A Free-Market Energy Blog

Climate Alarmism Demoted in One Chart

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 28, 2023

“The popular climate discussion … looks at man as a destructive force for climate livability … because we use fossil fuels. In fact, the truth is the exact opposite; we don’t take a safe climate and make it dangerous; we take a dangerous climate and make it safe. High-energy civilization, not climate, is the driver of climate livability.”

– Alex Epstein, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels (2014), pp. 126–127.

Physical climate change in terms of human welfare defines the debate between the alarmists and skeptics. And a good way to begin that debate is to put climate livability and nature in proper context. The quotation above does just that, tearing away the deep ecology notion that nature is benign, optimal, and fragile.

There is one graphic, one data series, that makes Epstein’s point — and puts the climate alarmists and forced energy transformationists on their heels. It is regularly presented with updates from Bjorn Lomborg. “Climate Alarmism vs. Data,” he titles the inquiry.

The Age of Climate Disaster is Here’ [Foreign Affairs]

Data: No Climate-related deaths dropped 98% over a century

2023 climate deaths likely below the lowest 2020s average


Reuters “Fact Check

The above chart is a hard one for the climate alarmists to buck. But try they do.

Fact Check: Drop in climate-related disaster deaths not evidence against climate ‘emergency’”, reads the Reuters Fact Check headline of September 19, 2023.

Social media posts are recirculating a bar chart that depicts falling numbers of deaths due to weather-related disasters over the last century alongside comments suggesting that the significance of climate-driven weather changes is exaggerated.

Mortality, however, is not a useful measure of the number or severity of weather-related events including the floods, droughts, storms, wildfire, and extreme temperatures listed in the graph, experts told Reuters.

Although deaths from these disasters have decreased, due in part to better forecasting and preparedness, the number, intensity, and cost of climatic and meteorological hazards have all increased over the last hundred years.

Well, what did free market adaptation from wealth and fossil fuels have to do with that? The answer is a lot. But Reuters misdirects and obfuscates with these points:

  • It’s improved resilience rather than fewer disasters
  • Climate change negatively affects health in other ways
  • The IPCC says with confidence that heat waves and weather extremes are increasing
  • There are more damages in terms of dollars

The Verdict? “Misleading. Disaster mortality is not a useful metric for quantifying climate change, and climate-related disasters have increased in number, intensity, and economic cost.”

… Or maybe not!


  1. Ed Reid  

    The Title of the chart is misleading. The deaths are “climate-related” only to the extent that climate is the sum of weather. The deaths are weather-related, caused by weather events.



  2. Kevin  

    If the climate-related deaths were increasing, you can be sure it would be taken as evidence of climate change.

    Regarding the comment distinguishing between weather-related deaths snd climate-related deaths, the alarmists often conflate the two or make the distinction when it suits their immediate purpose.


  3. Blackbeard  

    I’ve posted that very chart many times on Quora, and other social networking sites, in response to the typical climate doomsayers. It usually elicits a storm of outrage that anyone could deny that certain death is fast approaching. What kind of civilization have we built that that wallows so eagerly in visions of doom?


Leave a Reply