Environment

Why Disasters Have Declined

By Michael Shellenberger

And why did they rise from 1900 to 2000 before declining?

Over the last 30 years, the United Nations, climate scientists, and governments around the world have claimed that climate change is making natural disasters including hurricanes, floods, and heatwaves more frequent.

“Climate change has helped drive a fivefold increase in the number of weather-related disasters in the last 50 years,” reported National Public Radio last fall, citing a report by the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization.

But the data also show that the number of climate related disasters actually declined over the last 20 years by about 10 percent.

The best-available data comes from International Disaster Database, or EM-DAT, which is collected and made public by the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) in Belgium.

The discovery that disasters have declined since 2000 was done by Roger Pielke, Jr., a University of Colorado, Boulder political scientist. Pielke said the finding “is very good news and completely contrary to conventional wisdom.”

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