The Lancet Makes False Climate Change Death Claims, Media Swallows Them

Reposted from ClimateREALISM

By H. Sterling Burnett -October 22, 2021

The Washington Post, among a number of other mainstream media outlets, covered a new report published by the medical journal, The Lancet, which claims climate change is causing illness, hunger, and premature death. The reports goes on to claim matters will only get worse unless governments take dramatic action to halt climate change. The Lancet’s claim, and thus the news reports parroting it are false. They are directly refuted by the most comprehensive studies ever conducted on the effects of climate change and mortality, published in The Lancet itself. Data from the United Nations also refutes The Lancet’s fear-mongering on climate change and health.

The Washington Post story, titled “Inaction on climate change imperils millions of lives, doctors say,” describes a report in The Lancet, titled “The 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: code red for a healthy future.” The report and the news coverage of it are filled with hyperbolic claims falsely linking climate change to illness and premature death. Claims that are directly refuted by hard data.

“Climate change is set to become the “defining narrative of human health,” a top medical journal warned Wednesday — triggering food shortages, deadly disasters and disease outbreaks that would dwarf the toll of the coronavirus,” writes the Washington Post. “Rising temperatures have led to higher rates of heat illness, causing farmworkers to collapse in fields and elderly people to die in their apartments. Insects carrying tropical diseases have multiplied and spread toward the poles. … Droughts intensify, crops fail, hunger stalks millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Each of these claims is false, with many of them being directly refuted by research previously published in The Lancet itself.

Research published in the July 1 2021 edition of The Lancet came to two clear conclusions: cold temperatures contribute to far more deaths each year than warmer temperatures, and deaths associated with extreme temperatures, hot or cold, are declining.

In the study, titled “Global, regional, and national burden of mortality associated with non-optimal ambient temperatures from 2000 to 2019: a three-stage modelling study,” 68 scientists representing universities and research institutes in 33 countries spanning all regions of the world, concluded as the earth modestly warms, deaths caused by non-optimum temperatures are declining by tens of thousands of people each years. The study states:

[T]his study is the first to provide a global overview of mortality burden attributable to non-optimal temperatures and the temporal change at a spatial resolution of 0·5° × 0·5° between 2000 and 2019—the hottest period since the pre-industrial age. We modelled the variation in the exposure–response relationship between temperature and mortality, reducing the uncertainties of the mortality burden, using data on more than 130 million deaths from 43 countries, which are located in five continents and characterized by different climates, socioeconomics, demographics, and development levels of infrastructure and public health services. The large sample size and its representativeness improved the generalizability of our results. We found that 5,083,173 deaths were associated with non-optimal temperatures per year. … Most of these excess deaths were explainable by cold temperatures.

According to the study, there has been a small, possibly statistically insignificant 0.21 percent increase in heat-related deaths since 2000. Meanwhile, deaths tied to cold temperatures declined by 0.51 percent. Because cold-related deaths outnumber heat-related deaths by 10 to one, the number of deaths associated with non-optimal temperatures declined by tens of thousands since 2000.

Another telling fact is that regardless of the country or region—cold, hot, or temperate—cold-related deaths greatly outnumber heat-related deaths, the study found as seen in Figure1 below.

Figure 1: heat deaths vs. cold deaths worldwide via The Lancet.

This study confirms what previously published research has consistently shown but climate alarmists have dutifully ignored or lied about: cold, not heat, is the biggest temperature-related killer, and illness and deaths related to temperatures are declining significantly. For example, a study published in the Southern Medical Journal and research undertaken by the BBC and staff at the U.S. Department of the Interior, all confirm more people die from cold than heat.

In 2015, The Lancet published the results of a large-scale temperature/mortality study in which the researchers found cold weather, directly or indirectly, killed 1,700 percent more people than warm or hot weather. The scientists examined health data from 384 locations in 13 countries, accounting for more than 74 million deaths. The authors of that Lancet study wrote:

[N]on-optimum ambient temperature is responsible for substantial excess in mortality, with important differences between countries. Although most previous research has focused on heat-related effects, most of the attributable deaths were caused by cold temperatures. Despite the attention given to extreme weather events, most of the effect happened on moderately hot and moderately cold days, especially moderately cold days.

