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« Notes from a conference | Main | The inhumanity of the true green believer »

The extraordinary benefits of global warming

Whenever you mention the benefits of global warming, upholders of the climate consensus tend to go all vague and mumbly, with lots of circumlocutions around the idea that maybe the benefits are just not so clear as the harms that they say will befall us.

One of the great bones of contention in the impacts area has been the balance between deaths due to heatwaves and reduced deaths to to cold, but a paper in the Lancet looks as if it is going to put this particular debate to bed. This is partly because of the size of the sample - some 74 million deaths were analysed - but also because of the vastly greater number of deaths from cold - 20-fold more than deaths from heat.


Although studies have provided estimates of premature deaths attributable to either heat or cold in selected countries, none has so far offered a systematic assessment across the whole temperature range in populations exposed to different climates. We aimed to quantify the total mortality burden attributable to non-optimum ambient temperature, and the relative contributions from heat and cold and from moderate and extreme temperatures.


We collected data for 384 locations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and USA. We fitted a standard time-series Poisson model for each location, controlling for trends and day of the week. We estimated temperature–mortality associations with a distributed lag non-linear model with 21 days of lag, and then pooled them in a multivariate metaregression that included country indicators and temperature average and range. We calculated attributable deaths for heat and cold, defined as temperatures above and below the optimum temperature, which corresponded to the point of minimum mortality, and for moderate and extreme temperatures, defined using cutoffs at the 2·5th and 97·5th temperature percentiles.


We analysed 74 225 200 deaths in various periods between 1985 and 2012. In total, 7·71% (95% empirical CI 7·43–7·91) of mortality was attributable to non-optimum temperature in the selected countries within the study period, with substantial differences between countries, ranging from 3·37% (3·06 to 3·63) in Thailand to 11·00% (9·29 to 12·47) in China. The temperature percentile of minimum mortality varied from roughly the 60th percentile in tropical areas to about the 80–90th percentile in temperate regions. More temperature-attributable deaths were caused by cold (7·29%, 7·02–7·49) than by heat (0·42%, 0·39–0·44). Extreme cold and hot temperatures were responsible for 0·86% (0·84–0·87) of total mortality.


Most of the temperature-related mortality burden was attributable to the contribution of cold. The effect of days of extreme temperature was substantially less than that attributable to milder but non-optimum weather. This evidence has important implications for the planning of public-health interventions to minimise the health consequences of adverse temperatures, and for predictions of future effect in climate-change scenarios.

This does seem to shoot something of a hole in the climate-change-is-a-health threat agenda, as promoted by the likes of Fiona Godlee and Andy Haines.

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Reader Comments (46)

Bish, it also flies in the face of the UK's Early Winter Deaths (EWD) dropping every year for the last five years or so. It's all very baffling.

May 21, 2015 at 8:50 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

How did this get through the censors?

I presume we are going to see yet another case of shooting the messengers. Though might be a bit of a get-out clause if the warmists can claim that it won't be temperature that kills, but sea level rise and agriculture collapse...

May 21, 2015 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Geronimo, early winter deaths and the summer/ winter mortality anomaly have been dropping for 50 years.
Its no mystery. Vast resources are provided for Healthcare and lifestyle support for those most vunerable so much so that the improvement mitigates the effects of cold winters, fuel costs and even upper respiratory tract infections although these factors will still register. Note that globally around 7.5% of deaths are attributed to temperature effects. The data may be approximate but the conclusion definitive.

May 21, 2015 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenese2

There is also, I understand, evidence that where elderly people survive a heatwave the "debt" is cancelled whereas the susceptibility after a cold spell is cumulative (ie another hot spell is a new event while another cold spell in the same winter is more likely to prove fatal).
I think I've got that right. Not sure how that would affect the figures.

