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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Effects of Climate Change

Posted on 17 August 2010 by gpwayne

This blog post is the Basic version  (written by Graham Wayne) of the skeptic argument "Global warming is good".

Here’s a list of cause and effect relationships, showing that most climate change impacts will confer few or no benefits, but may do great harm at considerable cost.

Agriculture

While CO2 is essential for plant growth, all agriculture depends also on steady water supplies, and climate change is likely to disrupt those supplies through floods and droughts. It has been suggested that higher latitudes – Siberia, for example – may become productive due to global warming, but the soil in Arctic and bordering territories is very poor, and the amount of sunlight reaching the ground in summer will not change because it is governed by the tilt of the earth. Agriculture can also be disrupted by wildfires and changes in seasonal periodicity, which is already taking place, and changes to grasslands and water supplies could impact grazing and welfare of domestic livestock. Increased warming may also have a greater effect on countries whose climate is already near or at a temperature limit over which yields reduce or crops fail – in the tropics or sub-Sahara, for example.

Health

Warmer winters would mean fewer deaths, particularly among vulnerable groups like the aged. However, the same groups are also vulnerable to additional heat, and deaths attributable to heatwaves are expected to be approximately five times as great as winter deaths prevented. It is widely believed that warmer climes will encourage migration of disease-bearing insects like mosquitoes and malaria is already appearing in places it hasn’t been seen before.

Polar Melting

While the opening of a year-round ice free Arctic passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans would confer some commercial benefits, including improved access to energy and mineral resources, these must be balanced against the negatives. Detrimental effects include loss of polar bear habitat and increased mobile ice hazards to shipping. The loss of ice albedo (the reflection of heat), causing the ocean to absorb more heat, is also a positive feedback; the warming waters increase glacier and Greenland ice cap melt, as well as raising the temperature of Arctic tundra, which then releases methane, a very potent greenhouse gas (methane is also released from the sea-bed, where it is trapped in ice-crystals called clathrates). Melting of the Antarctic ice shelves is predicted to add further to sea-level rise with no benefits accruing.

Ocean Acidification

A cause for considerable concern, there appear to be no benefits to the change in pH of the oceans. This process is caused by additional CO2 being absorbed in the water, and may have severe destabilising effects on the entire oceanic food-chain.

Melting Glaciers

The effects of glaciers melting are largely detrimental, the principle impact being that many millions of people (one-sixth of the world’s population) depend on fresh water supplied each year by natural spring melt and regrowth cycles and those water supplies – drinking water, agriculture – may fail.

Sea Level Rise

Many parts of the world are low-lying and will be severely affected by modest sea rises. Rice paddies are being inundated with salt water, which destroys the crops. Seawater is contaminating rivers as it mixes with fresh water further upstream, and aquifers are becoming polluted. Given that the IPCC did not include melt-water from the Greenland and Antarctic ice-caps due to uncertainties at that time, estimates of sea-level rise are feared to considerably underestimate the scale of the problem. There are no proposed benefits to sea-level rise that we are aware of at this time.

Environmental

Positive effects of climate change may include greener rainforests and enhanced plant growth in the Amazon, increased vegetation in northern latitudes and possible increases in plankton biomass in some parts of the ocean. Negative responses may include further growth of oxygen poor ocean zones, contamination or exhaustion of fresh water, increased incidence of natural fires, extensive vegetation die-off due to droughts, increased risk of coral extinction, decline in global photoplankton, changes in migration patterns of birds and animals, changes in seasonal periodicity, disruption to food chains and species loss.

Economic

The economic impacts of climate change may be catastrophic, while there have been very few benefits projected at all. The Stern report made clear the overall pattern of economic distress, and while the specific numbers may be contested, the costs of climate change were far in excess of the costs of preventing it. Certain scenarios projected in the IPCC AR4 report would witness massive migration as low-lying countries were flooded. Disruptions to global trade, transport, energy supplies and labour markets, banking and finance, investment and insurance, would all wreak havoc on the stability of both developed and developing nations. Markets would endure increased volatility and institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies would experience considerable difficulty.

Developing countries, some of which are already embroiled in military conflict, may be drawn into larger and more protracted disputes over water, energy supplies or food, all of which may disrupt economic growth at a time when developing countries are beset by more egregious manifestations of climate change. It is widely accepted that the detrimental effects of climate change will be visited largely on the countries least equipped to adapt, socially or economically.

