A free-market energy blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — Developing Countries

Setting The Economist Straight on Developing Countries and (Anthropogenic) Climate Change

Last month, an article in The Economist tried to make the case that global warming is or ought to be an urgent concern for developing countries. My letter protesting the speculative and unsubstantiated claims of the piece was prominently published in the current issue. Although the editors of The Economist changed my title, dropped the references, and made it somewhat briefer, the printed version is quite faithful to the spirit of the original, which is available here.

For the public record, my full version is provided below.

A badly developed climate backgrounder

SIR — The Economist’s article, A bad climate for development (September 17), which also serves as a backgrounder for an online debate on climate change, is not only selective in the information it presents, it is riddled with speculation and unsubstantiated claims.

For example, its chart 3 presents portions of two of three panels in figure 2.1 of the World Development Report 2010.  But the panel that it chooses not to display shows that deaths from all climate related disasters have actually declined at least since 1981–85 despite (a) an enormous increase in the population at risk, namely, the world’s population, and (b) the fact that older data has a greater tendency to underestimate the number and casualties of extreme weather events. The original source of the data (Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, CRED) states that the increase in the data until 1995 “is explained partly by better reporting of disasters in general, partly due to active data collection efforts by CRED and partly due to real increases in certain types of disasters.”[1] They also state that they are unable to say whether the latter increases are due to climate change. [Read more →]

October 17, 2009   8 Comments