Commenting on the 2015 Lancet study in a 2017 New York Times article, author Jane Brody wrote, “Over time, as global temperatures rise, milder winter temperatures are likely to result in fewer cold-related deaths, a benefit that could outweigh a smaller rise in heat-caused mortality.”

As discussed in previous Climate Realism posts, for instance, herehere, and here, and examined in detail in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts (CCRIIBI), global warming is reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Also CCRIIBI describes a vast body of scientific research which contradicts claims that vector-borne diseases, for instance, Dengue fever, Malaria, or the Zika virus will expand across the globe and intensify as a result of CO2- induced warming.

Concerning crop production and hunger as detailed in dozens of Climate Realism posts, data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization proves beyond any doubt that for most crops in most regions and countries production has increased and hunger and malnutrition have declined dramatically as the earth has modestly warmed. This is in large part due to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Previous Climate Realism posts show agricultural productivity has increased dramatically, for example, in Africa, herehere, and here; in the Middle East, here and here; in Latin America, herehere, and here; in Asia, herehere, and here, and in North America, herehereherehere, and here.

Agronomy and botany explain that crop production is increasing in large part due to the fact that growing conditions, for instance available rainfall and photosynthetic efficiency, have improved as a result of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, modest warming, and improved precipitation.

Data conclusively show that deaths from all climate related causes have declined by more than 98 percent since the 1920s.

Figure 2: Climate related deaths vs. non climate relate deaths since 1920. Source: Dr. Bjorn Lomborg.

Neither illnesses nor deaths related to climate change are increasing. Shame on The Lancet and the mainstream media for lying about this.

H. Sterling BurnettH. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is managing editor of Environment & Climate News and a research fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute. Burnett worked at the National Center for Policy Analysis for 18 years, most recently as a senior fellow in charge of NCPA’s environmental policy program. He has held various positions in professional and public policy organizations, including serving as a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Task Force in the Texas Comptroller’s e-Texas commission.

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Ed Zuiderwijk
October 23, 2021 10:32 pm

Another peer-approved pack of lies. Climate change has killed The Lancet, but it doesn’t know it yet. No serious researcher will want to publish in it anymore. It might as well call itself The Charlatan.

Vincent Causey
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
October 24, 2021 12:57 am

Was it even peer reviewed? It may have been an opinion piece. The article doesn’t say.

Reply to  Vincent Causey
October 24, 2021 3:18 am

Yes. It was peered reviewed by the walking dead.

Reply to  John Shewchuk
October 24, 2021 5:29 am

It was not peer reviewed. The Lancet Countdown is a separate group from the journal, all under the banner of the Wellcome Trust, whose job is to produce unreviewed propaganda. The Countdown has about 35 contributors, mostly in or highly influenced by the corrupt United Nations. The lead author has never had a real job and only a post-doc on her resumé.

Apparently, the MSM is too corrupt and stupid to spend 10 minutes investigating the source of the story.

Reply to  Pflashgordon
October 24, 2021 6:44 am

When has the MSM worried about the consequences of reporting lies as truth? The MSM has shifted into a full court press of 98% lying leftist propaganda (unintentional misstatements of lies happens 2% of the time)… this is in league with the liars and purveyors of Censorship in Social Media.

This is no longer just a culture war.

Reply to  Pflashgordon
October 24, 2021 1:24 pm

Corrupt, maybe, but not stupid. They don’t investigate the source if it agrees with their narrative. If it doesn’t agree, they investigate until they find something they can use to create a scandal and then report on that instead.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
October 24, 2021 3:24 am

It’s funny that this article was published just before the start of the annual UN climate jamboree. Oh wait, articles like this are always published just before the jamboree. It’s like clockwork every year…I forgot.