Note: we're currently going through the process of writing plain English versions of all the rebuttals to skeptic arguments. It's a big task but many hands make light work. If you're interested in helping with this effort, please contact me.

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Comments 51 to 85 out of 85:

  1. Eric, I'll assume you somehow don't see the flaw in your comparison. The finding of DEcreased rice yields is in reference to existing farms in Asia... those farms are now producing less rice than they used to. The finding of INcreased rice yields you cite is the global total over the past 50 years... which thus includes the development of new rice farms (such as those in the Philippines cited in that very article) and the introduction of new high yield rice strains during that time frame. In short, they are completely different things and your citation in no way detracts from the validity of the declining yield problem.
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  2. I suppose the production of rice would benefit slightly from rising sea-levels - if only it wasn't for the extra methane production and the declining yields due to rising temperatures. In other words, as the article states : "...showing that most climate change impacts will confer few or no benefits, but may do great harm at considerable cost."
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  3. Rice yield growth is down, in Asia especially and is considered to be a serious problem. There are numerous articles on it like this http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90856/6571461.html But yields have not declined anywhere. The quantitative statement in the link in post 51 is about a decline in yield growth. The other statement that "rice yields drop" is not based on any collected statistics of rice farm yields. It may well be some sort of experiment that they ran, but the article doesn't say. The statement is not quantitative and not sourced.
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  4. Just for Eric, the study referred in in post #51 Rice yields in tropical/subtropical Asia exhibit large but opposing sensitivities to minimum and maximum temperatures
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  5. Today I encountered the following claim: "Due to climate change the southern border of the Sahara has moved northwards (by 50-60 kilometers), resulting in new rain forest the size of France and Germany put together." Has anyone heard this claim before, and are there any reliable reports to back up this claim ? Or is it nonsense ? If it is true, it would definitely be a benefit of global warming.
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  6. Dappledwater thanks. Fact from table 1: rice yields are increasing everywhere. But the paper shows that the growth rate is decreased due to warmer nighttime temperatures and could turn into decreases in the future. Ann, "Such greening of the Sahara/Sahel is a rare example of a beneficial potential tipping element." From http://www.pnas.org/content/105/6/1786.long
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  7. #51 adelady at 20:04 PM on 18 August, 2010 The major decline in rice production in recent years appears to be, again, a continuation of a long-term trend. No, it is not. The transient setback between 1999 and 2002 has nothing to do with climate change and everything with market forces. After 2002 growth resumed at a slightly faster pace than before.

    *USDA data via IRRI (International Rice Research Institute)

