Climate-change alarm supported by some medical journals—but not by the evidence


Patients are expressing alarm about anthropogenic climate change (“global warming”); the most prominent medical journals apparently accept it as fact; and the American Thoracic Society introduced a resolution to the 2008 AMA House of Delegates meeting to endorse the findings of the 4th United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Nonetheless, “there appears to be little evidence in the learned journals to justify the climate-change alarm that now harms patients,” writes Klaus-Martin Schulte of the Department of Endocrine Surgery, King’s College, London.

An editorial in the British Medical Journal of Dec 1, 2007, threatens that “the impact of climate change will get much worse, and predictions of a hundred million climate refugees is no longer fanciful.” Indeed, “unless we cap carbon emissions in ways that ensure transfer of resources to the poorer nations, we may all go the way of the dinosaurs” (Gill M, et al. BMJ 2007;335:1104-1105).

“We consider this to be the greatest public health disaster facing us today and one that requires…radical action to reduce CO2 emissions as a matter of extreme urgency,” write Alan Maryon-Davis and Patricia Hamilton (BMJ 2007;335:1110).

The New England Journal of Medicine offers free public access to an alarmist 2005 article by Paul R. Epstein on “Climate Change and Human Health” (N Engl J Med 2005;353:1433-1436), along with an audio interview.

JAMA features predictions by World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan of food insecurity and increasing disease burdens, owing to “rising temperatures and the effects of extreme weather events” (JAMA 2008;299:2267).

But what is the evidence? Schulte reviewed 539 abstracts of scientific papers published between 2004–mid February 2007 from ISI Web of Science, using the same methodology as Naomi Oreskes. In her oft-cited review of 928 abstracts of papers published between 1993 and 2003, Oreskes asserted that none of the papers had rejected the “consensus view” that most warming over the past 50 years was related to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases.

The percentage of papers with an “explicit or implicit endorsement” of the consensus view fell from 75% to 45%, Schulte states. Only 7% contained an “explicit endorsement,” and 6% had an “explicit or implicit rejection.” Although the political pressure for energy rationing has intensified, only 24% of recent papers contain new data or observations on climate change, only 2% offer new data or observations relevant to anthropogenic v. natural change, and none had quantitative evidence for the consensus. Only one paper mentioned “catastrophic” climate change.

“The prediction of consequences of changes that are only predicted to happen is burdened with serious methodologic problems,” Schulte concludes. “This inherent degree of uncertainty and the herein shown lack of consensus do not support a further induction of fears of climate related illness and death in the medical world and its patients” (Schulte KM. Energy & Environment 2008;19(2)).

What Schulte does not mention is the serious critique of Oreskes and the censorship of the discussion. Benny Peiser of Liverpool John Moores University reviewed Oreskes’s set of nearly 1,000 documents and concluded that only one-third backed the consensus view, and only 1% explicitly (Sunday Telegraph 5/1/05).

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  1. Delighted to see somebody take an objective view! Thank you! The number of presumably scientific MEDICAL organizations that have bought-into and endorsed this “crisis” nonsense has been so depressing.
    Let’s stick with medicine, gang, or at least remain objective, and keep our mouths shut while awaiting further evidence. We look like fools when we babble about meteorology or climatology.
    Somewhere I have a Time magazine cover story from early ’70s titled: “How to Deal With the Coming Ice Age.” In thirty years the New England Journal’s piece will look equally dopey, trust me.

  2. Sirs: we enjoy an inter-glacial period over the last 10,000 years. while local hot spots exist due to the heat-sink effect of local industrial civilization, the ice largely thickens over Antarctica. it seems to me the ‘global warming’ business has a dark political side. simultaneously it focuses attention away from more pressing concerns such as the U.S. food supply quality, the release of endocrine disruptors into the environment, etc. is the motive to ‘save us from ourselves’ or to simply introduce yet another mechanism by which to transfer wealth from hard-working Americans to hellish third world governments, or just further justification for an all-knowing one world government? the lack of science and objectivity in medical publications has been increasingly laughable over the past 10 years. take the ‘womens health initiative’ for example, or the hysterical notion that every man woman and child requires a statin drug, promulgated by the ‘mainstream’ medical press as another . the junk science regards global warming parallels this closely. Seymour Fish

  3. The is no doubt that global warming is occurring. The northwest passage is open! Climatologists are speculating that the North Pole may not remain frozen by summer’s end.

