New peer reviewed study: global warming lowers death rates

From South Dakota Politics - they should know - click

The doom and gloom, hell and high water howling seems to have hit a traffic obstacle in the form of a new paper in the UK that shows warmer weather saves lives. I really liked this part:

…they found there were only 0.7 death per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year, but a decrease of fully 85 deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a phenomenal lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 121.4.

 

From CO2 Science:

Lives Saved per Life Lost Due to Global Warming

Reference

Christidis, N., Donaldson, G.C. and Stott, P.A. 2010. Causes for the recent changes in cold- and heat-related mortality in England and Wales. Climatic Change 102: 539-553.

Background

The authors write that “the IPCC AR4 states with very high confidence that climate change contributes to the global burden of disease and to increased mortality,” citing the contribution of Confalonieri et al. (2007) to that document.

What was done

In an effort handsomely suited to evaluate this very-high-confidence contention of the IPCC, Christidis et al. extracted the numbers of daily deaths from all causes from death registration data supplied by the UK Office of National Statistics for men and women fifty years of age or older in England and Wales for the period 1976-2005, which they divided by daily estimates of population “obtained by fitting a fifth order polynomial to mid-year population estimates, to give mortality as deaths per million people,” after which they compared the death results with surface air temperature data that showed a warming trend during the same three-decade period of 0.47°C per decade. In addition, they employed a technique called optimal detection, which they describe as “a formal statistical methodology” that can be used to estimate the role played by human adaptation in the temperature-related changes in mortality they observed.

What was learned

As expected, during the hottest portion of the year, warming led to increases in death rates, while during the coldest portion of the year it lead to decreases in death rates. More specifically, the three scientists report that if no adaptation had taken place, there would have been 1.6 additional deaths per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year over the period 1976-2005, but there would have been 47 fewer deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 29.4, which represents a huge net benefit of the warming experienced in England and Wales over the three-decade period of warming. And when adaptation was included in the analysis, as was the case in the data they analyzed, they found there were only 0.7 death per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year, but a decrease of fully 85 deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a phenomenal lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 121.4.

What it means

Clearly, the IPCC’s “very-high-confidence” conclusion is woefully wrong. Warming is highly beneficial to human health, even without any overt adaptation to it. And when adaptations are made, warming is incredibly beneficial in terms of lengthening human life span.

For more on this important topic, including results from all around the world, see the many items we have archived under the subheadings of Health Effects (Temperature) in our Subject Index.

Reference

Confalonieri, U., Menne, B., Akhtar, R., Ebi, K.L., Hauengue, M., Kovats, R.S., Revich, B. and Woodward, A. 2007. Human health. In: Parry, M.L. et al. (Eds.) Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Lives Saved per Life Lost Due to Global Warming


Reference

Christidis, N., Donaldson, G.C. and Stott, P.A. 2010. Causes for the recent changes in cold- and heat-related mortality in England and Wales. Climatic Change 102: 539-553. Background

The authors write that “the IPCC AR4 states with very high confidence that climate change contributes to the global burden of disease and to increased mortality,” citing the contribution of Confalonieri et al. (2007) to that document.

What was done

In an effort handsomely suited to evaluate this very-high-confidence contention of the IPCC, Christidis et al. extracted the numbers of daily deaths from all causes from death registration data supplied by the UK Office of National Statistics for men and women fifty years of age or older in England and Wales for the period 1976-2005, which they divided by daily estimates of population “obtained by fitting a fifth order polynomial to mid-year population estimates, to give mortality as deaths per million people,” after which they compared the death results with surface air temperature data that showed a warming trend during the same three-decade period of 0.47°C per decade. In addition, they employed a technique called optimal detection, which they describe as “a formal statistical methodology” that can be used to estimate the role played by human adaptation in the temperature-related changes in mortality they observed.

