Wrong: World Health Organization claims that health goes down as carbon goes up

Does health go down as carbon goes up, and vice versa, per the World Health Organization’s claim?

Guest post by: Indur M. Goklany

A World Health Organization (WHO) communiqué to an International congress on climate change in Copenhagen designed to sound the alarm on climate change, states that it estimates “around 150,000 deaths now occur in low-income countries each year due to climate change from four climate-sensitive health outcomes – crop failure and malnutrition, diarrhoeal disease, malaria and flooding.” [To get an inkling of the quality of these estimates, which are based on modeling studies, see here.] Then, citing “increased risks of extreme weather events, to effects on infectious disease dynamics and sea level rise,” the comminiqué declares that “as carbon goes up health goes down.” It then claims that “a large part of the current burden of disease is linked to energy consumption and transport systems. Changing these systems to reduce climate change would have the added benefit of addressing some major public health issues, including outdoor air pollution (800 000 annual global deaths); traffic accidents (1.2 million annual deaths); physical inactivity (1.9 million deaths); and indoor air pollution (1.5 million annual deaths).” Accordingly it argues, “Reducing green house gases [sic]emissions can be beneficial to health: as carbon goes down health goes up.”

But what do empirical data show?

igoklany_life_expectancy

Figure 1: Life expectancy at birth (1960-2006) for high, medium and low income countries, global carbon emissions (1960-2004), and carbon emissions per capita for each country group (1960-2004). Source: World Bank (2009).

Figure 1, based on data from the World Bank, shows that:

  • Health, as measured by life expectancy at birth, has gone up for the low, medium and high income countries even as global carbon emissions have increased.
  • The higher a group’s carbon emissions per capita, the higher its life expectancy. Thus life expectancy is highest for the high income group and lowest for the low income group.
  • The slowdown in the increase in life expectancy during the late 1980s and 1990s in the low income countries can be better seen in the data for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) shown in Figure 2. This slowdown is more or less coincident with the decline in carbon emissions per capita in that region, which seems to follow declines in economic development (GDP per capita). [Note that higher levels of economic development are associated with higher carbon emissions per capita. This is to be expected. GDP per capita is one of the four multiplicative terms in the Kaya Identity used in the IPCC scenarios to estimate carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion.]

Thus empirical results are at odds with the World Health Organization’s claims that “as carbon goes up health goes down” or ” as carbon goes down health goes up.”

igoklany_life_expectancy2

Figure 2: Global carbon (C) emissions (1960-2004), and life expectancy at birth (1960-2006), GDP per capita (1960-2007), and carbon emissions per capita (1960-2004) for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Note that GDP per capita in constant 2000 US$ and PPP-adjusted 2005 International $ are on different axes and scales. Source: World Bank (2009).

In fact, increased health is, if anything, associated with both increased economic development (GDP per capita) and higher carbon emissions per capita. That is, these figures suggest that the World Health Organization has it backward!!

Of course, the reason for this is that WHO is ignoring the forest for the trees. Yes, there may be some health aspects (e.g., mortality from extreme heat events) that any warmer temperatures from higher CO2 may have exacerbated but, on the other hand, such warming would reduce deaths during the cold weather (which substantially exceed deaths during the warmer portions of the year; see also here). But more importantly, as indicated in Figure 3, higher economic development-both a major cause and effect of those carbon emissions-acting in conjunction with the mutually reinforcing forces of technological change and human capital reduces deaths and increases life expectancy via a cycle of progress (see pages 29-33, here).

igoklany_life_expectancy3

Figure 3: Life expectancy at birth across countries for 1977 and 2003.The figure shows that at any point in time, life expectancy, the most comprehensive single indicator for health, improves with the level of economic development. It also shows that because of secular technological change, life expectancy for any given level of economic development improves with time. Source: Goklany, The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet (Cato Institute, Washington, DC, 2007).

This of course raises the question whether – just as the push for biofuels may have contributed to greater hunger worldwide – WHO’s support for “strong greenhouse gas reductions (mitigation) in all sectors” might also backfire if such reductions reduce economic growth which then retards health improvements (as suggested by the economist Richard Tol and others).

It’s too bad that the World Health Organization dispenses solutions to the problems posed by climate change without undertaking a risk analysis of the problems that may result from those solutions.

Hippocrates, where art thou?

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87 thoughts on “Wrong: World Health Organization claims that health goes down as carbon goes up

  1. CO2 is a marker of health and wealth. China and India know this simple truth. America knew this truth once but we have forgotten. We are apparently in the process of trading our health and wealth for a warm fuzzy feeling. Will we awake from this nightmare or are we determined to become a third world country under China’s boots?
    Wake up or learn to speak chinese.
    Xie xie,
    Mike

  2. I can see the fingerprint of a truly disciplined and vigorous scienctific study all over this report…ok, I’m being facetious.
    There are so many factors involved in mortality rates, but to be able to pin mortaility and so “precisely” at that, CO2 is just….amazing. They should have skipped the open advocacy of the party line.
    The affects of poverty are bad. I’ve seen it first hand, in too many countries. To pin the evil of poverty on wealthier countries, and their use of “fossil” fuels is just another avenue for those pushing for social “justice”.

  3. It needs to be noticed that the WHO is a part of the UN, as is the IPCC and the World Meteorological Organization.
    This entire corrupt and crooked organization is focused at one objective:
    How to reduce the world population.
    If a world wide legislation comes in place with an 80% reduction by 2050 we will be in serious trouble:
    Very important to read this links: (I posted them befor on the Canada posting)
    Here is “study” that makes clear what the freaks at the UN are really up to:
    http://www.co2science.org/articles/V12/N11/EDIT.php
    This is a proper response to this madness from Chris Horner:
    http://spectator.org/blog/2009/03/17/just-enough-of-them
    Any CO2 reduction legislation eventually will put a rope around our necks, ready for the lynching. So in this perspective the WHO is right, high CO2 levels will be very bad for your personal health.
    We better get rid of the AGW/ CO2 doctrine before real disasters start to happen.
    http://green-agenda.com
    Let’s boycott the UN and veto any Government involvement with this very sick organization.

