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Mainstream Media Ignores Good News, Cries “Wolf” Over Climate Change

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Townhall Media

On a given morning the individual who happens to be a subscriber to a local newspaper may wake up over coffee being abruptly greeted by a headline reading “Man-made Global Warming (or Climate Change, or Climate Crisis) Is Causing Increasing Deaths”, with latest estimates reaching into the multi-millions.


Is this implausible statement really credible? It may seem entirely plausible in the eyes of “the woke” segment of 21st Century US society.

Recently The Lancet, a medical science journal published in the United Kingdom, reviewed the results of an international study where experts analyzed mortality data from a majority of countries around the world. The authors reached a consensus that arrived at an odd conclusion:  Combined deaths—from excess temperatures, both high and low—actually have dropped during the two decades since 2000.

Dropped? You may ask “how could that be?” After all, have we not been reminded incessantly by the mainstream media that climate change is causing an ever-increasing number of unnecessary deaths, and especially so over these past several decades?

But it’s right there in print. Lancet informs readers of two unanticipated and seemingly counter-intuitive (to them at least) conclusions by some 68 medical scientists and statisticians, representing universities in 33 countries, covering all regions of the globe: (1) Cold temperatures contribute to far more deaths annually than do warm temperatures. (2) Deaths from extremes associated with both high and low temperatures combined are decreasing. And, most notably, cold consistently accounts for more than 10 times more deaths than does heat. In other words, bring on the warming?


In the summary to their report the authors have concluded the following:  

To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to provide a global overview of mortality burden attributable to non-optimal temperatures… between 2000 and 2019—the warmest period since the pre-industrial age. We modeled the variation in the … response relationship between temperature and mortality. … using data on more than 130 million deaths from 43 countries  … located in five continents … with different climates, demographics, stage of economic development … and public health services. The large sample size and its representativeness improved … our results. We found that 5+ million deaths were associated with non-optimal temperatures over the course of the year. Most of the excess deaths were explainable by cold temperatures."

The study authors further state there has been a small, possibly statistically insignificant, 0.21 per cent increase in heat-related deaths since 2000. Meanwhile, deaths tied to cold temperatures declined by 0.51 per cent over the same period. Because cold-related deaths far outnumber heat-related deaths, by 10 to one, the number of deaths associated with non-optimal temperatures has declined by some tens of thousands since 2000. The reduced temperature-related mortality is best explained as the result of more moderate winters (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) and improvements in shelter and the ability to heat with fossil fuels. Good news, indeed, it might seem to the unprejudiced observer!


In fairness to the Lancet editors, it should be acknowledged that they are in general agreement with the climate-alarmist school. Other Lancet articles on the same subject explore the effect of extreme temperatures (daily maximum summer temperatures higher than 97th percentile or winter low temperatures falling below the 3rd percentile). Lancet also supports the idea that future temperatures will climb to levels asserted by the UN/IPCC in their recent AR6 Report

Yet the UN’s published climate projections have consistently over-estimated the increases actually recorded during the brief 30+ year history of climate modeling. The forty-plus year record of satellite measurements show temperatures consistently falling below model projections based on even the least aggressive of the several scenarios.  

The recent Lancet study revealed results consistent with other studies published previously, but often overlooked in the US media, such as a review by Bjørn Lomborg, noted Danish statistician and economist. His July essay appearing in the National Post (Canada) painstakingly explains how the moderate amounts of warming currently affecting the world population has reduced deaths from exposure to cold much more than has a comparatively small increase in deaths from exposure to excessive heat.  This should be proclaimed as good news by every major US news outlet, but sadly it is not. 


The bye-word of modern-day journalism seems instead to be, “If you have a good meme that supports the popular doom-and-gloom narrative, stick with it no matter what the facts.”

William D. Balgord, Ph.D. (geochemistry) heads Environmental & Resources Technology, Inc. in Middleton, WI.

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