Where Have All The Disasters Gone? – Watts Up With That?

I read today that the EU is using an estimate of US$68 per tonne of CO2 emissions for the purported cost of the damages done by CO2. This is known by a Newspeak term as the “Social Cost Of Carbon”.

It made me wonder—using this estimate, what is the overall total estimated damage done by humans from emitting CO2?

The answer is $97 TRILLION dollars since 1950.

YIKES! That’s about five times the 2020 US Gross Domestic Product (the value of everything produced in the US during that year).

So I thought I’d take a look at the various largest weather-related disasters. I got the big-disaster data from Wikipedia here and arranged it by type of disaster. All values are in 2020 dollars, that is to say, they’re adjusted for inflation. Here is the result.

$0.116     1988–89 North American drought
$0.060     2012–13 North American drought
$0.032     1980 United States heat wave
$0.003     2017 Montana wildfires
$0.028     Cyclones Lothar and Martin
$0.031     Cyclones Daria, Vivian, and Wiebke
$0.013     Cyclone Kyrill
$0.007     Cyclone Xynthia
$0.008     Cyclone Klaus
$0.008     Cyclone Gudrun
$0.009     Great Storm of 1987
$0.053     2011 Thailand floods
$0.032     2020 China floods
$0.028     2002 European floods
$0.031     Great Flood of 1993
$0.013     2016 Louisiana floods
$0.012     June 2008 Midwest floods
$0.007     2013 Alberta floods
$0.003     2019 Midwestern U.S. floods
$0.18     TOTAL FLOODS
$0.003     2017 Minneapolis hailstorm
$0.002     2017 Denver hailstorm
$0.001     2020 Calgary hailstorm
$0.003     June 2012 North American derecho
$0.012     August 2020 Midwest derecho
$0.012     2011 Super Outbreak
$0.006     Tornado outbreak sequence of May 2003
$0.003     2011 Joplin tornado
$0.003     Tornado outbreak sequence of May 2019
$0.002     Tornado outbreak of March 6–7, 2017
$0.167     Hurricane Katrina
$0.133     Hurricane Harvey
$0.098     Hurricane Maria
$0.079     Hurricane Sandy
$0.069     Hurricane Irma
$0.050     Hurricane Ida
$0.046     Hurricane Ike
$0.036     Hurricane Wilma
$0.051     Hurricane Andrew
$0.036     Hurricane Ivan
$0.026     Hurricane Michael
$0.019     Hurricane Laura
$0.025     Hurricane Rita
$0.024     Hurricane Charley
$0.016     Hurricane Matthew
$0.017     Hurricane Irene
$0.014     Cyclone Amphan
$0.016     Cyclone Nargis
$0.012     Typhoon Fitow
$0.019     Typhoon Mireille
$0.014     Hurricane Frances
$0.020     Hurricane Hugo
$0.015     Hurricane Georges
$0.013     Typhoon Songda
$0.013     Tropical Storm Allison
$0.010     Hurricane Gustav
$0.011     Hurricane Jeanne
$0.008     Hurricane Eta
$0.008     Hurricane Sally
$0.008     Typhoon Rammasun
$0.010     Hurricane Floyd
$0.008     Typhoon Morakot
$0.010     Hurricane Mitch
$0.009     Typhoon Prapiroon
$0.008     Hurricane Isabel
$0.005     Hurricane Dorian
$0.008     Typhoon Herb
$0.005     Tropical Storm Imelda
$0.008     Hurricane Opal
$0.005     Typhoon Haiyan
$0.006     Cyclone Gonu
$0.005     Hurricane Manuel
$0.004     Cyclone Yasi
$0.006     Hurricane Iniki
$0.007     Hurricane Gilbert
$0.002     Cyclone Winston
$0.002     Typhoon Bopha
$0.002     Typhoon Ketsana
$0.005     Cyclone Tracy
$0.020     February 13–17, 2021 North American winter storm
$0.010     1993 Storm of the Century
$0.002     2011 Groundhog Day blizzard
$0.072     2019–20 Australian bushfire season
$0.025     2018 California wildfires
$0.016     October 2017 Northern California wildfires
$0.010     2016 Fort McMurray wildfire
$0.008     Black Saturday bushfires
$0.002     Cedar Fire
$0.001     2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires
$0.001     2011 Slave Lake wildfire
$1.89     OVERALL TOTAL ($ trillion)

Hmmm … no matter how you slice it, that’s less than two trillion dollars …

Now, to be sure, there must be a variety of smaller disasters that didn’t make the list. So let’s be conservative, and call the disaster total four times that, or $8 trillion dollars.

To check that value, I looked at the EMDAT Disaster Database. It contains no less than 11,654 detailed records of flood, wildfire, drought, storm, and extreme temperature disasters since 1950. The smallest of these had damages of $4.6 million dollars ($0.0000046 trillion). So it’s catching even very small disasters.

In 2020 dollars, the EMDAT database says that the total cost of those disasters since 1950 is about $10 trillion dollars.

So let us make the obviously incorrect and untenable assumption that 100% of those disaster costs are ascribable to the evil influence of CO2. It’s obviously not true by an order of magnitude or more, but let’s assume that each and every disaster is all 100% from CO2 for the purposes of discussion.

And given even that incorrect and wildly exaggerated assumption, the obvious question is … where is the other $87 trillion dollars of purported CO2 damages from weather-related disasters since 1950?

And it gets much worse if we don’t assume that 100% of the responsibility is due to CO2. Suppose we say (still an exaggeration) that 10% of the responsibility comes from CO2. That would mean that we are missing, not $87 trillion in disasters, but $960 trillion in disasters …

(Let me say that this kind of error, of just picking a random goal like “Net-Zero 2050” or just calculating a value for something like the “Social Cost of Carbon” and not testing the result for reasonableness against real-world data, is far too common in the world of climate “science”. I discuss this issue about “Net-Zero 2050” in my post “Bright Green Impossibilities“.)

And to repeat … where are the missing $87 trillion dollars in damages purportedly caused by so-called “climate disasters”?

My best to all,


AS ALWAYS: I ask that when you comment you quote the exact words you are discussing. I can defend my own words. I cannot defend your interpretation of my words. Thanks.


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