Swiss Re Tallies Huge Costs of Climate Inaction

Sun, 2012-12-23 06:00Ben Jervey
Ben Jervey's picture

Swiss Re Tallies Huge Costs of Climate Inaction

The world’s largest insurers are tallying the costs of climate inaction, and the numbers are staggering.

Swiss Re announced recently that total economic losses in 2012 from “natural catastrophes and man-made disasters” – primarily weather events – should reach roughly $140 billion. Over 11,000 lives were lost due to the so-called “natural catastrophes” alone.

According to the Swiss Re report, “Natural and man-made catastrophes in 2012,” the top five insured loss events are all in the U.S.

“Hurricane Sandy is the largest Atlantic hurricane on record in terms of wind span. This record storm surge caused widespread flooding and damage to a densely populated area on the East Coast of the U.S. It also led to the worst power outage caused by a natural catastrophe in the history of the U.S.”

But Sandy wasn’t the only event to blame. According to the report, “extremely dry weather conditions and limited snowfall in the U.S. led to one of the worst droughts in recent decades, affecting more than half of the country. Drought-related agricultural losses are likely to reach approximately $11 billion, including pay-outs from federal assistance programs.

This marks the second time in three months that one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies has put hard economic numbers to the weather-related disasters that are growing so increasingly apparent in this warming world. In October, Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurance company, published “Severe weather in North America,” which analyzed the past 30 years of weather-related disasters, and showed a clear rising trend for both extreme weather events and the costs of recovery.

The Munich Re report helps put Swiss Re’s publication in context.

The company’s analysis shows a nearly quintupled number of weather-related loss events in North America for the past three decades, compared with a quadrupling in Asia, 2.5 times as many events in Africa, twice as many in Europe and 1.5 times in South America.

While climate change wasn’t mentioned in this particular Swiss Re report, it is repeatedly on their website and in their literature. Munich Re didn’t dance around the issue in their October report:

Anthropogenic climate change is believed to contribute to this trend, though it influences various perils in different ways. Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity. The view that weather extremes are becoming more frequent and intense in various regions due to global warming is in keeping with current scientific findings…

“In all likelihood, we have to regard this finding as an initial climate-change footprint in our US loss data from the last four decades. Previously, there had not been such a strong chain of evidence. If the first effects of climate change are already perceptible, all alerts and measures against it have become even more pressing.”

Tony Kuczinski, CEO of Munich Reinsurance America, took it even further:

This publication represents another contribution to the global dialogue concerning weather-related activities and their causes. What is clearly evident when the longterm data is reviewed is that losses from weather events are trending upward. To simply say that this trend is a statistical anomaly or part of a long-term cycle of activity misses the point of these efforts – we must set aside our biases and continue a meaningful dialogue in search of answers to mitigate the losses that we are experiencing.

These reports land alongside a November publication by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that warned of a frightful 6 degree Celcius rise in global temperatures if government ambitions (or lack thereof) remain at current levels.

Said PwC partner Leo Johnson. “Now one thing is clear: businesses, governments and communities across the world need to plan for a warming world – not just 2C, but 4C or even 6C.”

The report explains:

Even doubling our current rate of decarbonisation would still lead to emissions consistent with 6 degrees Celcius of warming by the end of the century. To give ourselves a more than 50% chance of avoiding 2 degrees Celcius will require a six-fold improvement in our rate of decarbonisation…

Governments' ambitions to limit warming to 2C now appear highly unrealistic. This new reality means that we must contemplate a much more challenging future. Whilst the negotiators continue to focus on 2C, a growing number of scientists and other expert organisations are now projecting much more pessimistic scenarios for global temperatures. The International Energy Agency, for example, now considers 4C and 6C scenarios as well as 2C in their latest analysis.

Now consider this troubling calculus: if the record losses reported by Swiss Re and Munich Re are the result of less than 1 degree Celcius of warming, one can only imagine what the economic impacts would be in a world thta's 6 degrees warmer. And that’s to say nothing about loss of lives, health impacts, hunger, and global security.

For now, at least, the money is talking. And the cold, hard financial facts laid bare by the insurers should convince anyone that it’s time to get serious about climate change.