  4. I wonder if this is an attempt to counter what Bjorn Lomborg said in “The Skeptical Environmentalist” and later “Cool It”. It really makes no sense for an organisation like this to say such a thing. The world has gone mad.

  5. Its crazy some of the things they come out with…. Ive served as a UN peace keeper in east timor back in 2000, the life expectancy there was 42(i dont think thats inclusive of mortality under 5). They do a whole lot o dying in those countries… a lot of it is from really easily preventable causes, but it can take them days to walk to the nearest doctor. It wouldnt be any different in the developed world if we had to walk from A to B for help in an emergency.
    Some of the things they come out with! Or maybe co2 from the cordite in weapons is what theyre measuring. Crazy stuff, {shakes my head}

  6. there we have it the old life expectancy vs income hockey stick. I knew all that skating would help me someday!

  7. Higher CO2 has now been linked an increase in irrational thinking in certain groups, primarily those with in government bureaucracies and elected office. The increased levels of CO2 has a positive feedback on their highly inflated egos forcing them to believe that mankind is greater than it’s host planet and capable of disrupting it’s already unstable climate. If this condition persist these groups may reach tipping points which will lead to economic instability and an increased number of recessions worldwide.

  8. Mr. Goklany, thank you for another excellent post. Are the plants that are being grown for biofuels pretty much the same plants that had been grown in those fields for food, or will going back to raising food crops require farmers to buy new grain drills, seed, etc.? Has anyone done a good statistical analysis or even a plan for what to do if/when the production of biofuels becomes less important than food production?
    Mike, my teenage daughter is learning Mandarin and Japanese. Both languages are very popular with teens now, and not just because of manga. While it made sense for my generation to learn French and German, Mandarin is the current choice for most of the teens we know who intend to go into business. (Native tongue in our home is English.) There is a huge demand for Mandarin/English speakers in the computer hardware industry.
    Anthony, I know you have readers from Japan who comment. Do you have any commenters from the mainland? I’m very curious about their surface stations.

  9. If I hear anymore of this kind of nonsensical claptrap I think I’ll cry… and I still keep coming across people who believe in all of ….THIS…stuff… isn’t there anyone out there with any common sense???… anyone remotely sane?????? and who doesn’t have an agenda???
    I having a bad day by the way!!!

  10. My whole professional career has been devoted to helping find and extract fossil fuels. I guess this new study makes me a mass murderer as well as an AGW heretic. They no longer burn heretics at the stake anymore but they do still give lethal injections to convicted mass murderers. I hope this mass hysteria stops short of a Salem hunt.
    Incidently, has there been any reports of dizziness, fainting or fits at the WHO?

  11. WHO needs to get out of politics and make sure the third world countries have chlorinated water and sanitary waste treatment plants…

  12. I hear the pain of frustration. I’ve heard it before. It will not help to tell you that an educated opposition is the most formidable adversary of any corrupt regime. But listen to an old man:
    When I was young, I imagined that I was a rock in a fast-flowing river of human misery. I was young and tough, with sharp edges and many angles. I would divert and manage as much of the river as a hard rock could.
    Time went on, and the river worn down my harsh angles, but I still posed a diversion, only not so radical as before. I found ways to influence without confrontation, to shape without touching, to love without being noticed. I found my place. This phase lasted until:
    Time wore the corners smooth. The smooth rock slowly tumbles downriver. No longer the adversary of the current, I am a passenger. I nudge and plow and vault, but can no longer control the effects of the current for myself or any others. And in the final phase:
    The old smooth river stone tumbles against a vast pile of old smooth river stones just like himself. Together, we changed the very course of the river itself.
    You are not alone.

  13. This UN/WHO business reminded me of Vladimir Putin’s statement today saying that a world currency should be agreed to and adopted: click
    The first thing that occurred was that anyone committing a ‘financial’ crime — which would of course be determined by an “international” *cough*u.n.*cough* organization — and would of course have to be prosecuted by an international court appointed by…
    Can everyone see where this is leading?
    As Ayn Rand noted, with enough laws on the books, everyone is a criminal. Yes, that includes you and me. And everyone you know.
    It’s big time control, people. And with today’s computers, data bases, GPS, and surveillance cameras, there won’t be anyone who can’t be tracked 24/7.
    With that, we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.

  14. We really are witnessing new depths of nonsense now.
    Even a scientific ignoramus like me is able to assert with confidence that flooding and scorching are not helpful conditions when you are dependent on your own land for food. Similarly, illnesses that arise more frequently at times of flooding or scorching are likely to increase.
    All developed countries suffer localised flooding or scorching from time to time. The reason it does not result in death and illness on the same scale as in poorer countries is that we have sufficient resources to be able to divert some from an area of plenty to help those in trouble. And here’s the bit the yoghurt-knitters seem incapable of getting into their thick skulls … we can only do so because our economic and industrial systems (despite their current troubles) produce considerably more than a mere subsistence level of resources. The main contributor to this benefit is our ability to produce power to speed our production of consumable resources.
    Weaken the strong countries and you reduce their ability to assist the weaker countries, both lose. Maintain the strong countries and strengthen the weaker countries, both win. There is only one way to increase the ability of the historically weaker countries to provide for their people, and that is for them to achieve strength. At the moment the only way they can do that is by following the same course that made the strong countries strong. Invent a different course if you can, but no one has been able to do so yet despite decades of attempts. Until there is a different course, we are stuck with the one we have, warts and all.

  15. Well said FatBigot:

    Weaken the strong countries and you reduce their ability to assist the weaker countries, both lose. Maintain the strong countries and strengthen the weaker countries, both win. There is only one way to increase the ability of the historically weaker countries to provide for their people, and that is for them to achieve strength.

    How did we ever get to this point, and elect the president and the Congress that we have now??
    Maybe this explains it: click

  16. I should have been dead 20 years ago, from all that C02 I breathed underground.
    Dear me, 20 years of breathing atmospheres 1000ppm and greater for 8-10 hrs shifts and I ain’t dead yet!
    I am sure that after 90 years of Mine Safety & Health Admin + CalOSHA they would have shut every mine down in the country if what the World Health Org. is claiming were true.
    PolyScience rears it’s ugly head.