    BTW, the market is absolutely inadequate for providing reasonable food security. It's because food is a special commodity in that if consumers are denied of it for a couple of months, they get permanently removed from the market (because the dead neither eat nor can make money). World food stockpile is at an all time low, it can cover consumption only for two or three months. It means we are just a single major volcanic eruption away from a global disaster unprecedented in human history. This is because governments utterly fail to take due responsibility and neglect public food stockpiling recommendations described in this paper (stocks for seven years are needed). A natural phenomenon like that might be good news for the environment, albeit very bad for everyone else.
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  8. Hang on a minute, BP, did you read the article I cited? It has nothing to do with world markets. It's about continuous records of productivity on 227 individual irrigated farms in 6 Asian countries. Over 25 years, productivity on those farms decreased by between 10% and 20%.
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  9. Berényi Péter wrote : "No, it is not. The transient setback between 1999 and 2002 has nothing to do with climate change and everything with market forces. After 2002 growth resumed at a slightly faster pace than before." From a different page in your own link : A major reason for the imbalance between the long-term demand and supply is the slowing growth in yield, which has decreased substantially over the past 10–15 years in most countries. In South Asia, average yield growth decreased from 2.14% per year in 1970-90 to 1.40% per year in 1990-2005. In some years, this has been below 1%. Yield growth in Southeast Asia has decreased similarly. In the major rice-growing countries of Asia, yield growth over the past 5–6 years has been almost nil (Figure 4). Globally, yields have risen by less than 1% per year in recent years. And I just want to re-post what I posted previously, in case anyone missed it : There has been a major decline in world rice production since late 2007 due to many reasons including climatic conditions in many top rice producing countries as well as policy decisions regarding rice export by the governments of countries with considerable rice production. Rice Trade So, two knowledgeable sources linked to above say one thing, and you assert another. Who to accept as knowing more on this subject, I wonder ?
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  10. Could we also bear in mind that rice paddies are starting to be contaminated by salt water contamination from rising sea-levels, destroying all current and future potential. The agricultural impacts of climate change are complex, nuanced and interlinked, and not simple at all.
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  11. #61 JMurphy at 01:21 AM on 19 August, 2010 two knowledgeable sources linked to above say one thing, and you assert another. Who to accept as knowing more on this subject, I wonder? Accept the truth and nothing but, of course. From 2002 to 2008 average annual growth of yield was 1.62%, growth of production 2.69%/annum. Click on images for the respective spreadsheets.
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  12. Further to the rice yield question, the figures from the UN FAO show the last two years (2006 and 2007) having declining growths of yield of under 1%, and declining growths since 2004. The figures that Berényi Péter prefers (from the USDA), show declining growth of yield since 2007 - last year given, 2008. Even using those figures, however, this decade (2000s) seems to be showing less average yearly growth of yield than any decade since the records started in 1960.
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  13. "It is widely believed that warmer climes will encourage migration of disease-bearing insects like mosquitoes and malaria is already appearing in places it hasn’t been seen before." This is an urban myth.
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  14. batsvensson wrote : "It is widely believed that warmer climes will encourage migration of disease-bearing insects like mosquitoes and malaria is already appearing in places it hasn’t been seen before." This is an urban myth. Not entirely, it would seem : In recent decades, malaria has become established in zones at the margin of its previous distribution, especially in the highlands of East Africa. Studies in this region have sparked a heated debate over the importance of climate change in the territorial expansion of malaria, where positions range from its neglect to the reification of correlations as causes. Here, we review studies supporting and rebutting the role of climatic change as a driving force for highland invasion by malaria. We assessed the conclusions from both sides of the argument and found that evidence for the role of climate in these dynamics is robust. However, we also argue that over-emphasizing the importance of climate is misleading for setting a research agenda, even one which attempts to understand climate change impacts on emerging malaria patterns. The Quarterly Review of Biology, March 2010, vol. 85, no. 1 More information here : Climate Change One Factor in Malaria Spread
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  15. JMurphy, So what?
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  16. So what, batsvensson ? You assert that the statement "It is widely believed that warmer climes will encourage migration of disease-bearing insects like mosquitoes and malaria is already appearing in places it hasn’t been seen before" is an urban myth. The Science Daily report I linked to states that "[t]he development and survival, both of the mosquito and the malaria parasite are highly sensitive to daily and seasonal temperature patterns and the disease has traditionally been rare in the cooler highland areas. Over the last 40 years, however, the disease has been spreading to the highlands, and many studies link the spread to global warming." The study I linked to asserts "...we review studies supporting and rebutting the role of climatic change as a driving force for highland invasion by malaria. We assessed the conclusions from both sides of the argument and found that evidence for the role of climate in these dynamics is robust." In fewer words, the original statement is NOT an urban myth, despite your claim. Unless, of course, you can back up your assertion ?
