10° 40' N, 61° 30' W

Monday, August 11, 2003

Heat Wave

I am suffering in the London heat, and the London press has not hesitated to remind us all of global warming and the Kyoto Protocol. Bjorn Lomborg, in today's Telegraph, says that the greenhouse effect may not be to blame:

it is simply not correct to claim that global warming is the primary explanation of the kind of heatwave we are now experiencing. The statistics show that global warming has not, in fact, increased the number of exceptionally hot periods. It has only decreased the number of exceptionally cold ones. The US, northern and central Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand have all experienced fewer frost days, whereas only Australia and New Zealand have seen their maximum temperatures increase. For the US, there is no trend in the maximum temperatures - and in China they have actually been declining.

Having misidentified the primary cause of the heatwave as global warming, we then tend to make another mistake: we assume that as the weather gets warmer, we will get hotter and more people eventually will die in heatwaves. But, in fact, a global temperature increase does not mean that everything just becomes warmer; it will generally raise minimum temperatures much more than maximum temperatures.

Lomborg goes on to talk about the costs of coping with extreme weather conditions, and the most pressing environental problem in the world today, which does not get nearly as much press as global warming does. As Europeans suffer in the heat, without air conditioning, they don't seem to be shying away from looking for a scapegoat.

(Link courtesy of Transport Blog)