  17. World Health Organization claims that health goes down as carbon goes up?
    I couldn’t get past the headline.
    That’s just plain old crazy. It completely flies in the face of history. If anything, the relationship is directly opposite. Not that CO2 itself made people healthy, but that which released the CO2 most certainly did.
    Now I’ll actually read the article and the comments.

  18. I guess this is what we get from insisting that articles be in the public domain. Back then, your scientific research lamented in a dusty old journal that was only available for your reading pleasure in an Ivory Tower. Most scientific studies never saw the light of day in a daily newspaper, monthly magazine, or that wonderful old rag I still miss, Look. Maybe that is what kept science discoveries wrapped in the dull, colorless writing one would find in a tractor repair book. We clamored for information, now we are getting information, but it has transformed into fastfood junk science.

  19. We clamored for information, now we are getting information, but it has transformed into fastfood junk science.
    Absolutely smashing, Pamela. We used to have to pay to read stuff like Chariots of the Gods, but now we get it served with fries. If I had an imagination like some of those articles, I’d be raking it in writing scripts for Sci-Fi movies.

  20. Pamela, I’ve wondered what you were thinking about this. And I’ve wondered if I had missed the point of all this lamentation about a single headline. I wonder if we appreciate what we still have.
    I have often wondered whether those of you smart folks who post here regularly actually know where you are, right here, right now. Maybe that perspective comes from advanced age. You sometimes give me the impression that you think this is a place where eggheads (boffins?) try to impress each other with the overwhelming complexity, or obscurity, of your data and its sources. Such a shallow cyberview! Please realize that at this site you may actually be at Ground Zero of a new peer-review system, and simultaneously, at a uniquely self-governing interface between the Wondrously Over-Educated Who May-Or-May-Not Understand The Science Of Everything, and the ordinary people like me who will tolerate incredible lunacy, because we have done it before, and we can still laugh about it. We’re the proud survivors of the devastating world-wide swine flu epidemic.
    Both parts of the interface must stay active, must co-exist, if ever we are to function together. Think about it carefully – you have never experienced immersion in an interface such as this one. Am I right? Take big breath.
    This “science” is intruding on our humanity as aggressively as ANY ever has. How are we to learn to communicate with our political masters, who use the threat of “science” to control us? How are we to defend ourselves against predatory and egregious distortions of Climate Science? When will the Government Approved Climate Scientists understand that they are just cattle such as we?
    I will now facetiously boast that I represent that vast majority of readers here who never post their thoughts, but who follow the arguments as carefully as they are able. (How’s that for an unprovable claim? I may just get away with this!)
    Regards, Henry.

  21. Has the WHO forgotten about the health problems caused by burning dried dung indoors on open fires to cook the family meal.
    Coal fired power stations in Africa could save millions of lives annually.

  22. Richard Sharpe and Mike Bryant:
    Can’t do characters on my computer, ke-shih wo hen kao-hsing kan-dao hai yo bie-de ren yeh hui liao-jie chung-kuo-hua. Wo xie-de chung-wen cha-bu-dou se-shi nien yi-chien tsai Taiwan. Jin-tien de Chung Kuo hen ke-pa.

  23. Talk about short attention spans… Wasn’t the whole “we’re living longer because of good ole CO2” idea trotted out, by you, just a week ago to general skeptic head bobbing? News flash (again): civilization, a good thing, is NOT just increased CO2 output.
    “But what do empirical data show?” How about showing some that covers an actual meaningful time period instead of a cherry-picked too-short too-recent snapshot? If you are familiar with the typical lifespan of homo sapiens you will understand that a 40 year slice doesn’t cover it, nor does that slice cover the time frame of the modern improvements that have actually led to longer life expectancy.
    P.S. The secret world government loves you all. 🙂

  24. Indur Goklany, I also thank you for an excellent post. I can remember when a UN report cost about $40US and you had to wait four to six months for it to arrive by boat from Europe. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad situation. No one much bothered because the studies were more historical. Now that they have gone to this prescriptive mode and an unfathomable reality I think we should close them down and send them home.

  25. rephelan said:

    ke-shih wo hen kao-hsing kan-dao hai yo bie-de ren yeh hui liao-jie chung-kuo-hua. Wo xie-de chung-wen cha-bu-dou se-shi nien yi-chien tsai Taiwan. Jin-tien de Chung Kuo hen ke-pa.

    Roughly translated:
    可是我很高兴看到还有别的人也会了解中国话。我写(学?)的中文差不多四十年以前在台湾
    怪不得你的拼音很差!

  26. I would recommend the following web site as a source for the information being discussed here:
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html
    Yeah, I know, it’s the CIA. Get over it. The data is good. Take a couple of hours and extract the data that’s relevant for you… I’d recommend comparisons of the World, the US, France, Germany, UK, Mexico, China, India….. and then look at Niger, Chad, Mali, Somalia and Central African Republic.
    This WHO communique is a blueprint for genocide. It ought to be mentioned in the same breath as the Wansee Conference.

  27. News headlines from the year 2011:
    Sick From CO2? Use an eMeter
    IPCC Declares Scientology beats thetans, lowers CO2
    Studies Show eMeter Saves Polar Bears
    Scientists Agree Tom Cruise Evolving At Fastest Rate
    Monbiot Sees Hubbard’s Light
    Nutrition Less Important Than Meditation For The Poor, Study Finds
    Greens Furious As Scientology Agenda Streaks Ahead
    UN endorses Scientology as New World Religion
    Greens Unite With Scientology For World Betterment

  28. Very good Richard. You’ve got to tell me how you do that. Yeah, the character was “study” and I tend to speak with a Taiwanese accent, so I can understand your confusion.
    For the rest of you guys, the first star ship is NOT going to be the Enterprise. It will probably be called the “Tien Shan”. The Chinese are not a bunch of strange guys running around in hats that make them look like mushrooms; they are ambitious, bright and focused. They are not our friends.
    In 1970 the U.S. manufactured 60% of everything that was made in the world. Today we manufacture 20%, mostly high end stuff like aircraft, precision tools, that sort of thing. If you look at everything you own, your computer, your cell phone, your clothes, shoes, book-bag…. they were all made in China. China also manufactures 20% of everything in the world. One of the major differences between us and the Chinese is that in the U.S. only one half of one percent of our population is engaged in farming, fishing, forestry and mining. That figure for China is about 40%. As they mechanize their agriculture, they will be releasing more extra people for production than the entire U.S. population!
    Study some demography and learn some Chinese. You’ll need it.

