Global Warming, Disease, and Death
Diseases such as malaria and dengue fever will spread at an accelerated pace.
—Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), June 8, 2001
Heat-related deaths will increase 100 percent in cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and others.
—Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.), February 14, 2002
Obviously, many politicians are concerned that global warming will cause the spread of tropical diseases and increased heat-related mortality in America's cities. Their logic is pretty simple—which makes it easy to scare the populace. Tropical illnesses, by definition, occur in hot environments. Given that global warming must make things hotter, these diseases must therefore spread, right? And, as evinced by the hundreds of people who died in the big Chicago heat wave of July 1995, the hotter our cities get, the argument goes, the more the elderly, poor, and infirm die. That's certainly the impression you get from the dour pronouncements of politicians and the items the press selects from the scientific literature. But here are three nice examples of things that didn't make it into the news.
Insects are bringing illnesses like malaria and dengue to higher altitudes in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It was also reported … that continued global warming will cause the spread of these diseases and also encephalitis and yellow fever to higher latitudes
—Paul Epstein, Harvard School of Public Health,
San Francisco Chronicle, September 28, 1996
Are observed changes in malaria occurrence a result of climate change? That the climate change in East Africa is altering the range,