Reply to  Klem
October 24, 2021 8:57 am

Researchers with the most useful sense of timing … in support of “the cause” (wiping out Free Market Capitalism) … get rewarded with more $$ research grants. Ironic isn’t it

October 23, 2021 10:33 pm

Just recently, the Lancet, which long ago, used to be one of the world’s top medical journals retracted a study that raised alarms about the safety of the experimental Covid-19 treatments for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine after scrutiny of the data underlying the paper.
Just over an hour later, the New England Journal of Medicine withdrew a separate study, focused on blood pressure medications in Covid-19, that relied on data from the same company.

The retractions came at the request of the authors of the studies, which were published last month, and who were not directly involved in the data collection and sources, according to both journals

I look like it is time for The Lancet to once again retract an article, this time about “Climate Change‘ Death Claims, on the grounds of the solid evidence presented above by H. Sterling Burnett.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
October 23, 2021 11:11 pm

Lancet is apparently continuing in the footsteps of earlier experts.

Jay Willis
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
October 24, 2021 3:33 am

It’s a very interesting point you make about (presumably) secondary or tertiary authors making retraction. I’ve recently felt that while peer review cannot be trusted, the only thing that is reliable is the reputations and qualification of the authors.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
October 24, 2021 6:50 am

The Lancet is corrupt. Their good name should have been ripped away from them with these horrible… and very obvious… transgressions… but the whole medical profession has been Corrupted (and the silent truth tellers in medicine routinely Cancelled) so NOBODY publicly calls them out.

John VC
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
October 24, 2021 9:41 am

Yep, they sure shot their reputation in the foot with that one

October 23, 2021 11:30 pm

This is another propaganda article setting the stage for the contrived shortages of food and other items to be blamed on climate change. It is therefore eagerly bought by MSM with their agendas.

Reply to  tmatsi
October 24, 2021 1:57 am

You can be sure that the coming significant increase in mortality wiill be as artificial as with covid,where they sent the infected to nursing homes to infect and kill old people.
But it won’t be blamed on shortages in medicinal supply as result of Newsome actions (just as they didn’t blame Cuomo for the killing of tens of thousands of people,while they were so “shocked” about a single George Floyd)
but on AGW and Covid to justify further restrictions that will kill even more people,
which again will be blamed on co2vid.

October 24, 2021 12:00 am

”According to the study, there has been a small, possibly statistically insignificant 0.21 percent increase in heat-related deaths since 2000.”

Possibly insignificant!!??

Just because people die from hot weather DOES NOT mean they are dying from ”climate change”. It just means they are dying from hot weather.
When will this BS stop?
Question.. Is there one thing – JUSTONE – that has improved due to climate change anywhere in the world according to these people?

Reply to  Mike
October 24, 2021 2:00 am

That’s like saying ” Your neighbour died because you traded your Mercedes for a BMW.
Proof : Car Change kills people”

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Mike
October 24, 2021 5:57 am

“It just means they are dying from hot weather.”
Maybe they are actually just dying DURING hot weather.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
October 24, 2021 5:03 pm

Yes a good chance of that.

Reply to  Mike
October 26, 2021 4:32 pm

They are all astounded at how much money they make flogging climate change.
Something about a fool born every second…

David Guy-Johnson
October 24, 2021 12:04 am

The Lance’s editor is a fully paid up left wing socialist

Alan the Brit
Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
October 24, 2021 12:59 am

Hate to be Mr Picky, but ALL Socialists are Left-Wing by definition!!! OTOH, I detest lefties referring to those who disagree with them as Neo-Nazis, when the Nazi Party was in fact the National Socialists Workers Party of Germany!!! If you watch enough good old fashioned WW2 war films you will hear dialogue by the baddies referring to this or that person as a good National Socialist, etc!!!

