Deciphering the Climate Alarmists’ Denial of Decreased Disaster Deaths


by Alex Epstein

For decades climate catastrophists have portrayed climate disasters as getting deadlier and deadlier.

Now that I and others have documented that we’re safer than ever from climate, catastrophists are saying that disaster deaths don’t matter!

  • Reuters says “Drop in climate-related disaster deaths not evidence against climate emergency.”

    But a drop in deaths from something—here, a 98% drop—is obvious evidence against it being an emergency.

    Would Reuters say: “98% drop in flu deaths not evidence against flu emergency”?1

  • Why is Reuters, along with The New York Times, PolitiFact, and USA Today, claiming that a 98% drop in climate disaster deaths doesn’t contradict their climate emergency narrative? Because it obviously does, and they can only save their narrative by intimidating us into denying the obvious.2

The central narrative of climate catastrophists is that fossil fuels and their CO2 emissions are killing more and more people via climate disasters.

This narrative has always had a fatal weakness: it totally contradicts the data, which show plummeting climate disaster deaths.3

  • Why are climate disaster deaths plummeting as fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions rise?

    Because the enormous ability uniquely cost-effective and scalable fossil fuel energy gives us to master climate danger far outweighs any new climate challenges from CO2 emissions.

  • An example of fossil-fueled climate mastery overwhelming CO2 impacts is drought.

    Any contribution of rising CO2 to drought has been overwhelmed by fossil-fueled irrigation and crop transport, which have helped reduce drought deaths by over 100 times over 100 years as CO2 levels have risen.4

Over the last decade, I and a number of others, including Bjorn Lomborg and Michael Shellenberger, have challenged catastrophism by pointing to declining climate disaster deaths.

Catastrophists couldn’t refute our argument. So instead they pretended it didn’t exist.

Until last year.5

  • In 2023, climate catastrophists finally felt compelled to address the fact that climate disaster deaths have plummeted (driven by fossil-fueled climate mastery).

    Because of honesty? No—because Presidential candidates started bringing it up and persuading people with it.

  • Here is Vivek Ramaswamy during his Presidential campaign referring to a 98% decline in climate disaster deaths—and, crucially, giving fossil fuel energy credit.


  • Here is Ron DeSantis during his Presidential campaign referring to a 98% decline in climate disaster deaths—and, crucially, giving fossil fuel energy credit.
  • The 98% decline in climate disaster deaths, driven by fossil fuels, is a blockbuster fact: it shows that we are experiencing not fossil-fueled climate emergency but fossil-fueled climate safety.

    But instead of being happy, catastrophists engage in climate safety denial.

  • Here are 3 recent instances of climate safety denial—from Reuters, PolitiFact, and USA Today. All have long portrayed climate deaths as a fast-increasing problem. But now they claim deaths don’t matter.

  • Climate safety denial utilizes 5 main myths to evade the decline in disaster deaths:

    1. Fossil fuels don’t deserve credit
    2. Weather forecasting deserves the credit
    3. 100 years is a misleading period
    4. Damages are drastically increasing
    5. There’s a major increase in reported disasters

  • Myth 1: Fossil fuels don’t deserve much credit for plummeting climate disaster deaths; it’s “resilience.”

    Truth: Uniquely cost-effective and scalable fossil fuel energy makes us resilient through plentiful infrastructure-building, heating and cooling, irrigation, transportation, etc.6

Myth 2: Storm warning systems deserve the credit for plummeting climate disaster deaths.

Truth: Drought, not storm, deaths are the leading source of reduced climate deaths. And fossil fuels power storm warning and evacuation systems (and more resilient infrastructure).7

Myth 3: 100 years is a misleading period to measure plummeting climate disaster deaths.

Truth: 100 years is a standard, very meaningful period to look at. While we have data going back an additional two decades, those tend to underreport due to less global communication.8

  • Contrary to the claim that starting analysis of climate disaster deaths in the 1920s overestimates the decline, it actually likely underestimates the decline due to insufficient past reporting; data before WWII extremely likely underreport deaths compared to data after 2000.
  • Myth 4: There is an alarming increase in reported disasters, revealing an underlying climate emergency.

    Truth: The increase in reported disasters over time is due overwhelmingly to increased global communication. Changes in fundamentals, such as storms, are extremely modest.9

  • The claim that more reported disasters show an increasingly dangerous climate is absurd in light of the fact that underlying data show massive increases in reporting before significant human climate impacts and the reporting trend also massively goes up for non-climate causes!
  • Other biases might inflate the number of reported disasters. E.g., governments of poor countries have an incentive to declare more disasters with increasing international relief.10

Using obviously problematic disaster frequency reporting instead of direct climatological evidence to try and show increasing climate danger is a revealing choice by catastrophists. They are making it because the climate change we’ve experienced has been very modest—and masterable.

Do Not Declare a “Climate Emergency”

Do Not Declare a “Climate Emergency”

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An example of unalarming climate fundamentals: neither the frequency nor the energy in global hurricanes has changed significantly relative to the noisy average. There is also little evidence for more landfalling hurricanes.11

  • The catastrophist attempt to undermine the 98% decrease in disaster deaths by pointing to the increased reporting of disasters is actually self-defeating.

    If disaster deaths are plummeting despite incomplete past reporting, that means they’ve declined by even more than 98%.

  • Myth 5: Climate damages are drastically increasing, revealing an underlying climate emergency.

    Truth: Even though there are many incentives for climate damages to go up—preferences for riskier areas, government bailouts—GDP-adjusted damages are flat.12

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Weather related disasters were a heck of a lot worst off in the past before the Internal Combustion Engine and modern convinces

Let’s see… colder temperatures means warming and fewer catastrophes and deaths means climate change is become MORE dangerous. Yeah… I think I’m beginning to get the picture.