What was learned

As expected, during the hottest portion of the year, warming led to increases in death rates, while during the coldest portion of the year it lead to decreases in death rates. More specifically, the three scientists report that if no adaptation had taken place, there would have been 1.6 additional deaths per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year over the period 1976-2005, but there would have been 47 fewer deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 29.4, which represents a huge net benefit of the warming experienced in England and Wales over the three-decade period of warming. And when adaptation was included in the analysis, as was the case in the data they analyzed, they found there were only 0.7 death per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year, but a decrease of fully 85 deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a phenomenal lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 121.4.

What it means

Clearly, the IPCC’s “very-high-confidence” conclusion is woefully wrong. Warming is highly beneficial to human health, even without any overt adaptation to it. And when adaptations are made, warming is incredibly beneficial in terms of lengthening human life span.

For more on this important topic, including results from all around the world, see the many items we have archived under the subheadings of Health Effects (Temperature) in our Subject Index.

Reference

Confalonieri, U., Menne, B., Akhtar, R., Ebi, K.L., Hauengue, M., Kovats, R.S., Revich, B. and Woodward, A. 2007. Human health. In: Parry, M.L. et al. (Eds.) Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Lives Saved per Life Lost Due to Global Warming


Reference

Christidis, N., Donaldson, G.C. and Stott, P.A. 2010. Causes for the recent changes in cold- and heat-related mortality in England and Wales. Climatic Change 102: 539-553. Background

The authors write that “the IPCC AR4 states with very high confidence that climate change contributes to the global burden of disease and to increased mortality,” citing the contribution of Confalonieri et al. (2007) to that document.

What was done

In an effort handsomely suited to evaluate this very-high-confidence contention of the IPCC, Christidis et al. extracted the numbers of daily deaths from all causes from death registration data supplied by the UK Office of National Statistics for men and women fifty years of age or older in England and Wales for the period 1976-2005, which they divided by daily estimates of population “obtained by fitting a fifth order polynomial to mid-year population estimates, to give mortality as deaths per million people,” after which they compared the death results with surface air temperature data that showed a warming trend during the same three-decade period of 0.47°C per decade. In addition, they employed a technique called optimal detection, which they describe as “a formal statistical methodology” that can be used to estimate the role played by human adaptation in the temperature-related changes in mortality they observed.

What was learned

As expected, during the hottest portion of the year, warming led to increases in death rates, while during the coldest portion of the year it lead to decreases in death rates. More specifically, the three scientists report that if no adaptation had taken place, there would have been 1.6 additional deaths per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year over the period 1976-2005, but there would have been 47 fewer deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 29.4, which represents a huge net benefit of the warming experienced in England and Wales over the three-decade period of warming. And when adaptation was included in the analysis, as was the case in the data they analyzed, they found there were only 0.7 death per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year, but a decrease of fully 85 deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a phenomenal lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 121.4.

What it means

Clearly, the IPCC’s “very-high-confidence” conclusion is woefully wrong. Warming is highly beneficial to human health, even without any overt adaptation to it. And when adaptations are made, warming is incredibly beneficial in terms of lengthening human life span.

For more on this important topic, including results from all around the world, see the many items we have archived under the subheadings of Health Effects (Temperature) in our Subject Index.

Reference

Confalonieri, U., Menne, B., Akhtar, R., Ebi, K.L., Hauengue, M., Kovats, R.S., Revich, B. and Woodward, A. 2007. Human health. In: Parry, M.L. et al. (Eds.) Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

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Wondering Aloud

I wonder when we’ll read this on theSkepticalscience blog?
He is still pretending that somehow warming is harmful to life. I’ve offered to help him find beach property in Siberia but he doesn’t seem interested. I can’t imagine why.

Dave Wendt

The saddest part is that this is even considered an open question. For anyone who isn’t suffering from cranial-rectal insertion syndrome the conclusion is obvious.

hedrat

But since they already believe the planet is overpopulated, this will be spun as another reason to fight AGW.
Malthusians are nothing if not predictable.

