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Critique of "Lancet Countdown" on Climate Change: The Need For Context

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Dr. Indur Goklany authored a damning critique of the 2019 report of the Lancet Countdown, a partnership of 35 academic institutions and UN agencies. That report tracks the progress of health impacts of climate change and suggests that the health effects of climate change are worsening. Goklany says that between 1990 and 2017, the death rate from climate sensitive diseases dropped from 8.1% to 5.5%, while the burden of disease measured in life years lost declined from 12% to 8%. The burden of death and disease from climate sensitive diseases are small and getting smaller. Furthermore, the rate of death and disease from climate sensitive diseases are declining faster that the all-cause rates. Goklany blasts the report for not mentioning the declining death rates from climate sensitive diseases in the executive summary.

Status of Canadian Polar Bears Updated Map from Environment Canada

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Dr. Susan Crockford presents on her blog a new map from Environment Canada giving the population status and trends of polar bears in Canada. The map is included in Canada’s presentation at a meeting of polar bear range states in January 2018. Dr. Crockford reports; 7 out of 13 subpopulations are stable, likely stable, increased, or likely increased only one is likely reduced (Southern Beaufort) 5 out of 13 subpopulations are data deficient She wrote, “With more than half of Canada’s subpopulations either stable or increasing in what are considered by some … to be the most vulnerable regions of the Arctic, polar bears are clearly doing well in Canada despite the abrupt decline in summer sea ice …”.

Health Effects of Global Warming

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This article reviews three papers on the health effects of warming. A study published in 2015 examined 74 million deaths worldwide from 1985 to 2012 and found that the ratio of cold-related to heat-related deaths was a whopping 17 to 1. A study of heat-related deaths in the USA shows that as heat waves become more frequent, heat-related deaths decrease because of adaptation. There were 41 heat-related deaths/year/million population is the 1960s and 1970s dropping to 17 in the 1980s and to only 10 in the 1990s. A 2017 study of temperature-related hospital emergency visits in China over the period 2011–2014 shows that the risk is far greater for cold temperatures than for hot temperatures. When temperatures fall the risk of an emergency visit increased by 80% but when temperature rise the risk increases by only 15%. The length of hospital stays due to cold temperatures are ten times greater than that due to hot temperatures.

Climate and Epidemics in China

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This paper analyzed the relationship between climate and infectious disease epidemics in China over the period 1370-1909 AD. There were a total of 5961 epidemic incidents in China during the period. The level of precipitation was not significantly correlated with epidemic count. The scientist found that in China a standard deviation decrease in temperature (about 0.8 °C) caused an increase of 162 epidemic outbreaks. The abstract says “cooling drove up epidemic outbreaks in northern and central China…”. This directly contradicts integrated assessment models that assume warming causes more disease and social cost.

Winters not Summers Increase Mortality and Stress the Economy

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Global warming alarmists continue to over-emphasize the danger of heat and ignore cold in their papers and in stories for the media. The danger associated with this misdirection is that cold weather kills many more people that hot weather. Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths. The Canadian death rate in January is more than 100 deaths/day greater than in August, for the years 2007 to 2011. The USA economic growth rate is much greater in warm months than in cold months.

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