In 2006, Nature published (subs. req’d) a news story, “Insurers’ disaster files suggest climate is culprit” (PDF here) that began:
Insurance companies, acutely aware of the dramatic increase in losses caused by natural disasters in recent decades, have been convinced that global warming is partly to blame. Now their data seem to be persuading scientists, too. At a recent meeting of climate and insurance experts, delegates reached a cautious consensus: climate change is helping to drive the upward trend in catastrophes.
The meeting, held near Munich on 25–26 May, was jointly organized by Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurance company, and the University of Colorado in Boulder. It brought together climate, atmosphere and weather researchers with economists and insurance experts to discuss what could be behind recent disaster losses, both economic and human….
Delegates seem to have found the record persuasive. Their consensus statement, to be released on 8 June, says there is “evidence that changing patterns of extreme events are drivers for recent increases in global losses”….
“Dissent over the issue is clearly waning,” says Peter H¶ppe, head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks department, who co-chaired the workshop with Roger Pielke Jr, director of the University of Colorado’s Center of Science and Technology Policy Research. “Climate change may not be the dominant factor, but it has become clear that a relevant portion of damages can be attributed to global warming.”
Previously sceptical, Pielke says that he is now convinced that at least some of the increased losses can be blamed on climate: “Clearly, since 1970 climate change has shaped the disaster loss record.”
I am posting this mainly to show that many serious people have weighed in on this issue and many articles — including peer-reviewed articles (see below) — have made a strong case for a link between the trend in extreme weather disasters and climate change.
Remember, Nobel Prize winner Al Gore has been accused of being “guilty of inaccuracies and overstatements,” in the New York Times for suggesting there is such a link (see “Unstaining Al Gore’s good name, Part 2.” And Roger Pielke, Jr. said that the 3000 scientists listening to Gore at the AAAS meeting were “willing silent collaborators” to “the misrepresentation of climate science” because they did nothing while Al Gore made the link, albeit with very careful wordchoice (see “Unstaining Al Gore’s good name, Part 1“).
Now, in fairness (!) to Pielke, he has an incredibly elaborate explanation of what he was really trying to say (in this 2006 blog post). In my headline, I included an ellipsis because here is Pielke’s full quote: