REBUTTAL to Doctor Merritt: ‘Climate Change’ Does Not Affect Human Health, Weather Does

This story on WUWT last week was so absurd, I felt like it needed a strong rebuttal.

A November 4th article in the Canadian newspaper, Victoria Times Colonist, reported, B.C. doctor clinically diagnoses patient as suffering from ‘climate change’

On the face of it, one doesn’t need to be a climate scientist to know this is an absurd claim, because the doctor is simply making the mistake of conflating short-term weather events with long-term climate change.

Obviously, Doctor Merritt hasn’t learned what the definition of climate is. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) clearly defines it:

Weather reflects short-term conditions of the atmosphere while climate is the average daily weather for an extended period of time at a certain location. … Weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season.

In the case of Dr. Merritt, he is citing a record heat wave and wildfires as creating health problems for his patients.

From the article:

“It was late June, and British Columbia was consumed under a heat wave that would soon go down as both the hottest and deadliest in Canadian history.

The head of the hospital’s emergency department, Merritt could see the aggravated toll the extreme heat took on patients battling multiple health problems at once, often with little money.”

Like death by heat, doctors have traditionally struggled to clinically attribute mortality and severe illness to air pollution. For Merritt, this summer’s wildfire season changed all that. 

When a patient came in struggling to breathe, Merritt knew the smoke — that hadn’t lifted from the region for days on end — had made a case of asthma worse. 

For the first time in his 10 years as a physician, the ER doctor picked up his patient’s chart and penned in the words “climate change.” 

“If we’re not looking at the underlying cause, and we’re just treating the symptoms, we’re just gonna keep falling further and further behind,” he told Glacier Media when asked why he did it.

While I certainly have compassion for the people afflicted, the bottom line is that these health issues are short-term events driven by weather, not climate.

The record heat wave was clearly a weather event, lasting about 3 days as the high pressure dome moved from west to east over the Pacific Northwest, and was driven by a unique set of meteorological conditions. Cliff Mass, Ph.D, an expert on meteorology at the University of Washington studied the heat wave event extensively in his article Was Global Warming The Cause of the Great Northwest Heatwave? Science Says No.

As a result of his study, Dr. Mass found no trend consistent with “climate change” aka “global warming” and came to this conclusion:

If global warming was producing extreme heatwaves in our region, such as the event last week, there would be a long-term trend towards more extreme high temperatures.  A single event does not reflect climate, only a trend or changes in long-term average do.

Mass went on to examine the long-term temperature data and adds, “…there IS NO INCREASING TREND for more record high temperatures over our region during the past century. “

That rules out Dr. Merritt’s claim of “climate change” driving health issues he witnessed, which was little more than conjecture, with no science applied at all. His diagnosis seems more like “political popular science”, as opposed to real science citing data and linking causation.

On the issues of wildfire smoke and health, Dr. Merritt disproves his own claims about a linkage with climate change with his statement to the newspaper:

“This past summer, it was so bad for about three weeks,” says Merritt. 

Again, three weeks is a short-term event, not a long-term climate trend. The main flaw in Dr. Merritt’s claim is that he erroneously conflates weather with climate. The classical period is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). A heat wave and the resultant fires is a short-term weather phenomenon. And, as Dr. mass points out, it would only become an indicator of climate change if it persisted for 30 years and showed an increased trend.

The wildfires were a temporary phenomenon, likely related to the short-term heat wave. NASA satellites have documented a global long-term decline in wildfires. NASA reports satellites have measured a 25-percent decrease in global lands burned since 2003.

Neither the temperature data or the wildfire data show an upward trend, rendering Merritt’s opinion of a climate change connection as flat wrong.

Dr. Merritt should stick to treating patients, and leave meteorology and climatology to experts trained in those sciences. After all, you certainly don’t see meteorologists and climatologists posing as medical professionals.

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Mike H
November 8, 2021 11:13 am

You have NO idea the degree to which the Kool-Aid has been drunk in BC. Especially here in the lower mainland/Vancouver Island.

Pauleta
Reply to  Mike H
November 8, 2021 11:47 am

‘Member when AB NDP wanted to stop sending gas to BC because of the legal problems with the TransMountain? That would have been glorious.

MM from Canada
Reply to  Pauleta
November 8, 2021 3:20 pm

And remember when BC’s Premier John Horgan was simultaneously suing the Alberta government both for trying to expand the pipeline AND for threatening to turn off the gas to the Lower Mainland? You just can’t make this stuff up.

