back to article How you pay for tomorrow's scares, today

In a remarkably gullible news item, the BBC reported that 2008 was a ‘huge year for natural disasters’. "The past year has been one of the most devastating ever in terms of natural disasters... climate change [is] boosting the destructive power of disasters like hurricanes and flooding,” it proclaimed. This was drawn from a …


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  1. Richard

    "Piracy reaches new dimensions"

    Isn't that a rejected blurb for a BBC series to have featured John Barowman?

  2. Anonymous Coward


    I do find it funny that atmospheric conditions and natural disasters are always attributed to Global Warming. The thing the media never say is that Global Warming is only speeding up the natural disasters; they were going to happen anyway, but not right now. From research conducted by some nameless entities in the US and EU, We as a world nation have only increased the process by 100 years.... consider that compared to the 100 million years. What's a miniscule fraction of time between friends.

    Not saying we should carry on as is, but I get pissed off when EVERYTHING is being pointed at Global Bloody Warming.

  3. Anonymous John


    Less than two weeks into the new year and I've already lost track of the climate change scare stories.

    About one for every day I've had to scrape the Global Warming off my windscreen, I think

  4. Jon

    Global warming and increased piracy

    How does global warming cause eathquakes?

  5. Bassey

    Other reasons

    Of course, other reasons for "Increased losses" (as they so wonderfully put it) could include increases in population, increase in the population density within areas prone to cyclones/severe weather, increased development etc. etc.

    Of course losses are going to increase if there is more to lose. Unless they can show that they have statistically removed increased development and population from their figures then they are meaningless. But that would, of course, involve producing an actual report rather than a press-release so perhaps best not to hold my breath.

  6. Paul

    Par for the course

    You seem surprised. Pretty much all the BBC Technology news (that isn't stolen two days late from El Reg) seems to start with a gullibly-reprinted press release...

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    Why would you go to the BBC website for "journalism" anyway?

    They don't do it anymore. They do lots of reporting, but no proper investigation.

    Post Gilligan they realised who really controls their their budgets and like servile children have dumbed down and got into line.

    Welcome then, to "your" BBC.

  8. breakfast Silver badge


    Presumably as sea levels rise, more areas of the world become accessible to pirates. Also expect heavy pirate-activity related to digging up treasure buried too close to the coasts.

    The best thing about runaway climate change, will be hearing all the screaming denialtards and paid shills of the interwebs desperately trying to claim they always said it was going to happen and why did nobody listen and where were the scientists, the national broadcasters and the politicians when this was going on?

    It won't make up for the downsides, but it will allow those of us who followed the science and tried to stay rational a bitter smile nonetheless.

  9. Thomas

    The BBC posting a barely researched article on climate change?

    Gosh, next they'll be hiring Americans to write troll articles about climate change and referring to everyone as a 'tard or a member of some cult or another for cheap sensationalism. Thank goodness The Register is here to look out for us.

  10. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Funny

    Uh, if you work it out, changing a 100-year event into a 50-year event means that over a thousand years, you've had 20 such events instead of 10.

    So where did the other 10 come from???

    (PS: re: How does global warming cause eathquakes?, the theory is that a warmer earth expands and the expansion increases the forces available. Theoretically *very* sound).

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course

    How does the financial cost of the disasters prove anything at all to do with climate change?

    Firstly there is inflation, things should cost more year on year. Secondly we have the fact that the population of the planet is increasing, so there are more people to rescue, more buildings to rebuild and generally more insurance losses to adjust. The former means that any single loss in any given incident will cost more than it would have done the year before.

    In which case we need not only to adjust the costs to account for global inflation to compare year on year, we also need to adjust them to account for global population growth. Of course things in the third world being what they are it is hard enough to measure global inflation, accurate estimates of global population are hard to come by. No matter what Wikipedia may tell you.

    Among the most expensive in history. If what they are saying about climate change is true then every successive year should be by far the most expensive. Period.

  12. Matthew Glubb
    Thumb Down

    I'll take my chances

    'It's quite a thing to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it means to be a slave.'

    'Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death...'

    If I'm not legally oblidged to have insurance, I won't get it. I refuse to help maintain an industry that shouts death, destruction and despair at people - just listen to their sales pitches. For the same reason, I won't buy or read the Daily Mail.

  13. EdwardP

    Happy new year. Death awaits you all.

    Welcome to 2009. As per 2008; we are all going to die.

    That goodness for Global Warming, without it the economy might REALLY go tits up.

  14. Andy Bright

    re: Global warming and increased piracy

    "How does global warming causes earthquakes?"

    Duhhh, it causes it by all the fat Americans moving away from the hot places to the cooler places, massively impacting tectonic plates.

    It also causes piracy. It gets so hot outside, everyone is forced to strip down to tight t-shirts, cutlasses and trousers cut short in a giant saw-like pattern. They then go to the sea side.

    "I do find it funny that atmospheric conditions and natural disasters are always attributed to Global Warming."

    Yes, it's hilarious that people are saying atmospheric conditions and natural disasters caused by extreme weather are in some way tied to extreme weather. I mean it's so obviously a scam. Those hurricanes that are made stronger by warmer than usual temperatures, occurring more often because the warmer temperatures last longer, would have just happened anyway if everyone took a hairdryer to the Atlantic ocean and stayed there warming it up during the months when hurricanes couldn't normally form.