May 21, 2015 at 9:18 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Re: Geronimo

I dont have the figures for the whole of the UK but here are the figures for England and Wales

Year Deaths WInter Temp(c)
1999/00 48,440 5.5
2000/01 24,840 4.4
2001/02 27,230 5.6
2002/03 23,970 5.1
2003/04 23,450 5.2
2004/05 31,640 5.5
2005/06 25,270 4.1
2006/07 23,740 6.3
2007/08 24,690 5.6
2008/09 36,450 4.3
2009/10 25,810 3.2
2010/11 26,080 4.0
2011/12 24,200 5.8
2012/13 31,280 3.4
2013/14 18,200 6.2

They don't show the "dropping every year for the last five years" that you claim.

The report does have this to say the relationship:

Excess Winter Mortality (EWM) and average winter temperature

Excess winter deaths (EWDs) in 2013/14 were the lowest on record and coincided with an increase in average winter temperature. However, the link between average winter temperature and EWDs is much less clear in some years. For example, winter 2009/10 was exceptionally cold, but excess winter mortality (EWM) was similar to years with mild winters.

EWDs in 2013/14 were less than 40% of the EWDs in 1999/2000, which coincided with the last flu epidemic.

A greater proportion of homes in England now have measures to improve energy efficiency such as cavity wall insulation, modern central heating and double-glazing compared with 2001. In 2012, approximately 66% of dwellings with cavity walls had insulation, up from 5.8 million in 2001.This means homes are becoming more energy efficient (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2014). There have been a number of schemes aimed at reducing fuel poverty (there is more information in Policy Context). With these home improvements, homes are easier to heat and keep warm which may have altered the relationship between the weather and winter mortality.

May 21, 2015 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Public Health England sends delegates on foreign beanos, and spends significant budget & resources compiling a Heatwave Plan, despite knowing fewer citizens die from heat than from cold. PHE has no "Cold Weather" plan.

May 21, 2015 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

You already know what the counter argument will be: That even if true, it doesn't matter because heat deaths are going to get immeasurably worse at some point in the distant future, as determined by the super models. And think of the polar bears and the little baby penguins.

May 21, 2015 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

In the UK excess temperatures are not the main cause of premature death. We have good housing - most is double glazed with windows that can open.
If excess heat were to become a problem we would all get air conditioning - like our cars - because we could.

Looking at winter you need to consider road accidents and flu. The effect of neither is obvious.

Road Accident: If the weather is particularly bad then fewer people will drive but they are more likely to have an accident. Fatalities trend... downwards as car safety improves from technology.

Flu: This depends on the quality and take-up of the vaccine. Warnings of a bad winter will encourage take-up of the vaccine - but very cold weather suddenly will prevent people getting their shot (as they can't get out). And neither affect whether the correct strain is prepared for.

My Hypothesis: Temperature and Weather are not the main causes of mortality. Risky behaviour and disease are. We are more risk foolish in our youth. We are more vulnerable to disease the older we are. Risky Behaviour increases in the summer as outdoors pursuits increase (except skiing). Disease increases in the winter as our immune systems are suppressed by the need to put energy into keeping our body temperature up.

So the balance between winter and summer mortality is the balance between risky behaviour and disease as causes of mortality. And in our technological safety first culture - disease dominates (and we live to a good old age).

May 21, 2015 at 9:54 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

As we enter the new LIA, starting end 2018, end of SC 24, excess winter death rate will accelerate, probably reaching millions from the late 2020s.

At that time, the elite eugenicists who, according to the 'Optimum Population Trust', now renamed 'Population Matters' will probably and if we remain an industrial society, authorise new central power generation. This will allow the population to recover from years of subsistence farming, wresting from frozen ground underneath Oligopolistic windmills, turnips, swedes and carrots to let them live past 45 years on average.

May 21, 2015 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E


In 2012, approximately 66% of dwellings with cavity walls had insulation, up from 5.8 million in 2001.
What a curious mixing of measurements. So, what was the percentage in 2001? If that is not available, what was the number in 2012?

Otherwise, an excellent summation from Michael Hart.

May 21, 2015 at 9:59 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

@ M Courtney at 9:54 AM

" ...we live to a good old age."

One could argue that there is now a visible correlation between life expectancy and CO2 level!

