Cold Comfort

It continues to astound me that the media completely ignores stories they don’t like or stories that conflict with their liberal philosophy.

We still hear complaints about global warming and calls for a carbon tax even though parts of the world are suffering a brutal winter. In Britain, gas reserves are dwindling because the cold has not let up. The trees are still not bursting into leaf and birds who visit from southern Europe in early spring have not shown up because the northern winds have been so strong. There is even fear for hibernating creatures who may not have enough reserves to survive the extreme cold.

The toll on inhabitants has been harsh. Fraser Nelson at The Telegraph writes:

Each year, an official estimate is made of the “excess winter mortality” – that is, the number of people dying of cold-related illnesses. Last winter was relatively mild, and still 24,000 perished. The indications are that this winter, which has dragged on so long and with such brutality, will claim 30,000 lives, making it one of the biggest killers in the country. And still, no one seems upset.

Somewhere between the release of the 1984 Band Aid single and Al Gore’s 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, political attention shifted away from such problems. The idea of people (especially old people) dying in their homes from conditions with which we are all familiar now seems relatively boring. Much political attention is still focused on global warming, and while schemes to help Britain prepare for the cold are being cut, the overseas aid budget is being vastly expanded. Saving elderly British lives has somehow become the least fashionable cause in politics…

The reaction to the 2003 heatwave was extraordinary. It was blamed for 2,000 deaths, and taken as a warning that Britain was horribly unprepared for the coming era of snowless winters and barbecue summers. The government’s chief scientific officer, Sir David King, later declared that climate change was “more serious even than the threat of terrorism” in terms of the number of lives that could be lost. Such language is never used about the cold, which kills at least 10 times as many people every winter. Before long, every political party had signed up to the green agenda.

Since Sir David’s exhortations, some 250,000 Brits have died from the cold, and 10,000 from the heat. It is horribly clear that we have been focusing on the wrong enemy. Instead of making sure energy was affordable, ministers have been trying to make it more expensive, with carbon price floors and emissions trading schemes. Fuel prices have doubled over seven years, forcing millions to choose between heat and food – and government has found itself a major part of the problem.

By now, the Energy Secretary will also have realized another inconvenient truth – that, for Britain, global warming is likely to save far more lives then it threatens. Delve deep enough into the Government’s forecasts, and they speculate that global warming will lead to 6,000 fewer deaths a year, on average, by the end of the decade. This is the supposed threat facing us: children would be less likely to have snow to play in at Christmas, but more likely to have grandparents to visit over Easter. Not a bad trade-off. The greatest uncertainty is whether global warming, which has stalled since 1998, will arrive quickly enough to make a difference.

Have we heard much about this predicament? No. We heard about Hurricane Sandy and how it was brought on by global warming. (Post election we hear very little about their continuing predicament because it goes against the Obama cards leitmotif.) The media doesn’t care about old people suffering, in particular. Old people equal Social Security as a campaign issue and that’s it. Otherwise their suffering doesn’t matter.

Now with Obama wanting to impose a carbon tax on everybody in the name of curbing global warming, we don’t hear about global cooling and its consequences.

We won’t either.

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