Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dead Wrong

CLIMATE SCIENTISTS, being the settled bunch they are, have decreed with a degree of certainty lesser soothsayers would not dare match that sweaty and premature death awaits a good many more of us than would be the case if only temperatures could be kept at current levels. 
Without international action on climate change to limit temperature rises to 2C, the number of predicted temperature-related deaths in Australia is predicted to rise from just over 6000 in 2020 to about 10,000 in 2070.
Such wisdom is very hard to doubt, as it is more of Tim Flannery’s handiwork and he is widely recognised as being incapable of error, even when he is wrong. Still, those numbers do give you pause to wonder if, before Flannery & Co. go back to tweaking their computer models, they might be well advised to purchase a simple a pocket calculator and a copy of some recent Bureau of Statics projections.

In 2020, according to the ABS, Australia will be home to some 30 million people, of which Flannery insists roughly 6000 will be carried off by dengue fever and other curses that thrive in the heat. By 2070, the same ABS projection posits a likely population of between 46 million and 54 million, depending on which curve you choose to track.

So let’s see how that works out: 6000 deaths per 30 million means a 1-in-5000 chance of being done in by nasty weather as of 2020.

And 10,000 deaths in a 2070 population of 54 million? Well that comes in at 1-in-5400 climate casualties.

So the warmer it is, at least by Flannery’s reckoning, the safer and healthier we will be.

Even if you take the middle curve (forget the lowest one, which is nonsense) and go with a projected population of just 47 million, the mortality rate is only slightly worse – a 1-in-4700 chance of falling victim to climate carnage. Unless they are members of the St Kilda Football Club, those 300 additional lives would be a dreadful pity to see lost. But in the grand scheme of things it is not much of a change. Not much at all.

So we can conclude that climate change is at best a trivial threat to health – and may even be good for us. That’s both official and incontrovertible, vouched for by no less an authority than Tim “my wife is taking notes” Flannery.

Who can doubt a word the great man says?

UPDATE: A very informative comment by an anonymous reader in the comment thread. Very interesting stuff on where they find these people who look at thermometers (and grants) and see only death (and talk of death).

AGGRIEVED UPDATE: Generally speaking, the more grandiose the title of a blog the smaller the mind behind it. Applied Hermeneutics makes the point rather nicely, while its proprietor demonstrates, apart from two-fisted wanking, that other hallmark of the left: an eagerness to lay false charges.


  1. "In 2020 ... Australia will be home to some 30 million people ... By 2070 ... a likely population of between 46 million and 54 million"

    That population increase would suggest humans continue to thrive.

    Even their scares fail. Can't the envirotards get anything right?

    The true horror scenario is an Australian population of 10 million to 15 million by 2070. But they never say that because a falling population is what gets the envirotards hard... envirohard, in fact... while assuming the same will make the public at large fear for our children. And our children's children etc.

    While their predictions invariably fail, the envirotards themselves are entirely predictable.

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.November 30, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    "he is widely recognised as being incapable of error, even when he is wrong."

    In that case he is a true 'climate scientist'. By their company shall we know them..

  3. Climate scientists aren't known for their numeracy. Phil Jones has difficulty with Excel.

  4. What then of the fools, who regularly seek the tropics, where temperatures are ten to fifteen degrees warmer than those to which they are accustomed? Should advertised trips to Cairns, Fiji, Bali, Singapore etc etc now be issued with health warnings?

    And do we pray for those doomed souls who permanently relocate to such places full of life threatening menace? Beware the warm grip of the Grim Reaper all ye equatorial types.

  5. Despite all the preposterous lies of this malodourous propagandist being exposed and vivisected for years now, does the fact that he remains not only in the employ of your government, but in its vanguard, not raise very loud siren wails in the depths of your being as to the nature and intention of those at the tiller of the good-ship mankind at this present time?

  6. Can Mr Flannery confirm if his numbers also include the pensioners who froze to death in winter in their unheated homes because climate change caused the cost of electricity to triple?

  7. Correct me if I'm wrong but I do detect a language change coming from Flannery. Today on the ABC he was quick to point out his 18,000 death toll due heat exhaustion and caused by global warming in 70-100 years time were "projections" rather than "predictions".

    Flannery now is referring his evidence to other IPCC lead authors (from the ANU!) than attributing it to himself. The language change is curious. I suspect he will eventually become a "denier" when and if the times suit him.

  8. The report appears to have resulted from the work of the wondrous Tony McMichael. Donna Laframboise has a nice section on him in her book. Sample:

    According to Paul Reiter, when the IPCC decided to write about diseases spread by mosquitoes, the
    result was "amateurish." This suggests that, rather than systematically examining all of the available
    scientific literature and drawing conclusions based on that literature, preconceived ideas on the part of
    the IPCC's authors got in the way.
    There is, in fact, good reason to conclude this is exactly what happened. In the IPCC's early years,
    chapters were led by one person rather than two. [The gentleman who served in that
    capacity for the Climate Bible's first health chapter was an Australian epidemiology professor named
    Anthony McMichael. (Epidemiology is the study of diseases in a broad context.)
    According to a 2001 bio, McMichael's early research interests spanned a considerable range of topics -
    mental health, occupational diseases, the link between diet and cancer, and environmental epidemiology.
    In the late 1980s he co-authored a "bestselling guide to a healthier lifestyle" that discussed nutrition and
    physical fitness.
    The bio tells us it was only "during the 1990s" that McMichael developed "a strong interest" in the
    health risks associated with global environmental change. So in the early 1990s, out of all the experts in
    the entire world the IPCC might have chosen to oversee the writing of a chapter examining how climate change might impact human health, why was McMichael selected?