Previous Comments

If one was trying to list professions that are not highly respected, people working for insurance companies would get a mention.  OK, so they rate a little higher than politicians or lawyers but in some parts of the USA, killing an insurance salesman is regarded as a misdemeanor.

The point I am trying to make is that insurance companies will say anything to improve their bottom line.  It does not have to be true or make any sense.

That “dreadful” temperature rise of 6 degrees Centigrade by 2100 is not very likely.  It has been over 50 million years since Earth experienced such high temperatures.  During the PETM temperatures peaked at about 12 degrees Centigrade above today and that is when mammals achieved the dominance they still enjoy.

While high temperatures cause problems, there are benefits such as ice free poles.  Antarctica becomes temperate (http://www.scotese.com/earlyeoc1.htm);  the frozen parts of Canada and Russia become fertile.

Get used to it, we live in an ice age; the present “Inter Glacial” has already lasted longer than the last so you need to be more worried about falling temperatures than rising ones. 

What a load of CS. Galloping camel states:

“the frozen parts of Canada and Russia become fertile.”

That is just absolute CS, for a start there are large parts of “unfrozen” Canada which are definitely not fertile. I assume he has never heard of the Canadian Shield or muskeg. No amount of warming in these areas will make them fertile. What they lack is not appropriate temperature but soil. I doubt if even a camel powered plough can break up bedrock and allow a crop to grow. In other areas where there is muskeg you would need to attach your plough to a water buffalo since they are saturated with water.

As for the “frozen” parts, if they melt they will release huge amounts of locked in green house gases which will make things even worse in parts of the world where our food is grown. It is grown in these regions because a number of factors all come together to allow for agriculture, temperature, fertile soil and moisture content. Upsetting this balance and our sources of food will quickly disappear.

Why are AGW deniers so lacking in their knowledge of science, geography and lots of other things they should have been taught during their education?

 

Try reading some science. The temperatures during the PETM were ony ~5 C higher than today, and took anywhere from between 6,000 and 20,000 years to reach those levels, far slower than today's rate of increase. Many parts of the oceans (e.g. North Atlantic) were mostly dead from anoxia, and benthic foraminifera (microscopic snails) went extinct.  On land, animals diversified but they were mostly dwarf speciations. But you'll be happy/amused to know that the first camels evolved during this time.

http://www.palaeontologyonline.com/articles/2011/the-paleocene-eocene-thermal-maximum/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene%E2%80%93Eocene_Thermal_Maximum#Anoxia

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/08/petm-weirdness/

Imagine for a moment a world with temperatures ~1 degree Centigrade lower than today.  Actually, it does not take much imagination because historians have huge amounts of relevant documentation. 

Please take the time to watch this presentation from the History Channel:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFQHTdn8egw

 

I have always wondered if camels had to stop to $hit. He has shown to me that they do it while galloping, since he drops CS all over the place when he posts his rubbish.

Ah, Ian! When all reason fails you (and most other warmists) there is always the trusty ad hom attack. Calling names will NEVER prove your point, didn't you learn that in 3rd grade?

rasper does not understand the meaning of “ad hominem”. It is not “ad hominem” to correctly identify the quality of the postings of some one who is either ignorant of the facts or is dishonest. CS covers both alternatives. The nonsense about moving north in Canada to replace areas where global warming has destroyed crop growing areas is just utter nonsense and is spread all over the denier blogosphere. If you actually believe some of the nonsense posted by GC can I ask you a question? Do you agree with him through your ignorance or your dishonesty?

Just as an example of an “ad hominem” attack, just read GC's first paragraph.

 

To quote Ian's words of wisdom, “….since he drops CS [camel droppings?] all over the place when he posts his rubbish”

Dude, sounds like trash talk to me, the definition of ad hom if I ever heard it.

You guys are the textbook example of group-think trying to hold fast when all around you is collapsing in a stinking pile. Give it up and move on before you lose what little self repect you have left, ok?

Great that another AGW denier comes along (maybe galloping along) who doesn't understand what “ad hominem” means. Telling the truth about someone or what they say is not ad hominem. It may be trash talk, it may be insulting but if it is truthful then it is not ad hominem.