  29. BTW, raphelan, Windows XP allows you to enter characters, but you have to know PinYin (or one of the other romanization systems the IMEs understand). You just have to install the Asian Language pack.
    Linux also can do it, which is how I entered the characters above, but you need to know Pinyin. You need all the SCIM RPMs or DEBs.
    MacOS X also allows it but I don’t know how to do that.

  30. So the WHO is now peddling outright lies and falsehoods to further the AGW/MMCC theories(political cause)?
    What a tragic waste of resources and funds, the massive investment in a failing theory by the UN has condemned millions to starvation and premature death and will ultimately be the cause of much more suffering across the globe, the new anti science allied to a new world political order is leading us all to disaster!
    The result of this wicked combination of anti science in hock to a new global political cause will be tragic in the extreme.
    I used to wonder just why the media/political classes/mainstream science could be so wrong about so many things and yet so immune from from any kind of reality checks, I realise now that the AGW/MMCC science is only there to serve and verify a new political world order, in effect science has been perverted to serve a political purpose, that is scary!

  31. Every thing I’ve read from and about this recent Copenhagen conference has been pretty far out there.
    That the WHO would submit such an obviously false study there is not surprising. We have heard time and again that these folks truly believe that the future of the species is at stake. They have also told us on more than one occasion that exaggeration is required to budge the rest of to move.
    Two really important deadlines are ahead this year for the faithful – Obama’s Cap and Trade and Kyoto II. Those who are well informed within their movement know that if they fail in these two attempts the cooling climate will shut them off from the power and money they seek. Once enacted they get to cruise and collect regardless of how the climate unfolds.
    Keep up the good work Anthony. A lot of people come here and pass on what they read.

  32. Smokey,
    This is the culture I lived in during my my enlightened years when I had to believe in catastrophic global warming because it came with my job description

  33. I can confirm that this site is not available in Mainland China.
    Sylvia send your kids there they are desperate to have more English teachers. They’ll make a comfortable living too.

  34. John in NZ (20:35:30) :
    “Has the WHO forgotten about the health problems caused by burning dried dung indoors on open fires to cook the family meal.
    Coal fired power stations in Africa could save millions of lives annually.”
    John,
    And do not forget India and China:
    The so called “brown cloud” is caused by the burning of bio mass:
    See: http://www.scidev.net/en/climate-change-and-energy/biomass-burning-behind-asian-brown-clouds-.html?utm_source=link&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=en_climatechangeandenergy
    Remarkably the researchers conclude that not only the burning of biomass but also fossil fuels must be addressed, to prevent climate change.
    The simply don’t want humanity to burn anything!

  35. News headlines from the year 2011:
    Sick From CO2? Use an eMeter
    IPCC Declares Scientology beats thetans, lowers CO2
    Studies Show eMeter Saves Polar Bears
    Scientists Agree Tom Cruise Evolving At Fastest Rate
    Monbiot Sees Hubbard’s Light
    Nutrition Less Important Than Meditation For The Poor, Study Finds
    Greens Furious As Scientology Agenda Streaks Ahead
    UN endorses Scientology as New World Religion
    Greens Unite With Scientology For World Betterment
    OH! You’re my new favorite blogger fyi

  36. it estimates “around 150,000 deaths now occur in low-income countries each year due to climate change

    OK, I’ll bite. Here in the UK, a relatively prosperous country, we have around 15% of households that cannot heat their homes properly in cold weather. I know it is a rough and ready calculation but lets convert that directly to population by saying 15% of 60 million – 9 million people.
    Artificially limiting energy supplies will drive up the price of most everything not just raw domestic energy. Lets further guess that 1/3rd of our 9m are already in big trouble come winter and CO2 taxes prove to be the (real) ‘tipping point’. That is 3 million people who will have no heating in a Northern Winter rather than their current minimal heating. No prizes for guessing what happens to them.
    I am left with only two options.
    The Government and those pressing for ‘meaningful’ reductions have not really thought this one through very well.
    OR
    They have thought it through and are fully aware of the consequences.
    The first option is possible, never discount stupidity. Remind me again though – what does the UN call the second option?
    Source of my rough and ready numbers

  37. The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.
    – Friedrich Nietzsche

  38. WHO’s report makes no sense on its face and makes even less sense in context. It’s like they didn’t even try. How can climate change legislation reduce indoor air pollution? Increased energy efficiency INCREASES indoor pollution by sealing the home better (increased recycle means concentration of all impurities). How on Earth can it reduce traffic deaths or deaths due to sedentary lifestyles? How many people more will die due to lack of heating, cooling, transportation, and medical attention (do you now the footprint of an MRI? Huge!)? They didn’t even attempt to calculate actual deaths.
    The estimate of current deaths also has problems, namely that none of their items are linked conclusively to climate change, and two of them have had a link disproven. Diarreha is due to malnutrition and waterborne disease, and malaria is due to mosquitos. Neither of these are confined to the tropics by temperature, and both ran rampant in Europe and America in the Little Ice Age.
    Did Not Do the Homework

  39. Ben (03:57:48) :
    How on Earth can it reduce traffic deaths or deaths due to sedentary lifestyles?

    Mass transit, bicycles, walking, etc. are all part of the Green agenda which would probably have an effect on traffic deaths and keep us in better health. Can’t see the indoor pollution angle. Screened windows left open for natural ventilation reduces formaldehyde pollution from carpets and upholstery?

