The Human Side of Global Warming

Daniel J. Weiss and Robin Pam of Center for American progress has a new article on the health impacts of global warming (here). As they explain, “Some of the most severe health effects linked to global warming include the following:”

  • More illness and death resulting from heat waves.
  • Worsening air pollution causes more respiratory and cardiovascular disease.
  • Vector-borne disease infections will rise.
  • Changing food production and security may cause hunger.
  • More severe and frequent wildfires will threaten more people.
  • Flooding linked to rising sea levels will displace millions.

Already, “WHO now says that 150,000 deaths annually are attributable to the effects of climate change.” And we’ve only warmed about 1.5°F in the past century. We might warm 10°F century!

The time to act is now.

13 Responses to The Human Side of Global Warming

  1. Robert says:

    “Some of the most severe health effects linked to global warming include the following:”

    At last – a negative feedback mechanism!

  2. paulm says:

    weather patterns…. rainfall(hail) flooding and drought are the straws that are now breaking the camels back…

  3. Nigel Allan says:

    This really illustrates how complex the impact of climate change is. Climate is such a massive variable that any significant changes – especially rapid ones – are going to have many effects, some foreseeable and some not. And many of these impacts will hurt people in the developing more than the developed world – ironic considering it is primarily a situation created by developed nations.

    At WWF Climate Witness we are documenting the stories of individuals around who are personally experiencing the impacts of climate change. There are thousands of different stories out there and we want make sure that they are heard by the right people (e.g., decision makers in developed countries). Big decisions will be made in the next 18 months as the world plans for a post-Kyoto agreement. So, if you have a story, let us know! (

  4. Nylo says:

    Let’s see, point by point,

    * Less illness and diseases resulting from “cold waves”. Cold waves currently cause many more deaths and illnesses than heat waves.

    * CO2 is a greenhouse effect gas and can cause warming but is in no way an air pollutant. CO2 concentration in a standard office air is aroun 600 ppm and some people spend half of their lives in them. Concentration in human exhaled air is around 5000 ppm, I read. Plants would be happy to have concentrations of several thousands ppm or more.

    * Vector-bone disease infections are still to be seen to rise as a result of an increased average temperature.

    * Food production has not stopped increasing all along the 20th century in spite of the temperature rise.

    * All of the increases in wildfires are not such, as it has been proved that most of the so-called wildfires are man-made, willingly, either for terrain speculation or just pyromancy. No blame on the weather.

    * Floodings-displaced people because of a sea-level increase are still to be found. Not even the inhabitants of a single sea-side house. Unless you are willing to blame CO2 for the earthquakes that create tsunamies.

  5. Robert says:

    “CO2 is a greenhouse effect gas and can cause warming but is in no way an air pollutant.”

    Not everyone would agree with you on that. CO2 is specifically cited as an air pollutant. Anyway, if you have to resort to being pedantic about definitions of words you must be short of real arguments.

  6. Dano says:

    Plants would be happy to have concentrations of several thousands ppm or more.

    Pfffft. Only in greenhouses. The vast majority of experiments show elevated CO2 in free air isn’t manna from heaven. Why? Plants aren’t adapted to it nor have they evolved in such conditions. Only folk who have never taken a biology class think this way, I’ve found.



  7. David B. Benson says:

    Nylo writes “Cold waves currently cause many more deaths and illnesses than heat waves.” I’ll certainly not take your word for it. Please cite a reference to a paper in a respected, peer-reviewed journal.

  8. Ronald says:

    Grain prices have increased by a lot lately. Some of that increase can be attributed to the use of biofuels made from grains. Fill up an SUV with ethanol and you’ve used up the grain someone could eat in a year. The ethanol production from grains is probably no better than neutral in energy production and might be a good deal worse.

    Yet the production of biofuels has not been stopped. The logical connections between using grain for fuel, which can cause malnourished and starving people, is plain. How much harder will it be to stop the burning of carbon fuels for heat and power to reduce carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas causing the planet to warm which is a less plain connection.

    Maybe a major effort should be made to stop the use of human food for biofuels. But I realize we also don’t have time to wait for global warming.

  9. Kristy W. says:


    Perhaps the Center for American Progress should cite the respected Journals that “peer reviewed” their lunatic projections?? What do you expect from a left-wing think tank?


    Come on, don’t rain on the parade of the “AGW gloom and doomers”. The climate of fear is what sustains their movement. Take away their fears of “cannibalism”, famine, floods, disease, riots, …….let’s see…..I must be missing some catastrophic occurance……anyway, and what do they have left?

  10. David B. Benson says:

    Kristy W. — For the record, I know nothiing whatsoever about a ‘Center for American Progress’ other than this thread. However, WHO is certainly respected and you can easily find their predictions of increased illnesses associated with global warming. In additon, you may recall the news reports of the unprecented heat wave in parts of Europe in the summer of 2003 and the outcomes…

  11. Robert says:

    Ronald – maybe using grain for fuel is part of a deep plot by the US to force us down a road to sustainability. The carrying capacity of the planet has been artificially elevated by (effectively) feeding people on fossil fuels. Biofuels redress the balance. Not sure anyone would be in a hurry to admit to this though…

  12. Paul K says:

    Major efforts are being made to replace corn for biofuels. Switchgrass is much researched. Sugar cane is three times better than corn, but the sugar lobby is even stronger than the oil lobby in this country.