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If you suggested that the “solution” to climate change was to make sure air conditioners were put more widely into circulation and use?

Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the U.S. Temperature-Mortality Relationship over the 20th Century by Alan Barreca, Karen Clay, Olivier Deschenes, Michael Greenstone, Joseph S. Shapiro  –  #18692 (CH DAE EEE HC HE LS PE)


Adaptation is the only strategy that is guaranteed to be part of the world’s climate strategy.  Using the most comprehensive set of data files ever compiled on mortality and its determinants over the course of the 20th century, this paper makes two primary discoveries. First, we find that the mortality effect of an extremely hot day declined by about 80% between 1900-1959 and 1960-2004.  As a consequence, days with temperatures exceeding 90°F were responsible for about 600 premature fatalities annually in the 1960-2004 period, compared to the approximately 3,600 premature fatalities that would have occurred if the temperature-mortality relationship from before 1960 still prevailed.  Second, the adoption of residential air conditioning (AC) explains essentially the entire decline in the temperature-mortality relationship.  In contrast, increased access to electricity and health care seem not to affect mortality on extremely hot days.  Residential AC appears to be both the most promising technology to help poor countries mitigate the temperature related mortality impacts of climate change and, because fossil fuels are the least expensive source of energy, a technology whose proliferation will speed up the rate of climate change.

4 Responses to “Imagine the Response from an “E”nvironmentalist …”

  1. Scott says:

    Imagine the response if…

    “In Blood and Soil, a World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur” the historian Ben Kiernan notes a curious feature of utopian ideologies. Time and again they hark back to a vanished agrarian paradise, which they seek to restore as a healthful substitute for prevailing urban decadence…The ungovernable metropolis, with its fluid population and occupational enclaves, is an affront to the mindset that envisions a world of harmony, purity and organic wholeness. Many of the nationalisms of the 19th and 20th centuries were guided by utopian images of ethnic groups flourishing in their native homelands, often based on myths of ancestral tribes who settled the territory at the dawn of time. This agrarian utopianism lay behind Hitler’s dual obsessions: his loathing of Jewry, which he associated with commerce and cities, and his deranged plan to depopulate Eastern Europe to provide farmland for German city-dwellers to colonize. Mao’s massive agrarian communes and Pol Pot’s expulsion of Cambodian city-dwellers to rural killing fields are other examples.”

    I stole this from page 396 of “The Better Angels of Our Nature” by Steve Pinker.

    • Harry says:

      Good find, Scott.

      We should not assume the Sierra Club has concern about third-world people, who could never afford to get to Jackson Hole to fly-fish, or commission a pack trip to a spot unspoiled by heathen capitalist roaders.

    • wintercow20 says:

      Ironically of course it is the cities which turn out to be Progressive Meccas in today’s world. Their “ungovernability” requires lots of government. And once folks get comfortable having their cities plan redevelopment zones, impose noise ordinances, raze entire neighborhoods in the name of renewal, basically anything is on the table at the extra-local level.

  2. chuck martel says:

    The agrarian/utopians sitting around in urban coffee shops regurgitating tribal myths don’t have any connection with the subjects of those myths. One of the most astonishing features of modern social commentary has been the nearly unanimous condemnation of “the tribe” and tribal thinking, even by such profound thinkers as Karl Popper. The reality is that the tribe is the logical extension of the much-revered but even older and more primitive family. The agrarian/utopians wish to use the powers of the state, supposedly a more evolved social system, to achieve their ends, the antithesis of a tribal framework that relies on leadership by acknowledged and accepted competence operating on a personal level with general consensus. The misconception of the tribe is one of the great tragedies of the modern age.

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