  40. Want a laugh?
    Remember Suzanne Goldenberg’s overt racism and sexism towards “Deniers” last week?
    Well, a new sexist remark has caused a split in the Green camp and it is none other than George Monbiot himself on the receiving end! 😀
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/mar/18/nuclear-power-climate-change
    So the Green party has lost Monbiot’s vote. World tyranny has nothing to worry about though because he can always go back to the Islamic-Marxist party he helped found with George Galloway.

  41. I would, instead, relate this post with the Be-10 Post, GCR relation to health: cancer…and don´t forget our portable “wilson cloud chambers” or, in other words GCR and lung diseases…

  42. The truly ironic thing is that if the greenies want fewer of us, then why do they want to improve health and increase life spans?

  43. I just find it curious how the alarmist camp (?) seems to have to revisit the very core of their argument so frequently. Namely; warm=death. I can understand that this equation is a hard sell when history is full of examples of the exact opposite, being; cold=death. As a mechanic, I have a special fondness for simplicity. A machine that has few moving parts is far more reliable than one with myriad whirling gadgets and bells. It seems the arguments posited by those that adhere to warm=death are so elaborate as to require constant “adjustment”. Whereas the cold=death position can pretty much be left alone and it will run forever. I think this constant revisiting of supposedly established facts is an indication of the overall weakness of AGW alarmism. Too many moving parts! Reality will no doubt be a “model” of simplicity.

  44. WHO now stands for World Hysteric Organization. Further proof (as if we needed any) that in AGW fantasy land, you can spout any nonsensical bilge, it will be trumpeted worldwide by the MSM, and the Faithful will lap it up willingly and with gusto. Indeed, the level of stupidity and desperation now being displayed by the AGW/CC pseudoscientific ideologues has reached a tipping point, and now exceeds the bounds of language to describe it.
    The demonization of “carbon” is, without a doubt the biggest lie ever told, and with the most dire consequences for humanity. The perpetrators of the lie will need to be held to account for their crimes against humanity, but first they need to be stopped.

  45. I can well believe that a warmer earth has more poverty
    thru the simple mechanism of an increased population
    which cleverly seems to be happening as the earth warms(since 1900)
    if 1/3 rd of the planet have lives of desperation ,then as the population increases the misery increases
    ergo…warm earth …more people to be in poverty..

  46. Rich countries do not WASTE lots of energy because they are rich. Rich countries are rich because the EXPLOIT lots of energy. Using energy is a good thing.
    Sure, we can have intelligent discussions about mitigating pollution (real pollution, not CO2) from using energy, and it is obvious that everyone will benefit from technical advances in the use of energy and new forms of energy to replace legacy fuels. But when the conversation starts from the premise that energy use is bad then we are debating with people who are ignoring the facts.

  47. Seriously talking, that “comuniqué” of WHO bureaucrats, is plain terrorism, it gives the perfect pretext to demolish, destroy civilization as we know it, and before that is accomplished, liberty…”Brave New World” indeed!.
    Welcome to the third world, former inhabitants of the ex-first world!

  48. The truly ironic thing is that if the greenies want fewer of us, then why do they want to improve health and increase life spans?
    Because they (the extremists) also want to redefine “health” and have people aspire to socially responsible life spans.

  49. em butler (06:56:08) :


    I’m sorry, but my sarcasm detector seems to be malfunctioning this morning. That post actually sounds sincere (if not, I apologize) but that is exactly the neo-Malthusian truckload of excrement people like Paul “The Population Bomb” Ehrlich have been pushing for over a quarter century. Poverty, disease, and misery are not the result of development and Western Greed, rather they are the result of Third World corruption, socialist incompetence and a lack of development and infrastructure. The Green Solution is simple: end the misery of the poor by letting them die off.
    If Kyoto II and cap-and-trade get implmented, it is Al Gore, James Hansen and Barack Obama who should face trial for crimes against humanity.

  50. Equality calls for all being equal, I think what greenies are planning is to equalize 1st. world countries with 3rd.world ones. Then 3rd.world countries will be able to export technologies as “how to become poor in the shortest time”…well, to tell the truth, you have already imported from us several of these political and social techniques while some of us instead have changed adopting those perverse free market methods you have just abandoned. Do not laugh, it is true.
    Link: http://www.economist.com/agenda/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13244897

  51. WHO done 2 very simple things:
    1. They assumed, based on models and correlation that CO2 is the cause of everything bad and reducing it will prevent those bad things from happening
    2. They assumed that you can reduce CO2 with no negative consequences.
    Since one can make an argument that absence of pirates is correlated with global warming then reports calling for increase in piracy would make just as much sense.
    Now this got me wondering if current cooling trend and recent increases in piracy incidents could be used as a experimental proof of the theory?

  52. “ergo…warm earth …more people to be in poverty..”
    Not necessarily… warmer earth = more productive earth. As capitalism and freedom have spread in the last twenty years, poverty and starvation have decreased. Every warm period including this modern warm period have been times of plenty and decreased poverty.

  53. deadwood (22:15:37) :
    Every thing I’ve read from and about this recent Copenhagen conference has been pretty far out there.

    Agreed. Hansen was there, I believe. And now he has been here. The article below has a big picture of the Norwegian Environment Minister (Erik Solheim) and James Hansen smiling at each other:
    http://www.dagbladet.no/2009/03/16/nyheter/miljo/innenriks/klima/regjeringen/5319845/
    Solheim says to Hansen (translated): “- You have been a hero for me since the speech in 1988. Several times have you been subjected to hard criticism, but this has only inspired you to work harder, “said Environment Minister Erik Solheim (SV).”
    Solheim points out that the fact that Hansen is a NASA employee, it provides extra credibility towards otherwise skeptical people, he says.
    Quite depressing stuff.

  54. Carsten Arnholm, Norway (11:01:03) :
    ¨Solheim points out that the fact that Hansen is a NASA employee, it provides extra credibility towards otherwise skeptical people, he says.
    There is something fishy in Norway...
    Send all these ¨progressive¨guys to Cuba or North Korea to enjoy these paradises.
    Are we all doomed, or better, our grand children, to be slaves?