BCBill
Reply to  Pauleta
November 8, 2021 4:19 pm

Try to remember that the majority of British Columbians have always and continue to support the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Much like most of the Western World, our government here is controlled by very active Marxist elements who tygically have only the vaguest understanding of technical issues. With all the major news media controlled by the Marxists you can be sure that the voices of reason do not get aired. Go Rebel News. Let’s go Justin.

Reply to  Mike H
November 8, 2021 4:57 pm

Idiot wokism is the new religion of the left – they think that just repeating some really imbecilic statement makes it true.
Yes, it was hot for a few weeks in June on the left coast – but hot weather is easy to live with – just drink lots of water.
I’ve been to southern Egypt in July, when temperatures reached 50C, and the locals survive without air conditioning and some even do light work in the middle of the day.
Those who died in BC were probably dehydrated – either the very elderly and infirm who were neglected or others who were negligent.

COLD WEATHER KILLS 20 TIMES AS MANY PEOPLE AS HOT WEATHER
by Joseph d’Aleo and Allan MacRae, September 4, 2015
https://friendsofsciencecalgary.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/cold-weather-kills-macrae-daleo-4sept2015-final.pdf

Derg
Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 9, 2021 1:37 am

Maybe Cuomo killed them 😳

Mike H
Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 9, 2021 6:34 am

And as we know from Cliff Mass, that heat dome had nothing to do with “Climate Change”. It had everything do with a cold/low pressure system off California which pulled the desert heat up from the southwest.

4E Douglas
November 8, 2021 11:15 am

Look up the weather of the 1930s and get back. To me.

John Tillman
Reply to  4E Douglas
November 8, 2021 11:35 am

Also the forest fires of that decade, the ’20s and ’40s.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
November 8, 2021 2:50 pm

To include the early ’50s:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tillamook_Burn

Scars still visible in my childhood in the ’50s, and newly planted trees growing thereafter.

SxyxS
Reply to  4E Douglas
November 8, 2021 12:41 pm

3.7 million people killed in 1931 by natural disasters is a pretty interesting number for a perfect low co2 climate.

But 1886 ain’t bad either – the great die up.
Superhot summer followed by super cold winter + Blizzards,huge parts of high plains cattle did not survive the perfect climate.

Tom Halla
November 8, 2021 11:26 am

By the learned doctor’s standards, I spent most of a week last February in Texas suffering from climate change alleviation syndrome.
We had the worst weather since 1912, and the electrical grid ,which had been vandalized by too much subsidized wind, nearly went down. Clearly the snowstorm was Gaia punishing us for arrogance in thinking we could could control the weather./s

MJB
November 8, 2021 11:32 am

When the victim of a structural fire comes in suffering from smoke inhalation will we now write down ‘arson’ as the diagnosis?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  MJB
November 8, 2021 11:50 am

I think it would be better to blame it on “civilization”.

Philo
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
November 8, 2021 2:40 pm

Nah. Ask any African Native who grew up in poverty how much smoke they had to put up with from cooking and poor ventilation in what shelter they had.

Charles Higley(@higley7)
Reply to  MJB
November 8, 2021 2:11 pm

No, the “doctor” will look up which code will give him and the hospital the most remuneration and mark it as such. It’s all about the money in many places.

In the US, there is a 20% reward for giving a patient in hospital remdemisvir, which is known to destroy kidneys and liver. Why would they reward that unless there was an ulterior motive, such as money (or pop.decrease)?

Scott
November 8, 2021 11:41 am

yes smoke from forest fires is a completely new phenom in the Pacific Northwest. At least since June 1989.

Philo
Reply to  Scott
November 8, 2021 2:42 pm

The new phenom is doctors trying to blame it on the changing climate.

commieBob
November 8, 2021 11:51 am

Engineers are confined to a scope of practice in which they can operate competently. I assume physicians are similarly constrained.

Is there a punishment for medical doctors who stray from their areas of competence?

SxyxS
Reply to  commieBob
November 8, 2021 12:43 pm

“Nothing woke shall ever be punished”

2nd commandment of neomarxism.

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  commieBob
November 8, 2021 1:11 pm

“Engineers are confined to a scope of practice in which they can operate competently.” You mean they used to be—“ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) issues climate change statement, urging UN action.” This may only be the President and CEO, might not have been considered by the membership. Not sure about link, they may (should?) be hiding this. 

https://design.umn.edu/justice/cluster-hire   “The Faculty Cluster Hire
Several openings in various programs across two years, centered in Design Justice: Architecture, Graphic Design, Interior Design, and Product Design” University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. In previous years such would be suspicious enough to checked on. Either way it says something.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
November 9, 2021 4:09 am

Alarmist climate science group-think has infected everything.

