Joss Garman reports on climate sceptic report author Indur Goklany, who is linked to a number of oil industry funded US lobby groups.
With rising concern from the scientific community about the impacts of climate change on public health, perhaps it isn’t surprising Lord Lawson’s fossil fuel lobby group, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, have now decided to argue it is policies that combat climate change that “might be bad for your health” and “global warming does not currently rank among the top public health threats”.
Their new report out today is authored by Indur Goklany, who previously worked for the Bush administration and who is linked to a number of oil industry funded US lobby groups.
It emerged earlier this year that he was supposed to receive a payment of $1,000 per month from the Heartland Institute, which in turn received millions of dollars to promote climate change denial from some of the most polluting companies in the world.
Goklany has previously been caught peddling misinformation about malaria.
Last year the World Health Organisation argued:
“Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases through better transport, food and energy-use choices can result in improved health.”
“The overall health effects of a changing climate are likely to be overwhelmingly negative.”
• Five questions for Lord Lawson and Benny Peiser 1 Mar 2010
• Oil links of Tory climate denial grandees 25 Nov 2009
Three years ago the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, and the UCL Global Health Institute ran a year-long commission looking at the impacts of climate change on health.
“Climate change is the biggest global-health threat of the 21st century.”
Similarly, the British Medical Association says:
“Climate change is a major threat to public health.”
An editorial in the Lancet at the time they launched their commission warned:
“Too many doctors have been silent for too long about the importance of climate change to the future of health and health services.”
While Professor Costello, the commission leader, told The Times (£):
“The big message of this report is that climate change is a health issue affecting billions of people, not just an environmental issue about polar bears and deforestation.”
The UCL/Lancet Commission found:
• Malaria, tick-borne encephalitis, and dengue fever will become increasingly widespread.
• Small increases in the risk for climate-sensitive conditions, such as diarrhea and malnutrition, could result in very large increases in the total disease burden.
• “Heat – the ‘silent’ killer – has a major effect on mortality, with the 2003 heat wave causing up to 70,000 excess deaths in Europe.
“While some people believe populations in India and Africa may be more resistant to heatwaves, there is little evidence of this and major heatwaves could increase death rates in these populations more than in high-income countries.”
• “Up to 250 million people in Africa will face water shortages by 2020 if no action is taken on adaptation. Water and sanitation are crucial to prevent gastroenteritis and malnutrition.”
This followed a 2008 report from the UK’s Department of Health that looked at the impacts of climate change on health in Britain, and highlighted numerous threats.
“The most important impact is likely to be an increase in skin cancers.”
“Higher temperatures as a result of climate change might exacerbate the food poisoning problem which is already a significant threat to public health.”
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