Lady Life Grows

So we could have a T-shirt or bumper sticker:
GLOBAL WARMING SAVES LIVES

SandyInDerby

Any word from Chris Huhne (the ecoloon) on the beneficial effects of Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Disruption which he and the rest of the ecoloon coalition want to halt or, worse still, reverse?
Thought not.

manicbeancounter

Last winter was the coldest in the UK for 30 years. In 1981 I remember statistics coming out about the weekly death rates. Last year nothing. There were statistics about accidents through slipping on the ice. Maybe it is another area where the government has stopped caring, along with the increase in fuel poverty as a result of paying for green energy.

Jay

I would be interested in reading what Steve McIntyre would say about this method…
“a technique called optimal detection, which they describe as “a formal statistical methodology” that can be used to estimate the role played by human adaptation in the temperature-related changes in mortality they observed.”

Ray

And this is why we heat our houses during winters.

James Sexton

HAHAHAHAHA, is it ok if we gloat for a minute and say “Told ya so!”? I know it isn’t very sporting to say “Told ya so!”, but maybe we can make an exception this once and say “Told ya so!” to all of the warmistas that thought we’d all die a painful death due to milder winters. OTOH, maybe we should be more gracious than to say “Told ya so!”. But, I think there may be some sorted satisfaction that comes with saying “Told ya so!” I just can’t make up my mind as to whether we should say “Told ya so!” or perhaps we shouldn’t say “Told ya so!” and just soak it in for a moment.

MattN

This is not news for anyone that has been paying attention….

Area Man

To be precise, this latest study looks only at England and Wales. It is not immediately clear over what geography the IPCC was referring to, but it was presumably the entire globe.
One would expect warming to be more benficial (and thus less dangerous) in colder climes like England/Wales vs tropical or equatorial desert climes.
So apples to oranges to some extent.
I would expect the global result to be a net positive as well, but until it’s analyzed I don’t think one cam say this study proves anything about global effects.

Alba

SandyInDerby says:
November 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm
Any word from Chris Huhne (the ecoloon) on the beneficial effects of Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Disruption which he and the rest of the ecoloon coalition want to halt or, worse still, reverse?
Getting information from Mr Huhne is not easy, so it would seem. I wrote to Mr Huhne a month ago requesting information. So far no reply of any kind.

Anthony,
Here is another take on the same issue: http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspot.com/2010/08/climate-common-sense.html
Happy Thanksgiving!!
Mike

FergalR

Coincidentally, the yearly statistics for excess winter deaths in England and Wales were just updated today.
It says the figure for 2009/10 is provisional and it really beggars belief. The winter before was balmy in comparison and that number is 50% higher. Did tens of thousands of people lose their lives to that barbecue summer?
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=574

Global Warming……have to wait more than 50 years, if lucky.

Alexander K

Not really a surprise, but nice to see a group of academics go to all this trouble to prove the patently obvious. Seems to be the only method there is to drive all the nails home in the AGW coffin/gravy train.

Frank K.

This topic begs a question I have been mulling recently.
For all of the BILLIONS of dollars in Climate Ca$h that we’re spending annually, what societal benefit have we seen? Have the AGW science advocates provided anything that has benefited someone other than themselves? Has global warming research saved any lives, led to better crop production, forecast any change in hurricane activity that has actually come true, … ANYTHING?
In my opinion, it has been a colossal WASTE OF MONEY, and in fact, has done nothing but enrich the ruling class elites (e.g. Al Gore and Jim Hansen). Career government scientists have boarded the Climate Research gravy train seeking nothing more than to fund themselves for an extended period of time and to delude themselves into thinking they were benefiting society. If they are helping society in some way, I’d like to know how…

Dave Andrews

FergalR,
ONS always revise their figures at a later date and the revision often bears little relation to the provisional figure.

Aha!

New peer reviewed study: global warming lowers death rates

So that is Dr. Holdren’s problem with Global Warming! Too many people live longer!
This just won’t do…!

kwik

The problem is there might not be room for any more scientists on the Black- List.