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  17. Don't tell me we're quibbling over the words 'never been seen before' and 'rare' ?
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  18. "Where on Earth does one find the heaviest concentration of mosquitoes? A tropical jungle? A hot festering swamp? Wrong. Experts say it's the Arctic tundra" www.athropolis.com/arctic-facts/fact-mosquito.htm "Both features would clearly have survival value for P. vivax in a temperate climate, enabling it to cope with long winters and episodes of successive cold summers." http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol6no1/reiter.htm
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  19. JMurphy, The cause of malaria being spread is not mosquitoes or warming but ignorance.
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  20. Eric, All one can tell from a report of a place being abundant of mosquitoes is that it is abundant of mosquitoes. To know if there is a risk for a malaria break out one need to know if mosquitoes able to carry malaria parasites are presents but even if such mosquito are present it does not follow that the parasite itself is present, and even if the mosquitoes carry the parasite it may still not be a problem. (Mosquitoes in an area where no humans are present constitutes no risk.) A hypothetical decease is not, and can not, be a public health problem. Now lets focus at the claim I refuted. This is true: It is widely believed that warmer climes will encourage migration of disease-bearing insects like mosquitoes. However it does not imply the insects actually carry any deceases. Secondly, the sentence is ambiguous formulated, it is not clear if it intend to mean the insect itself or the insect and the decease - in other words its meaning is open for interpretation. Now what happens if one combine the above ambiguity with the claim malaria is already appearing in places it hasn’t been seen before ? Well, trivial, combining the first claim with this second claim is silently assuming an implication of the type 'IF it gets warmer THEN diseases will spread'. To put it midely, this is a distortion of the truth - and it is this distortion of the truth which is the urban myth. JMurphy, You have not only got the facts about decease control wrong but you also does not seams to distinguish between total production vs. productivity of rise.
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  21. @Ann at 23:05 PM on 18 August, 2010 There are some disturbing claims that the clean air act in Europe, which is about to get rid of air pollution like small dust particles, SO2 etc from the air over Europe has induced droughts in Africa. The idea is that the dust particles make clouds form which in turn makes it rain in north Africa. Hence our clean air today came to the cost of mass starvation in Africa. The pessimistic view is "it doesnt mater what we do, it will go wrong any way". :(
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  22. batsvensson at 01:07 AM, by ignorance do you mean that the human carriers of the malaria parasite are ignorant that are in fact carriers of the disease. Like many diseases, the ability for humans to spread diseases has been enhanced as they travel to, and inhabit places further and faster than ever before.
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  23. batsvensson wrote : "You have not only got the facts about decease control wrong but you also does not seams to distinguish between total production vs. productivity of rise." Hmm, yes, if you say so - whatever it is you are saying ! I'm still stunned by your "The cause of malaria being spread is not mosquitoes or warming but ignorance.". But I can't work out whether you mean the ignorance of those on the receiving end (nothing to do with race, of course), or the ignorance of those who don't agree with you (nothing to do with arrogance, of course). Perhaps those in the Kenyan highlands (who are not used to being affected by malaria) are ignorant for not thinking that they might be affected one day (even those who might doubt AGW) ? Who knows - possibly you believe you do.
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  24. johnd, No. It is much more complex than that.
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  25. JMurphy, Kenya. Now you got me started... If you carefully ready your own quotation you will find it says: "we ... argue that ... the importance of climate is misleading ... to understand ... emerging malaria patterns." Perhaps for you to realize that this is what they actually say is "stunning" and perhaps it is due to an ignorance of medical science relation to metrology you can not accept that this is what they really say. If that is the case, bear with me now: It is known that Hippocrates attributed deceases only to physical events and not supernatural entities. He stressed the importance to understand the effect of climate, air, water and location to understand deceases. Metrological phenomena has ever since then been believed to have an effect on human health in western medicine - this is (among many other medical terms) concealed in the name of malaria. A name that is derivable from Greek as meaning "bad air". Hippocrates ideas tied medical studies not only to involving the heavens and the gods but also to involve the studies of weather. The correlations with the heaven started to break down when the great plagues started to roam in Europe and the relation to the star and decease outbreak was not so clear any more, however the relation to weather still prevailed. The birth of modern science in the 17th century and the discovery of physical laws lead philosopher to search for laws governing the spread of deceases, geographical data was collected about population density and locations of deceases was registred. The origin of 'statistics' can be traced back to this era as structured method was needed to understand deceases. The discovery of pattern lead to sanitary rules – fresh air and water and the need to separate the sick from the healthy - to prevent decease to spread. The old practice of taking notes of weather still remained - until mid 19th century. In this era epidemiology was born. In the late 19th century collecting weather data in order to understand and prevent decease was completely separated from the medical studies and branched