American Geophysical Union Fail: Climate Change Is Not Harming Mental Health

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is attacking objective scientific evidence and the consensus position of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by claiming global warming is harming mental health by causing more global drought. Fortunately, we have ample scientific evidence to provide a more accurate picture.

The AGU on Tuesday published an article in its journal Eos, titled “Long-Term Drought Harms Mental Health in Rural Communities.” While long-term drought may indeed harm the mental health of farmers and people in rural communities that depend on sufficient rainfall, any link between mental health and climate change relies on the assertion that the Earth’ modest recent warming is causing more frequent and severe drought. The scientific evidence, however, clearly contradicts any such notion.

While the AGU’s claims about the relationship between climate change and mental health may be dubious, it is important to acknowledge the very real impact that environmental factors can have on our overall health and well-being. In addition to the potential mental health impacts of long-term drought, climate change can exacerbate a range of physical health issues, from respiratory problems to heat-related illnesses. As such, it is important to prioritize access to quality healthcare resources, such as urgent care Kew Gardens Hills, that can provide timely and effective treatment for climate-related health issues. By taking a proactive approach to healthcare and prioritizing preventative measures, we can work to mitigate the health impacts of a changing climate.

The Eos article asserts, “Climate change is worsening drought conditions around the world and shifting natural drought cycles out of sync with agricultural growing periods.” That statement is false.

In its most recent assessment, the IPCC reports, “[t]here is low confidence in a global scale observed trend in drought. There is low confidence in attributing changes in drought over global land areas since the mide-20th century to human influence.”

Moreover, as Climate at a Glance: Drought reports, the IPCC has “high confidence” precipitation has increased over mid-latitude land areas of the Northern Hemisphere during the past 70 years, and “low confidence” about any negative trends globally.

Interestingly, the study cited by Eos examined the impact on the mental health of rural Australians who lived through what was referred to as the Millennium Drought, which lasted from 1997 to 2010 (only to be followed by nearly a decade of above average rainfall across the Australian continent). This is interesting because the IPCC reports that drought has likely decreased across Australia since 1950.

Finally, objective crop data reported by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization shows global crop production sets new records nearly every year, destroying the AGU’s assertion that drought damages the mental health of farmers and rural communities because it is “shifting natural drought cycles out of sync with agricultural growing periods. People in the area need to learn about the benefits of using certain products for mental relief and to prevent stress and anxiety.

If the AGU still valued science over political propaganda, it would report the truth that scientific evidence and the United Nations IPCC indicate no worsening of drought as the climate modestly warms. Assuming more frequent and severe drought bring mental health farms to rural areas, any impact of recent climate change is to reduce mental health harms in rural areas.

H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. In addition to directing The Heartland Institute's Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, Burett puts Environment & Climate News together, is the editor of Heartland's Climate Change Weekly email, and the host of the Environment & Climate News Podcast.

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  1. Isn’t there a lot more observational data that Climate Change ALARMISM has a very significant negative impact on mental health?
    – Irrational rantings and actions of members of the Extinction Rebellion
    – significant depression of school children and of young newly married women who believe it immoral to bring children into a “doomed” world.


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