  55. About 1.5 million African children under the age of 5 die each year due to malaria. Meanwhile, the DDT nonsense put out by Rachael Carson has been disproved many times over the last 30 years as bunk, junk science. WHO allowed DDT use in late 2006, yet wide spread use is still blocked by liberals everywhere.
    So where is the outrage over that, 10 times the deaths — And they are real not pseudo science deaths.

  56. Haven’t read the whole thread so f’give me for my post (had a hard day and have had to Killians Irsih Reds), but my love thinsk that if CO2 makes my chilly behind warmer he is all for CO2!
    (I dknow Antthony, its ahard to belive that my spotst comes form the dame persnn)

  57. Pamela Gray (17:24:41) :
    I suspect that Killians is a better warmer than CO2, but your contributions are so good we can easily forgive ANYTHING from you.
    As for simon lomax (14:24:25) :
    Most of us eat just fine, even when its fried, cajuned or whatever. In Haiti, Mali, Chad, Niger, Sudan or Somalia they’d be happy to eat what we feed to our animals. The lack of infrastructure, the corruption, the lack of concern is what is driving H.Sapiens most genetically diverse population to extinction. Green policies are genocide.

  58. Changing these systems to reduce climate change would have the added benefit of addressing some major public health issues,
    including outdoor air pollution (800 000 annual global deaths);
    traffic accidents (1.2 million annual deaths);
    physical inactivity (1.9 million deaths);
    and indoor air pollution (1.5 million annual deaths).”
    Accordingly it argues, “Reducing green house gases [sic]emissions can be beneficial to health: as carbon goes down health goes up.

    Let’s look at each of these ridiculous claims:
    = outdoor air pollution (800 000 annual global deaths);
    BETTER energy usage and HIGHER efficiencies will reduce outdoor air pollution – at a cost of building the anti-pollution hardware. They have everywhere they have have been applied. HIGHER economies CAN AFFORD to build pollution controls. LOWER economies (with higher energy costs!) CANNOT afford pollution controls. (By the way, the WHO are WAAAAY low on the number of deaths by pollution outdoors. China alone in one city may have that many in two years of black skies and grey clouds.)
    = traffic accidents (1.2 million annual deaths);
    Better transportation (have you seen the hundreds crammed into African and Indan and Malaysian trains and busses?) will mean MORE trucks, MORE bridges, MORE rail, MORE food, MORE fodder, MORE fertilizer, MORE growth, MORE insulation, MORE housing, MORE education.
    = physical inactivity (1.9 million deaths);
    Ain’t got no physical inactivity in countries where you starve to death if you don’t walk, farm, drag buckets of water from the common (polluted) well, cut firewood, ….
    Oh? In the more civilized areas where more energy DOES that physical work? More people live longer. Funny.
    = indoor air pollution (1.5 million annual deaths).”
    Ain’t got no “indoor air pollution” where they ain’t got no decent housing. No heat. No air conditioning. No fans. No power. No water.
    I guess the WHO are not considering water contaminaiton (several millions annually), better roads, better food, cleaner clothing, clean housing, walls, windows, window screens, no manure on the floors, no snimals living (and urinating!) on the floors and beds and walls and roads ….

  59. Pamela Gray (17:24:41) :
    Remainder trimmed for sake of sobriety…8<)
    (I dknow Antthony, its ahard to belive that my spotst comes form the dame persnn)

    Miss Pam. I soberly suspect that your brew is Killian’ your misstypn’ of readin’, writin’, and misspelling.

  60. Sylvia (19:11:31) :

    Are the plants that are being grown for biofuels pretty much the same plants that had been grown in those fields for food, or will going back to raising food crops require farmers to buy new grain drills, seed, etc.?

    Response:
    To the extent that biofuels are based on corn, sugarcane, soy, and oil palm, which are also food and feed crops, I would presume the equipment and inputs used would be similar if not the same. However, if jatropha or non-food or feed crops are utilized, presumably there would be changes in seeds. I don’t know enough about cropping practices to say whether equipment changes may be needed. Perhaps some reader can enlighten us.
    schnurrp (19:11:43) :

    Feasible improvements in environmental conditions could reduce the global disease burden by more than 25%. A large part of the current burden is linked to energy consumption and transport systems. Changing these systems to reduce climate change would have the added benefit of addressing some major public health issues, including outdoor air pollution (800 000 annual global deaths); traffic accidents (1.2 million annual deaths); physical inactivity (1.9 million deaths); and indoor air pollution (1.5 million annual deaths).
    1.5 million deaths from indoor air pollution caused by climate change???

    Response:
    Note that most of these deaths due to indoor air pollution are in the developing countries from burning of dung, coal, wood and other solid fuels indoors for heating and cooking. I am unsure as to how WHO estimated any reductions in these deaths. Did they assume these people —perhaps 25% of them? — will be able to switch to natural gas, propane, or electricity? Or did they assume they’d go without heat and cooking? Neither seem plausible in the short run.
    Ben Lawson (20:46:31) :

    Talk about short attention spans… Wasn’t the whole “we’re living longer because of good ole CO2″ idea trotted out, by you, just a week ago to general skeptic head bobbing? News flash (again): civilization, a good thing, is NOT just increased CO2 output.

    Response:
    As I noted on that thread thread, energy use did not cause, but did enable, many of the good things one ascribes to civilization by a variety of means (including greater economic development and technological prowess).
    Ben Lawson (20:46:31) :

    “But what do empirical data show?” How about showing some that covers an actual meaningful time period instead of a cherry-picked too-short too-recent snapshot? If you are familiar with the typical lifespan of homo sapiens you will understand that a 40 year slice doesn’t cover it, nor does that slice cover the time frame of the modern improvements that have actually led to longer life expectancy.