The only ad hominem used in this thread was in GC's first two paragraphs. I hope that hank_ reads it over and over again till he comes to understand why what GC wrote is an ad hominem attack on insurance people and on the person who wrote the report.

Referring to GC's comments as CS (camel droppings) is not ad hominem but is an honest statement about the scientific correctness of his comments. I do not know whether these comments were made from ignorance or dishonesty but they are very very wrong, just a load of CS.

“…an honest statement about the scientific correctness of his comments.”

Oh really? Who died and made you the gate-keeper of scientific truth?

Trying to forecast what land may or may not be usble for farming in a your fantasy-warmed world is definitely NOT a 'settled' science, as you fools are want to say.

I have lived in Alberta for the past 45 years. I have been north of Edmonton a number of times. Maybe if she visited and observed, the first thing that a scientists does, she would find that there is very little agriculture in Alberta between Edmonton and Peace River. Most of the land in between is forested and very wet. It is called musk keg and is completely unsuited for agriculture except for some hayland and pasture land. There is lots of agricultural activity in the Peace Rover drainage. The climate is very similar to the musk keg area. It does not require a Ph.D. in science or agriculture to realize why there is little agriculture in that area. Hint, it has got nothing to do with a colder climate.

In Manitoba, if you go just a little bit north you find out crops of bed rock. This is called the Canadian Shield. Again very little agriculture. Again this has nothing to do with it being too cold.

Maybe Lara will get to “geography” when she graduates into junior high school. I think that is where things like these are covered. Too bad people like her attack honest scientists when the scientists show the deniers to be either ignorant of the real world around them or dishonest or probably both.

If look at the soil here you'd realize that more CO2, rain, sun, and longer growing season won't help.  When you plant trees here its like digging a clay pot.

Rising temperatures may pose some challenges but how do they compare to falling temperatures?  Be careful what you wish for.

That History channel video mentions some of the problems that a cooler climate caused.   This is not speculation.  Here is the link again:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFQHTdn8egw


  

I wonder what science GC will produce to show that we are heading for a “cooler climate”?

Deniers like GC do not understand that climate changes because of changes in the physical attributes of radiation and atmosphere. Temperature does not get “cooler” just because it was warm for X years therefore it must get cooler now.

Somehow I think that GC knows this and he is being deliberately misleading. Unfortunately for people like him, this site has more intelligent, knowledgeable and honest participants than his favourites such as wattsuphisbutt, Bishop Shill etc.

Ian Forrester tends to shoot from the hip at anything that moves.  Yet we probably agree on many things.  For example I am strongly in favor of leaving fossil fuels in the ground and large scale “Carbon Sequestration”.

Debates in the “Blogosphere” are a waste of time unless there is an interest in “Solutions”.  That is why I recommend web sites like these:

http://bravenewclimate.com/

http://atomicinsights.com/

http://energyfromthorium.com/

 

If the true costs of nuclear are considered then it is far more expensive than either solar, wind or tidal.

Nuclear proponents always manage to exclude many of the costs and problems with such a source of energy.

I used to read braveclimate but it is terrible and biased and was full of wrong information concerning the problems in Japan. Why do so many academics wear blinkers and only see what they want to see and ignore everything else?

nuclear power is low carbon and low cost.  It is also, alll told, the safest (by two measures).

I fear you have been seriously misled.  Barry Brook's BraveNewClimate usually finally sets matters straight (with the assistance of several practicing or retired engineers from various parts of the globe).

[Disclosure: I am an engineer interested in solutions which actually work and do so with high reliability.  I pay as little attention to feelings as I can.]

Nuclear is cheap from a production point of view. Just like coal is cheap. However, nuclear has huge costs which are not accounted for in the selling price of the electricity produced. Clean up costs and disposal costs are never factored in. The UK is looking at close to $60 billion BSP to clean up just two sites, Sellafield and Dounreay.

http://tinyurl.com/d6663b
http://tinyurl.com/7prsoxf

This is only for clean up, the disposal costs have never been established.

Another cost which is externalized is the cost of insurance. The capital cost for new plants is escalating because of the blunders made in previous plants. I can go on and on but I think most people will see that the true cost of nuclear power is not cheap.

 

In the USA termination cost estimates are included in the LCOE.  The funds are placed in an interest baring account and expended at the end of the useful life of the plant to safely remove it.