    The uncertainty lies only in the extent to which human activity is contributing, as opposed to natural variations in the sun’s intensity.

    By the time we are certain about this, it will be too late to do anything about it if the anthropogenic hypothesis is correct after all. If fact, it’s probably too late already…

    So get ready for hot weather. How hot? Hmmm…..

  4. it is my understanding that the earth was warming at a greater rate in the 1930’s than it is today. i seartainly do recall my childhood of the 1970’s,when many adults as well as school teachers were informing me that we were in fact heading into an ice age. well we are now being bombarded with this big threat of ‘global warming’ it seems quite elementary to me that it is nothing but onother change in the cycles of the earth’s climate. woody sparrow

  5. Anthropogenic global warming comports with neither Physics, arithmetic nor our common observations about the planet. The temperature of the surface of the earth is not controlled by radiation but by convection. Water is evaporated by heat from the sun; this requires energy and that energy is carried high into the atmosphere where the energy is released as the water vapor condenses to rain or ice. Global warmers seem to think CO2 absorbs radiant energy which is radiated back to earth thereby warming it. Say a molecule in a leaf in one of my Pecan trees radiates a bit of energy skyward to be intercepted by a CO2 molecule which radiates the energy earthward. What’s wrong with this ‘scenario?’ The molecule in the tree cooled a bit and the CO2 could not radiate more energy back to ground than it received from the leaf. This is Thermo101/102.

  6. For the past two or three decades we have been inundated with predictions of impending doom. This catastrophe will be due to Global Warming and the operative culprit will be a common, minute component of the atmosphere, CO2. This gas exists in the earth’s atmosphere to the extent of about 5X(10)**15 pounds and it is thought that each year our industrial activities produce about 5X(10)**12 pounds so that the annual anthropogenic addition is certainly less than 1% of the total. This additive amount is far less than the measured variation in CO2 content from time to time and from place to place around the earth. It is certainly not substantially different than the error in measurements of the CO2 content of air. All this was known 100 years ago. How can any educated person not know these facts? Stay tuned. . .
    Moderator: May I continue this rant from time to time?

  7. How true! Its about time that someone puts scientific sense, and measurement, behind this “movement” instead of unfounded nonsense.

    I do not believe that our planet has been hanging on a less than 1% thread for so long.

  8. Two strands of the thin thread of GW are the graphs of Manley and Keeling. The former, called the Hockey Stick, was deconstructed and is no longer used in the IPCC blurbs. It simply failed to agree with our observations and historical records around the planet; it did not make sense. The other graph, the Keeling curve shows a CO2 increase from 315 parts per million by volume to 385 ppmv over a forty-eight year period. This would require an annual addition of over 5X10**13 pounds. If, as some think, about half our contribution is sequestered, the Keeling curve would require 10**14 pounds per year which is quite preposterous! Keeling made his measurements around the most active volcano region on the planet. He never returned my calls; I think he knew ‘what he was doing.’ Keeling died a few years ago and I think his son is continuing the measurements. GW is based on the most fallacious conjectures.

  9. Mr. Larry Mallette
    “The is no doubt that global warming is occurring. The northwest passage is open! Climatologists are speculating that the North Pole may not remain frozen by summer’s end.

    The uncertainty lies only in the extent to which human activity is contributing, as opposed to natural variations in the sun’s intensity. ”

    Do we know that the NW passage has never been open before?
    There is no uncertainty about our contribution to the CO2 in the air; it is effectively nil. . .

    Robert L Hamilton

  10. Isaac Newton warned us about such as ‘global warming:’ “. . . we are certainly not to relinquish the evidence of our experiments and observations for the sake of dreams and vain fictions of our own devising.

    Principia: Part III; System of the Worlld.

  11. The earth’s atmosphere weighs 10**19 pounds -( 1 followed by 19 zeros) and at 350 parts per million by volume the CO2 weighs about 6*10**15 pounds as determined by high school physics and chemistry. If all of the CO2 were to be heated 10 degrees that amount of energy would warm the atmosphere less than 0.01 degrees, a totally insignificant amount. Any educated person should know this.

    The entire hoax is fast approaching criminality.