Referring to tropical disease increasing due to a warming world is total codswallop, & at the risk of boring readers (again) the Ague is mentioned in the works of Shakespeare a dozen or so times. Ague is the old English word for Malaria, but it was supposed to be much colder back in the day than today, yet the Ague disappeared in the following decades/centuries. The very word Malaria comes from the old Italian for “Bad Air”, as they then thought it was an airborne disease, which it indeed was but via mosquitos, not some mysterious floating pestilence!!! Worst known outbreak resulting in thousands of deaths was back in the 1920s around a place called Archangel in or around the Arctic Circle, & Archangel is ice-bound for much of the year, yet again another shot in the foot for the Warmunistas!!! I suspect the temperature link of it being a tropical disease comes from those old war films set in the Far-East in regions like Burma/Thailand/The Philipines etc!!! Oh, whatever happened to that marvellous stuff called DDT, to my knowledge none of the negative claims about it have ever been proven!!! Rachel Carson has an awful lot of blood on her eco-bunny hands, which is what often happens when one lies & spreads deceit for profit!!!

Reply to  Alan the Brit
October 26, 2021 4:35 pm

“Hate to be Mr Picky, but ALL Socialists are Left-Wing by definition!!!”

One has to be explicit because left wing elitists automatically assume that other left wing advocates are all right wing extremists.

Rory Forbes
October 24, 2021 12:13 am

The crazies have confused climate with weather, again. What kind of morons fall for that mind numbing nonsense? Imperceptible variations, hidden within natural weather, over the course of decades, even centuries or millennia are not going to produce measurable health problems … especially fatal ones. Humans have never been healthier or longer lived. This is all invention, expectation bias or just lies.

October 24, 2021 12:29 am

 Vice + Carbon Pants big up DeSmog

only 6 staff….!!

Seems like DeSmog have been actively out soliciting endorsements and using the “if you’re not with us , you’re a denier” approach

Alan the Brit
Reply to  tomo
October 24, 2021 2:30 am

We “deniers” should do more to stand up to these eco-bunny bullies, we do NOT deny that the Earth has a climate for starters, nor do we deny that it changes every now & then, as it has done numerous times in the last 4.5 billion years, & always will do, but the true climate change deniers cannot accept that because it doesn’t fit their agenda (21)!!!

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Alan the Brit
October 24, 2021 10:50 am

Actually, the Earth does NOT “have a climate”. It has a coupled, non-linear chaotic system. In other words it has a multitude of climates in which change is the default condition. Some climates have not seen any change at all in centuries. When change does occur it’s usually gradual and nearly imperceptible.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Rory Forbes
October 25, 2021 12:31 am

I totally agree, but when I said the Earth has a climate, I did so meaning that that climate was unpredictable & varied all around the globe. To my knowledge, & I am still waiting upon Griff et al, the Earth’s climate has never stayed the same in that 4.5 billion year history!!!

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Alan the Brit
October 25, 2021 9:36 am

We’re of one mind on that. I was wearing my pedantic trousers yesterday,

Reply to  Rory Forbes
October 25, 2021 3:31 pm

Don’t get them mixed up with pandemic trousers

Reply to  tomo
October 24, 2021 9:02 pm

The link to “ Vice + Carbon Pants big up DeSmog ” doesn’t seem to be working.

October 24, 2021 1:05 am

The doctors seem to be in the wrong job

“ GPs ballot for strike action over seeing patients face-to-face”

It’s easier to spout nonsense and fibs

October 24, 2021 1:12 am

AGW is a mental illness, that’s what a medical journal like the Lancer should write about.
Mass hysteria has taken over science, poltics and media.

Eric Vieira
October 24, 2021 1:21 am

There’s only one solution to this kind of problem: honest scientists must ask themselves the question whether they should be honest and refuse to publish in “tainted journals” at the cost of one’s own scientific integrity. There are also on-line journals which would even benefit from
high level scientific publications. They are also more free to introduce a “peer review procedure” that merits being called peer review. What we are seeing is the formal destruction of science, which is being forcibly submitted to politics and publishers. Scientists should associate and call for a boycott or blacklisting of these journals, until they comply to a certain quality assurance. The journals are formally dependent on us, not vice-versa.

