No, Google, Climate Change Is Not Killing Americans, It Is Saving Them

At the top of Google News searches this morning for “climate change” is an article titled, “Climate Change Is Killing Americans. Health Departments Aren’t Equipped to Respond.” The article, published by Columbia Journalism Investigations and the far-left British tabloid The Guardian, claims “a rise in dangerous heat in the United States” is causing a dramatic rise in climate-related deaths. However, just the opposite is the case, as objective evidence proves warmer temperatures are reducing deaths in America and around the world.

The Columbia article claims, “In contrast to a viral pandemic, like the one caused by the novel coronavirus, this [the asserted rise in heatwaves] is a quiet, insidious threat with no end point.” The article provides, as an illustrative example, the story of an Arizona man who lived alone, in isolation, in his rural desert home. When people hadn’t heard from him for three weeks, police checked on his home and found his dead body. His air conditioner had broken down and it was 99 degrees. An autopsy ruled “heat exposure” as his cause of death.

The premise of the Columbia article is that global warming caused the high summer temperatures in the Arizona desert that caused the man to die. As if Arizona was a cool, temperate, refreshing summer oasis prior to global warming causing the Arizona desert to begin getting hot in the summer just 50 years ago. People with common sense know better.

If you don’t trust your common sense, we can look at objective evidence. As shown in Climate at a Glance: U.S. Temperatures, there has been no warming in the United States since at least 2005, which is when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration implemented its most precise-ever temperature network throughout the United States. It seems rather odd that Columbia would publish an article claiming “Climate Change Is Killing Americans” by virtue of higher temperatures when there has been no increase in American temperatures for at least the past 15 years.

Also, scientists report cold temperatures cause more deaths than warm temperatures. In a peer-reviewed study published in the prestigious medical journal  Lancet, researchers found that colder-than-ideal temperatures kill 20 times more people globally than warmer-than-ideal temperatures. That includes the United States, where the U.S. Centers for Disease Control report far more Americans die each day during the cold winter months than during the warm summer months. Therefore, even if temperatures were warming in the United States, any such climate change would save the lives of far more people than would die because of the warmer temperatures.

It is a shame that Google doesn’t “fact check” itself to avoid promoting clearly deceitful alarmist articles as top results for climate change “news.”

James Taylor
James Taylor
James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland's Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy. 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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  1. This is the most brain-dead shit I have read in a good while. The Heartland institute is a well funded big-business propaganda machine, and it’s betrayal of the average American is disgusting.

    • “….I have read in a good while.”

      Sir, if you would please, cite your favorably-deemed sources of other readings over the recent “good long while”.

      Thank you. I am eagerly looking forward seeing that representative list of readings over your good long while.

  2. Oddly enough, unlike the author of this piece, neither of the above commenters cites a single piece of objective evidence, but merely pursues ad hominem attacks, as if global warming alarmists aren’t heavily subsidized by those promoting their views.

  3. We need more Heartlands confronting this climate change propaganda. We need them in every grade school, high school, and college classroom to help someday return to our senses.

  4. This is a scientifically accurate article. There are hundreds of peer-reviewed studies showing that far more people die from cool or cold weather than from warm or hot weather. No scientist disputes the fact.

    The official U.S. data for 2017 (the latest that are complete): “In 2017, an average of 7,708 deaths occurred each day. January, February, and December were the months with the highest average daily number of deaths (8,478, 8,351, and 8,344, respectively). June, July, and August were the months with the lowest average daily number of deaths (7,298, 7,157, and 7,158, respectively).” The U.S. daily death rate is thus ~1200 higher in winter than in summer.

    Here is a good article in the New York Times about the scientific information about deaths as impacted by weather:

    Here is the largest world-wide study (referenced in the N.Y. Times article): A. Gasparrini, et al., “Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study”, The Lancet (2015) DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62114-0
    (It is open access)
    “We collected data for 384 locations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and USA. ”
    “More temperature-attributable deaths were caused by cold (7·29%, 7·02–7·49) than by heat (0·42%, 0·39–0·44). Extreme cold and hot temperatures were responsible for 0·86% (0·84–0·87) of total mortality.”
    Read the whole article.

    While flu and pneumonia are obvious reasons why more people die in the winter, heart attacks are a major, often overlooked factor. Here’s a good article on that point: D. Onozuka and A. Hagihara, “Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest risk attributable to temperature in Japan”, Scientific Reports (2017), 7:39538 DOI: 10.1038/srep39538. (open access)
    The authors point out that the lowest number of heart attack admissions to hospitals in Japan occur when the temperature is 29 C (85 F).

  5. An opinion without supporting evidence, as seen in some of the comments, is useless. I have lived in Yuma, AZ for 10 years where 110 deg. F was the usual during the summer and Tucson, AZ for 20 years just 3 years average cooler but with more expensive water because it is not on the Colorado River so yards were dirt, rock and cacti, and a swamp cooler or fan can keep your temperature below deadly. People adapt. Humanity adapts. That is why humans live on every continent in every climate. Panicky, helpless-minded people give in too easily and do not adapt and if not cared for by others who can adapt, die. By the way, the Tucson Zoo has polar bears, outdoors, in the summer. Research. please, before you cement your opinions.

  6. Just google what it takes to build solar panels, wind turbines, batteries for electric cars. All need rare earth minerals that are toxic to mine and are hard to recycle.

  7. Once we get past the name-calling and ad hominem attacks from the left, we are left with the FACT that the best, most reliable climate sensing network in the US (the US Climate Reference Network), shows negligible warming since its establishment in 2005. Of course, that is not a long enough period to establish a climate trend, but it is a fact. Another FACT relative to the death of the man in Arizona — having grown up in Scottsdale from 1953-1969, and having been there several times since then, I haven’t noticed any significant change in the summer climate — is was always HOT, and it’s still HOT.

    Another bunch of FACTS: The current gradual temperature rise has been going on relatively steadily since the end of the Little Ice Age (1350-1850), when temperatures were about 1.5C cooler than today’s. That followed the Medieval Climate Optimum, when the global average temperature was about 1-2C warmer than today. And that was due to warming after the end of the last true ice age about 11,700 years ago, during which global average temperature was 5-10 degrees colder than today. And all of that action took place in the Holocene, a relatively stable, if brief, period in Earth’s climate history. And NONE of those changes were in any way human-caused, including the current rise. Look at Earth’s climate history on a geological time scale and you’ll find multiple ice ages and multiple warm ages without any ice.

    If you want to impress me with your vast knowledge of climate change, instead of calling people names and spouting the usual slogans, show me that you have some sense of the insignificance of human activity on a global scale and geological time scale. And yes, I know that we have polluted, and reduced habitat, and cut down forests, but the climate effects of all of that are only local, although those human transgressions have real consequences for some fragile ecosystems and species.

  8. How long have you two idiots been functionally illiterate. CO2 levels follow temperature levels, the fact is warming causes CO2. Water vapor is 95 % of all greenhouse gas.


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