All this, based on not even one shred of evidence that CO2 is harmful to humans or the Earth’s atmosphere. Not one shred.

Last edited 6 months ago by Tom Abbott
TonyG
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 9, 2021 9:47 am

Alarmist climate science group-think has infected everything

I subscribe to homesteading and construction magazines, and periodically read many others. ALL of them just assume “climate change is going to kill us all” in their articles. It’s simply a given anymore.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  TonyG
November 10, 2021 4:19 am

“It’s simply a given anymore.”

Yes, the climate change propaganda has been very successful.

Too bad skeptics don’t have control of Society’s Megaphone, the Media. Things would be a lot different then.

chemman
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 9, 2021 1:32 pm

CO2 in the right concentrations are harmful to humans but not in any concentration found naturally occurring in the atmosphere.

The dose is the poison

Tom Abbott
Reply to  chemman
November 10, 2021 4:21 am

True. Current CO2 levels in the atmosphere are about 415ppm. In a submarine, the CO2 levels can go up to about 8,000ppm, if memory serves, without detrimental effects on the crew.

So, yes CO2 can be toxic, but it takes a lot of it. A lot more than humans can put in the atmosphere.

BallBounces
November 8, 2021 11:51 am

His diagnosis is, like the song says, “blowin’ in the wind”. It may be wrong, but it “feels” right.

DocSiders
November 8, 2021 11:55 am

Will the truth of the Climate Fraud ever be revealed in full?…that it was invented and propagated by a Club (Cabal? ) of Billionaire Oligarch Power Seekers (and their lackeys in Govt) that has no regard for the common man or the rights of any man?

“Useful Idiot” is not a new concept…or a new tool. It defines the word “tool”.

fretslider
November 8, 2021 12:23 pm

A doctor?

A quack

SxyxS
Reply to  fretslider
November 8, 2021 12:44 pm

A quack that selfidentifies as doctor.

Dave Fair
Reply to  fretslider
November 8, 2021 2:10 pm

He is a government employee, insulated from the consequences of his ideology.

another ian
Reply to  fretslider
November 8, 2021 6:45 pm

From a comment at Jo Nova

” What do you call a doctor who came in last in his class?
Answer; Doctor.”

Tom in Florida
Reply to  another ian
November 9, 2021 4:18 am

Yes that is a comical remark but in reality it is the advanced training that really counts. As a former physician recruiter, one of my best placements was a doctor who received his MD from St George’s then ended up being the Chief Resident of Radiation Oncology at Johns Hopkins. He eventually landed at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

Michael in Dublin
November 8, 2021 12:43 pm

A sensible person will drink plenty of fluids when it is very hot and not go doing strenuous exercises and find the coolest spot if there is no air conditioning. It can be quite a few degrees lower under a leafy tree than out in the sun and of course sitting in a car is like sitting in an oven. People who live in hot deserts know how to cope with the heat but tourists from cold places can be foolish.

Danny T Davis
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
November 8, 2021 9:42 pm

At the start of the Pacific NW “Thermagedon” I was sitting in a car – my Chrysler T&C specifically with the air conditioning on while driving to the Oregon Coast!! It was quite pleasant as I crossed over the Columbia River bridge at Longview WA – which was crowded as I’ve ever seen it X3. We all escaped and turned west toward the coast – to enjoy cooler air. Stopped in for a late lunch in Tillamook and enjoyed a great meal from a propane powered mobile kitchen by the side of US hwy 101. I visited my friend in Coos Bay area where it was 68 degrees on a beautiful sunny, breezy day. It was 105/107 degree highs during that weekend where I live.
Love those “fossil fuels” and the good they can bring to this world.

n.n
November 8, 2021 12:47 pm

People… persons tend to acclimate over a 30-year period.

That said, social contagion, spread by politicians, scientists, activists, and doctors, does affect health. #HateLovesAbortion

To bed B
November 8, 2021 1:34 pm

The posing bit is the problem. There is no need for postgraduate qualifications in climate science and a position at an institution to comment. Its when you use your credentials to give poor science some credibility that you lose some of yours in the field that you are, supposedly, good at.

November 8, 2021 1:41 pm

Lots of different weathers can kill you. Cold weather is a real danger, hot weather, not nearly so much. Pray for warmer weather.

November 8, 2021 1:45 pm

Yes Anthony…your last sentence is the best:

“After all, you certainly don’t see meteorologists and climatologists posing as medical professionals.”

