Even though Bjorn Lomborg indicates towards the end of his article (Dire climate change warnings overlook facts, Viewpoint, July 9) that climate change has other variables that are destructive and must be examined, your overall commentary, and especially the sentence toward the end stating global warming has probably saved more lives, maybe even 100,000 lives, leaves this reader in little doubt about his overall position. Allow me to counter with this:
“A study led by Monash University scientists published last Wednesday in The Lancet Planetary Health gives a comprehensive evaluation of heat deaths around the world from 2000 to 2019, a period when the global average temperature rose by nearly a full degree Fahrenheit. It attributes about 637,550 deaths during each of those years to high heat, including about 224,000 deaths per year in Asia, 78,000 in Europe and 19,000 in the United States.”
This is from an article published quite recently by Inside Climate News, entitled: A Week After the Pacific Northwest Heat Wave, Study Shows it Was ‘Almost Impossible’ Without Global Warming, by Bob Berwyn (July 7).
This article also indicates deaths will increase in direct response to heat-caused wildfires from causes other than heat itself, such as air pollution. And it also states this:
“Studies show that extremes like the 2003 European heat wave that killed about 70,000 people would have been nearly impossible without human caused warming and, with just another 1 degree Fahrenheit of warming, are likely to happen every other year by the 2040s.”
So if this is even semi-accurate, even the one metric you have chosen to focus on in order to advance your position that negative reports do not tell the whole climate story might not hold true for all that much longer. However, the metric you have chosen also does not tell a complete story, positive or negative. It is reductionist, focusing on one aspect of this complex and all pervasive issue and the significant impact it is having in every aspect of life itself, and in being so, distorts the picture. If we have success with restoring Bald Eagle populations from its catastrophic losses due to the use of DDT not all that many years ago, does this one success story cancel out the larger picture that 3 billion birds are dead in the last few years, or that overall, over 16,000 species are at a real risk of extinction? But by focusing on one success to the exclusion of the entire context is not credible or critical thinking. This is the danger of reductionism.
Lomborg’s commentary does not advance the discussion of solutions to the grave problems of climate change. It will only be used to justify those who believe it is either not real or overblown.
Sharon Furlong is spokeswoman for Bucks Environmental Action in Bucks County.
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