Global Warming Reduces Deaths from Cold Temps Much More Than It Increases Deaths From Hot Temps

(p. A15) Globally, a recent Lancet study found 4.5 million cold deaths, nine times more than global heat deaths. The study also finds that temperatures increased half a degree Celsius in the first two decades of this century, causing an additional 116,000 heat deaths annually. But warmer temperatures now also avoid 283,000 cold deaths annually. Reporting only on the former leaves us badly informed.

. . .

Even if all the world’s ambitious carbon-cutting promises were magically enacted, these policies would only slow future warming. Stronger heat waves would still kill more people, just slightly fewer than they would have. A sensible response would focus first on resilience, meaning more air conditioning and cooler cities through greenery and water features. After 2003’s heat waves, France required air conditioning in nursing homes, reducing heat deaths tenfold despite higher temperatures.

For the full commentary, see:

Bjorn Lomborg. “Adapting Will Be Key, Not Hype and Panic.” Omaha World-Herald (Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023): A15.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Sept. 16, 2023, and has the title “Bjorn Lomborg: Don’t panic about global warming.”)

The Lancet Planet Health study summarized in the passage quoted above is:

Qi Zhao, Yuming Guo, Tingting Ye, Antonio Gasparrini, Shilu Tong, Ala Overcenco, Aleš Urban, Alexandra Schneider, Alireza Entezari, Ana Maria Vicedo-Cabrera, Antonella Zanobetti, Antonis Analitis, Ariana Zeka, Aurelio Tobias, Baltazar Nunes, Barrak Alahmad, Ben Armstrong, Bertil Forsberg, Shih-Chun Pan, Carmen Íñiguez, Caroline Ameling, César De la Cruz Valencia, Christofer Åström, Danny Houthuijs, Do Van Dung, Dominic Royé, Eric Lavigne Ene Indermitte, Fatemeh Mayvaneh, Fiorella Acquaotta, Francesca de’Donato, Francesco Di Ruscio, Francesco Sera,, Haidong Kan Gabriel Carrasco-Escobar, Hans Orru, Ho Kim, Iulian-Horia Holobaca, Jan Kyselý, Joana Madureira, Joel Schwartz, Jouni J K Jaakkola,, Magali Hurtado Diaz Klea Katsouyanni, Martina S Ragettli, Masahiro Hashizume, Mathilde Pascal, Micheline de Sousa Zanotti Stagliorio Coélho,, Niilo Ryti Nicolás Valdés Ortega, Noah Scovronick, Paola Michelozzi, Patricia Matus Correa, Patrick Goodman, Paulo Hilario Nascimento Saldiva,, Samuel Osorio Rosana Abrutzky, Shilpa Rao, Simona Fratianni, Tran Ngoc Dang, Valentina Colistro, Veronika Huber, Whanhee Lee, Xerxes Seposo, Yue Leon Guo, Yasushi Honda, Michelle L Bell, Shanshan Li. “Global, Regional, and National Burden of Mortality Associated with Non-Optimal Ambient Temperatures from 2000 to 2019: A Three-Stage Modelling Study.” Lancet Planet Health 5 (July 2021): e415–e425.

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