Tim Williams

Bearing in mind the authors explicitly state “This analysis is specific to England and Wales and one could expect attribution results to vary in parts of the world with different adaptive capacity to heat and cold and different effects of climate change.”
and also say that…
“However, even if climate change significantly
decreases cold-related mortality, this benefit should be considered alongside the
other, predominantly detrimental, health impacts discussed in Section 1”
Namely:
Detrimental health impacts of floods.
Detrimental health impact of storms.
Increased likelyhood of variability of food crop yields as a precursor to the detrimental health impact of malnutrition and hunger.
Sea level rise coupled with storm surges and related mortality.
Detrimental health impact of drought.
Sanitation issues associated with drought / flooding and associated health impacts.
“Moreover, even if the synergy between adaptation and milder winters decreases the
total mortality related to cold and heat, extreme events like heatwaves may still exert
a stress beyond the adaptation limits on the population. Such events are accompanied
by sharp increases in daily mortality which cause public concern and attract ample
media attention. A well studied example is the 2003 European heatwave which cost
the lives of more than 30,000 people”
http://www.springerlink.com/content/h410p635k3830865/
Despite the abundance of caveates to conclude from this paper, as you seem to have, that …”Warming is highly beneficial to human health, even without any overt adaptation to it. ”
Is absurd.
http://www.searo.who.int/LinkFiles/Regional_Health_Forum_Volume_12_No_1_Protecting_human_health.pdf
https://springerlink3.metapress.com/content/h75307h030424404/resource-secured/?target=fulltext.pdf&sid=t4wequ2yldx5kieqebzw3syx&sh=www.springerlink.com

Scott Covert

What about UHI?
If they are using adjusted temperature data, they are correlating rising temperatures that are mostly due to UHI with the survival/ death rate. Does the phenomenon occur mostly in large urban areas?
Should old people move near the airport?
Maybe it is overall energy usage that correlates to greater survival.
Are they looking at specific causes of death?
There are many pitfalls here.

dennis crockford

I am absolutely astonished that some folks on this website, (including you, Mr Watts) claiming to have a science background, which would imply at least a modicum of basic understanding on basic principles of comparative analysis, would choose to compare the results of a study based on a population of approx 60m people at latitudes 50-55 degrees (i.e. England and Wales) to an IPCC report which addresses the impacts of global warming across the planet. This is cherry picking at its most blatant and absurd, and serves only to show the lengths that the denialist camp will go to in attempts to create confusion around such a serious issue.

REPLY:
Be as astonished as you wish. Question: Do you heat your house up there in British Columbia? And if so why?
Second question: do you think it is OK to divine the temperature of the MWP from just a handful of tree ring samples? Such as those in Yamal? – Anthony

Jeff L

This is why you see old people moving to Florida, Texas & Arizona, not North Dakota, Montana & Alaska. Warmer = better.
People intuitively know warmer is better – we didn’t need a study to prove it.

Food plants love global warming … Why do you think there are real greenhouses?
Ice not so much goodness for food growing.

Mark T

Jay says:
November 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I would be interested in reading what Steve McIntyre would say about this method…

“a technique called optimal detection, which they describe as “a formal statistical methodology” that can be used to estimate the role played by human adaptation in the temperature-related changes in mortality they observed.”

Dunno, but in statistical terminology, the word “optimal” generally needs to be referenced to something, e.g., optimal w.r.t. minimum mean square error, otherwise it is meaningless. I would expect that the paper/study defines which criteria for optimality is used (MMSE is typical, and often the easiest to compute) though I would not be surprised if any article/press release regarding the paper/study does not.
Mark

Curiousgeorge

Don’t know about the death rates, but I do know that the bikini ratio improves with warmer weather. 😉

Mark T

Area Man says:
November 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm

So apples to oranges to some extent.

Yes and no… most of the warming is in the northern hemisphere. Equatorial regions have seen little, if any, warming that has been attributed to AGW.

I would expect the global result to be a net positive as well, but until it’s analyzed I don’t think one cam say this study proves anything about global effects.

No, but given that far fewer people die from extreme highs than from extreme lows, something that has been studied, it is reasonable to conclude warming will result in a net positive.
Mark

RichieP

It’s better than we thought ….