to it own separate field which today is know as meteorology, which main activities has become to be prediction in contrast to its old purpose of prevention. In this period medical studies had completely lost interest in collecting and relating weather data to deceases and instead started to focus on identifying and prevent decease agents when the germ theory was discovered. In the mid 20th century lifestyle was added to the old environmental factors as air, water and location for understanding deceases. In the late 20th century weather, or rather climate, again makes in entry into decease studies and the circle seams to have closed on it self. However by the now almost 150 years separated from metrology an important different remains between the two fields: while the purpose of metrology is to predict the purpose of medical studies is to prevent. Now, having this in mind, consider this case: Between 1980 and 1996 there has been 50 thousand documented cases of malaria in the border area between Mexico and Texas - registered in Mexico. However only 100 cases was reported on the Texas side. (All figures are recall from memory – so said with reservations.) If you insist in the belief that the relation between temperature and spread of malaria is an important factor and it can be predicted with climate models then you will have a hard time to explain the above case. On the other hand if you believe decease studies is not about predicting deceases with climate models but preventing them by eliminating risk factors in air, water, location and lifestyle then the above case is pretty trivial to explain. Hopefully it should not be "stunning" to you anymore that your quoted reference says: "we ... argue that ... the importance of climate is misleading ... to understand ... emerging malaria patterns."
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  26. batsvensson wrote : "Hopefully it should not be "stunning" to you anymore that your quoted reference says: "we ... argue that ... the importance of climate is misleading ... to understand ... emerging malaria patterns."" Well, now I'm stunned by how you think you can show so little and hide so much. To provide the full quote : However, we also argue that over-emphasizing the importance of climate is misleading for setting a research agenda, even one which attempts to understand climate change impacts on emerging malaria patterns. However ? Also ? That must relate to the previous sentence : We assessed the conclusions from both sides of the argument and found that evidence for the role of climate in these dynamics is robust. Stunning.
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  27. Errata to #77: the decease should be dengue, not malaria, however they are both spread to humans by mosquitoes.
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  28. JMurphy, To continue repeating the same mantra borderline me to again reply with "So what?". Nobody have ever denied that ecology is strongly affected by climate as this is a well established observation, not even the quote you refer to denies this - on the contrary they confirm it. However, to claim climate to be an important factor for the spread of malaria is a completely other issue (called nonsense) and it is a great oversimplify of the problem. To take one(1) oversimplified example (since we now play the game of simplification) to show the absurdity it the claim that higher temperature will lead to a greater spread of malaria: it is known that higher temperature can shorten the life time of insects. If the life span of the vector is shorter than the development time of the pathogen, then trivially the pathogen can not spread. In other words, higher temperature can lead to a reduced spread of malaria, contrary to the claim. (I am still waiting for you to explain the Texas/Mexico case in terms of climate.)
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  29. (I am still waiting for you to explain the Texas/Mexico case in terms of climate.) Well, you have completely lost me now. Perhaps you have been arguing with yourself all along. As long as you recognise that you are correct, you should be able to finish the discussion with yourself amicably.
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  30. batsvensson The malaria parasite needs a bare seven days to develop in a mosquito. If mosquitoes live a shorter life then you can bet yout biology textbooks that evolution will find a way to get the cycle a bit shorter. Whether it's the parasite itself or the mosquito or both, one way or another it'll happen.
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  31. Thread is cold but this paper looks interesting and relevant http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/329/5994/940
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  32. "Warmer winters would mean fewer deaths, particularly among vulnerable groups like the aged. However, the same groups are also vulnerable to additional heat, and deaths attributable to heatwaves are expected to be approximately five times as great as winter deaths prevented." The proposition in bold above may actually be true. It depends on who is supposed to expect such a thing. If it refers to those who don't bother having a look at actual data, it's fine. However, a slightly modified version of this proposition like "[number of] deaths caused by heatwaves will be approximately five times as great as winter deaths prevented" is certainly false. It just emphasizes the importance of avoiding language of marketing when talking about science. We can get monthly mortality data for the UK from the Office for National Statistics for the period January 2006 - January 2011. We can also get monthly temperature data from the Met Office for the same epoch for stations scattered evenly above the UK. From these it is easy to calculate a scatter plot of average daily mortality rate as a function of monthly mean temperature and we can do a least square fit of a quadratic function on it. It turns out this quadratic has a minimum at 26.74°C, that is, as annual average temperature of the UK is currently under 10°C, any conceivable warming would decrease mortality there, even in summertime (warmest month in this period was July 2006 with 18.4°C). What is more, there are very few places on the entire globe where monthly mean temperature exceeds 26.74°C for any month of the year. Therefore if human lives are to be saved, we should clearly go for higher temperatures. That's not to say a heat wave can't kill, but as global average temperature is below 15°C, in a warming world number of lives saved from death by cold would always exceed the number killed by heat as long as we don't have more than 10°C increase in global average temperature. And no one is projecting that much under any reasonable scenario.
