Here Comes the Climate-Medical Complex

With Glasgow COP26 on the horizon, and public health officials savoring the power and social control they gained during the pandemic, medical journals are trumpeting claims  that climate change is an international public health crisis.  For example, in just one day from my news reader:

Over 200 medical journals cosign ‘catastrophic harm to health’ warning New York Post

More Than 230 Medical Journals: Climate Crisis Is “Greatest Threat to Global Public Health” Slate

In unprecedented bid, health science journals unite and call for ambitious climate action ZME Science

Report: More Than 200 Health Journals Call For Urgent Action on Climate Crisis Library Journal

Global health journals unite to demand climate action from world leaders Irish Examiner

Climate change will be ‘catastrophic’ for world’s health CGTN

UN climate chief: No country is safe from global warming Associated Press

220+ Medical Journals Unite to Demand Urgent Action on Climate Emergency Common Dreams

Health Experts Call Global Warming Greatest Health Threat Newsy

Climate change causing ‘catastrophic harm to health,’ experts warn euronews

Over 230 health journals call for urgent action to tackle climate crisis The Independent

Climate crisis poses global health risk, warn more than 200 health journals Silicon Republic

So there you have it all:  global warming, climate change, climate crisis, climate emergency.  James Joyner is skeptical of this call to arms, writing at outside the beltway Doctors Weigh in on Climate Change Because why the hell not. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Some 230 medical journals have cross-published an open letter calling climate change the “greatest” threat to global health. One can read the op-ed at, among lots of places, the New England Journal of Medicine. It reads, in part,

Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world, a state of affairs health professionals have been bringing attention to for decades. The science is unequivocal: a global increase of 1.5° C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse. Despite the world’s necessary preoccupation with Covid-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to pass to rapidly reduce emissions.

Reflecting the severity of the moment, this editorial appears in health journals across the world. We are united in recognizing that only fundamental and equitable changes to societies will reverse our current trajectory.

And it includes calls for drastic measures to mitigate these risks:

Equity must be at the center of the global response. Contributing a fair share to the global effort means that reduction commitments must account for the cumulative, historical contribution each country has made to emissions, as well as its current emissions and capacity to respond. Wealthier countries will have to cut emissions more quickly, making reductions by 2030 beyond those currently proposed and reaching net-zero emissions before 2050. Similar targets and emergency action are needed for biodiversity loss and the wider destruction of the natural world.

To achieve these targets, governments must make fundamental changes to how our societies and economies are organized and how we live.

The current strategy of encouraging markets to swap dirty for cleaner technologies is not enough. Governments must intervene to support the redesign of transport systems, cities, production and distribution of food, markets for financial investments, health systems, and much more. Global coordination is needed to ensure that the rush for cleaner technologies does not come at the cost of more environmental destruction and human exploitation.

Many governments met the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic with unprecedented funding. The environmental crisis demands a similar emergency response. Huge investment will be needed, beyond what is being considered or delivered anywhere in the world. But such investments will produce huge positive health and economic outcomes. These include high-quality jobs, reduced air pollution, increased physical activity, and improved housing and diet. Better air quality alone would realize health benefits that easily offset the global costs of emissions reductions.

So, here’s the thing. I’ve long been persuaded that climate change is a serious problem. While I’m skeptical of many of the specific cures being proposed—and especially of our ability to act collectively across the globe to enact them—it’s obvious that significant response is required.

But why are medical doctors, who have no more expertise on these matters than I do, pretending that they have useful expertise to offer hereTheir opinions on public policy regarding transportation infrastructure, emissions, equity, and the like are no more valuable than those of television repairmen or cable television installers.

Literally the only thing in the editorial that falls into their expertise is this paragraph:

The risks to health of increases above 1.5° C are now well established. Indeed, no temperature rise is “safe.” In the past 20 years, heat-related mortality among people over 65 years of age has increased by more than 50%. Higher temperatures have brought increased dehydration and renal function loss, dermatological malignancies, tropical infections, adverse mental health outcomes, pregnancy complications, allergies, and cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality. Harms disproportionately affect the most vulnerable, including children, older populations, ethnic minorities, poorer communities, and those with underlying health problems.

To the extent that the health implications are under-reported and highlighting them is helpful in signaling the urgency of the problem, it’s useful for medical journals to leverage their prestige to do so. But why the hell should we care what physicians think about the other issues escapes me.

Philip Greenspun questions the doctors’ motivation in writing at his blog Unable to cure COVID-19, physicians turn to planetary physics.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Editors of 220 leading medical, nursing and public-health journals from around the world called for urgent action on climate change, in a joint editorial published on Sunday.

The editorial, which appeared in journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal and The Lancet, warns that current efforts aren’t enough to address health problems resulting from rising global temperatures caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

“It is an unusual happening and it is driven by unusual circumstances,” Dr. Eric J. Rubin, editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, said of the editorial. “It is evident that climate change is a problem. What is less evident to people is that it is a public-health problem, not just a physical catastrophe.”

I showed the article to a medical school professor friend: “Since doctors can’t help COVID-19 patients, they need something to stay relevant.”

I remain just as confused as ever about why people who predict impending climate doom also worry about COVID-19. Regardless of coronapanic level and government action or inaction, there is no country in which more than 1 percent of people have died with a COVID-19 tag (stats by country). If something like 50 percent of humans will soon be killed by climate change, absent some sort of dramatic coordinated action by all of the world’s nations (unprecedented in the history of humanity), why spend a huge amount of attention, time, effort, and money on COVID-19?

Maybe doom isn’t impending? The article itself contains enough information to predict certain doom. We are 1.1 degrees C warmer than 150 years ago:  Greenhouse-gas emissions from human activity have raised global temperatures by 1.1 degrees C since the Industrial Revolution began in the mid-19th century, according to scientific studies.