Jimbo

The following study seems to indicate that the peak in admissions etc. for the over 65s is during cold spells.

Excess winter morbidity and mortality among older people remain significant public health issues in those European countries which experience relatively mild winter temperatures, particularly the United Kingdom (UK), Ireland, Portugal and Spain. In the UK, episodes of severe winter weather, when ambient temperatures fall below 5° C, are associated with peaks in general practitioner consultations, hospital admissions, and cardiovascular deaths among those aged over 65.
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7008664

Here is the latest figure I find for exess winter deaths in the UK. So this WUWT post doesn’t surprise me one bit.
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=574
Spain doesn’t get off the hook though.
Mortality from cold waves in Castile — La Mancha, Spain – 2010
http://tinyurl.com/3785rnq

peterhodges

i’ts amazing they can come up with anything coherent when they blame everything on global warming

latitude

and they could tell all of that, from only 1-2 degrees difference……..
Who would have thought we were all that delicate?
Who would have thought the weather was all that sensitive?
I don’t!

Mark T

This is cherry picking at its most blatant and absurd

Cherry picked, indeed, because it serves to reason only places that actually get cold will suffer cold-related deaths. Furthermore, places that are not impacted by global warming seem unlikely as good sources of data when attempting to compare changes in death rates due to… global warming. Gee, how hard is this to understand?

and serves only to show the lengths that the denialist camp will go to in attempts to create confusion around such a serious issue.

And your comment serves only to show how little you understand or are willing to attempt to understand. Shame, really, that people can think as you and still get up in the morning.
Mark

Jimbo

I have just had a look at the UK Office of Statistics figure into the 2009 / 2010 excess winter deaths and it looks suspicious. The brutal winter of 2009/2010 registered 25,400 people. While 2008/2009 exess winter deaths registered around 36,000 exess winter deaths. I thought this past winter was the worst in over 30 years!!!
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=574

simpleseekeraftertruth

Warming good for folk. CO2 good for flora. Polar bear populations increasing. Loads of gas in shale. New mega-oil fields off Africa and South America. We do indeed live in wonderful times.
My thanks to Greenpeace, IPCC and WWF for bringing this to our attention – it may have slipped by unnoticed otherwise.

jack morrow

Is it me or am I surrounded by idiots? How can something so little be so hard to see? Oh, someone mentioned grants and money.

jack morrow

Easy

Ronald S

Ah – that would be why the Sun City retirement communities are located in Arizona rather than Alaska then.

Charlie A

Observation #1:

This is why you see old people moving to Florida, Texas & Arizona, not North Dakota, Montana & Alaska. Warmer = better.
People intuitively know warmer is better – we didn’t need a study to prove it.,

And Observation #2:

Don’t know about the death rates, but I do know that the bikini ratio improves with warmer weather. 😉

This obviously calls for a scientific study to see if there is a causal relationship between #2 and #1.

Jimmy Haigh

dennis crockford says:
November 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm
Please, please say that you weren’t being serious?

kwinterkorn

Happiness is a warm planet.

solarbud

This study looked only at the UK. The IPCC looks at the whole world. You people obviously don’t care about the folk who died in the Russian heatwave or the Pakistani floods this year, or the crop failures in both those countries and Africa and a host of other places.
Because the fact that it’s warmer in January in England is the only thing which matters in your little minds. We are OK, stuff the rest of the world, eh. Makes me proud to be British it does.

David

Ah – so this could explain why I feel good when I’m on holiday in FLORIDA – and not-so-good when I’m battling a freezing winter wind in England…
Could never explain that before….

jheath

I know that I am not a scientist and not really equipped to comment, but I am an accountant, economist and energy adviser to the odd Government or two. Empirical evidence from my time running a pensions office in the UK was that we worked overtime when the temperature fell below zero in the daytime because old people died. Empirical evidence from my time collecting energy debts from poor neighbourhoods.: they cannot cope with higher bills in cold weather, and they resent unnecessarily high bills – as now. Finally subjective evidence from my regular November visits to work in the Caribbean (someone has to do it). This year I am cold in the tropics. But I know that is weather and not climate and await the warm English winter. Oh dear – just seen the forecast.
Can I have a research grant please?