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  33. BP: "monthly mortality data for the UK from the Office for National Statistics for the period January 2006 - January 2011." Interesting choice of both time period and locale. The UK was at the edge of the 2010 heatwave: The same could be said for 2007: At least those events were within your time sample. Perhaps going back to the 2003 heatwave would be appropriate; although reported mortality in France and Germany was 10x that of the UK. "if human lives are to be saved, we should clearly go for higher temperatures. " Health professionals take this question seriously, so we do not have to rely on ad hoc analysis. From Ippoliti et al 2010: The effect of heat waves showed great geographical heterogeneity among cities. Considering all years, except 2003, the increase in mortality during heat wave days ranged from +7.6% in Munich to +33.6% in Milan. The increase was up to 3-times greater during episodes of long duration and high intensity. ... The highest effect was observed for respiratory diseases and among women aged 75-84 years.
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  34. Berényi Péter @84, this study shows that the ideal temperature (for the Dutch) is 16.5 degrees C, with mortality increasing 1.75 times as fast for each degree over as it does for each degree under (on average) but still showed more deaths from cold than from heat. Presumably this is because in Holland, the coldest days are much further below the safe level than the hottest days are above it, although different heat responses to different diseases may also be relevant. Similar studies in England and the US show varied effects. In England the cold related mortality is higher, whereas in the US, with a mixture of temperate and subtropical cities, it was found that there are no cold related deaths in subtropical cities, although there are heat related deaths. There are both heat and cold related deaths in temperate cities. The obvious conclusion is, firstly, that you estimate that 26.74 degrees C is the temperature that minimizes temperature related effects on mortality is in significant error. Even if it were not, such temperatures are typical of mean summer temperatures in the tropics. Further, for the majority of the world's population (who live in the tropics and subtropics) heat is a potential killer, but cold is not. Your equation that we should go for higher temperatures to reduce mortality only makes sense if the deaths of people of the tropics and subtropics is inconsequential compared to those of people in temperate zones. Even in temperate Holland, Business As Usual scenarios will raise temperatures sufficiently as to turn around the proportion of those killed, so that heat becomes the major killer rather than cold. Arguably, the reduction in cold related deaths will compensate for the increase in heat related deaths. But in that case the equation for increased temperatures is no significant change in temperature related deaths in temperate zones; but a significant increase of them in the tropics and sub tropics.
    We conducted the study described in this paper to investigate the impact of ambient temperature on mortality in the Netherlands during 1979–1997, the impact of heat waves and cold spells on mortality in particular, and the possibility of any heat wave- or cold spell-induced forward displacement of mortality. We found a V-like relationship between mortality and temperature, with an optimum temperature value (e.g., average temperature with lowest mortality rate) of 16.5°C for total mortality, cardiovascular mortality, respiratory mortality, and mortality among those ≥ 65 year of age. For mortality due to malignant neoplasms and mortality in the youngest age group, the optimum temperatures were 15.5°C and 14.5°C, respectively. For temperatures above the optimum, mortality increased by 0.47, 1.86, 12.82, and 2.72% for malignant neoplasms, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, and total mortality, respectively, for each degree Celsius increase above the optimum in the preceding month. For temperatures below the optimum, mortality increased 0.22, 1.69, 5.15, and 1.37%, respectively, for each degree Celsius decrease below the optimum in the preceding month. Mortality increased significantly during all of the heat waves studied, and the elderly were most effected by extreme heat. The heat waves led to increases in mortality due to all of the selected causes, especially respiratory mortality. Average total excess mortality during the heat waves studied was 12.1%, or 39.8 deaths/day. The average excess mortality during the cold spells was 12.8% or 46.6 deaths/day, which was mostly attributable to the increase in cardiovascular mortality and mortality among the elderly. The results concerning the forward displacement of deaths due to heat waves were not conclusive. We found no cold-induced forward displacement of deaths. Key words: cold spells, heat waves, mortality, mortality displacement, Netherlands, temperature. Environ Health Perspect 109:463–470 (2001). [Online 3 May 2001]
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  35. Dear Skeptical Science... I am not a scientist, but a Musician, wich means I will look more for the romantisized version of the facts :)... that being said:

    This is dark, really dark. I realize you only write the facts, but it's still quitte depressing. So my question is: is there a solution to all of this (and no, I do not expect there to be an easy answer), especially considering there are a lot of scientist on this blog, and most can't seem to agree with one another.

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    Moderator Response:

    [TD] Not a "solution" in the sense of preventing a global temperature rise of at least 2 degrees.  But technologically and economically it is feasible to prevent a rise above that. (Read the Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced tabbed panes there.)  The impediments are political.

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