May 21, 2015 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

In other words, by carefully selecting data, you can arrive at the desired result, even if it does not actually prove anything.

Did any people doing the assessment manage to improve their guitar skills, or develop a new recipe for spicy stir fried tofu? I think this was one of the most significant results of the 97% consensus "scientific survey"

May 21, 2015 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

TerryS I got the figures from a government web site, clearly I misread them because I checked your figures against the ONS website and you are correct.

May 21, 2015 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

M Courtney:
Risk is not an important factor in relation to the analysis of deaths. In the UK annual deaths from all causes are 893 per 100,000, deaths not caused by disease ( including accidents but also other things such as suicide) 31 per 100,000.

I personally find the paper conclusive. They echo some figures that Bjorn Lomborg presented years ago.

May 21, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterRon

most of the news we get is propaganda and more so from that unbiased institute where they live the good life because presumably they protect us from that : they spawn propaganda 24/365 every minute second word they usher

if bbc paschas utter a line without propaganda it is because they deem that necessary for amplifying the propaganda in the next line they prepared for you

May 21, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

From what I have read, no references I'm afraid, there are two distinct effects involved. The heat induced deaths are vulnerable individuals whose deaths are brought forward a few weeks or months. After conditions return to normal the death rate shows a commensurate fall below average for a period. The excess deaths due to cold are just that, deaths brought forward by years due to a number of reasons. Once the winter is over there is no detectable change to the warm weather death rate such as the years 2008/09 and 2012/13 in the data from TerryS

May 21, 2015 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

They echo some figures that Bjorn Lomborg presented years ago.
Must be a load of rubbish then! </sarc>

That was the research I was referring to though I got my ideas a bit out of kilter. Heatwave deaths are usually those "on their way out" anyway; cold weather deaths tend to be anomalous.

May 21, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Re: M Courtney

> Looking at winter you need to consider road accidents and flu. The effect of neither is obvious.

The Office of National Statistics has a breakdown of the figures.

For example, in 2011/12

Circulatory diseases: 7,170
Respiratory disease: 8,100
Dementia and Alzheimers: 3,750
Injury and poisoning: 790

Here is a spreadsheet that breaks it down by region/gender/age/month

May 21, 2015 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

So once again the climate skeptic position, that AGW/climate change is not an unmitigated disaster, is correct.
And once again the climate consensus position, that increased CO2 is causing deaths to increase right now, is shown to be wrong.

May 21, 2015 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

But you are all forgetting that Global Warming causes colder winters so, it's all our fault, and it's worse than we thought.

May 21, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

At last, some hard data about the humanity and cost of this struggle. Twenty times.

The price of feeling good about ourselves, has just got too high.


May 21, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

AH, but you do know that it is Climate Change , not Global Warming, which means that we get more extremes and wierding and all that stuff.

It is going to be colder where it is cold and colder extremes and hotter where it is hot and hotter extremes.

More deaths from cold and more death from heat. How could you even think to deny this?

May 21, 2015 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Philip Staddon tried already : "Climate change won't reduce winter deaths" his 23 February 2014 paper.
Published ..guess where? N______ C______ C______

Which was rebutted by the Science Media Centre

BTW "Since the 1970s influenza incidence has been strongly associated with EWDs." (excess winter deaths) ie The old correlation between temperature and EWDs doesn't necessarily hold.

May 21, 2015 at 1:36 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Thank you for the replies.

Perhaps my view of risk is not significant over all deaths.
But for under40s I would be surprised if "accidents" isn't a substantial cause of fatalities.
With suicide, of course.

May 21, 2015 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

Risk of deaths due to global warming.

To date, no climate scientists have faced an increased risk of death, due to being wrong about global warming.

People dying of avoidable disease, might want to have some impact on those statistics.

Shame they are dying really.

May 21, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Surprisingly, the Guardian is reporting this.