Disposal?  Read “Plentiful Energy”; excerpts on BraveNewClimate.

I don't know about Dounreay but Sellafield was a bomb plutonium production site.  The USA has one of those as well, the Hanford Reservation.  Those have essentially nothing in common with a nuclear power plant.

In the USA all nuclear power plants are insured.

Finally, about 30–40 governments find they want nuclear power plants in their future.  For example, Vietnam is just starting on a plan to have ten.  Somehow I think all those professional planners and engineers know vastly more about it than you.

That is much better!  No name more calling.

We are not going to agree on the true cost of nuclear electricity so let's talk about things that matter to insurers like Munich Re.  What effect will radiation released into the environment have?  You might want to check out this presentation by Dr. Sakamoto who lives in Sendai province.  It is a little technical so you may need some context “Up Front”.  The 150 cGy dose of radiation that Sakamoto's patients are getting is three times the acute LD50 dose (half of those irradiated will die).

http://atomicinsights.com/wp-content/uploads/Sakamoto-2012_ANSconf-June2...

Typical of AGW deniers to avoid answering questions esp. when the answers show how wrong they are and link to TV programmes, denier web sites or pseudo-science.

As for the link he provided in “support” of nuclear, I stopped looking at the PPT when the author talked about “hormesis”. If that is typical of the quality of the research GC depends on then we can discount just about anything he says, including his comment about impending cooling and the growing of crops in Northern Canada.

People like GC seem to think that research just involves finding one paper to support his position and that proves him right and everyone else wrong. that is just not the way things work in the real world.

I agree that hormesis is yet to be established there are some rather provocative studies.  While far from hormesis it does appear that LNT does not hold for small dosage rates.

All these studies take some time.  Don't knock it just because it does not agree with your current conceptions.

LNT, while not universally accepted, is still the most widely adopted theory and has not been superceeded yet. Currently there is still no dose of ionizing radiation that is considered “safe”.

We constantly receive a low dose rate of ionizing radiation from cosmic rays and yet skin cancer is not a leading cause of death.

So where the dose is received makes a difference.

In addition, there are recent studies indicating that so long as the dose rate is sufficiently low cells can (almost) always repair the DNA damage.  This suggests some form of nonlinear model should be generally applicable.  There already is one for leukemia; see BEIR VII.

And yet people do get skin cancer. The LNT model states that any radiation dose carries some level of risk. The higher the dose, the higher the risk; the lower the dose, the lower the risk. It has a linear relationship. That means even at the lowest possible dose, there is still a risk, and therefore no actual true “safe” threshold ('safe', meaning zero risk). Yes, the biological cellular mechanisms will repair DNA and chromosomes, but not 100%. They don't work perfectly. Some lesions aren't repairable, sometimes the mechanisms can't reach the damaged site, and some repairs are misrepairs. Thus, even at low doses, a certain percentage of residual DNA damage isn't repaired. For there to be a “safe” threshold, there would have to be a level of radiation at which 100% of the DNA was repaired perfectly. The lowest possible dose is theoretically one nuclear track going through one nucleus of a cell. The lowest possible unit is one particle. You can't have a fraction of a particle going through a fraction of a cell. Either that particle goes through a cell and creates damage or it doesn't. Ionizing radiation isn't like poison, where dilution can create a safe threshold. It comes in units of particles that either pass through cells or doesn't. The LNT model isn't perfect, but it is simple, elegant, and predicts outcomes fairly well. Many research groups like the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation Committee use it. That said, I know there are some good, honest scientists who disagree with it. But so far, it has stood up to scrutiny.
The “little bit of radiation is good for you” line is a fraud. The US Deapartment of Energy promotes this incessantly, for obvious reasons. Interestingly, even the UN body UNSCEAR doesn't support it.
  

The US DoE most certainly does not promote that!

Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation Committee is not a research group.  NRC puts together a panel by that name once in a while; the last one produced the BEIR VII report (which I have read).  Their statistics which led them to LNT for solid cancers was less than sterling (obviously in my opinion).  A better statistical treatment might still indicate that LNT best explains the data, but it might also result in using a nonlinear (still no threshhold) formula similar to that for lukemia.

