It’s a bumper sticker you’re not likely to see. But there is a scientific basis for it, unlike glib claims in the opposite direction. CO2 Science notes a US study on temperature extremes and cardiorespiratory deaths. Yes, it said, heat episodes can be fatal, accounting for barely 0.4 percent, as in four per thousand, of deaths in the US due to heart failure causing fatal oxygen deprivation. But cold episodes are more than 16 times as deadly, accounting for over 7 percent of such deaths. Which somehow didn’t make headlines although had the findings gone the other way, it would have been all over the news.
The authors' calculation is based only on the temperature effects. But if we take a broader view, and if we attribute all the warming to greenhouse gases and none to nature, we should also count how effectively cardiorespiratory deaths are reduced when people have reliable access to ambulances, hospitals have electricity, and so forth. Whereas even if it has no effect on temperature, “decarbonization” will mean far worse health care, from getting to the ER through treatment in the hospital. So another good bumper sticker would be GLOBAL WARMING POLICY COSTS LIVES.
For some reason that finding didn’t get prominent play in the media or from the people in government whose job it is to inform you of such things. One rule of stories about climate change is that there must be no silver lining, that every effect is bad including the bit where any species that’s cute or majestic gets the chop whereas everything slimy and loathsome proliferates.
An interesting example was an article in Britain’s Daily Mail back in October citing a study in JAMA Cardiology finds that cold weather increases the risk of heart attacks. The specific cause was narrowing of the capillaries although as Canadians know well, a non-trivial issue is rushing out to shoveling snow in a hurry; one 48 year-old Ottawa city councillor recently had a heart attack while shoveling snow, though fortunately he seems to be OK.
Interestingly the Mail piece didn’t include a single reference to climate change, not even the claim we were hearing a lot a month or so ago about how warming causes more snow and cold. Whereas we’re normally told a warming planet will increase every conceivable health problem from kidney stones to poison ivy to say nothing of a predicted increase of stray cats in Toronto and a decrease in Bulgarian prostitutes in cities as a lack of snow lured them to ski resorts to entertain bored clients, a real news story, in the loosest sense of that term, from the 2007 “end of winter” scare.
It is a highly suspicious feature of global warming alarmism that it never finds even a small, isolated bright side to increasing temperature. Even if warming were on balance bad some consequence somewhere ought to be good. Unless the goal is crude propaganda not informed discussion.