Columbia Asylum/Warming Study Given “Damning Verdict” By German Spiegel, Leading Scientists

Science journalist Axel Bojanowski at German flagship, center-left news weekly Spiegel here dismissed a recent study published by Columbia University scientists Wolfram Schlenker and Anouch Missirian, who had claimed climate warming was driving masses of environmental refugees to Europe.

The two scientists claimed in Science to have found a relationship between weather disasters and refugees migrating to Europe.

However, the far-fetched conclusions by the two scientists has since been met with sharp and harsh criticism for its loose use of statistics. The study was financed by the JRC of the European Union. One member of the JRC, Juan-Carlos Ciscar, said it was time for policy makers to act.

Paper gets “crushing assessment” from other scientists

However, Spiegel’s Bojanowski reports that a number of leading experts dismissed the paper’s claims. For example Thomas Bernauer and Vally Koubi the Zurich-based ETH said: “Politicians would be ill-advised to orient themselves based on this study.”

Bojanowski added that other experts SPIEGEL ONLINE asked gave it “a damning verdict“.

“Dumbest use of statistics”

The Spiegel journalist also took jabs at other leading media outlets, such as the Guardian, Reuters and AP, implying they uncritically used the study for hype.

Bojanowski then cited statistics expert William Briggs of Cornell to assess the methodology used by the study:

The dumbest, most idiotic use of statistics that I’ve seen in a long time.”

Tobias Ide of the Georg Eckert Institute also warned against simplifying “the relationship between warmer temperatures and migration“, Bojanowski wrote, and that Jonas Vestby of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo was surprised the paper ever got by peer-review.

Christiane Fröhlich of the University of Hamburg is considering a rebuttal at Science, Spiegel’s Bojanowski wrote.


Fröhlich says the Columbia University authors confused environmental refugees with political refugees. In Europe refugee status is given to persons who are politically oppressed and persecuted and not to those moving due to the environment. Critics of the study also called the projections and correlations claimed by Schlenker and Missirian as “highly speculative“.

Fröhlich also told Spiegel the paper “ignored numerous studies” on migration and warming. Briggs added that the two authors based their assumptions on only “15 years and in only one region” and “ignored 6000 years of human history“.

Bojanowski cited Briggs:

Just how important it would have been to include other regions was made clear by Briggs using one provocative question: ‘Why then don’t asylum applications in cool Chile rise after heat waves in the warm neighboring countries?'”


13 responses to “Columbia Asylum/Warming Study Given “Damning Verdict” By German Spiegel, Leading Scientists”

  1. Arthur L Coleman JR

    There are many studies showing a link between climate change and migration, and climate change will bring millions of climate migrants to the United States. But, as usual, we have a lot of deniers who cherry-pick data and present little, if any, facts to substantiate their claims, Personally, with the planet about to crash, I believe the climate change deniers should be prosecuted and incarcerated for putting the human species at risk.

    1. Kenneth Richard

      we have a lot of deniers who cherry-pick data and present little, if any, facts to substantiate their claims

      375 Non-Global Warming Graphs

      Above is a link to several hundred scientific papers and about 375 graphs that show that modern day temperatures throughout the Earth are neither unusual or unprecedented in the context of this 11,700-year long interglacial. In fact, modern temperatures are much colder than they’ve been throughout most of the Holocene. Which one of these papers (122 scientfic papers and 150+ graphs from 2017 alone) is a cherry pick? Which one of these graphs are fabrications?

      Personally, with the planet about to crash, I believe the climate change deniers should be prosecuted and incarcerated for putting the human species at risk.

      Please present the scientific evidence that “the planet is about to crash”.

      The Earth’s sea levels were about 2-3 meters (or more) higher than they are now about 5,000-6,000 years ago, and surface temperatures were about 4 to 6 degrees warmer than now at that time too.

      10,000 To 5,000 Years Ago, Global Sea Levels Were 3 Meters Higher, Temperatures 4-6° C Warmer

      Arctic sea ice is presently much more extensive than it was during the Medieval times and during nearly all of the last 10,000 years.

      Hurricanes are less frequent and intensive now, the Earth is much greener now, droughts are less intensive and less frequent, extreme weather events are less common….as several dozen papers published just in the last few years document.

      But please do present your “the planet is about to crash evidence” that allows you to imagine that scientists who don’t agree with you should be incarcerated, Arthur Coleman, Jr.

    2. AndyG55

      You are welcome to produce one single paper that shows CO2 causes warming of our convective atmosphere.

      You are also welcome to show that anything unusual is happening to the climate. Because it is actually pretty darn benign and we are very much at the cooler end of the current interglacial.

      Its still COOLER than the MWP, there still more Arctic sea ice than there has been for more than 90% of the last 10,000 years.

      There is NOT ONE person that could be called a “climate refugee”.. Most people I know have moved because they didn’t like the climate where they were, oved to WARMER placed.

      Personally I think AGW “believers” should be subjected to frontal lobotomies to increase their IQ.

