) is it connected to Climate Change ? that's what people are asking at rhe IPCC meeting in Warsaw " cuts to crying clip of Phiilippine delelegate at Warsaw...
- and someone tweeting as JonSnow Channel 4 news got up very early & angrily sent 10 tweets against deniers
"Rubbish! Tropical storms are increasing in INTENSITY as sea temperatures increase: that is climate change: as the Philippines!"
"Ignorance is a killer: intensity of tropical storms IS rising along with sea temps"
- " The intensity of these tropical storms IS rising with the temperature of the sea: deny that and we head for extinction"

Nov 12, 2013 at 10:41 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

From Dr Pielke Jnr's excellent comments: "disasters are too important to merely serve as a talking point in the debate over climate change and greenhouse gas emissions."

Nov 12, 2013 at 1:55 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

BBC journalist just now ...peope lining up for food "these people are starving, have you guys eaten today" children replied "yes", you could hear the disappointment in the reporters voice. There is something grubby about the disaster porn the media feed us. Not to say that there are people like dialysis patients that have urgent problems.

..And what's this about "send money now ?" Do they really need money ? This country is not so different from here it have a population of 100m ands an army and navy etc ...They used to have American bases right there, but said they preferred to stand on their own feet and kicked the Americans out.

BBC rep "The head of the Philippines delegation at UN climate talks in Poland has said he will stop eating until participants make "meaningful" progress."
- My rule is you nevergive in to terrorists

Nov 12, 2013 at 5:44 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

oops truncated
- My rule is you never give in to terrorists, but you talk to everyone. No one has the right to manipulate and bully you into decisions which should be based on logic.

Nov 12, 2013 at 6:28 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Unregistered commenters cannot get their posts displayed.

Nov 12, 2013 at 8:57 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Sano is an opportunist mouthpiece of a corrupt government. Once again the Philippines government has failed utterly to protect its people from a natural disaster. They started the evacuation too late with completely inadequate resources. The poor people who were killed were killed by the neglect and corruption of the government that Sano represents. His shameful exploitation of the tragedy is only surpassed by the cynical propaganda of the warmist ideologues such as Greenpeace. Please don't blame the Filipino people who are suffering. They need our help and prayers at this time. As for Greenpeace et al we should never forget their disgraceful exploitation of misery.

Nov 13, 2013 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered Commenterconnolly

..thank god it's not the "over 10,000 dead the BBC kept telling us"

Yes well done Odisha state government Bay of Bengal in building hurricane shelters saving lives in Cyclone Phailin
- It is to out shame that we still let the rich leave the poor behind in the Philippines and failed to motivate the Ph politicians to make enough preparations..

If there is a climate change lesson about Typhoon Haiyan it's
Our NGOs have been worrying about fantasy catastrophes & promoting too many wind turbines in the UK .
& not thinking about real catastrophes & promoting enough hurricane shelters in the Philippines.

Nov 13, 2013 at 12:44 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Philippine government revised fatalities downwards to 2500. Still disastrous, but slightly less so. (CNN news).

Nov 13, 2013 at 1:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterG. Watkins

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