Study finds cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather

May 21, 2015 at 3:02 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

One cause of cold weather death is undiagnosed Cardiac Artery Disease (CAD). Arteries can block quickly so that someone who felt fine during last winter may suddenly experience possible fatal CAD attack this winter. Hence the warnings not to shovel snow. This isn't a condition that would normally be detected unless one's doctor orders a stress test. Persons on the margins, without medical insurance or in non-western nations aren't likely to have access to that kind of medical service and won't have the medicines to keep themselves alive.
Persons who suffer CAD caused angina are at great risk at temperatures that would not bother a healthy person. It doesn't take much - cold-caused angina attacks can occur at temperatures up to, even beyond, 70F. So ability to heat the home is critical; those who cannot afford to do so and aren't lucky enough to have access to some fuel-assistance program or other intervention are at great risk. Normal cold is a serious problem, however normal heat is not.
Here in rural Virginia where the regional weather is clearly in a cooling trend I expect cold-weather deaths to slowly increase.

May 21, 2015 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris moffatt


May 21, 2015 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Laden

"non-optimum temperature"

I wonder what the optimum temperature is.

May 21, 2015 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Greg Laden. No.

May 21, 2015 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Greg Laden's detailed response actually amounts to 'well maybe not' but in the last paragraph he somehow leaps to the unsupported extrapolation from a weak hypothesis to fact and states that 'shifting to a warmer world will have more negative effects' with no real theory or data that would permit him such assurance. Such cognitive bias likely stems from the first comment he makes; ...climate change denialists make the claim that global warming is good because cold weather causes more mortality than warm weather...'.

Ergo his entire rhetorical argument is clearly built on his motivated reasoning to refute climate optimists and he does it by ignoring the detailed numerical analysis in favour of mere hand-waves. Alas nature is the biggest skeptic of manmade climate change and at some point Greg will have to halt his own denialism of nature and admit that.

Of course every historian has noticed that warmer periods were better for life on Earth. The idea that there is a threshold where that is not the case is a mere philosophy, not even rising to a hypothesis.

May 21, 2015 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Re: greg laden

I stopped bothering to read your rebuttal after:

Obviously, the main way this paper could derail is when climate change denialists...

May 21, 2015 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS


"It is going to be colder where it is cold"

Except at the poles, obviously. :-)

May 21, 2015 at 5:34 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


"at some point Greg will have to halt his own denialism"

Hell will freeze over first, but then at least Greg will experience the problem first-hand.

May 21, 2015 at 5:37 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I haved lived in Spain for the last ten years and can confirm that middle aged folks who
move from the UK, Holland, belgium and germany, not only enjoy the warmer climate here
but the health and consequently the quality of their lives is often improved markedly.

May 21, 2015 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

May 21, 2015 at 6:45 PM | pesadia

There is this Spanish originated study reviewed at CO2Science suggesting cold related deaths play a larger role in Spain.

Also at CO2Science, a review of a US based study using older data that reaches similar conclusions and adds to the comment by Mike Jackson re. the nature of cold versus heat related deaths.

"In an impressive study recently published in The Review of Economics and Statistics, for example, Deschenes and Moretti (2009) analyze the relationship between weather and mortality, based on "data that include the universe of deaths in the United States over the period 1972-1988," wherein they "match each death to weather conditions on the day of death and in the county of occurrence," which "high-frequency data and the fine geographical detail," as they write, allow them "to estimate with precision the effect of cold and hot temperature shocks on mortality, as well as the dynamics of such effects," most notably, the existence or non-existence of a "harvesting effect," whereby the temperature-induced deaths either are or are not subsequently followed by a drop in the normal death rate, which could either fully or partially compensate for the prior extreme temperature-induced deaths.

So what did they find?

The two researchers say their results "point to widely different impacts of cold and hot temperatures on mortality." In the later case, they discovered that "hot temperature shocks are indeed associated with a large and immediate spike in mortality in the days of the heat wave," but that "almost all of this excess mortality is explained by near-term displacement," so that "in the weeks that follow a heat wave, we find a marked decline in mortality hazard, which completely offsets the increase during the days of the heat wave," such that "there is virtually no lasting impact of heat waves on mortality [italics added]."

