The Truth is Powerful

Bjorn Lomborg: Climate change and deaths from extreme heat and cold

A resident transports an air conditioner during a heat wave in Vancouver. Article content

Headlines across the world tell us that hundreds of people have died after the recent heat waves in Canada and the northwestern U.S. The stories invariably blame climate change and admonish us to tackle it urgently. What they mostly reveal, however, is how one-sided, alarmist reporting leaves us badly informed. Article content

The stories are based on a kernel of truth. Global warming is a real and man-made problem that needs addressing. And rising temperatures will make heat waves more likely. But the reporting turns a blind eye to the full story and also asks us to focus on the least effective ways to help.

Heat deaths are actually a bigger problem than the news reports would suggest. Most heat deaths happen without a news crew to document them. Studies show that heat kills about 2,500 people every year in the U.S. and Canada.

What is almost entirely ignored by politicians and media, however, is that rising temperatures also have the effect of reducing cold waves and cold deaths. Cold restricts blood flow needed to keep our core warm, increasing blood pressure and killing through strokes, heart […]

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