RockyRoad

Area Man says:
November 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm

One would expect warming to be more benficial (and thus less dangerous) in colder climes like England/Wales vs tropical or equatorial desert climes.
I would expect the global result to be a net positive as well, but until it’s analyzed I don’t think one cam say this study proves anything about global effects.

I completely agree–a few years back I was down in Death Valley and we stopped at the Ubehebe Crater–an excellent meteorite impact feature, and the temperature on one side was about 112 in the shade! But on the other side where the trail goes, the temperature was 114 degrees (since it was more exposed to the sun), and there were dead people EVERYWHERE! I figure that additional 2 degrees is wot done it!
/sarcoff

Area Man says:
November 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm
To be precise, this latest study looks only at England and Wales. It is not immediately clear over what geography the IPCC was referring to, but it was presumably the entire globe.
One would expect warming to be more benficial (and thus less dangerous) in colder climes like England/Wales vs tropical or equatorial desert climes.

There were more studies like this one in other parts of the world. All show the same trends: warmer means less mortality. See e.g. Keatinge e.a.:
http://www.bmj.com/content/321/7262/670.full
From the study:
Mortality was lowest at 14.3-17.3°C in north Finland but at 22.7-25.7°C in Athens. Overall the 3°C minimum mortality temperature bands were significantly higher in regions with higher than lower mean summer temperatures
The main finding was that cold related extra mortality was a tenfold of the heat related mortality outside the optimum band.
No direct explanation of the southward increase in optimal temperature band was given, maybe a question of adaptation of people in general to different temperature regimes, or genetical adaptation over several generations…

http://www.bmj.com/content/316/7130/514.full
Above: Paper on “cold related deaths” in Russia.
Below: Paper on “Heat Deaths” in AZ, 1992-2009
http://www.azdhs.gov/plan/report/heat/heat09.pdf
A very superficial look at both indicates that presuming winter temperatures go up along with summer temps, the net result will be neutral or positive. I haven’t parsed things exactly, but it appears that if you the more days you raise ABOVE O C, the more days you get NO cold deaths.
Heat deaths become much more related to education, knowledge, etc. The so called “heat wave” of 2003 in Europe was primarily LAUGHABLE to my friends and relatives in PHX. If we take PHX numbers of 40 deaths per year, and a 4 million population, for the 400,000,000 of Europe we’d expect 4,000 deaths (extra) from a prolonged, PHX style “temperature increase”, not 30,000…making us highly suspicious of certain “technological and educational” disadvantages. Along with acculturation and accommodation problems. (I was in London in the summer of 1989, and the dock workers on the Thames were complaining terribly of the problem of working in 84 F “heat”. Which in my area would be considered a MODERATE summer day!)

lgl

So warm is good for life and cold is bad, really!
A few more papers and they will find that water freezes to ice if cold enough.

dennis crockford

Mark T and Jimmy H (Oh, and you too Anthony):
Let me see,
“the IPCC AR4 states with very high confidence that climate change contributes to the global burden of disease and to increased mortality,”
The review on this website of the UK paper takes the results of the analysis, which was based on the assessment of temperature effects alone, on 1% the world’s human population, living in a concentrated cluster on less than 1% of the global landmass,
and makes the gargantuan, logic-defying leap to the conclusion:
“Clearly, the IPCC’s “very-high-confidence” conclusion is woefully wrong. Warming is highly beneficial to human health, even without any overt adaptation to it. And when adaptations are made, warming is incredibly beneficial in terms of lengthening human life span.”
Climate change impacts, as per Tim W’s blog, are about so much more than than just temperature, and that is why I find the comparison to be such a stretch of the imagination….

Steve from Rockwood

Anthony – well chosen graphic to introduce this post. Thank-you for continuing to peel the veneer off the global warming scam.