In the case of cold temperature days, they also found "an immediate spike in mortality in the days of the cold wave," but they report that "there is no offsetting decline in the weeks that follow," so that "the cumulative effect of one day of extreme cold temperature during a thirty-day window is an increase in daily mortality by as much as 10% [italics added]." In addition, they say that "this impact of cold weather on mortality is significantly larger for females than for males," but that "for both genders, the effect is mostly attributable to increased mortality due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases."

In further discussing their findings, Deschenes and Moretti state that "the aggregate magnitude of the impact of extreme cold on mortality in the United States is large," noting that it "roughly corresponds to 0.8% of average annual deaths in the United States during the sample period." And they estimate that "the average person who died because of cold temperature exposure lost in excess of ten years of potential life [italics added]," whereas the average person who died because of hot temperature exposure likely lost no more than a few days or weeks of life. Hence, it is clear that climate-alarmist concerns about temperature-related deaths are wildly misplaced, and that halting global warming - if it could ever be done - would lead to more thermal-related deaths, because continued warming, which is predicted to be greatest in earth's coldest regions, would lead to fewer such fatalities.

Interestingly, the two scientists report that many people in the United States have actually taken advantage of these evident facts by moving "from cold northeastern states to warm southwestern states." Based on their findings, for example, they calculate that "each year 4,600 deaths are delayed by the changing exposure to cold temperature due to mobility," and that "3% to 7% of the gains in longevity experienced by the U.S. population over the past three decades are due to the secular movement toward warmer states in the West and the South, away from the colder states in the North."

It's really a no-brainer. An episode of extreme cold can shave an entire decade off one's life, while an episode of extreme warmth typically hastens death by no more than a few weeks. If you love life, therefore, you may want to reconsider the so-called "morality" of the world's climate-alarmist's perverse prescription for planetary health."

May 21, 2015 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

Excess Winter Mortality (EWM) and average winter temperature

Excess winter deaths (EWDs) in 2013/14 were the lowest on record and coincided with an increase in average winter temperature. However, the link between average winter temperature and EWDs is much less clear in some years. For example, winter 2009/10 was exceptionally cold, but excess winter mortality (EWM) was similar to years with mild winters.

EWDs in 2013/14 were less than 40% of the EWDs in 1999/2000, which coincided with the last flu epidemic.

A greater proportion of homes in England now have measures to improve energy efficiency such as cavity wall insulation, modern central heating and double-glazing compared with 2001. In 2012, approximately 66% of dwellings with cavity walls had insulation, up from 5.8 million in 2001.This means homes are becoming more energy efficient (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2014). There have been a number of schemes aimed at reducing fuel poverty (there is more information in Policy Context). With these home improvements, homes are easier to heat and keep warm which may have altered the relationship between the weather and winter mortality.

This proves warmer is better, if these improvements had not occurred there would have been many more deaths through cold.

May 21, 2015 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

So Greg's rebuttal is one of his own blog posting's.

Rather pathetic. But then that's how Greg rolls.

May 21, 2015 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered Commentertimg56

Again this: In 2012, approximately 66% of dwellings with cavity walls had insulation, up from 5.8 million in 2001.

Also, 9 out of 10 cats cannot distinguish butter from margarine.

May 21, 2015 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterLuther Bl't

I read somewhere recently that there's evidence that it's cold outside temperatures that kill people, not cool houses. In other words, the old dears come to harm going shopping, and waiting for the bus, not sitting indoors.

Can anyone point me to any source on this, please?

May 21, 2015 at 11:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Oh my, you are a silly chap today, your Grace!

Lets just go over it again quickly, according to the Green Creed:

Environment Good, Humans Bad

Because Bad Humans destroy Good Environment.

Less Bad Humans = More Good Environment.

There we are, feel better? Now toddle off and rewrite this post :)

May 22, 2015 at 6:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Blair


I read as much of it as I could take. It's all a bit "schoolboyish" really, and simply ignores the fact that humans live in all sorts of environments and have adapted to them all.

