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Danish Author Bjorn Lomborg Shows Flood Disasters Diminishing Relative to the Past

Aug. 9, 2021 (EIRNS)—The Wall Street Journal of Friday, Aug. 6 performs an overdue service to truth and humankind in publishing an “opinion piece” by Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg, titled “Climate Change Doesn’t Cause All Disasters.”

Lomborg asserts that warming, annually, causes about 120,000 heat deaths—but prevents nearly 300,000 cold deaths. Or, turning to the recent flooding in Germany and Belgium, which many, including German Chancellor Merkel, blame on climate change; yet a study of more than 10,000 rivers around the world shows that most rivers flood less: What used to be a 50-year flood in the 1960s, happens every 152 years today, mainly due to urbanization, flood control measures, and changes of climate. Some rivers still flood, Lomborg grants, and reporters may flock there, but they don’t mean more global flooding. The Ahr River, where most of the German flood deaths occurred, had a huge flood on July 14, 2021, but fatalities were lower than the deaths in 1814 and 1910. However, Lomborg points out that in Germany, and elsewhere, more people are building settlements on flood plains, leaving the water nowhere else to go.

Blaming deadly floods on climate change instead of taking responsibility for the missed early warnings, for politicians like Mrs. Merkel, who, during her visit to Schuld, a devastated village on the Ahr, said, “We must get faster in the battle against climate change.” Lomborg draws the parallel with the United States, where “climate change” is often blamed for the forest fires in the West caused in fact by poor forest management.

One of the more well-documented effects of climate change has been heat waves. But global warming also reduces cold waves, which kill many more people than heat waves, he writes, citing a new study in The Lancet. Globally, studies show that warming causes about 120,000 additional heat deaths but avoids nearly 300,000 cold deaths annually. We need to understand the problems and fix them, but “we can’t rely on apocalyptic stories when crafting policies. We must look at the data,” says Lomborg.

Bjorn Lomborg (56) is the author of a book on this subject, False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails To Fix the Planet”; he is president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and a visiting professor at the Copenhagen Business School.

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