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Climate Change Deaths

Heavy snow brought disaster to Castlecary - Times Online

Seventy years ago Britain was in the grip of a savage freeze. Snow fell heavily over much of the country during December, in some cases accompanied by thunder, lightning and gales. A snowstorm on December 8 across Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset left roads blocked, cars stranded and telegraph poles felled.

On December 10, disaster struck the railway station at Castlecary, between Falkirk and Glasgow. Heavy snow that day had led to big delays, and by late afternoon showers of large, thick, snowflakes fell. A local train was brought to a halt outside Castlecary station while the tracks were cleared. A few minutes later an express train from Edinburgh to Glasgow ran through a danger signal at about 70mph — in the heavy snow and fading light, the train driver had not seen the signal. The express train smashed into the back of the stationary train, hurling its engine 100 yards down the track. Both trains were full of commuters and shoppers, and 35 people were killed and 179 injured. It was Britain’s worst snow-related rail crash.

The Campaign for Fighting Diseases, run by Philip Stevens (formerly of the ASI), does excellent work on health policy issues in the developing world. Most recently, they have been pointing out the flaws in the World Health Organization's approach to climate change.

Although WHO claims that climate change is responsible for all manner of health threats to the developing world, the evidence suggests this is not the case. .... We are always hearing that climate change is going to cause more natural disasters and kill lots of people (particularly in the developing world), but deaths from climate related natural disasters have in fact fallen dramatically since the 1920s. This is purely the result of economic growth and the technological advances it has brought.

The point is clear: rising wealth will reduce the incidence ... lessen the human cost of natural disasters in the developing world, regardless of climate change. You would think, then, that the WHO would be doing everything it could to promote the economic development of poor countries. Yet the global emissions caps they advocate would undoubtedly hurt the poor by retarding their economic growth.

The WHO should forget environmentalism and focus on the real barriers to good health in poor countries. ... H/T ADAM SMITH

Comments

I was born in 1969 and I remember as a kid growing up in the 70's hearing tales of the great winter of 1947/8. Coming so soon after the war, the effects were appalling. Coal ran out. I wonder what the excess mortality among the elderly and vulnerable was? We all know that temperature extremes are much more lethal at the cold end.

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