CDN would like to apologize to our faithful readers for unwittingly spreading climate misinformation and disinformation in our July 19 newsletter. We made reference to an article in the supposedly-respected-by-all-the-top-experts peer-reviewed science journal The Lancet which showed that cold weather kills 10 times as many Europeans as hot weather. That part was accurate, but we failed to warn readers that like many prominent science journals, when The Lancet publishes studies on climate change they are prone to including highly manipulated graphs that misrepresent the data to make it look scarier than it really is. We are grateful to Bjorn Lomborg who spotted the scam this time, and we apologize for trusting The Lancet and would like to take this opportunity to correct the record.
Here is the graph as published by The Lancet:
It shows the death rates per 100,000 in each of the studied locations due to heat (red) and cold (blue). You can see that cold is a bigger threat than heat, although in some places the two bars are about the same size, especially in the Southern region, so you might think heat and cold are about equally hazardous down there.
You might… until you look closely at the axes. For cold weather each tick represents 50 deaths, while for warm weather each one represents only 10. The axis on the heat side has been stretched 5-fold to exaggerate the size of the hot weather hazard. Lomborg showed what the graph would have looked like if it was prepared properly:
That chart shows exactly the same data without the childishly-misleading axis trick. You can see at a glance how small the risks of death from heat are compared to cold. Which means that if Europe does warm in the years ahead, far from inhabitants perishing in record quantities, 10 times as many lives will be saved from reducing cold weather risks than will be lost due to increasing hot weather extremes.
CDN expresses its sincere apologies for not catching this error and allowing misinformation from climate scientists to be spread on the internet. We call upon the appropriate authorities to do more to challenge the flow of misinformation and disinformation from scientific journals like The Lancet.