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Population Control to Combat Climate Change?

The opening sentence of the Lancet1 article paints a grim picture.  The normally staid British medical journal reports on a new health threat that “will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk.”

 

Billions, no less! If “billions of lives” are at risk--given that there are less than 7 billion of us on the planet--that must mean that half of us are in danger of dying.  

But from what?  An airborne version of HIV/AIDS?  A new, more virulent strain of Avian Flu?  A deadly biological weapon that has somehow escaped from the lab?  

If you guessed any of the above, you would be wrong.  The authors, as it turns out, are not talking about some new pandemic at all.  Rather the risk to our very lives comes from … a possible rise in the earth’s average surface temperature of 2 degrees centigrade by the year 2100.  

Don’t you dare laugh.  

The authors of “Managing the health effects of climate change,” take themselves very, very seriously.   

In fact, they go on to solemnly inform us that the health dangers of climate change will be even more severe at high latitudes, with the potential for 4-5 degrees centigrade rises in northern Canada, Greenland, and Siberia.  

I, for one, am not alarmed by the thought that a little warmth might come to these frozen northlands.  Neither, I am fairly certain, will their scattered residents object to a break from the bone-chilling cold--if such a rise in temperatures should truly come to pass.

I have my doubts on this score, however, and not just because of the crazed behavior of so many global warming fanatics.  There are so many variables involved, and our evidence is so sketchy, that any conclusion about the effect of human activities upon the earth’s climate is not only premature, it is also likely to be wrong.

I mean, we can’t even predict, with any accuracy, what the weather will be like two weeks out.  Now we are supposed to be able to calculate what the climate will be like a century from now?  Are you kidding me?

The authors actually admit they are essentially clueless.  Read the following passage carefully:  The “policy response to the public health implications of climate change will have to be formulated in conditions of uncertainty, which will exist about the scale and timing of the effects, as well as their nature, location, and intensity.”  (p. 1694)

This ignorance doesn’t stop them from proposing vast increases in government expenditures and powerful new international institutions to “mitigate” and “adapt to” global climate change, however.  Nor does it stop them from arguing for a vast expansion of population control schemes to “combat climate change.”

Indeed, this new consortium of climate change theorists and population controllers sees itself as the pioneering vanguard of a “new advocacy and public health movement” which is “needed urgently” to help humanity “adapt to the effects of climate change on health.”

But even if we do see a slight rise in global temperatures over the next century—and I believe that on this question the jury is still out--diverting vast resources to address the potential health problems that this might cause is a misuse of resources.

The article’s subtitle claims “climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.”  But this is simply not true.

Everyone reading the Lancet article will be dead in a hundred years, and I guarantee that they will not die from “climate change.”  Rather, they will die from infectious diseases, from cancers, from heart attacks, from strokes, and so on.  

These are the real health threats of our age.  These are the threats to our lives and wellbeing that should command our attention and our resources, not some vague, unpredictable and indirect health consequences of supposed “global warming.”   

By distracting us from more immediate threats to our health, by delaying the discovery of cures for illnesses that cost tens of millions of lives each year, these people are killing us.

But that is, after all, what they want.

Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Population Control: Real Costs and Illusory Benefits.

1 Anthony Costello et al, “Managing the Health Effects of Climate Change,”  The Lancet 373: 1693–733. May 16, 2009

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