In the excerpt above, the article tells us that 1.5 degrees C is where Mother Earth will strike back by killing many or most of her human parasites. But if the mechanism by which we got to 1.1 degrees warmer is the greenhouse effect from CO2, isn’t it certain that there will be an additional 0.4 degrees of warming? Even if human C02 emissions went to zero tomorrow, wouldn’t there be enough CO2 in the atmosphere to keep us on the Venusian trajectory?

If the authors believe their own cited science, shouldn’t their recommendation be to shut down most health care services and put the money (20% of U.S. GDP!) into CO2 vacuums?

Background from previous post on Climate Medicine

As Richard Lindzen predicted, everyone wants on the climate bandwagon, because that is where the power and money is.  Medical scientists are pushing for their share of the pie, as evidenced by the Met office gathering on Assessing the Global Impacts of Climate and Extreme Weather on Health and Well-Being (following Paris COP).

Of course, they are encouraged and abetted by the IPCC.

From the Fifth Assessment Report:

Until mid-century, projected climate change will impact human health mainly by exacerbating health problems that already exist (very high confidence). Throughout the 21st century, climate change is expected to lead to increases in ill-health in many regions and especially in developing countries with low income, as compared to a baseline without climate change (high confidence). By 2100 for RCP8.5, the combination of high temperature and humidity in some areas for parts of the year is expected to compromise common human activities, including growing food and working outdoors (high confidence). {2.3.2}

In urban areas climate change is projected to increase risks for people, assets, economies and ecosystems, including risks from heat stress, storms and extreme precipitation, inland and coastal flooding, landslides, air pollution, drought, water scarcity, sea level rise and storm surges (very high confidence). These risks are amplified for those lacking essential infrastructure and services or living in exposed areas. {2.3.2}

Feared Climate Health Impacts Are Unsupported by Scientific Research

NIPCC has a compendium of peer-reviewed studies on this issue and provides these findings (here)

Key Findings: Human Health
• Warmer temperatures lead to a decrease in temperature-related mortality, including deaths associated with cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and strokes. The evidence of this benefit comes from research conducted in every major country of the world.

• In the United States the average person who died because of cold temperature exposure lost in excess of 10 years of potential life, whereas the average person who died because of hot temperature exposure likely lost no more than a few days or weeks of life.

• In the U.S., some 4,600 deaths are delayed each year as people move from cold northeastern states to warm southwestern states. Between 3 and 7% of the gains in longevity experienced over the past three decades was due simply to people moving to warmer states.

• Cold-related deaths are far more numerous than heat-related deaths in the United States, Europe, and almost all countries outside the tropics. Coronary and cerebral thrombosis account for about half of all cold-related mortality.

• Global warming is reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases related to low temperatures and wintry weather by a much greater degree than it increases the incidence of cardiovascular diseases associated with high temperatures and summer heat waves.

• A large body of scientific examination and research contradict the claim that malaria will expand across the globe and intensify as a result of CO2 -induced warming.

• Concerns over large increases in vector-borne diseases such as dengue as a result of rising temperatures are unfounded and unsupported by the scientific literature, as climatic indices are poor predictors for dengue disease.

• While temperature and climate largely determine the geographical distribution of ticks, they are not among the significant factors determining the incidence of tick-borne diseases.

• The ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is not only raising the productivity of Earth’s common food plants but also significantly increasing the quantity and potency of the many healthpromoting substances found in their tissues, which are the ultimate sources of sustenance for essentially all animals and humans.

• Atmospheric CO2 enrichment positively impacts the production of numerous health-promoting substances found in medicinal or “health food” plants, and this phenomenon may have contributed to the increase in human life span that has occurred over the past century or so.

• There is little reason to expect any significant CO2 -induced increases in human-health-harming substances produced by plants as atmospheric CO2 levels continue to rise.

Source: Chapter 7. “Human Health,” Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts (Chicago, IL: The Heartland Institute, 2014).
Full text of Chapter 7 and references on Human health begins pg. 955 of the full report here


Advances in medical science and public health have  benefited billions of people with longer and higher quality lives.  Yet this crucial social asset has joined the list of those fields corrupted by the dash for climate cash. Increasingly, medical talent and resources are diverted into inventing bogeymen and studying imaginary public health crises.

Economists Francesco Boselloa, Roberto Roson and Richard Tol conducted an exhaustive study called Economy-wide estimates of the implications of climate change: Human health

After reviewing all the research and crunching the numbers, they concluded that achieving one degree of global warming by 2050 will, on balance, save more than 800,000 lives annually.

Not only is the warming not happening, we would be more healthy if it did.

Oh, Dr. Frankenmann, what have you wrought?

Footnote:  More proof against Climate Medicine

From: Gasparrini et al: Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study. The Lancet, May 2015

Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries. The findings, published in The Lancet, also reveal that deaths due to moderately hot or cold weather substantially exceed those resulting from extreme heat waves or cold spells.

“It’s often assumed that extreme weather causes the majority of deaths, with most previous research focusing on the effects of extreme heat waves,” says lead author Dr Antonio Gasparrini from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the UK. “Our findings, from an analysis of the largest dataset of temperature-related deaths ever collected, show that the majority of these deaths actually happen on moderately hot and cold days, with most deaths caused by moderately cold temperatures.”

Then in 2017, Lancet set the facts aside in order to prostrate itself before the global warming altar:

Christiana Figueres, chair of the Lancet Countdown’s high-level advisory board and former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said, “The report lays bare the impact that climate change is having on our health today. It also shows that tackling climate change directly, unequivocally and immediately improves global health. It’s as simple as that.’’

via Science Matters

September 7, 2021