Health Effects of Global Warming

About the Author and the Publisher

This article was picked from the book Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn`t Worry about Global Warming which was written by Thomas Gale Moore and published in 1998 by Cato Institute. The book mainly talks about global warming and the effects it will have on the various aspects of man`s life like the economy, food security, industrialization and health.

Gale has written a lot of articles concerning global warming most of which have been published in the World Climate Report. He is a senior professor at the Hoover Institution and teaches economics, environmental studies and privatization[1].

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Cato institute is actively involved in issues affecting the public. In every year it publishes an average of a dozen books and a wide range of studies concerning taxation, privatization, the environment and other government related matters which affects the general population[2].

Health Effects of Global Warming

It has been predicted that global warming will have devastating effects in the human health during the 21st century and beyond. This can be attributed to the ever rising global temperatures. Climate change is expected to cause a wide range of human diseases which will increase the rate of mortality in the human population.

However, the leading cause of death currently has been chronic diseases which accounted for around 24 million deaths in 1996. The main cause of these deaths was cancer, malaria, cholera, dysentery, mental disorders and chronic musculoskeletal disorders none of which was related to climate change or global warming.

The notion that global warming and climate change will cause an upsurge in disease and early mortality has been exaggerated by scientists and medical experts so as to have a reason to reduce green house emissions into the atmosphere. These predictions have a little basis thus cannot be relied on entirely thus they should only be treated as speculations.

Studies which have been conducted in the United States about the effects of global warming on human health and mortality have mainly concentrated on either the rise in days with extremely hot weather or the effects of increase in temperature on diseases which are caused by vectors such as mosquitoes and snails.

Despite the strong efforts which have been put in place for these studies, the researches normally complain of lack of adequate data to strengthen the findings of their studies.

There might be a rise or fall in diseases as a result of temperature change. This is because diseases or the stimulus causing them also flourish within a narrow range of environmental conditions thus they may be affected positively or negatively by climate change.Over the years the weather during summer has become warmer and much drier.

Several cases of death among the old and the poor have been reported as a result of summers reaching torrid levels and it is believed that the scenario will become even worse in the 21st century.

Evidence on the other hand goes against this statement. Despite there being records of increased mortality due to heat waves in major cities, the death toll did not exceed the death rates which have been recorded for those cities. Furthermore, rise in temperatures will reduce the devastating effects of cold winters[3].

Sudden increase in temperature can cause deaths of individuals. However if the condition is experienced for an extended period of time, people tend to adapt to the conditions hence the rate of mortality is reduced. That is why so many cases of mortality are reported in the first days when high temperatures were recorded but the toll reduced as time goes by. Therefore, increase in temperature due to global warming will continue for a long time hence people will get used to the condition and adapt to it.

Scholars have been speculating that there will be a rise in the diseases which are caused by insects due to climate change. In Africa, mosquitoes carrying malaria and dengue have been found on higher altitudes than they used to be found before. In the United States, only the tip of Florida provides a serine environment for the survival of malaria carrying mosquitoes[4].

However, with the gradual increase in temperature the whole of the country could become more vulnerable to malaria. After the Second World War, the malaria cases in the United States declined drastically with only a few cases being reported annually. Most of the reported cases are for immigrants and people who travelled to infected countries.

On the other hand dengue and yellow fever were quite common in the United States during the 19th and early 20th century when the country was relatively cooler. During these times numerous cases of these two diseases were reported.

However, as the country started to become warm the number of cases reported annually started to decline thus the rise in temperature checked the occurrence and spread of these diseases and the chances of them returning back is very slim. Climate might be a factor which has led to the decline of these diseases but the efforts played by man to reduce their spread should be credited.

The use of DDT and other insecticides, proper sanitation and vaccinations have reduced the prevalence of these diseases.

Cholera, water borne disease has caused a lot of deaths since it was first reported in Calcutta, India. From there it spread to Asia, North Africa, Europe and finally it reached America.

The bacterium causing the disease thrives well in relatively warm water thus a warm climate can favor the disease. Purifying and chlorinating water stops the disease. Fortunately temperature does not affect this success.

Cholera is affiliated with overcrowding, poor sanitation and poverty and that is why it is mainly common in developing countries. A warmer climate will not increase its effects or spread in developed countries. Third world countries therefore need to improve their standards of sanitation so as to curb the spread of the disease.

The rise in temperatures therefore will be beneficial to the people of the United States especially in terms of health. This is because it will reduce the spread of harmful diseases which would have otherwise lead to the death of individuals within the population.

However, these effects will only be helpful if the temperature rises by a maximum of 4.5?F above which negative health effects will be expected. This is not likely to occur since the expected rise in temperature is less than 4.5?F thus global warming will have positive impacts in the health of Americans.

Other Resources about the Topic

Global warming as it has been seen has lead to the decline of diseases in the world. Moreover, global warming will also lead to increase in biodiversity since new species will arise as a result of changes in the climate and other physical conditions. It will also lead to exposure of environments which could not be easily accessed by man like Antarctica where further development and expansion can take place.


Cato Institute, ‘Publications’, Cato Institute, <>, 2011 (Accessed on 7th March 2011).Moore, T.G. ‘Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn`t Worry about Global Warming’, Cato Institute, , (Accessed 7th March 2011).

Moore, T.G. Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn`t Worry about Global warming, Cato Institute, Massachusetts, 1998.

Thomas Gale Moore, ‘Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn`t Worry about Global Warming’, Cato Institute, , (Accessed 7th March 2011).
Cato Institute, ‘Publications’, Cato Institute, <>, (Accessed on 7th March 2011).
Thomas Gale Moore, Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn`t Worry about Global warming, Cato Institute, Massachusetts, p. 72, 1998.
Thomas Gale Moore, Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn`t Worry about Global warming, Cato Institute, Massachusetts, p. 76, 1998.


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