    What the IPCC said about malaria in eastern Africa was what McMichael's book had said - with a few
    extra words inserted. Rather than surveying the large body of work on malaria written by experts who
    have devoted their lives to the careful study of this disease, this IPCC chapter parroted McMichael's
    polemical views.
    That was problem number one. Problem number two is that the paragraph that appeared in the Climate
    Bible contains errors. For example, Nairobi is 1,660 meters above sea level - well short of the IPCC's
    implied 2,500+ meters. Contrary to the IPCC's suggestion that malaria would be new to Nairobi due to
    climate change, that city (which began as a swamp) was plagued by this disease from the time of its
    founding at the turn of the century until the 1950s.
    Harare, in Zimbabwe, is only 1,500 meters above sea level - a full 1,000 meters lower than what the
    Climate Bible implies.
    As Reiter pointed out in his 2005 testimony to the British House of Lords, the IPCC had already
    decided, back in 1995, that climate change could be blamed for the spread of malaria. But the sole piece
    of evidence for this assertion was an article written by people who weren't experts that was published in
    a general interest, popular science magazine. That's right, folks - a single, non-peer-
    reviewed magazine article was all the proof the IPCC needed.

    Reiter also objected to the fact that much of the Climate Bible's discussion of mosquito-borne diseases
    involved predictions generated by computer models. These predictions, he said, were "based on a highly
    simplistic model" designed for a totally different purpose. Nevertheless, the IPCC declared that,
    according to model projections, the percentage of the world's population at risk of malaria would
    increase from 45% to 60% by the second half of the 21st century.
    This is a good time to point out that it was only in 1967 that the World Health Organization declared
    Poland malaria-free. The Netherlands achieved that designation in 1970. Large parts of the world
    managed to eradicate malaria during the 20th century. Yet despite this clear historical trend, the IPCC
    implausibly wants us to believe the percentage of humanity at risk of this disease will increase during
    the 21st.

    Malaria is a disease of the poor, not of the warm, but you can't tell McMichael that!

  9. Well done Professor. But keep the calculator out for a little longer.
    Since a larger proportion of climate mortality deaths happen during the colder months, some say by up to 4 times, that would suggest Flannery's figures should be flanneled even further. Assuming his increase of two fifths heat deaths will mean a proportionate reduction in cold deaths by a factor of four, I'd be surprised if we don't arrive at a Swan-like surplus after all.

  10. I live in Tasmania. Forget 2c , i want at least 5c! And i want it now! Problem is, I'm left with Flummery to plead my cause with the IPCC gods. Abandon hope....

  11. "Despite all the preposterous lies of this malodourous propagandist being exposed and vivisected for years now, does the fact that he remains not only in the employ of your government, but in its vanguard, not raise very loud siren wails in the depths of your being as to the nature and intention of those at the tiller of the good-ship mankind at this present time?"

    You shouldn't talk about Prof Bunyip like that.

  12. 180k and still not in possession of a calculator? I wouldn't even think of getting one whilst on part-time employment. As you posted a while back now Professor, you had a night out that has little remeberance. That would be the new lifestyle, golf, trout fishing and many a bottle of wine and gallons of beer. You should come up to Barham and surrounds, lovely country with the leisurely pursuits in abundance.

  13. PhillipGeorge(c)2011December 1, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    Prof, Vlad reminded me that Jesus promised the "Truth would make you free" - the Langley crowd have this in their lobby.

    The one line non sequitur, to me at least, is:
    "Higher CO^2 level means more plants in more places growing with greater water use efficiency"

    If feeding animals and humans had anything to do with the greens they would be shovelling coal into the nearest furnace. Viva la Industrial Revolution - it has helped to regreen the earth.

    Strange, but this dawning of the age of Aquarians means plants will need less of it.

    You are an optimist.

  14. Such common sense Prof, so eloquently put. Would that the deceives at everyone's taxpayer funded ABC and other media and certain print "outlets" had the intestinal fortitude to question these liars!

  15. Prof you've got it wrong. Flannery was talking about 'real' population numbers, not 'inflation adjusted' population numbers as you have used in your calculation. I believe he plans to explain this on his next ABC interview.

  16. According to BoM, in Australia, "between 1803 and 1992, at least 4287 people died as a direct result of heatwaves."

    It would of course be safe to say that all of Australia's population died several times over the same period; just to give that figure a sense of proportion.

    But the plot continues: "This was almost twice the number of fatalities attributed to either tropical cyclones or floods over much the same time frame. In the United States, heatwaves are the second greatest cause of human mortality resulting from a natural hazard, killing more people than hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning and floods combined. Only the low winter temperatures have killed more people."

    "Only the low winter temperatures have killed more people."

    So less-cold, also known as "warmer" means fewer total deaths. (Not strictly correct!)

    More significantly; any "global warming" is most-pronounced in temperate and colder reqions. A climate model which doesn't display little to no warming in tropical and sub-tropical regions should be held to deserved ridicule.

    i.e. the top-end of Australia will see almost no increase in minimum temperatures and no measurable increases in maxima; whereas the southern regions, especially Tasmania, would receive a friendlier climate with substantially higher minima and slightly warmer maxima.

  17. Sorry Prof, you'll need to recrunch some numbers.

    You've assumed the effect of increased temperatures to be uniform across Australia.

    However, Flannery said in the same article, "Under a worst-case scenario, unmitigated climate change may modestly reduce temperature-related deaths in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and NSW . . . but deaths could increase markedly in Queensland and the Northern Territory."

    So you'll need to factor in an inverse differential between Qld/NT and the other states and territories, based on population projections for each, and work in some assumptions about relative risk in each state, before you can call gotcha.

  18. In the DT, Professor Bunyip, details of our Public Servants deciding things they really shouldn't.