Never mind Y2K, stash for natural disasters, global warming, think alternative energy : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

From Electronic Telegraph (London), Sunday, 7 January 1999:

#53bn [$90+bn] storm over natural disasters, By Greg Neale, Environment Correspondent

HURRICANES, floods and other natural disasters cost more than #53 billion in damage worldwide last year, an increase of almost 50 per cent on 1997, according to figures from the world's largest insurance company.

The rise in the scale and scope of natural disasters, reflected in a report produced by Munich Re, has alarmed underwriters so much that some are considering rendering parts of the world uninsurable.

Lester Brown, the president of the United States-based Worldwatch Institute, told an international conference in Hungary yesterday that "the increase was so big, it didn't just go off the chart, it went off the page".

He said: "The costs of such weather damage are going to affect the insurance industry globally. In some areas it may simply mean that premiums will go up. But some parts of the world could become effectively uninsurable."

In a separate development, a report to be published next week by the institute will say that natural disasters linked to global warming made 300 million people homeless.

Last year was the hottest on record, with the five warmest years since 1860 all being in this decade, adding to fears that industrial pollution may be changing the climate, the report added. Forest fires in South East Asia and Brazil also added to carbon dioxide levels. It is estimated that fires in Indonesia alone caused more carbon dioxide emissions than Europe's factories, cars and homes did in a year.

Natural disasters such as the floods which covered 40 per cent of Bangladesh for two months and caused chaos in China's Yangtze basin, and storms such as Hurricane Mitch in Central America, forced 300 million people from their homes, Mr Brown said at the Regional Environmental Centre for Eastern and Central Europe at Szentendre, near Budapest. He said: "In some cases these were refugees for a few days, weeks or months, but others have been permanently displaced. We have never seen anything like this."

Similarly, when Hurricane Mitch swept 180 mile-an-hour winds across parts of Honduras, it changed the geology of some districts, removing all the topsoil. He said: "Effectively crops may not be grown there again in some fields in our lifetime. The chief executives of some of the world's biggest companies are recognising the need to change, to remain competitive."

He singled out the recent statement by John Browne, the head of British Petroleum, that the oil giant had now accepted global warming as a reality and was investing heavily in renewable energy.

Dr Brown predicts big growth in the use of solar and wind power, hydrogen fuel cells for cars, and cutting taxes on jobs and incomes in favour of taxes on energy use to curb pollution and waste.

Natural catastrophes are estimated to have claimed the lives of many thousands of people around the world last year.

More than 3,000 were killed by the Yangtze floods; three tidal waves caused by an offshore earthquake left 2,000 dead in Papua New Guinea; and Hurricane Georges, in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, cost 4,000 lives.

Winds of 110mph hit the Dominican Republic leaving 100,000 homeless and almost the entire population of eight million without power; Hurricane Mitch killed 8,000 people in Honduras and 2,000 in Nicaragua; and in Bangladesh, floods left 700 people dead and two-thirds of the capital Dhaka under water.

Cut and pasted by

-- Old Git (, February 06, 1999


The deeper question I have with this kind of thing is whether it represents greater frequency/intensity of natural disasters, or if the greater noticable damage is due to higher populations of people, moving into more and more marginal and dangerous areas due to crowding pressure.


-- Runway Cat (, February 06, 1999.

Old Git; Great post on info, We can all relate to by reading from the newspaper or hearing it on the TV. We can only understand the items mentioned by seeing it on TV or reading about by means of computer or newsprint. I too have concerns for those on this"Little Blue Ball" and what would we do if we wouldn't have the technologies to comprehend what is and will happen on any given day or season? It's sad to understand the thinking of many who are against alternative fuel systems,perhaps they haven't used that type of system so to them it's not easy enough,unless they have to use it. But natural disasters have always been around and will be in up-n-coming months and years ahead. Several discussions of the date 5-5-2000 a very interesting event concerning the Ice flows on our "Little Blue Ball" and the rising of the water levels, from 16' to 200' world wide. I know of a document that was sent to the Gov of Florida,Honorable Mr.Chiles, he was notified by NOAA that within 5-10 yrs Florida would loose a 1.5 miles of shore line inland. But do you think it would be good for the tourist industry to let that out? No way ! This was 2 yrs ago when this notification was sent to the Govenor. It appears that if it doesn't effect me,"I'm not going to worry about it because I'm looking out for #1 ME ". With that type of thinking,you would hope the American user would be more worried about the "Little Blue Ball" He or She is so comfortable sitting on. To Runaway Cat; level headed thinking is yours, a very good description of what is happening. Others that I have discussed events like this are basically saying, "It's Mother Earth Cleansing Itself" and many Native American Indian Shamans have told us the story,but We don't want to listen!!! Perhaps after our systems do have a cleansing we,the inhabitants of "Little Blue Ball" only watering hole in the known Milky Way will be readjusted in our thinking about our systems of thought. Furie... 4:25am Sunday.