October 24, 2021 1:37 am

This journal should, in an act of honesty, be renamed ‘The Fleam’ to remind us of the time when the medical science they proclaim believed that all ills could be cured by draining the life sustaining blood from the patient. ‘The Fleam’ would be consistent with their current erroneous beliefs that draining the life sustaining Carbon diOxide from the atmosphere will make the Earth flourish.

Peta of Newark
October 24, 2021 2:20 am

What is happening to the kid in that picture, me personally me does not like the look of it.

Never mind that, I’m searching for A Word to describe this story and am struggling

It’s got soooo many things sooooo near yet so far and sooooo wrong

Is it political correctness, blindness (wilful or other), naivete, stupidity, tribalism, good intentions, attention-seeking, virtue-signalling, ignorance, self-promotion etc etc

There is ‘something’ going on out there Health-wise = what are/were generally called the ‘Modern Diseases
Significant ones being:

  • Obesity (to include Cardio Vascular diseases)
  • Diabetes and Autoimmune disorders
  • Childhood and Adult Dementias

And yes they are Climate Related

Peta of Newark needs say no more apart from Nutrient Free Mush Food being grown on highly and increasingly Eroded Soils

It is that erosion that is causing all the observed effects of climate change – including a large part of the rising CO2 levels

Thus I’m left wondering just how did anything get so wrong, how did Cause & Effect become so badly confused and, as we see here, become ever more deeply entrenched.

PS You also know how that happens….
Because, just like at a drunken house-warming party and when someone turns up with a new case of beer, the cry goes up, “Aw wow, things have never been better

So it is equally with ever increasing crop yields and amounts of sugar (i.e. cooked starch) in our diets – the reports of Increasing Bumper Yields are exactly that = More Beer

is there any way, on the current trajectory, this can end happily?
What is the civilizational equivalent of a hangover or, more especially at drunken parties – what happens when the inevitable fight breaks out?

edit to add ‘personal tickle’ (can you tickle yourself…. 😀
Concerning the word ‘Pulse’ as in vegetable pulses such as peas and beans.

‘pulse’ is Latin word and was used to describe certain types of food, food that we might today call: ‘mush’ ‘gruel’ or ‘porridge’

Ain’t that sublime – how many times are we told that a diet loaded with beans is the way to personal and planetary salvation

Uh-oh, just realised.
What is a Very Real and significant hazard at drunken parties if not puddles of ‘gruel’
Clue: Big White Telephone

James Stagg
Reply to  Peta of Newark
October 24, 2021 6:06 pm

Did someone miss a basic course in English composition? Sounds like malarkey to a logical mind.

October 24, 2021 3:20 am

Sounds like the walking dead are now peer reviewing medical publications.

son of mulder
October 24, 2021 4:19 am

More CO2, fewer deaths, what’s not to like? ;>)

October 24, 2021 4:53 am

The lancet published an article showing hcq as dangerous even though the data was fabricated and submitted by a sheel entity. Silence from them on their participation in murder.

Bruce Cobb
October 24, 2021 5:05 am

The Lancet needs some sort of device to self-test for truth. Painful at first, but good for them in the long run.

October 24, 2021 5:39 am

The sociopolitical art and science of plausible.

October 24, 2021 6:26 am

I love this kind of crapweasel reportage.

“…causing farmworkers to collapse in fields and elderly people to die in their apartments.”

1 – Pictures with DATES ON THE IMAGE FILES or it didn’t happen.

2 – I’m elderly and I do NOT live in an apartment. Quite the opposite. I live in a house ona hilltop and i have A/C if I choose to use it, but usually don’t need it. And QUIT harking back to a heat wave in Chicago that was lethal to people – ANYONE of ANY AGE – who was afraid to go outside or open a window to let in fresh air. That is totally bogus, and Lancet knows it.

3 – WHAT HEAT WAVE???? Where was it and what was the time frame of it, and what was the highest temperature recorded??? Cough up the data or admit it’s TOTALLY BOGUS!!

4 – Farmworkers to NOT NECESSARILY WORK ON FOOT IN THE FIELDS. Lancet displays sheer ignorance of farming in this regard, so it is – again – TOTALLY BOGUS, MAN!