    Response:
    Unfortunately, AFAIK, data on life expectancy for most countries are not readily available until 1950-55 (averages). [I used the World Bank’s database which provides data from 1960 onward.] However if you don’t mind anecdotal data, check out Table 2 in Wealth,
    Health and the Cycle of Progress
    which provides data on life expectancy (LE) going back to the Middle Ages for a few select countries. That table tells us that prior to industrialization (or more accurately the onset of modern economic growth), LE was about 25-35 yrs (regardless of when industrialization started). Since then they have risen substantially, despite – or is it because of? – carbon emissions. Here are some life expectancy data (based on that table and Maddison, The World Economy (2001) — take with a pinch of salt):
    Country, pre-industrialization, 1900, 1950-55, 2003
    France, ~30, 47, 66.5, 79.4
    UK, ~36, 50, 69.2, 78.3
    India, ~25, 24, 38.7, 63.1
    China, NA, ~24, 40.8, 71.5
    World, ~30, 31, 46.6, 65.4
    If you want, you can plot these against fossil fuels carbon emissions from CDIAC at http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/overview.html (available from 1751-2005). I am pretty confident that you’ll see LE increase as carbon increases just as we saw for the US from 1900-2000 in the earlier posting, U.S. Life Expectancy in an Era of Death Trains and Death Factories
    By the way, Ben, I provided 40 years worth of data. Do you know how many years worth of data the WHO’s results are based upon? I somehow doubt that they have 40 years worth of data.
    Finally, I hope when you look at trends of temperatures, Arctic ice melting, frequencies of droughts, etc., you insist on trends being determined for periods longer than 40 years, particularly considering that climatic measures are more variable than LE, or carbon emissions, or GDP per capita.
    em butler (06:56:08) :

    I can well believe that a warmer earth has more poverty thru the simple mechanism of an increased population which cleverly seems to be happening as the earth warms(since 1900) if 1/3rd of the planet have lives of desperation ,then as the population increases the misery increases
    ergo…warm earth …more people to be in poverty..

    Response:
    On the contrary, poverty has declined markedly over the long term in large part due to fossil fuel powered economic development. Based on the World Bank’s definition of “absolute poverty” (approximately $1 a day), over 80% of the world’s population was living in absolute poverty in 1820. Today, it’s below 20%. In fact, the proportion of the planet’s developing-world population living in absolute poverty has halved since 1981, from 40 percent to 20 percent.

  61. I just didn’t realise just how badly mistaken I have been.
    I will henceforth adopt a lifestyle of utter poverty and live in a filthy garbage tip, scrounging from the remains of those who are so silly as to have emitted CO2.
    I will adopt this course in the certain knowledge provided by the wise people of the UN (who of course live in poverty) to improve my health, longevity and general wellbeing.
    Not!

  62. Indur Goklany (20:40:40): “Here are some life expectancy data:
    Country, pre-industrialization, 1900, 1950-55, 2003
    France, ~30, 47, 66.5, 79.4
    UK, ~36, 50, 69.2, 78.3
    India, ~25, 24, 38.7, 63.1
    China, NA, ~24, 40.8, 71.5
    World, ~30, 31, 46.6, 65.4
    If you want, you can plot these against fossil fuels carbon emissions from CDIAC at http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/overview.html (available from 1751-2005). I am pretty confident that you’ll see [Life Expectancy] increase as carbon increases just as we saw for the US”
    Of course you’ll see it, but what does it mean? All you continue to note is a correlation. I could equally say that people driving cars causes daylight because when there are the fewest cars on the road it is dark and when the most cars are on the road it is brighter.
    Your implication that cutting CO2 emissions dooms us to short impoverished lives is not supported by your arguments. There are a large number of obvious and effectively energy-independent sources of the general increase in life expectancy.
    “Finally, I hope when you look at trends of temperatures, Arctic ice melting, frequencies of droughts, etc., you insist on trends being determined for periods longer than 40 years” Why should I insist on something so nonsensical? Each factor has it’s own intrinsic logical time frame. In terms of climate change, the “natural variation” factors generally need to be examined over very long time periods while anthropogenic factors should be examined from their effective starting points.

  63. Lawson:
    “anthropogenic factors should be examined from their effective starting points.”
    OK, let’s start the massive buildup of CO2 at 1895.
    Why 1895? Two reasons: first, because the number of automobiles could be counted on your fingers and by taking off your shoes and socks. So it’s as good a starting point as any. Cherry pick your own starting point if you think you have a better one.
    And second, because I have this chart, which starts at 1895 — and which falsifies certain wishful assumptions: click
    Finally, the planet is laughing at the failure of AGW/CO2 arm-flappers: click
    Me too.

  64. Smokey!
    “And second, because I have this chart, which starts at 1895 — and which falsifies certain wishful assumptions:”
    ===
    I’ve not seen that chart (1895 – 2005 temperature chart) before – particularly with its basis (zero point) such that the 1935 warm period was near zero – and then today’s warm era returning to that near zero point.
    What does it’s data come from – “unaltered” (raw) GISS/NOAA thermometers?

  65. Ben Lawson:
    “Your implication that cutting CO2 emissions dooms us to short impoverished lives is not supported by your arguments. There are a large number of obvious and effectively energy-independent sources of the general increase in life expectancy.”
    Name four of these “numerous” energy-independent sources of general life style increases. Remember: If you have no medicines, or of you have no transportation to GET TO the place where you can GET the medicines, they don’t change your life.
    if you are in open-window huts starving on a protein-poor diet lying on a dirt floor burning dung over an open pot with no washwater ….
    Do you worry about “getting enough exercise” the next morning?