Of course, the only sources of data used in the BEIR VII report are not low dosage rate cases.  And at low dosage rates some rather basic eukaryotic cell biology strongly suggest a nonlinear (but no threshhold) formula — different than the one considered in BEIR VII.

 

leukemia

…since the DOE has a program specifically dedicated to low dose radiation research, much of it reporting on the beneficial effects.

http://lowdose.energy.gov/

My mistake about BEIR, they are not a research group but a review committee.

For leukemia, it's my understanding that the LQ (linear quadratic) model is most appropriate for low doses.  Although some researchers do not agree:

http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/the-linear-no-threshold-theory-of-radiation-risks/

Regardless, my point about no safe dose (i.e. no threshold) remains.

It is low dosage rate research in support (indirectly) of the manned space program.

And until you can link to a peer-reviewed paper discussing benefical effects I will assume you are mistaken.

Yes, BEIR VII showed that LQ was a better predictor than LNT for leukemia.

I only know enough to construct sensible formulas with no threshhold.  I doubt one exists.  Whatever hormetic effect there might possibly be would have to be something which somehow (often) counteracts some deliterious agent or condition.  I just leave it in the unexplained, maybe exists, category.

“It is low dosage rate research in support (indirectly) of the manned space program.”

And if most of what they discussed and reported were that low dosages of ionizing radiation were harmful (and there's plenty of research showing just that, starting with work by Goffman from the early 1960s) , how do you suppose that would help support the manned space program?

“And until you can link to a peer-reviewed paper discussing benefical effects I will assume you are mistaken.”

Link to a study on the front page of the DOE website (that was hard):

http://lowdose.energy.gov/tumor_protein_induced.aspx

“When they exposed normal human cells to low doses of cesium-137 gamma rays, the TCTP protein level was greatly increased, with a significant enrichment in nuclei. TCTP up-regulation occurred in a manner dependent on the early sensors of DNA damage, specifically the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein and the enzyme DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK). Importantly, this up-regulation was associated with protective effects against DNA damage”.

J Zhang, BN Pandev, G Guo, D Pain, H Li, and EI Azzam. 2012. “Role of the translationally controlled tumor protein in DNA damage sensing and repair.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(16):E926-E933.

I don't know if the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is peer reviewed, or why it matters to my point about the DOE promoting the beneficial effects of low dose radiation.

Thank you.

All this is new to me; I didn't know DoE had such a program.

However, I know just enough to distrust Goffman's work until thoroughly replicated by others.  I suspect lumping all ionizing radiation together is a wrong approach and I'll await further advances.

Goffman's work has been thoroughly replicated by others for nearly 40 years. That's why UNSCEAR, WHO, BEIR, NCRP, and US EPA, and other regulatory bodies use Goffman's LNT model for risk assessment.

I suspect it is important to distinguish low dose at a high rate from low dose rate.  I suspect that matters.

Here are some figures on the incidence of skin cancer in the US:

“More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States, which makes it the most common form of cancer in that country.”

Incidence in Australia and New Zealand is four times higher.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Increasing_incidence_of_skin_cancer

Now, death rates are lower than for other types of cancer mostly due to the fact that the various forms of skin cancer are easily seen and promptly treated.

I doubt very much that cosmic rays are involved since most research seems to point to UV rays. Not to say that cosmic rays can cause skin cancer if there is sufficient exposure.

Why are the UV rays and low level of background cosmic rays not acting to prevent these cancers if hormesis is a valid theory?

Why are AGW deniers such as Willie Soon, Alex Rawls, gallopingcamel and A. Watts now pushing this hypothesis?

I don't know if you checked the cites by GC trying to prove the existence of hormesis but they are supported by ANS (Sakamoto “paper”) and the International Dose Response Society (the paper on the cobalt contaminated buildings).

Following my instincts I did a bit of a research into the whole area and have come to the conclusion that is fits neatly into the category of “Crank Science”. One of the clues is that hormesis is an area of research populated by very few scientists, one being dominant (Edward J. Calabrese). Rather than publish in the standard scientific journals (can't get them past peer review?), they form their own society and publish there own “peer reviewed” journals. Also the major way they get noticed by outsiders is by PR releases from companies and indistries which stand to benefit from their results and conclusions. A further indication of crank science is that the results are continually promoted by other crank scientists in completely different fields, e.g. Willie Soon, and get taken up the the anti-science blogosphere: wattsuphisbutt, bishop shill, etc. Reminds me of the old saying “cranks of a feather lie together”.

NIcely stated.

The cranks try to mix two different methodologies, hormesis and lack of a LNT. It has been well known for many years that cells have the ability to repair the damage to DNA, damage caused by a variety of toxic agents including radiation and a number of chemicals. The LNT is used by regulatory agencies because it is impossible to say at what dose a toxic effect will be encountered. One can establish doses for animals but the only way to be sure is by experimentation. Note that there will be situations when the lowest of low dose will have an effect if the target piece of DNA is part of the specific DNA repair mechanism. No bio-ethics panel will ever allow this on humans. How on earth did Sakamoto ever get bio-ethical clearance for experiments when he claimed to be giving 3X a lethal dose of radiation to his patients? Unfortunately, cranks can say just about anything and some people will believe them.

I don't think that many people realize that hormesis means giving normal and healthy people a dose of a toxin (chemical or radiation) in case they become in contact with them down the road. I can assure you that I wont be lining up for it though I do line up for a flu shot each year. That is real prevention.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248601/

It doesn't mean what you think it means.

And I'll point out that there are people who regularly go to radioactive hot springs for relief from various pains.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248601/

It doesn't mean what you think it means.

And I'll point out that there are people who regularly go to radioactive hot springs for relief from various pains.

Many people give up on the medical system. They fall for all sorts of crank therapies. Have you ever heard of the placebo effect?

Please do not spread stuff like this, sick people deserve a lot better than suffering even more, usually in a financial way from people who prey on those who have lost hope.

I do not find your support of nuclear to be any better or worthwhile than your support for crank medical cures. Funny how there are as many cranks talking about the “good effects” of radiation as there are pushing creation and climate denial.

I spent 7 years as a post doc working on cancer research so I am aware of the many cranks associated with that area.

The only report I've read stated that symtomatic relief lasted for about a year.  This from a German and as you surely know Germany has one of the best medical systems in the world.

Not I am not claiming that a hot spring lacking radioactivity would not do as well.  I just not that there are several spas which do a booming business.

note

I am trained in radiation safety and was responsible for “Personnel Protection” for a team of scientists working with highly lethal gamma ray sources.  While not sold on the idea of radiation hormesis I am keeping an open mind.

What I do know is that the LNT hypothesis only works for near lethal doses as Sakamoto points out.    When LNT is applied to low doses it fails miserably; alarmists use it to predict “Mega Deaths” following disasters like Chernobyl.   If it were true where are the bodies?

A certain insurance company (not Munich Re) has actuarial tables that include the following “Estimated Loss of Life Expectancy” for a medical X-Ray (6 days), average background radiation in the USA (8 days), “Radiation Worker” (40 days) and a coast to coast airline flight (100 minutes).  All of this is based on the LNT which does not work for low dose radiation.  Nevertheless insurance companies will continue to use such figures to exaggerate risks and thereby increase premiums.

Having worked with radiation sources capable of delivering lethal radiation doses in a few seconds I have a healthy respect for ionizing radiation, just as I have respect for the lethal properties of my 50 kV, 2 kA power supplies.  I have no respect for people who apply the LNT to low dose radiation in the face of overwhelming evidence that low doses may be beneficial in some circumstances:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2477708/

You seem to be under a fallacy. Just because LNT may not be real, i.e. some very low doses of some cellular antagonist have no deleterious effect on cellular metabolism, the continued exposure should provide protection. This is utter nonsense and can be easily shown to be false.

If this premise were to be true we should see no occupational cancers since the low exposure should be protecting those in contact with the carcinogens. How do you explain testicular cancer in boy chimney sweeps in Dickensian London? How do you explain the lip cancers found in people who painted luminous numbers on the instrument dials for WW 2 aircraft? How do you explain the large numbers of cancers in Cumbria which is polluted with discharges from Sellafield and other plants in that area? I can continue with many other instances where low level exposure does not protect but induces cancer.

