The Week That Was: May 30, 2015- Brought to You by www.sepp.org
By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Climate and Health – Lancet: The British medical journal Lancet released what is billed as the most comprehensive study on the relationship between temperature extremes and human mortality. According to the abstract: “Although studies have provided estimates of premature deaths attributable to either heat or cold in selected countries, none has so far offered a systematic assessment across the whole temperature range in populations exposed to different climates. We aimed to quantify the total mortality burden attributable to non-optimum ambient temperature, and the relative contributions from heat and cold and from moderate and extreme temperatures.
“Methods: We collected data for 384 locations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and USA. We fitted a standard time-series Poisson model for each location, controlling for trends and day of the week. We estimated temperature-mortality associations with a distributed lag non-linear model with 21 days of lag, and then pooled them in a multivariate metaregression that included country indicators and temperature average and range. We calculated attributable deaths for heat and cold, defined as temperatures above and below the optimum temperature, which corresponded to the point of minimum mortality, and for moderate and extreme temperatures, defined using cutoffs at the 2·5th and 97·5th temperature percentiles.
“Findings: We analysed 74?225?200 deaths in various periods between 1985 and 2012. In total, 7·71% (95% empirical CI 7·43-7·91) of mortality was attributable to non-optimum temperature in the selected countries within the study period, with substantial differences between countries, ranging from 3·37% (3·06 to 3·63) in Thailand to 11·00% (9·29 to 12·47) in China. The temperature percentile of minimum mortality varied from roughly the 60th percentile in tropical areas to about the 80-90th percentile in temperate regions. More temperature-attributable deaths were caused by cold (7·29%, 7·02-7·49) than by heat (0·42%, 0·39-0·44). Extreme cold and hot temperatures were responsible for 0·86% (0·84-0·87) of total mortality.
“Interpretation: Most of the temperature-related mortality burden was attributable to the contribution of cold. The effect of days of extreme temperature was substantially less than that attributable to milder but non-optimum weather. This evidence has important implications for the planning of public-health interventions to minimise the health consequences of adverse temperatures, and for predictions of future effect in climate-change scenarios.”
The study was financed by the UK Medical Research Council.
These results (that about 20 times more deaths are associated with cold weather than hot weather) are not particularly surprising. For years independent scientists, such as those who participate in the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), have questioned mortality forecasts arising from the work presented by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and its claims of ever increasing temperatures.
The study focused on the temperate regions of the world, where most people live. Also of interest is that sub-optimal temperatures kill far more people than extreme temperatures. This indicates that the government focus on extreme events is misplaced. It is periods of cold or heat that should be the focus of public health officials.
No doubt, some Western governments are not pleased. They have placed enormous resources in “fighting global warming”, now called climate change due to the lack of 21st century warming. The study undermines the existence of many government programs and departments. Without the fear of increased mortality from global warming, taxpayers may begin to question those with political power, who exploit the fear of global warming/climate change. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy
Quote of the Week:
It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn’t get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man. – Richard Feynman
Number of the Week: $5,000,000,000,000 per year
Respect: Using a graduation ceremony of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy as the venue, President Obama asserted an “urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change.” There is no issue with the need to adapt to climate change, which has been ongoing for well over a billion years, long before the advent of multi-cell creatures, much less humanity.
In spite of spending at least twenty billion dollars on climate science, this Administration has not significantly advanced our knowledge of the natural influences on climate, as reflected in government publications, such as those by the USGCRP. In short, the Administration is demanding we fight an enemy without understanding it. Yet, one of the maxims of military strategy is: “Know your enemy.”
Given to those who are about to become military officers, trained to be respectful of the Commander in Chief, the speech was more fitting for a political fund-raising event. The President, and his aides, are apparently unaware that respect must be mutual. Such ceremonies should not be considered as political opportunities. See links under Defending the Orthodoxy.
Return of the Iris? A 2001 hypothesis by Richard Lindzen, et al. is making its way back into the literature. The hypothesis was quickly dismissed by the authoritarian Climate Establishment, without being fully considered. The hypothesis suggests that there is a natural response in the atmosphere to a warming, whatever the cause, which reduces the warming – a negative feedback. Such a negative feedback would lessen fears of “run-away” global warming, etc.
The return of the Iris indicates that the Climate Establishment can no longer authoritatively dismiss hypotheses that are contrary to its own beliefs – an advancement in Climate Science. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – The Iris?
Flash-in-the-Pan – Missing Hot Spot Found? Based on highly manipulated data, a paper published in Environmental Research letters asserted that its authors found the missing “hot spot” – an area centered over the tropics at about 10 km in which a warming trend, whatever the cause, is more pronounced than at the surface. [Note: this is different than the temperatures being greater than at the surface.] Like the original hot spot, declared in the IPCC Second Assessment Report, it appears that no one, other than the authors, can find this recently re-discovered hot spot.
What is amusing about the entire affair is that few in the Climate Establishment bothered to report that the “so-called” distinct human fingerprint was missing, at least, until it was re-discovered. Now, will it remain unnoticed and missing, again? See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Measurement Issues.
Number of the Week: $5,000,000,000,000 per year. In the march to Paris for the 2015 (the 21st) Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) starting on November 30, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) used very creative accounting techniques to declare that fossil fuel subsidies amount to about $5,000,000,000,000 per year.
Of course, there is no accounting of the enormous benefits fossil fuel use provide Western Civilization and humanity. These appear to be beyond the imaginative accounting capabilities of the IMF. See links Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.