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Warren Buffett: Global warming not causing extreme weather

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Business magnate Warren Buffett contradicted a major Obama administration talking point by saying that global warming was not causing extreme weather.

The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway told CNBC that he has not changed the way his companies calculate the likelihood of a natural disaster because of global warming.

Berkshire Hathaway owns several insurance companies that often have to pay out huge claims when natural disasters strike. Environmentalists and the Obama administration have warned that global warming has caused natural disasters like hurricanes to become fiercer and more common.

But Buffett’s experience leads him to believe otherwise, saying that insuring against hurricanes in the U.S. has been a profitable venture in recent years as only a few storms have actually made landfall.

“I think that the public has the impression that because there has been so much talk about climate, that events of the last 10 years, from an insured standpoint on climate, have been unusual,” Buffett told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “The answer is, they haven’t.”

“You read about these events, but you read about events 30, or 40, or 50 years ago,” he added.

Buffett’s comments fly in the face of efforts by the Obama administration to tie weather events to global warming. Recently, President Obama traveled to drought-stricken California to announce his plan for a $1 billion fund to prepare communities for the impact of global warming.

“Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say, ‘Yes, we did,’” Obama said in his 2014 State of the Union Address.

But scientific evidence suggests otherwise. Research by University of Colorado climate scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. found that weather events have not been getting more extreme due to global warming.

In particular, Pielke found that hurricanes “have not increased in the U.S. in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900.”

Pielke also noted that the costs of disasters have not been increasing wither, when economic and population growth are taken into account. For example, the economic losses from floods have fallen 75 percent as a percentage of GDP since 1940.

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