CNN, the Washington Post, and other media outlets are touting an alarmist paper claiming the number of days with high heat and humidity has doubled since 1979 in some parts of the world, causing more heat-related deaths. In reality, if an increase in global temperatures and humidity is occurring, its primary effect is saving human lives.

Peer-reviewed research finds cold temperatures kill 20 times more people globally than warm or hot temperatures. With such a disproportionate amount of deaths caused by cold temperatures, clearly an increase in global temperatures will save many more people than it will kill. However, the new study being touted by the alarmist media fails to take into account the many more people who are being saved from cold-related deaths. As if often the case with climate alarmists and their ventriloquist dummies in the media, they isolate a minor negative repercussion of warmer temperatures, completely ignore the much greater positive benefits, and then cast the net overall benefit as a climate emergency.

For example, much of the focus in the new alarmist paper is on the southeastern United States. Yet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports cold temperatures kill many more people in the United States than warm or hot temperatures. The new paper leaves readers with the false impression that the net impact of warmer temperatures is more deaths, when it completely ignores the much greater number of people saved due to less frequent, severe, and deadly cold.

Indeed, in the United States and around the world, many more people die each year during the cold winter months than the hot summer months. Any change that reduces the prevalence and severity of cold relative to heat will accordingly save lives.

James Taylor is Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.

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