Haiti’s recent disaster is but the latest in a long string of disasters to strike that unfortunate country. Although heartened by the generous response by much of the world, many others are busy blaming the victims for selling their souls to the devil, the French for raping the country of its resources, and global warming for an increase in natural disasters generally, and hurricanes and earthquakes in particular. Living in a part of the world that has suffered much at the hands of the French, my inclinations lean in their direction. Poor people are not going to build earthquake-proof buildings. But just to clarify the issue for those who see the perfidious hand of global warming at work again, allow me to reproduce the following article:

The United Nations climate science panel faces new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods. It based the claims on an unpublished report that had not been subjected to routine scientific scrutiny — and ignored warnings from scientific advisers that the evidence supporting the link too weak. The report’s own authors later withdrew the claim because they felt the evidence was not strong enough.

The claim by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that global warming is already affecting the severity and frequency of global disasters, has since become embedded in political and public debate. It was central to discussions at last month’s Copenhagen climate summit, including a demand by developing countries for compensation of $100 billion from the rich nations blamed for creating the most emissions.

The new controversy goes back to the IPCC’s 2007 report in which a separate section warned that the world had “suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970s”. It suggested a part of this increase was due to global warming and cited the unpublished report. The Sunday Times has since found that the scientific paper on which the IPCC based its claim had not been peer reviewed, nor published, at the time the climate body issued its report. When the paper was eventually published, in 2008, it had a new caveat. It said: “We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses.”

Despite this change the IPCC did not issue a clarification ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit last month. It has also emerged that at least two scientific reviewers who checked drafts of the IPCC report urged greater caution in proposing a link between climate change and disaster impacts — but were ignored. The claim will now be re-examined and could be withdrawn.

The complete article can be found at:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7000063.ece

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