  15. Chris G

    Get the strength of the insurance companies around you

    Insurance companies love science.... if it means they can charge more, otherwise they'll keep misquoting science.... until they can charge more.

    `Get the the strength of the insurance companies around you´, the old ad campaign, especially their grip around your wallet!

  16. Jethro

    Nice article

    @ Bassey: Exactly. How can you define increased losses in such a generic overview, they are insurers surely their job is to look into the complex analysis of this. Make's you wanna cry that people are brazenly going about acting like this.

    @ Matthew Glubb: Spot on at the issue at heart here, insurance firms just like everyone else cashing in on scaremongering. Not a new idea but one this society and culture hasn't come to loath as quickly as the powers that be (inc. business) can adapt it.

  17. Chris


    Global Warming doesn't cause piracy. In fact, it's the other way 'round. Lack of piracy causes Global Warming. The correlation is clear from the graphs at

    So increasing piracy is good news! It means that Global Warming should start to decreas and everything will go back to normal.

    Where's the FSM icon when you need one?

    May you me touched by his Noodly Appendage!

  18. John Angelico

    Adapting an old Jewish joke...

    Nazi thugs bail up a wise old Jewish gentleman.

    [Thugs] "What's the cause of all of Germany's problems?"

    [Gentleman, with a sigh] "The Jews... and global warming."

    [Thugs] "Why global warming?"

    [Gentleman, smiling] "Why the Jews?"

  19. Muscleguy

    Climate & Earthquake connection

    There is a way in which climate and earthquakes interact, there is evidence that on some faultlines earthquakes follow a particular period after heavy rain. The water lubricates the plates takes time after falling to permeate to the required depth. Rain also has weight and precipitation, sitting on the land and in lakes can weigh on one plate more than another and cause the earth to move. Also as ice melts the land underneath will move via earthquakes.

    The article is right in that we should not scaremonger, but the origin of this piece explains the over sceptical tone. Complaining about the perceived bias of others while coming from a biased position yourself is not a good look. Take a leaf out of your own book and stop scaremongering yourselves, scepticism is all very well but too often it can turn into a resistance to any change because 'not enough is known with enough certainty'. With Russia flexing its muscles with energy and war in the Middle East it makes sense to make our energy use sustainable for economic and energy security reasons alone. The gas companies are using the stushie between Russia and Ukraine as an excuse not to drop prices as promised (while exporting our stored reserves to the continent). Makes those wind turbines look more attractive to me.

  20. P. Lee

    Its value-for-money journalism

    Don't we want everything run as a business? Come on now. The whole of government is now a business. The politicians are "managers" responsible for balancing the books, not actually governing anything except the bottom line.

    With the pressure to cut costs and increase output, did you expect the BBC to escape this mentality?

  21. R Callan
    Thumb Down

    @Muscleguy Fail!

    How can water falling on the land surface affect tectonic plates when the epicentre of earthquakes is 5-200Km deep? Water will probably never penetrate to this depth to lubricate the interface and even if it does it will take many years or even millennia to do so. This means that the water is already there and not a result of "global warming".

    The additional mass of water can only be a tiny fraction of the mass of the material overlying the plate boundary, so it would not be a measurable increase in mass overall. Water has a lower density than rock, so it may even reduce the loading :-)

    Anyone that finds a correlation between recent rainfall and earthquakes are deceiving themselves. The last major earthquake I was hit by (6.3 Richter, 10Km deep, 10 Km distant horizontally) was in early autumn following an exceptionally dry winter and summer. My personal anecdotal evidence contradicts your statements. The earthquake was due because the stresses between the plates had grown so much that the friction at the boundary could not overcome the stress at the boundary. It was actually overdue by about 50 years according to the geologists.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    I bet you cannot fail to have noticed the connection

    between depressing stupid story lines on Eastenders and Climate Change. Some bint has rumpy with some scally who turns out to be her long lost third sister's brother (twice removed) and wham bam thank you m'aam, theres a hurricane in the Galapagos Islands.

    Happens all the time....

  23. Neil

    He's right, you know

    The BBC article quoted expert Torsten Jeworrek, who claimed: “Climate change has already started and is very probably contributing to increasingly frequent weather extremes and ensuing natural catastrophes.”

    Spot on. He just missed out a couple of words: "Climate change has already started - approximately 6 billion years ago - and is very probably...."

  24. Matthew Collier


    Indeed, and why is everyone going on about Global Warming when the article, like everyone else days, now the "Global Warming" seems not to be quite a certain as they thought, is using "Climate Change" instead?

    They can't loose with that one can they, as the Climate is *ALWAYS* going to change, right? An indefinite gravy train to ride! ;)


    "With Russia flexing its muscles with energy and war in the Middle East it makes sense to make our energy use sustainable for economic and energy security reasons alone"

    Even ignoring the current issues, regardless, your point is a valid one (and this comes from your average consumer (i.e. presumably far from sustainable lifestyle), and die-hard petrol head...)

    Just 'cos I don't agree with, nor believe the current scare campaign, and don't like the idea of the "correct lifestyle", doesn't mean I can't see the need for it, unfortunately! :(


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