Saturday, May 30, 2009

Annan: Climate change causes 300,000 deaths a year

Not the sort of headline I expect to see very often! Surprising as it may seem, I suspect that Roger is right on this one.

11 comments:

Steve Bloom said...

Perhaps, but there's almost always something dodgy to be found in his stuff. I have yet to read the report or RP Jr.'s response, but Brian Schmidt has and notes in a Dot Earth comment that RP Jr.'s conclusions don't seem well-supported, although there does seem to be a reasonable discussion to be had regarding the error bars.

James Annan said...

Steve, I agree re RP's dodginess and nearly added a narky comment about his substantial personal experience with a methodological embarrassment and poster child for how to lie with statistics but thought it would be cruel to bring that up again :-)

David B. Benson said...

Something about a stopped clock being right comes to mind.

Steve Bloom said...

Don't be shy, James -- please do bring it up on every possible relevant occasion. I'm bookmarking it for that purpose (and thanks for the reminder!).

David, that's unfair to stopped clocks.

Brian said...

I've only skimmed the report, but Roger's critique seems really shallow - two sentences of substance surrounded by mountains of fluff. And he condemns the entire report when his actual critique only concerns one section.

That said, I think it's possible that areas with weather disasters experienced more population growth than earthquake prone "controls", but Roger could try proving this point rather than just assuming it.

Brian said...

Okay, I finally blogged about it, excerpt here:

Third, Roger should have welcomed the approach to begin with, because it's the only one he acknowledges as legitimate. For years he's attacked as illegitimate the analyses that take what are generally-accepted levels of current climate change and tried to estimate what level of current disaster losses can be attributed to them. It took me forever to figure out his real critique was claiming these studies were attempting to prove a climate signal in the disaster noise, which is a complete misinterpretation (James Annan figured this out too, but I can't find where he wrote about it on his blog). This new report, by contrast, tries to do what Pielke Jr. wants, and instead he's just mad.

http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2009/06/dog-bites-man-and-roger-pielke-jr-goes.html

Steve Bloom said...

Yes, well, self-promotion first, policy advocacy second, and the science (physical or social) barely visible in the distance.

But Andy Revkin, at least one Nurture editor and some other journos love RP Jr., not just for self-identifying with the journalistic "middle" but for his eagerness to quickly produce contrarian views suitable for quoting. That approach also used to work pretty well for Congressional staffers, but not so much these days with the end of the Bush regime and active efforts by e.g. Joe Romm to close off that venue.

gary said...

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Brian said...

Regarding whether to hold back the snark, I mentioned in RP Jr's blog that James and William C. had commented favorably on his critique, and Roger said "I just found James Annan’s comments, thanks for the hint — with friends like that . . . Couldn’t locate a post by Connolley."

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/follow-up-to-ghf-report-discussion-5343#comment-14044

(And William didn't post, he commented).

Martin said...

Very odd source though for a study; the GHF reviewed the report they commissioned, the methodology relies on earthquakes being equivalent to floods for removing any natural causes for disasters, they essentially take two points in a 25 year period.

In more detail and links to methodology

James Annan said...

I see that Stoat has now done it in more detail, and comes down on the same side.