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World ends, children hardest hit

29 Jan 2020 | OP ED Watch

A reader sends us an article from Time magazine last fall on “How climate change is clobbering kids’ health”. Except the bigger threat is climate change policy. For instance, Time says “the microscopic particulate matter produced by burning fossil fuels” is damaging their lungs. But particulate matter is not a greenhouse gas, whereas climate hysteria causes governments to cancel plans to build power plants so families in poor countries have to keep burning wood and dung indoors which fills the air with microscopic particulate matter.

It was, apparently, a news story or a Health feature or some such. But with sufficient selectivity about topic and evidence, everything is opinion. And the opinion here is that in a perfect world a child born today would grow up without coal, gas-powered cars or any net human emission of GHGs and still somehow be prosperous. (No really; even the stuff we breathe would be offset by some magic thing in the pages of Time, which would somehow print and distribute 2 million copies without itself emitting CO2.) In real life, well, boo, Trump pulled out of Paris, “other nations are observing it only spottily, global temperatures are continuing to rise – and the health of children is being clobbered in the process.”

Even that “in the process” is suspicious. As we noted in our videos on the Paris Accord, if every nation including the U.S. did meet its commitments, the computer models say it would make a difference so small nobody would notice. (Except for the bit where they have no car and no fuel for their furnace; that they’d notice.)

The Time story says “One of the most damaging examples is the microscopic particulate matter produced by burning fossil fuels. The study [from Harvard, in the Lancet and typically now “accompanied” by a “policy brief”] found that more than 90% of the world’s 2.2 billion children are exposed to particles at concentrations above the safe limit defined by the World Health Organization.” Oh really? And where are the 10% who aren’t? In some oil-free paradise where they still cook on open fires? Or in wealthy countries where we can afford to care for the environment?

The story adds that as children are less able to regulate body temperature, they’re at greater risk of kidney disease. Which again is far worse in wealthy countries with high per capita fuel use, right? No, of course not. And as we’ve also pointed out previously, it is cold not heat that kills people including children.

The story even turns the urban heat island into a global warming issue, saying “While the average global temperature has risen 0.2˚C compared with a 1983-2005 baseline, the average heat in big cities and other population centres has risen 0.8˚C.” Which if true makes you wonder why people flock to cities if warming is such a catastrophe, and furthermore it means it is not the fault of greenhouse gases, and adds to the point that anyone who claims they can measure global temperature changes to a tenth of a degree is a shaman or a charlatan.

One more thing: the story claims that “Rising temperatures are reducing the duration of the growing season for three key staples – maize, rice and spring wheat – slashing harvests and increasing the risk of famine in vulnerable developing countries.” Again we say: Oh really? At the end of a decade that saw the greatest reduction in absolute poverty in history, including starvation, despite considerable population growth, we’re meant to believe harvests have been “slashed”. Where exactly?

Oh right. In the pages of Time, where news looks like opinion and opinion looks like hysteria.

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