      1. Patrick healy

        You hit the nail on the head (again).
        My beautiful ex fiance – of near 50 years ago – and himself are off to Tenerife for 3 weeks tomorrow.
        We find it a bit on the cool side in north east Scotland.

    3. yonason (from my cell phone)

      It is the self-appointed “greenies” who are the destroyers of the world.

      And you want to persecute* those who want to save it.

      *(yes – prosecution of the innocent is a form of persecution.)

      NOTE – the watermelons present ZERO evidence for their case, since it is a matter of faith for them.

    4. Bitter&twisted

      Arthur, I take it you are being sarcastic?
      If so the usual form is to follow your witticism with the word “sarc”.

    5. tom0mason

      Science has rapidly become a faith for so many.

      Science is nothing but a human concoction, seeking as it does, to find our limited interpretation of the basic truths of this natural universe, and mankind’s place in it. Our understanding of this natural universe will always be inaccurate and incomplete, as science is only a continuous process of improving approximations.

      Some mistakenly believe that humans with their limited communication skills, and very limited technology have moved beyond nature’s grasp. This of course is wrong, man and his endeavors are part of this nature, and as far as can be assessed follows a natural path.

      The pursuit of science however, for too many individuals, has become some method by which these people BELIEVE it will prove that humans are in charge of nature and not the other ways about. Or at least it is able to explain most of our universe’s nature. This, of course, is another fallacy. We can not even coherently explain the basic fundamentals of our universe, or prove that our theories are correct. (E.g. scientifically explain time, why it passes as it does and what are its limitations).

      We are not and never have been in charge. Specifically humans in all their actions, are influenced by and because of nature, and it has always been such.

      So, do human’s influenced the climate? — Of course we do as we are part of the natural biology of the planet. From the earliest times we have. But climate has, over the centuries, massively affected mankind and his endeavors.

      Are we affecting the climate detrimentally, beyond what nature can tolerate? — No as we are too small and ineffectual to perform such a task! Just look at the massive forces nature can use to reset any perceived ‘unbalance’, an ‘unbalance’ that nature defines, not us.

      Has the recent rise in CO2 levels happened because of humans? — Very, very unlikely — other bigger natural forces control such things, and science has to yet prove otherwise. People who think otherwise appear to be suffering from a mad hubristic belief built upon human’s poor communications and even worse technology.

      Can CO2 warm our damp and dynamic atmosphere (below the tropopause)? — Very, very, very unlikely as our damp atmosphere is not a rigid structure, it is always on the move, and thus dissipates solar energy through that mechanism.

      The philosophy of science is a worthy endeavor for us as it holds the tools to improve our lives in many ways. However science is not a list of known facts, but an accumulation of approximations that seek to explain our universe. As such these approximations are always inaccurate and incomplete, thus they must always be questioned, can always be improved upon.

      As it says at the top of this page — Jacob Bronowski said “Not here to worship what is known, but to question it”

    6. Dave Ward

      “I believe the climate change deniers should be prosecuted and incarcerated for putting the human species at risk”

      It looks like Arthur Coleman isn’t the only one with such charming views:

    7. Colorado Wellington

      I for one appreciate the magnanimity of our enlightened Ruler and Benefactor Arthur L Coleman, Defender of the Faith, and by the Grace of Birth, Junior.

      Given a stark choice between the ascendant rulers of The Planet’s two mercurial cults, I will gladly accept The One who will raise His Sword in righteous anger and have me thrown in the dungeon rather than grab a scimitar and cut my head off completely and irreversibly.

      There, in the cold darkness I will see the shallowness of my heart and I will accept Many Studies as my Savior. I shall repent and ascend to the light.

  2. John F. Hultquist

    We have neighbors that are climate change migrants. Every so often they claim climate change and head off to Quartzsite, Arizona. The crisis seems to last about 5 months, and then it’s over. They head west into California, then north through Nevada, clip SE Oregon, and head north through Idaho. Next comes Oregon, and soon we see their car in the driveway. About 3 days after this epic migration concludes they emerge from the house into the wonderous spring in Washington State.
    Those of us that failed to recognize that the climate was changing are still where we were when they left. This is quite mysterious and confusing.

  3. yonason (from my cell phone)

    Actually, my parents were “climate migrants.” They moved to Florida from Massachusetts, because my dad could no longer stand the cold. No, the climate didn’t change. My dad’s tolerance of the cold decreased, …which is why I write “climate migrants,” not “climate change migrants.”

  4. David Johnson

    So Arthur Coloeman, you are seriously suggesting that a temperature rise of maybe half a degree since 1980 is causing people to flee half way across the world? You should also note that actual DATA shows no increase in extreme weather events anywhere. But then you are probably a troll who will never read this aren’t you?

  5. Michael Jones

    One suspects climate may be secondary to..say..the world’s most powerful people doing everything within their power to create migrants, using a combination of stupid wars, open borders and the welfare state.