I think the "reasoning" gene has been removed somewhere along the way. That's the gene that makes you step back from the wall to see what it looks like from a distance before assuming the one brick you're looking at provides any signal about the state of the wall.

In this instance I would draw to Mr Laden's attention the flow of retirees in the US from cooler to warmer states, the same phenomenon occurs in Europe and everywhere else around the world. I don't believe that Norway is seen as a desirable retiree residence in Europe and the same applies to Alaska in the USA. The conclusions one is able to draw from this is that humans believe a change in temperature isn't dangerous provided you move from cold to warm.

Silly little article really.

May 22, 2015 at 10:25 AM | Registered Commentergeronimo

There are NO benefits to CO2 fools. Every effect it has on every process it bad, even if it appears to be good.

These people might not die from cold but their now extended lives will be miserable because they'll be a bit too warm. It might be kinder to just let them go.

Similarly when crop yields increase, those crops contain less 'goodness', so people would be better off starving to death.

May 22, 2015 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa


I wonder how the climate knows to get warmer where it's already a bit too warm and colder where it's already a bit too cold. It's the same for rain, apparently floods will get floodier and droughts will get droughtier. Come to think of it 'climate change logic' applies to everything, all the nice cute furry animals (like polar bears & otters) will die while all the nasty creatures (like mosquitoes and rats) will flourish. You couldn't make it up.

May 22, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

The author's neglect of Africa must be OK since we often read here that poor folk there are perishing of lung disiease in a vast coal famine, best solved by encouraging thrift with a ban on efficient and clean-burning woodstoves.

May 25, 2015 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

There has been serious money donated to Africa since the 1960s. If you look at countries like Zambia or Ethiopia, they have been receiving annually the equivalent of 20-30% of their GDP for decades and they are still dirt poor. China and India (each with populations greater than the 50+ nations of Africa) have received very little aid in relation to GDP, but have managed much higher rates of economic growth. This growth has been accompanied by a similar growth in energy consumption per capita. Contrary to classical growth theory (e.g. Harrod-Domar Growth Model which justifies Foreign Aid) in China and India the economic growth was not the result of inward investment, but the result of structural changes in the economy. Similarly the post-war German "economic miracle" was not the result of the Marshall Plan, nor was the growth of Japan post 1955 or the spectacular growth of South Korea in the 1960s the result of foreign aid. They were all the result of structural changes in the economic systems.
As Stan Metcalfe of Manchester University taught me on a postgrad course a decade ago, a major part of economic growth is the translation of human energy to animate energy and then to inanimate energy sources. The first major innovation in this direction was the yoke for the oxen. But the industrial revolution was founded on coal - both for energy and (Abram Derby 1688 Coalbrookdale) for smelting iron ore. Coal is still the cheapest form of energy. But in much of Africa and other under-developed countries (they are not "developing" in any meaningful sense) they are unable to utilize this resource due to lack of legal and political structures that enable structural change to occur.
The richest countries have about 250 times the per capita income of the poorest - and of Britain or Europe in 1700. Non-human consumption per capita is of similar or greater orders, of magnitude. The greatest utility (and per capita income) of inanimate energy sources are based on convenience. That means having energy available when required at the least cost (i.e. least human time-energy input). India and China are growing because they have made the structural changes that allowed millions of people to utilize their disparate, unconnected contradictory & self-interested motivations. As Dr Bernard Mandeville said fifteen score years ago

The worst of all the Multitude
Did something for the Common Good.

This despite the Schumpeterian insight of 75 years ago that progress is hugely wasteful, as it derives from waves of creative destruction.
This is all very real, but it is largely incomprehensible to those who think in terms of the equations of basic fizziks, or heating chemicals cocktails in a test tube over a Bunsen burner. Scientific minds will think that we can cure population growth by issuing condoms; malaria by issuing mosquito nets; and deaths from open fires by purchasing $25.67 extractors from the local hardware store.

May 31, 2015 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

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