Climate change will *not* reduce the number of winter deaths

Another right-wing myth about climate change has been debunked.

Back in September the environment secretary ludicrously claimed that the threat of climate change was “overrated”, adding “Remember that, for humans, the biggest cause of death is cold in winter, far bigger than heat in summer”.

The environment secretary isn’t alone: the trope about climate change resulting in more warmer and more pleasant summers is a common trope put out by anti-science climate change deniers.

However new research comprehensively debunks this claim.

Researchers at the University of Essex have found that there was “no evidence that warmer winters will cause fewer deaths”.

This is because the link between death rates and extreme cold has almost disappeared since the 1970s due in large part to advancements such as central heating, improved access to healthcare and indoor toilets.

As the Times reports (£):

“The latest research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, showed that from 1950-1980 the number of excess deaths in a particular year was strongly linked to the number of days when the temperature dropped below 5C, according to Met Office records. Over the whole period, the difference in temperature explained between 50 and 80 per cent of the difference in winter deaths from year to year.

“By the 2000s, the correlation between the two had dropped to below 20 per cent, however. ‘It’s meant that this link has basically disappeared,’ said Dr Staddon.”

Another right-wing myth about climate change debunked. Not that this is the only one, of course.

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3 Responses to “Climate change will *not* reduce the number of winter deaths”

  1. genemachine

    1) Your link is broken

    2) It’s not a myth that cold weather, exacerbated by “left wing” energy policy, kills poor people in winter. A 20% correlation between excess deaths and this measure of winter severity is both positive and significant.

    Given this correlation, it would be good to know how the researchers justify that there is “no evidence that warmer winters will cause fewer deaths”.

  2. genemachine

    It seems that the study also considered winter flu and winter temperatures to be independent variables.

    There is some analysis here:

    This article works against the interests of the poor and the vulnerable.

    Correct me if I am wrong.

  3. swatnan

    Death, has a way of netting in a good catch to make up the numbers. If the cold doesn’t get you then, living in an insulated airtight box without clean clear fresh air and ventilation certainly will. Or slipping on an icy pavement, or catching a chill in the garden.

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