  66. Smokey (15:42:15): “OK, let’s start the massive buildup of CO2 at 1895… …because the number of automobiles could be counted on your fingers…” So zero cars means zero anthropogenic CO2 emissions? Yawn.
    “the planet is laughing at the failure of AGW/CO2 arm-flappers: click. Me too.” Sounds more like braying. icecap.us is just another skeptic watering-hole.
    Robert A Cook PE (19:29:32): “Name four of these “numerous” energy-independent sources of general life style increases.” etc. etc. Seriously? You really can’t stretch your mind enough to think of any yourself? Sigh.
    – Urbanization
    – Public sanitation
    – Quinine, Penicillin, etc. (delivered by donkey cart of course)
    – Reduction in “classic” pollution
    – Literacy (Oops, too many)

  67. Smokey!
    Ben Lawson!
    Robert A. Cook PE! (What’s the PE mean?)
    Your argument is getting so convoluted I’m not sure who is arguing what position anymore. Let me take Robert A. Cook PE’s last post….
    Robert A Cook PE (19:29:32): “Name four of these “numerous” energy-independent sources of general life style increases.” etc. etc. Seriously? You really can’t stretch your mind enough to think of any yourself? Sigh.
    – Urbanization
    – Public sanitation
    – Quinine, Penicillin, etc. (delivered by donkey cart of course)
    – Reduction in “classic” pollution
    – Literacy (Oops, too many)
    none of those “general life style” increases are “energy independent”. They all require high levels of energy utilization and if a society doesn’t provide the requisite level of energy, people and societies die. The Roman Empire at it’s height had a population of over 70 million. By 600 AD The whole of Europe had as few as 18 million, and had gone from a literate, urban population with a monetary economy to an illiterate, rural population that was largely self-sufficient in small groups and a barter economy. The Roman world was based on a human and animal-powered energy regime that required 90% of the population to be engaged in agriculture to keep the literate, urban 10% fed. Barbarian invasions, the Plague of Justinian and global cooling put an end to that. What makes you think 21st centuiry America is different?
    Today, less than 1% of the American population keeps us fed. It is an energy-intensive industry that utilizes primarily fossil-fuel energy. We know it works because it IS working. Frankly, I’m not interested in trusting my future and my children’s future to wind mills.

  68. ROYAL DOOMSDAY. H.R.H. Prince Charles has prophesied global disater through climate chang unless drastic measures are taken. HRH has become an AGW groupie in a big way. unfortunately he is listened to. btw he made his speech after a 20, 000 mile aircraft round trip to south america.

  69. rephelan,
    I agree with you that the improvements in our lifestyle are dependent on energy. Specifically, energy produced from fossil fuels. Anyone who doubts that must be IQ-deficient or blind.
    My original response was to debate Lawson’s absurd statement that “There are a large number of obvious and effectively energy-independent sources of the general increase in life expectancy.”
    What, like your bicycle? Is rubber made without fossil fuel burning? Is metal made without fossil fuel burning? Is mining and smelting done without fossil fuel burning? Sheesh, what a maroon.
    Modern society has produced an astonishing wealth of benefits, and increased life expectancy is just one of them. But they were not produced as “energy independent” benefits. Modern industrial society requires fossil fuels, and lots of them.
    The Malthusian Luddites who want to tear down modern society are fools or worse — they’re tools. And their “heroes” run and hide from debating the issue. Some heroes, huh?
    I’d like to see any one of the hypocrites who are critical of fossil fuel use do completely without anything produced with the use of fossil fuels for just one week. They would be squealing for mercy.
    [And I am also curious: what does the “PE” stand for?]

  70. PE is “Professinal Engineer” – My BS is in nuclear engineering (which really means that I cover the safety and design integration between the pure mathematics and nuclear physics and radiation health, into the “real world” of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, structural and civil engineering.) MS in Industrial Engineering/QA – Statistics, program management, quality improvement, safety, training, and stuff like that.
    Means I know a little bit about a lot of subjects, but somebody else is always going to know a lot more about his or her own field…. 8<)

  71. Robert A Cook PE (06:32:20) :
    Cool. My old friend and pool partner Dickie Payne was in your business, sort of, doing QA inspections for the Kin Shan and Da Yah Bay projects in the 70’s and 80’s. The US has been out of the commercial nuke business for so long that I worry we’ve lost all the institutional capital needed to get back in. Windmills! Where’s the Lord of La Mancha when we really need him?

  72. B Smokey, walking out your front door “requires energy”. You’ve set the burden of proof for your argument comically low and have redefined my argument for your own intellectual convenience. Not exactly compelling, especially when seasoned with personal attacks (good work “moderators”).
    Consider the fact that our modern energy-dependent civilization’s life expectancies began rising well before our fossil fuel consumption began its rapid ascent. The two factors are no doubt deeply intertwined now, but are not intrinsically linked as the post that spawned this discussion tried to suggest by selectively discussing a short time period.
    What to say regarding your fiction about “Luddites who want to tear down modern society”? I guess I lost my Luddite membership card. All I look for is reduction in energy use where practical to do so, increased efficiency, and replacement of environmentally harmful energy sources with more benign ones. Still enraged?

  73. Ben Lawson (20:30:38) :
    “Consider the fact that our modern energy-dependent civilization’s life expectancies began rising well before our fossil fuel consumption began its rapid ascent. ”
    You’ve missed the point entirely. Increased life expectancy depends on a large number of factors which are ultimately energy intensive. The more efficiently you utilize energy, the greater the life expectancy of your population…. but it is also limited by your energy source. The Greeks and the Romans didi indeed enjoy a greater life expectancy than their ancestors but never achieved the level we have.
    You will also note that the demographic transition in the West took off after the start of the Industrial Revolution, not before it. You’re so off-base you may as well be sitting in the bleachers.

  74. rephelan (19:01:03): “You’ve missed the point entirely” and “You’re so off-base you may as well be sitting in the bleachers.”
    Rising Life Expectancy: A Global History [James C. Riley, 2001] examines six major strategies by which humans have reduced risks to their survival to promote population growth and aging. These strategies include Public Health, Medicine, Wealth and Economic Development, Nutrition, Household and Individual Health Behaviors, and Literacy/Education.” Summary here. The only component of the six where energy intensity would make a notable contribution is Wealth and Economic Development.
    Yes, our current modern society is heavily dependent on fossil fuel energy sources. No, we didn’t get here (in terms of life expectancy) because of lovely lovely oil (and coal). No, rapidly changing our energy patterns won’t instantly doom us to fighting sabertooth tigers for the best caves.
    Welcome back from Bizzaro World. Or do you have further unsupported sweeping statements to make?
    One earlier point of yours I do agree with though; this particular thread has wandered on too long. It seems to be the same arguments each time regardless of the presumptive subject, so perhaps we should just move the conversation over to the current post…

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