When did this madness set in, and how do we stop it? We’ve been trying for almost 40 years now…

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Alastair Brickell
November 8, 2021 2:32 pm

When did this madness set in, and how do we stop it?

It sets in whenever an issue becomes political. Look at the ‘pandemic’. Then, once you get someone who can make money out of it, it becomes crony-driven. Look at renewable subsidies and vaccines (they are lobbying, and successfully, for all children to be vaccinated, and a 3rd and 4th ‘booster’ after 6 months).

How you stop it, I don’t know. The only obvious solution is smaller government to provide only basic services and infrastructure instead of trying to micromanage all of our lives. .

Last edited 6 months ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Alastair Brickell
November 9, 2021 4:21 am

“When did this madness set in”

You ought to look at a news feed. I see a dozen articles a day telling us how CO2 is going to destroy us. The climate change scaremongering seems to have hit a fever pitch with COP26.

If our Overlords repeat a lie often enough, a lot of people believe them, and many that don’t, stay silent for self-preservation..

November 8, 2021 1:58 pm

I disagree with you on one point, Anthony – this quack should not be treating any patients.

Not even for a scratch. When he is this ignorant and incapable of rational thought, he could very well be a fervent supporter of Bacteria Lives Matter.

chemman
Reply to  writing observer
November 9, 2021 1:39 pm

“Bacteria Lives Matter”

I’m so stealing that. 🙂

Charles Higley(@higley7)
November 8, 2021 2:06 pm

Actually, writing “climate change” as the diagnosis is lazy and tells others in medicine that he is lazy and almost admitting that he does not know what the patient’s real problem is. It bespeaks ignorance.

What a sad thing and it is a shame that this lazy “doctor,” using the term loosely, has gained attention for his lack of acumen.

Vuk
November 8, 2021 2:16 pm

Let us give big welcome this new academic institution:
“…. (The University of Austin) will welcome witches who refuse to burn,” We got sick of complaining about how broken higher education is. So we decided to do something about it. Announcing a new university dedicated to the fearless pursuit of truth.”
The University of Austin’s founding president will be Pano Kanelos, who resigned as president of St John’s College in Maryland, US, earlier this year. He wrote on a blog post: “We are done waiting for the legacy universities to right themselves. And so we are building anew.”

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Vuk
November 9, 2021 4:33 am

“We are done waiting for the legacy universities to right themselves. And so we are building anew.”

That sounds like a good idea. We should not be waiting for fanatics to see the light and change their behavior. Let’s bypass the fanatics, instead.

a happy little debunker
November 8, 2021 2:50 pm

All weather that fits the narrative of Man-made global warming is somehow proof of that global warming.
All weather that is at odds with that narrative is just weather.

Believing in propaganda has never been more fashionable…

MM from Canada
November 8, 2021 3:18 pm

“The wildfires were a temporary phenomenon, likely related to the short-term heat wave.”

This would only be correct if the wildfires all started around that time. They did not. BC has forest fires every year, and many of them are started by lightning strikes. Furthermore, there is still a LOT of deadwood in the forests of BC as a result of the mountain pine beetle infestation of about 20 years ago.

I expect that there will be quite a few more bad forest fire years in BC, until most of the deadwood has been consumed.

bill Johnston
Reply to  MM from Canada
November 8, 2021 4:54 pm

Unfortunately, we seem to be unable to transfer that concept the world of politics.

Last edited 6 months ago by bill Johnston
Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  MM from Canada
November 8, 2021 7:02 pm

The trees that burn in BC fires are mostly green, living trees. It’s incorrect to assume or assert that only deadwood burns. It’s also incorrect to believe that when “the deadwood has been consumed” BC will no longer have “bad fire years”.

Forests are alive; they grow. Every year many tons of fuel are added via growth (photosynthesis) to each acre or hectare. The fuel accumulates. The more fuel, the more (frequent, larger, hotter, destructive) fires.

The climate may warm or cool, but fuel accumulates anyway. Fuel burns in cold climates (BC), warm climates (Brazil), and in between. Wherever trees grow, fuel accumulates, and it will burn, green or dead.

Forest fires are NOT a weather phenomenon. They are a fuel phenomenon. Blaming the weather (or climate) for fires is a cop-out that fails to address the real problem and the only efffective solution set.

BC’s forest fire crisis is due to bad management that fails to control, remove, break up, or otherwise mitigate the hazard, i.e. the ever growing fuels. One reason is that most of BC’s forests are owned or controlled by government bureaucracies filled with very stupid and lazy functionaries with political agendas. It’s no consolation that most forests worldwide suffer from the same utterly useless government braying flunky mis- or non- management.

