The Non-Existent Global Warming Body Count

by John Hawkins | December 11, 2003 11:59 pm

These sort of wild claims about global warming are so pathetic that they don’t even qualify as “junk science” in my opinion…

“U.N.: 150,000 deaths[1] tied to warmer world

As negotiators on a global warming pact ran into new obstacles Thursday, a U.N. agency estimated that 150,000 deaths in 2000 were tied to warmer temperatures and that the toll could double in 30 years if current trends are not reversed.”

150k deaths caused by global warming in 2000? Good grief, we’ve got to do something! Sign Kyoto, throw all the cars in the ocean, build a giant shield and block out the sun! Do whatever it takes to stop global warming….hey, wait a second, before we do all those things how did they come up with this figure of 150,000 deaths?

Well, let’s take a look…

“The agency also estimated warmer temperatures were to blame for 2.4 percent of cases of diarrhea worldwide, and two percent of all cases of malaria.

Gradual warming in many cases can lead to increased rainfall, creating more places for stagnant water to build up. “Still water provides additional breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other vectors which transmit diseases such as malaria and dengue fever,” the agency said.”

Uh, what? How in the world did they come up with those numbers? Are they trying to say that temperature went up 2+%? If so, from what year to what year? Did it go up uniformly in every place they have malaria & diarrhea or unevenly? Even if the temperature went up let’s say 2%, is global warming responsible for the increase or could it be just a “warm” season? Does a 2% increase in temperature necessarily translate to a 2% increase in malaria?

What I’m trying to point out here is that there is no way to measure what they’re claiming they’ve measured. What they’re doing here is either taking statistics that could be interpreted a dozen different ways and asserting that it supports their claims or they’re pulling the numbers out of thin air. In any case, there is no “scientific” way to justify saying that global warming caused “2.4 percent of cases of diarrhea in 2000”.

Professor Paul Reiter who’s quoted in the article agrees with that sentiment,

“It is naive to predict the effects of ’global warming’ on malaria on the mere basis of temperature.

Exactly professor, exactly.

Other articles I ran across mentioned other highly dubious numbers that were used to pad that 150,000 estimate. For example, here’s one from Reuters[2] that ties the heatwave in Europe into global warming…

“Global warming killed 150,000 people in 2000 and the death toll could double again in the next 30 years if current trends are not reversed, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.

One heatwave killed 20,000 people in Europe alone this year, the WHO said, launching a book on health-weather links at a U.N. environment conference.

20,000 people didn’t die in Europe because of a heatwave, 20,000 people died in Europe because they didn’t have air conditioning. Moreover, how can they blame the heatwave on global warming? Would they blame deaths in a snow storm on global cooling? Unusual weather is something mankind has lived with all throughout history, so why should every unusual weather event be blamed on “global warming”?

A piece on CNN[3] even goes so far as to blame flooding in China on global warming…

Climate change may have cost the world over $60 billion in 2003, triggering a spate of natural disasters from a deadly heat wave in Europe to massive flooding in China, the United Nations has said…

“Flooding along the Huai and Yangtze Rivers in China between July and September was the next most costly (event behind the European heatwave).

It damaged 650,000 apartments, estimated to cost nearly $8 billion, according to the preliminary “snapshot” findings from Munich Re.”

You know floods aren’t exactly unusual. They happen all the time, all over the world. Always have, always will.

Then there’s this related article at the BBC[4] that blames global warming for WINTER STORMS…

“The number of serious winter storms in Britain has doubled during the past 50 years, according to scientists.

Met Office experts say the trend could be linked to long-term changes in air pressure, caused by greenhouse gases.”

It’s pretty easy to come up with huge numbers like “150,000 dead” or “60 billion dollars lost” when you simply blame global warming for every disaster that comes down the pike. Is there a drought? It’s global warming. What about a flood? Yep, that’s global warming too. A summer heatwave? Obviously, global warming is responsible. And winter storms? Global warming stikes again!

The reality is that we really don’t know enough about the climate to know what sort of effect man is having on the global temperature or what earth’s climate is going to be like 20-30 years now. I mean come on, back in the early eighties they were saying that man was causing global COOLING. Now they’re saying man is causing global WARMING. Meanwhile, your weatherman can’t even definitively tell you if it’s going to rain tomorrow or what the weather is going to be like for your trip to the beach next week. Humankind’s knowledge on this subject is currently lacking and until it improves, it doesn’t make sense to make radical changes in an effort to deal with global warming.

  1. 150,000 deaths:
  2. Reuters:
  3. CNN:
  4. BBC:

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