NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 22, 2007

Global warming that is reasonably projected might be problematic, although not devastating, for the much-fretted-about polar bears, but it will be beneficial for other species, says columnist George F. Will. 


  • Global warming was blamed for 35,000 deaths in Europe's August 2003 heat wave.
  • Cold, however, has caused 25,000 deaths a year recently in England and Wales--47,000 in each winter from 1998 to 2000.
  • In Europe, cold kills more than seven times as many as heat does.
  • Worldwide, moderate warming will, on balance, save more lives than it will cost--by a 9-to-1 ratio in China and India.

So, if substantially cutting carbon dioxide reverses warming, that will mean a large net loss of life globally, says Will.

Further, warming will not lead to a malaria endemic, as has been espoused:

  • According to Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg, malaria is related strongly to economic development and weakly to changing climate.
  • Increasing prosperity and low-tech methods like mosquito nets, not controlling climate change, is the key to preventing 85 million malaria deaths by 2100.

Warming will help agriculture in some regions and hurt it in others, but even a net negative effect will be less injurious than current agriculture policies are, says Will.  The farm bill currently taking odious shape in Congress will be a killer -- literally.  Rich countries subsidizing their agriculture limit the ability of poor countries to prosper -- and become healthier -- by selling their products in rich countries' markets.

Source: George F. Will, "An inconvenient price," Heartland Institute, October 18, 2007.


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