Life in the Frying Pan

The whopper of the day, from the Sydney Morning Herald:

“More than 160,000 people died worldwide in 2004 as a result of climate change and it was time the federal government addressed the issue with a national summit, a peak environment group has said.”

I’d give more details, but the article is devoid of any explanation or analysis. Instead, most of the article seems intended to badger Australia into jumping (over the cliff) on the Kyoto bandwagon. How does this even qualify as journalism? It’s thinly-veiled activism. With no other details, I’m inferring from the piece that the 160,000 deaths were supposed to have been caused by natural disasters and drought. But since we know that there’s no validity to the claim that hurricanes have increased in frequency due to warming, then what else caused it? Bad weather? Riiigghht…. I certainly hope that they didn’t include tsunami-related deaths, as it would be preposterous to say that plate tectonics (the source of earthquakes) is somehow influenced by climate change. Hmmm… The sad thing is that seemingly reputable scientists sink so low as to produce junk studies like this for eco-activists. A open-minded review of the research makes clear that we can’t even agree on the basics of climate change, much less take the giant leap to assessing tangible impacts like deaths. One final thought on this that seems appropriate. Check out this quote from Stanford University climatologist Stephen Schneider (an apparent convert from a global cooling alarmist to a warming alarmist):

“To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest.”

That says it all. Now it’s time for a moment of silence for all of the trees that have died in the process of publishing junk climate change studies…

Leonard Gilroy is vice president of government reform at Reason Foundation and senior managing director of Reason's Pension Integrity Project.