Hormesis is now being touted by the nuclear industry as a way to say that energy production using nuclear reactors is safe and might even make you healthier. These scams are even worse than what the fossil fuel industry puts out or the transnational seed and agrochemical companies.

One thing they all have in common is to follow the example of the tobacco and asbestos industries, create doubt, confusion and hope.

 

The nuclear industry takes no stand on hormesis (which you improperly define by the way).

Under some circumstances, some nuclear power plants (NPPs) might emit some Iodine 131.  Everybody recognizes that as thyroid cancer inducing.  Some NPPs are adding an air filter for I-131 and Cs-37, already present on some designs.

Those examples you cite are all well understood.  Alpha particles are a particularly deadly form of ionizing radiation.  The Q-factor for “Alphas” is typically ~20 which means that one decay does 20 times more damage to living cells than a gamma decay of the same energy.  Unlike gamma rays, Alpha particles don't have much penetrating power so they only become a problem if they come from ingested materials.

Those ladies painting instrument dials used to lick their brushes to control the shape of the brush tip.  While doing this they ingested tiny quantities of paint containing Radium.  The first decay for Radium involves a lively alpha particle (4.8 MeV).  The residence time of Radium in the human body is measured in months, making it a particularly dangerous source of radiation.

Someone else has already pointed out that the UK made a mistake when it tried to combine Plutonium production (for weapons) with electric power generation in the Magnox and WAGR projects at Sellafield/Windscale.  When fires emit smoke containing 20,000 Curies of Cs137, I-131 and Actinides, evacuation “Down Wind” would be prudent. 

When one studies the science of “Radiation Protection” you learn about horrendous examples of loss of life, most of which occured before the nature of ionizing radiation was understood.   For example, to get a feel for how dangerous it was to mine radioactive ores, click on the .pdf at this site:

http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/6140/

Did you read that paper on the Taiwan Cobalt 60 accident that affected over 1,500 people?  If you had read my earlier post more carefully you should have noticed that I am not convinced that radiation hormesis is real.  What I am sure about is the failure of the LNT hypothesis at low doses.  It suits insurance companies to accept the LNT because it exaggerates risks, thereby justifying higher insurance premiums.  It also suits scare mongers who want to talk about “Mega-deaths”. 

Likewise Munich Re accepts CAGW dogma because it exaggerates the negative effects of a warm climate, thus justifing higher insurance premiums.  Follow the money!
  

the last paragraph.

Which is blatant garbage.

A reinsurance company has to set rates high enough to cover payments but low enough not to lose buisness to other reinsurers.

Geez.

business

Every few months I visit pro-CAGW web sites.  While I realise that nobody will be persuaded I don't mind being a punching bag for people like you who actually care about what the research says.  While we may draw quite different conclusions from the same data, we can disagree without name calling or “ad hominem” attacks.

This web site is far superior to other CAGW sites such as “Skeptical Science” and “Think Progress” because it allows debates like the one we just had without intrusive “Moderation” (aka censorship).  Here are my thoughts on blog sites that invite comments but won't address issues that challenges their world view.

http://www.gallopingcamel.info/Docs/DeletedCamel.doc

I won't be returning to this blog for a while so if you want to comment you can reach me through my public email account “info@gallopingcamel.info”.

Best wishes for a prosperous New Year.

Thanks for the link, GC. Nice of you to out yorself as a One World Government conspiracy theorist.

I completely reject the conspiracy theory of world government based on theories about “Illuminati”, “Freemasons”, “Bilderbergers”, “Committee on Foreign Relations” or whatever.

What is going on is better explained by assuming that the people who are in power want to remain in power.  Please read “Why Nations Fail” by Daren Acemoglu and James Robinson and then call me.

http://www.amazon.com/Why-Nations-Fail-Prosperity-ebook/dp/B0058Z4NR8

Pages

[x]

A worldwide transition to low carbon fuels could save the global economy as much as $1.8 trillion over the next two decades, according to two reports published Thursday by the Climate Policy Initiative.

By switching to renewable energy sources, the high costs associated with extracting and transporting coal and gas could be avoided, the reports, titled Moving to a Low Carbon Economy: The Financial Impact of the Low-Carbon...

read more