Randy Stubbings
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
November 8, 2021 10:30 pm

The following paper by UBC forestry researchers explains the forest management problem. They document that, historically, low to medium intensity fires burned every 10 to 30 years. When human hubris disrupted the natural cycle (and First Nations stewardship of the forests), the fire cycle lengthened to 70-180 years, making contemporary forests dense with closed canopies that are susceptible to high severity fires.

Frontiers | A Disrupted Historical Fire Regime in Central British Columbia | Ecology and Evolution (frontiersin.org)

SKJasper
Reply to  Randy Stubbings
November 9, 2021 10:42 am

Excellent link to paper at Frontiers! Thank you.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  MM from Canada
November 8, 2021 8:13 pm

MM,

You are absolutely correct in your point that BC’s forest fires were NOT caused or exacerbated by the Heat Wave. The Horrible Heat Wave occurred June 25-28. By July 1st 40 fires were burning in BC. By the end of September 1,585 fires had burned. Thus the worst case causal analysis would assert that 40 out 1585 were Heat Wave fires, or 2.5%.

Alexy Scherbakoff
November 8, 2021 3:22 pm

Over my many years of life, I have realised that many doctors don’t know doctoring.

saveenergy
November 8, 2021 3:31 pm

“Dr. Merritt should stick to treating patients”

If he’s that stupid/ignorant,I wouldn’t want him treating me

Doonman
November 8, 2021 4:00 pm

This is an important concept that is ignored by politicians and the media everywhere today.

By definition, climate change cannot affect weather.

It’s the cart before the horse. For anyone who subscribes to the idea that there is cause and effect in the physical world we all live in, the idea is preposterous.

Mike
November 8, 2021 4:34 pm

NOAA

Weather reflects short-term conditions of the atmosphere while climate is the average daily weather for an extended period of time at a certain location. … Weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season.”

I don’t accept this ridiculous definition. What the hell is an extended amount of time? Is it roughly as long as a piece of string?
The arbitrary ”average of thirty years” is meaningless therefore to claim the climate is changing using that definition is equally meaningless.

Last edited 6 months ago by Mike
J.R.
Reply to  Mike
November 8, 2021 8:16 pm

I had the same reaction. “Extended period” is unscientifically vague and imprecise. If we’re going to worry about changing “the climate,” shouldn’t we first collect reliable data for hundreds or thousands of years?

Here in southern Arizona it’s been a desert for 12,000 years or so. That’s not going to change. Neither will the other deserts of the world, nor the tropics, nor the Arctic and Antarctic. When the next glaciation starts, then we can talk.

Mike
Reply to  J.R.
November 8, 2021 9:34 pm

I guess that makes us climate deniers.

Marcus
November 8, 2021 4:48 pm

Great post Anthony. I would not want this “doctor” treating me !
p.s. can I get out of the dog house now ? Pleeeeeease ! : )

November 8, 2021 4:49 pm

Maybe Dr. Merritt can found an organization to buy AC units for people living below the poverty line. Proactive treatment.

John Robertson
November 8, 2021 4:58 pm

In Can Ahh Duh,with our current Bureau of Public Health,we have very few Doctors.
Bureaucrats ,however we have aplenty.

The public utterances of this Government Minion are perfect for our times.

The Dread Covid Theatre ,put on by these very same “helpers” these last 2 years, has followed the very same playbook as Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.
Policy based evidence manufacturing.

Or a real cynic might say the understanding of science,the use of the scientific method and knowledge of past events, have the same relevance in both fields..

Ian Smith
November 8, 2021 9:03 pm

I wonder if he would also like to be the first doctor to put climate change on a death certificate. Not very reassuring if you were one of the poor sods on his round.

– I’m getting better!
– No you’re not, I think this climate change is going to overcome you.

Tmitsss
November 9, 2021 2:09 am

There are no unique weather events

2hotel9
November 9, 2021 3:48 am

Since greentards are severely mentally ill I guess we could blame it on “climate change”.

Caligula Jones
November 9, 2021 10:28 am

And at the time of this three day event, the Southern Hemisphere was nearing a three month historic cold period.

Snow in Brazil, etc.

Averages…what do they mean?

Mark - Helsinki
November 10, 2021 6:45 am

I wouldn’t want that doctor near me. He’s incompetent, also has the eyes of someone with some sort of neurosis. I knew many people with neurosis over the last 40 years.

Disagree with someone like that they get very angry very quickly and completely shut down their own ability to reason

Last edited 6 months ago by Mark - Helsinki
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