Rant over.

Happy Sunday to all concerned.

Reply to  Sara
October 24, 2021 12:06 pm

I found this excerpt from an old “Twilight Zone” episode, with Burgess Meredith as the central character. The title is “The Obsolete Man”. Kind of a hint from the 1960s that we can’t afford to be complacent at all these days.

And push the red “playing” line at the bottom backward toward the left, if you have to. Sorry, my bad.

Russell Johnson
October 24, 2021 6:34 am

Any media that decides to push an agenda over facts participates in propaganda. Today we have multiple types of media involved including Google, Facebook, Twitter. Censorship of all forms of speech is another facet of their propaganda; we have government indirectly partnering with big tech to censor speech while spewing out support for politicians and their programs. Facebook is now paying for ads lauding their censoring activities–this is propaganda supporting propaganda!!!!!!
Lancet has lost all credibility! Climate change has become a State religion, apparently Lancet thinks publishing crap like this “study” appeases the State High Priests.

October 24, 2021 7:05 am

“the medical journal “Lancet”??? CORRECTION: the FORMER medical journal “Lancet”

Climate believer
October 24, 2021 7:41 am

We found that 5,083,173 deaths were associated with non-optimal temperatures per year. … Most of these excess deaths were explainable by cold temperatures.”


“Most” = 4,594,098 cold related deaths

Not even 500,000 deaths related to end of times “Global Warming”™

I think we can definitively bin this ridiculous alarmist narrative.

Michael in Dublin
October 24, 2021 7:52 am

Please do not go to these rubbish sites but these are two examples of their worthless journalism to promote the climate narrative:
BBC: Heat blamed for mysterious deaths of California hiker family
Guardian: California family found dead on hike killed by extreme heat, sheriff says
 •  The father was 45 and mother 30 and they were hiking with a year old little girl.
 •  This occurred in August in California – the middle of the hot dry summer.
 •  They appear to only have had a 2,5L (5 pints) water container.

Were they actually killed by “extreme heat” or their foolishness in going hiking with a young child in such conditions. Many have lived in places where the temperatures go up to these levels but survive because they adapt and take steps to cope with the heat.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
October 24, 2021 10:10 am

I have lived in Phoenix, and frequently went mineral collecting in the desert with my dog, in the Summer. My 4WD did not have A/C. Yet, neither my dog or I had any problems. She quickly learned to take advantage of the shade from a lone saguaro while she waited for me to catch up.

These were city people who had little in the way of wilderness or survival skills and were inadequately prepared for the conditions.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
October 25, 2021 3:36 pm

They won a Darwin Award

October 24, 2021 8:54 am

Didn’t the Lancet boldly proclaim the C-19 virus couldn’t possibly have originated in the Wuhan Lab?

The Lancet can’t be trusted to advise on boil lancing. They are a giant boil on the posterior of our scientific culture

Gordon A. Dressler
October 24, 2021 9:11 am

The real news story should be:
The Lancet moves to mimic Facebook. Average readership IQ drops 100 points.”

Clyde Spencer
October 24, 2021 9:52 am

I think that it should be pointed out that, as shown in Fig. 2, the climate-related deaths have been declining even as the population has been increasing. It really should have been normalized to “per capita.”

Bill Taylor
October 24, 2021 10:57 am

the climate is NOT a force, it has NO power and has never caused any weather event, OR any deaths…..

Reply to  Bill Taylor
October 24, 2021 5:28 pm

Like saying lower life expectancies caused many death…

Rory Forbes
October 24, 2021 10:58 am

The Holocene Thermal Optimum occurred ~ 8000 yrs ago and was considerably hotter than today. Modern man developed during that time, while Earth has been steadily cooling. So, as you rightly ask: “what the hell is an ‘optimum temperature’.”

October 24, 2021 11:59 am

In other words, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Run for your lives. But, leave your wallets.”

October 24, 2021 1:43 pm

And just now, cuc conservatives realize that the medical scientific community is mostly a scam and leftists were right for a change.

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