-- Furie (, February 07, 1999.

Runway - Both, I think. Met records apparently show there HAS been an increase in natural disasters. Also, people ARE moving to areas heretofore considered at risk--we're running out of prime buildable land. An added and important factor (in hurricanes, anyway) is inappropriate construction.

An increase in natural disasters? Sure. When we lived in New Orleans, we'd joke about how we seemed to have a one-hundred year flood every few years, partly due to increased building preventing rain absorption, partly due to changing weather patterns.

Sea levels: I don't know enough about the subject to pontificate on the cause, nor is this the venue, but the fact is sea levels ARE rising. Note, though, that a huge oil conglomeration like BP has diversified into solar and (I believe) wind--that should tell you something!

Hurricanes: I love the sea (the UK is an island, nowhere more than about an hour and a half from the sea) but the beauty isn't worth the risk for me. I quickly came to that conclusion when doing Hurricane Camille relief work in 1967.

People moving to at-risk areas: Sure. With the exception of those old houses in, say, the Mississippi's flood areas and similar, it seems that the majority of houses shown in recent flood footage are newer construction. It appears too that many of the houses destroyed in Andrew, Hugo and other storms of recent vintage were of new construction. I remember, after Betsy and Camille, shaking my young, naive head in utter amazement as people built their destroyed houses back in exactly the same place and way as before. I think people have learned a little since then. Or have they?

My Sweetie and I refer to trailers as "tornado bait." I think trailers get hit so often and so hard because they're of relatively flimsy construction and have little or no foundation (generally speaking) and also because they're of necessity frequently situated on flat land. Tornadoes seem to "bounce" from ridge to ridge, leaving narrow valleys alone (if the valley is situated so it intersects the tornado's path).

I've been through a variety of natural disasters (no earthquake yet) and I didn't like any of them. It's one of the reasons we chose central N. Carolina to put down roots--has the least of all the evils as far as weather is concerned. I expect we shall be clobbered by a swarm of locusts now I've said that. Or the New Madrid fault will blow.

Anyway, one point of this long boring post is that no matter where you live Y2K is probably going to get you, but if you're in a natural disaster-prone area, you might think about moving to an area where your chances of that particular complication are reduced. (I know lots of people are stuck where they are for various reasons; this post is by no means to be construed as criticism.) The major point of the initial posting, though, is that it's a good idea to have supplies on hand to cope with any natural disaster, Y2K or not. Several people have pointed out they always meant to get in emergency supplies and Y2K was their catalyst. If that's the ONLY result of Y2K awareness then, as Martha would say, that's A Good Thing.

-- Old Git (, February 07, 1999.

Oh yee of little faith.. Dost thou know all that should be known? Did thee corrupt this ground for haow many centuries? Out of how many? And your records for what percentage of the time? 0.000001..But yee knowest! And how many iced ages? Due to mankind? Ha Ha Ha. How big the flea think that he (she?), be!

-- Charon (, February 07, 1999.

For all the Global Warming Folks out there, get ready for the global cooling that is coming over the next decade.

You see, the one thing that really determines how cold or hot the earth gets is not the thickness of the ozone layer. Its the level of CO2 in the air that determines this temperature. The global warming doom and gloomers claim (by the way I am a Y2K D&G) that CO2 levels are on the rise, thanks to increased pollution and smaller rain forests. But they have not factored into the equation of chemical weathering.

Chemical weathering is what happens when falling rain combines with CO2 in the atmosphere and gets soaked up by rock. Rock like the type that makes up the Himalayes, the Rockies and the enormous ranges that make up the Alps.

The more CO2 laden rain that falls, the more these massive mountain ranges soak it up like a massive sponge. The very pollution that causes acid rain speeds up this effect. The Himalayas alone have soaked up rain more than 96 feet below the mountain surface.

All this adds up to LESS CO2 in the atmosphere leading to global cooling.

The way they know this is happening is the extra CO2 makes the rock brittle. It then washes into nearby streams. Geologists are already alarmed by the incredibly high levels of carbonate rock sediment found where Asian streams dump into the South China Sea.

The increased rain of this years El Nino makes this unstoppable natural trend even worse, which leads to global cooling.


-- flierdude (, February 07, 1999.

Old Git, watch out for those nasty fire ants! At least locusts are edible. They sufficed for John the Baptist.

-- dinosaur (, February 07, 1999.

And don't forget nails, glue and hammer:

" Usually he wrote but two or three sentences about Little Bother and me, even though Ma always appealed for his help. She asked him to send us wooden pegs. I remember them to be short square toothpicks that were pointed at one end. Since iron nails were not available these pegs were used to resole shoes. "

-- Not Again! (, February 07, 1999.

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