Mainstream Media Ignores Good News, Cries “Wolf” Over Climate Change

On a given morning the individual who happens to subscribe to a local newspaper likely may wake up over coffee greeted by a headline reading “Global Warming (or Climate Change, or Climate Crisis) Is Causing Increasing Deaths,” with latest estimates reaching into the multi-millions.

Is this otherwise implausible statement credible? It may seem entirely plausible in the eyes of “the woke” segment of 21st Century US society.

Recently the Heartland Institute’s Dr. H. Sterling Burnett examined a study reported in The Lancet, the prestigious medical science journal published in the United Kingdom. Study participants analyzed mortality data from a majority of countries around the world. The authors reached a consensus that arrives at an odd conclusion:  Combined deaths—from excess temperatures, both high and low—actually have dropped since the year 2000.

Dropped? You may ask “how could that be?” After all, have we not been reminded by the mainstream media that climate change is causing an ever-increasing number of unnecessary deaths, and especially so over the past several decades?

But it’s right there in print. Lancet informs readers of two unanticipated and seemingly counter-intuitive (to them at least) conclusions by some 68 medical scientists and statisticians, representing universities in 33 countries, covering all regions of the globe: (1) Cold temperatures contribute to far more deaths annually than do warm temperatures. (2) Deaths from extremes associated with both high and low temperatures combined are decreasing. And, most notably, cold consistently accounts for more than 10 times more deaths than does heat. In other words, bring on the warming?

From their report the authors conclude the following:   

To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to provide a global overview of mortality burden attributable to non-optimal temperature s… between 2000 and 2019—the warmest period since the pre-industrial age. We modeled the variation in the … response relationship between temperature and mortality. … using data on more than 130 million deaths from 43 countries  … located in five continents … with different climates, demographics, stage of economic development … and public health services. The large sample size and its representativeness improved … our results. We found that 5+ million deaths were associated with non-optimal temperatures over the course of the year. Most of the excess deaths were explainable by cold temperatures.

The authors further state there has been a small, possibly statistically insignificant, 0.21 per cent increase in heat-related deaths since 2000. Meanwhile, deaths tied to cold temperatures declined by 0.51 per cent over the same period. Because cold-related deaths far outnumber heat-related deaths, by 10 to one, the number of deaths associated with non-optimal temperatures has declined by tens of thousands since 2000. Good news, indeed, it might seem to the unprejudiced observer!

The recently released study in Lancet has produced results consistent with other studies published previously, but consistently overlooked in the US media, such as a review by Bjørn Lomborg, noted Danish biostatistician and economist. His July 2021 essay appearing in the National Post (Canada) painstakingly explains how the modest amount of warming affecting the world population has reduced deaths from exposure to cold much more than a comparatively much smaller increase in deaths from exposure to excess heat.  This should be proclaimed as good news by every major US news outlet, but sadly it is not. The motto of modern-day journalism seems instead to be, “If you have a good meme that supports the favored doom-and-gloom climate narrative, stick with it no matter the facts.”

Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash.