Monday, 01 June 2009

300,000 Annual Global Warming Deaths?

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Annan at Global Humanitarian ForumGlobal Humanitarian Forum — an organization headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan — announced last Friday that climate change is responsible for 300,000 deaths per year throughout the world. The group's report, "The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis," alleges that 90 percent of these deaths are caused by a “gradual environmental degradation caused by a warming climate that exacerbates the threats of malnutrition, diarrhoea (sic), and malaria.”  (No mention on how the ban on DDT, an effective insecticide responsible for saving countless lives, has caused malarial deaths to go up again.)

The remainder of the fatalities are allegedly caused by “weather disasters.”  Though reviewed favorably by friends of the UN, the Global Humanitarian Forum's thesis is contradicted by an actual peer-reviewed report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2000;321:670-673) where it was demonstrated the effects of cold temperatures had 5 to 15 times the mortality of warm-temperature events.

The forum's report claims to have been reviewed by leading experts including Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — an organization with the sole purpose of providing evidence of anthropogenic global warming (human-caused global warming) for politicians and media.  Its timing was to coincide with official preparatory talks in Bonn for a new UN international climate agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.

Not everyone is happy with the report. In fact, political scientist Roger A. Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado in Boulder, who studies disaster trends and who was quoted in the New York Times regarding the report, terms it a “methodological embarrassment” because there is no way to determine if predicted deaths would be caused by climate factors or the much more influential dynamics of economic and societal changes. Pielke’s entire quote is worth repeating: “This report is a methodological embarrassment and poster child for how to lie with statistics.  The report is worse than fiction, it is a lie.”  Come on Professor Pielke, tell us how you really feel.

As more international scientists are lining up in opposition to claims of a coming global catastrophe from anthropogenic global warming, and as polls show voters have swung to believe temperature increases are naturally occurring and not caused by human activity, the message of climate alarmists has become more shrill in an attempt to gain attention from a ho-hum public. Last month British scientists in Antarctica warned of “rivers of ice” speeding toward the ocean. The biggest glacier, Pine Island, was said to be a “couple of kilometers thick,” 30 kilometers wide, and moving at 3.5 kilometers per year. Should we warn Floridians to abandon their beach homes? Not hardly.  Comparing the yearly effect of this glacier on sea level is the same as adding a volume of water equal to one-fifth of a sugar cube to an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Photo of Kofi Annan: AP Images

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