Professor Roger Pielke Jr catches out the Climate Commission again spreading baseless propaganda – and then attacking those who dare point it out:
Writing at The Conversation, a widely-read commentary site in Australia, Ryan Crompton and John McAneney of Macquarie University provide an update on their database of normalized insured disaster losses for Australia…
The occasion for their update is a recent report by the Australian Climate Commission… The report—The Angry Summer—provides a tabulation of various weather records … during the remarkable summer that has just ended. The report makes a number of very strong claims, including this one:
Australia’s Angry Summer shows that climate change is already adversely affecting Australians. The significant impacts of extreme weather on people, property, communities and the environment highlight the serious consequences of failing to adequately address climate change.
As experts on damage to property caused by extreme events Crompton and McAneney subsequently wrote their piece at The Conversation to put one metric of impacts experienced in Australia this past summer into a bit of historical perspective. They explain by explicitly referring to the claim made by the Climate Commission…:
The report refers to, amongst other things, how the significant impacts of extreme weather on property highlights the serious consequences of failing to adequately address climate change.
So has property damage during 2012-2013 been higher than normal?
The answer, in terms of insured losses from weather-related disasters, is no.
You can see the losses for 2012/2013 in the figure at the top of this post (note: the data is June-May, so the data for the current year will still need several months for a full year)… Crompton and McAneney conclude:
The long-term average annual normalised insured loss from weather-related disasters is around $1.1 billion. To date, insured losses during the 2012-13 financial year from bushfires in Tasmania and Coonabarabran and flooding in Queensland and New South Wales currently total almost $1 billion. This loss is certainly not “angry”.
…Upon publication of the piece at The Conversation, the Australian Climate Commission issued a rambling and vicious press release attacking Crompton and McAneney. Apparently, the sin they committed was not in being wrong in their scientific claims, but in daring to offer a critique of the Commission in the first place.
The Commission press release states:
Today in the Conversation Ryan Crompton and John McAneney badly misrepresent the Climate Commission’s recent report, The Angry Summer.
…the article is “opportunistic and unbecoming of a research institution”.
Crompton and McAneney assert … that the Commission wrongly used insurance losses in the Angry Summer report.
Badly misrepresent? At no point do Crompton and McAneney ever “assert that the Commission wrongly used insurance losses in the Angry Summer report.” Sorry, but this is a bald-faced lie from the Commission. Crompton and McAneney accurately state that the report refers to the “significant impacts of extreme weather on property” during the “angry summer.” …
The Commission press release … explains that in the “Angry Summer” report when they said impacts to property they were actually referring to unspecified and unquantified impacts to property other than those related to economic costs. Please.
I repeat: sack the Climate Commission now. We deserve science, not spin.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.