The So-Called Climate “Health Emergency”

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I see that a number of health organizations are calling on Zhou Bai-den to declare a “climate health emergency”. From the American Lung Association:

WASHINGTON, D.C. | January 26, 2021

Today, 26 national health and medical organizations delivered a Declaration on Climate Change and Health to President Joe Biden and congressional leadership underscoring climate change as a health emergency and calling for immediate action to protect the public’s health from the current and future impacts of climate change. 

Ever notice how these kinds of folks never specify just what a degree or two of warming is supposed to do to our health? It’s just like the declarations of a “climate emergency” in general. Where is the “emergency” inherent in a slight warming?

In any case, I thought I’d look at what the temperatures are where humans set up residence. Here are the annual average monthly temperatures for 444 cities all around the globe.

Figure 1. Histogram, average annual temperatures of 444 cities. The two cities with annual temperatures below -10°C are Dikson, Russia, and Gjoa Haven, Canada. The warmest city is Assab, Eritrea, average temperature 30.5°C (87°F). I note once again that almost nowhere on earth is the annual average temperature above ~30°C.

People are happily living in cities with annual average temperatures from -14°C to 30.5°C (6°F to 87°F)  …

Now, most of the warming in the last century has occurred in the extratropics, in the winter, at night. I find it amazing that people can believe that a slight warming of winter nights outside the tropics is going to lead to a “health emergency”. But then, as H. L. Menken observed, “No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.” And sadly, these days that includes the great masses of climate alarmists.

However, that’s only part of the story. In each of these cities, the monthly average temperature varies over the course of the year. Figure 2 shows the size of the annual variation from the coldest to the warmest month.

Figure 2. Histogram, average annual temperature ranges of 444 cities. The city with the largest range is Yakutsk in Siberia, where the coldest month is -38.6°C (-37.5°F) and the warmest month is 19.5°C (67.1°F)

Almost a third of these cities see an annual swing greater than 20°C (36°F) … again, what “health emergencies” will come from a couple degrees C of warming when the annual swing is greater than that in about 94% of all cities?

Finally, here is the total range of monthly temperatures where people live in cities.

Figure 3. Histogram, average monthly temperatures of 5,328 months of data from 444 cities. The most common monthly temperature is in the range of 26°-28°C (78.8°-82.4°C)

Again, given the 80°C (144°F) range of monthly average temperatures shown above where people live and thrive, I can’t think of how a couple of degrees C of warming mostly at night in the winter is going to cause any conceivable “health emergency”.

I suppose none of this should be any surprise. It was all laid out in 1841 in the book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” by Charles McKay, available online here. But then, nobody ever accused us humanoids of being quick learners en masse … from the Preface:

In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do.

We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.

We see one nation suddenly seized, from its highest to its lowest members, with a fierce desire of military glory; another as suddenly becoming crazed upon a religious scruple; and neither of them recovering its senses until it has shed rivers of blood and sowed a harvest of groans and tears, to be reaped by its posterity. 

At an early age in the annals of Europe its population lost their wits about the sepulchre of Jesus, and crowded in frenzied multitudes to the Holy Land; another age went mad for fear of the devil, and offered up hundreds of thousands of victims to the delusion of witchcraft. At another time, the many became crazed on the subject of the philosopher’s stone, and committed follies till then unheard of in the pursuit.

Welcome to 2021, where we’re still as prone to popular delusions and the madness of crowds as we were in 1841 …

In totally unrelated news, my latest tale of wandering among the homeless is up on my blog here, comments welcome.

My very best and warmest regards to everyone, and please, can we stop with the “climate emergency” nonsense?

w.

PS—Misunderstandings are the bane of the intarwebs. I can defend my own words. I cannot defend your interpretation of my words. Accordingly, when you comment I ask that you quote the exact words that you are discussing, so that we can all be clear just what and who you are talking about.

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February 1, 2021 at 12:12PM

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