AMA quacks on climate

By Steve Milloy

The American Medical Association claimed in an April 4 editorial that,

“The shift in the planet’s climate is affecting the health of patients — and physicians are starting to see the results.”

So let’s see how the AMA backs up that assertion.

The AMA says that Florida is an “apt setting” for observing the health consequences of climate change because:

“… it is particularly sensitive to climate change. Rising air and water temperatures and rising ocean levels since the late 1960s have increased the severity of weather, including hurricanes and droughts, and the production of ground-level ozone.

But in the 2007 Florida Scientist study “FLORIDA COASTAL TEMPERATURE TRENDS: COMPARING INDEPENDENT DATASETS,” researchers concluded that,

“Using three independent sources of temperature, linear trends in the Florida coastal zone are shown to vary widely between and within datasets. The average and standard deviation of N = 38 independent stations/ areas is +0.2 6 0.9 [degrees] C/century, and for the N = 4 ensemble anomalies from the 1951–1980 norm it is +0.4 6 0.3 [degrees] C/century. In either case, these independent data, using two separate analytic approaches, show no statistically significant warming or cooling of [air and sea] temperatures around the Florida’s coastal zone at the 95% CI (i.e. the null hypothesis — no change — cannot be rejected).

So if weather severity in Florida has increased since 1960, that phenomenon would seem to have little to do with air and sea temperatures, since they haven’t changed very much if at all. BTW, ground-level ozone in Florida has been declining, according to EPA data (Note: You’ll need to click on the Florida link to get the graphs).

The AMA then asserts:

“That [climate change] means more asthma and respiratory illnesses, more heat stroke and exhaustion, and exacerbation of chronic conditions such as heart disease. Florida’s large elderly population makes it even more vulnerable to climate change. In the last two years, the Florida Keys have seen a tropical disease rarely apparent in residents of the United States — dengue fever.”

Since Florida and air and water temps have not changed significantly, they obviously can’t be responsible for respiratory and cardiovascular disease. The comment about the elderly is farcical, since warmer temps is why many migrate to Florida in the first place. So what about dengue fever?

The CDC reported in May 2010 about an outbreak of dengue in Key West, FL. It would seem clear from the CDC write-up that the culprit wasn’t climate change; more likely it was mosquito-spraying change.

From 1946 to 1980 — the heyday of DDT and other pesticide spraying — no cases of dengue were reported in the U.S. The disease returned in the post-DDT era, first along the Texas-Mexico border.

In response to the outbreak of dengue in Key West, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District stepped up the frequency of truck and aerial spraying and went door-to-door to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.

It should also be noted that the mosquito vectors for dengue are endemic to southern states. As the CDC noted in December 1999,

“Local transmission of dengue was last documented in Florida in 1934 (7). Although no local transmission of dengue was detected in Florida during this investigation [of at 1997-1998 outbreak], many southern states may be at risk for transmission; dengue transmission has been detected in Texas. Two mosquito vectors (Aedes aegypti and Ae albopictus) are widely distributed in Florida, and many infected travelers return from areas where dengue is endemic and the resident population has essentially no immunity to dengue virus. Autochthonous transmission may result from importation of viremic cases to counties with Ae aegypti or Ae albopictus. This possibility should especially be considered if cases are reported from such localities over several years and if case-patients from these localities report travel to a country where dengue is endemic.”

So the rise of dengue is likely to have more to do with people bringing the disease to extant, local and uncontrolled mosquito populations — as opposed to non-existent warming. If any of this information occurred to the AMA, it chose not to inform its readers.

The AMA wild claim machine then lurched to Maine:

Maine… is seeing similar trends in terms of climate affecting chronic conditions, although instead of injuries from hurricanes, it’s expected to have a rising rate of heart attacks and problems related to extreme snow, ice and cold. Climate change produces weather extremes on both ends of the temperature spectrum. In Maine, that’s being seen in a marked increase of Lyme disease. It has risen tenfold in 10 years, particularly in the central and northern parts of the state, which had not seen the disease until recently.”

But sadly for the AMA’s claims, Maine hasn’t experienced any significant change in temperature either. For both Portland and Caribou, “no change” is well-within the 95% confidence intervals for long-term temperature trends.

As to Lyme disease, folks in not-too-far-off Connecticut seem to think that the increase is due to over-abundant deer (and, hence deer ticks) — another problem caused by the soft-headed among us.

The AMA then summarizes its arguments as follows:

“The examples of Florida and Maine show how vector-borne diseases are spreading because of climate change. In Florida, changes in migration patterns and temperatures allow for dengue-infected mosquitoes to circulate. In Maine, warmer and shorter winters mean that deer ticks die off in smaller numbers, which means more will breed and advance farther north.”

Except that, in Florida, it’s dengue-infected people, not mosquitos, that migrate. And in Maine, more deer mean more deer ticks. BTW, deer ticks don’t die in the winter, although they won’t feed if it’s too cold.

Historically impervious to embarrassment, the AMA adds that,

“Patients are sicker or developing new conditions as a result of changes in the weather.”

Of course, even Al Gore acknowledges (at least when it suits him) that weather is not climate.

Now that Aflac has fired comedian Gilbert Gottfried, the former voice of its famous duck mascot, maybe Aflac can hire the AMA. Auditions are underway now.

23 thoughts on “AMA quacks on climate”

  1. This is a good example of why I left the AMA years ago. It ceased to be an advocate for patients and doctors. They have become another voice of support for every left wing cause to come around. Often the thinnest of threads is used to make their support look medically related.

  2. Why I am not an AMA member!
    When I was in medical school, members in my class actually booed a professor of physiology who had the audacity to write an equation on the board. (F=SV X R), or cardiac output = stroke volume times heatrt rate. Perhaps too complex for some; perhaps AMA members today.

  3. Why must so many organizations weigh in on subjects that they obviously know nothing about? This is classic AMA, sticking their collective foot firmly into their mouth again. When will they learn?

  4. this is NOT a “download” but a STREAMING RE-BROADCAST on demand

    you might nominate yourself for the quacker award after listening to this talk oreskes — hear her out to the end; it might take a 2nd listen to “get” everything she scoots over

    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2011/3101369.htm

    please do, thank you

    National Academy of Science members letter to Congress :

    http://theprojectonclimatescience.org/2011/02/the-importance-of-science-in-addressing-climate-change/

    there is no “doubt” any longer — the quackism might be found in how humanity might possibly responds, not in refuting the science

    best wishes

  5. If you laugh at “Communist conspiracy” talk take a good look. From Harry Truman buying into “Nuclear weapons are too horrible to use,” sold to him by fellow-traveler Henry Wallace which cost us one million young men in wars we would have had to fight if we had put one nuke on Pyonyang, Korea and another on Hanoi had that happened. They have taken over the greens and virtually destroyed America.

    For ideas, science and humor see The Two Minute Conservative at http://adrianvance.blogspot.com new for you every day. Also on Kindle.

  6. The AMA weighs in on this subject for the following reason (from the “letter to congress” link shown in my original post :
    THE LETTER TO CONGRESS FROM NAS MEMBERS BEGINS :
    Climate change is not just an environmental threat but, as we describe below, also poses challenges to the U.S. economy, national security and public health.

    SO IT IS NOT TRUE, AS YOU STATE that the AMA is responsible for making this issue “look medically related”. Responding to public health concerns on the basis of acknowledged, peer reviewed scientific fact is not the same thing as being “another voice of support for every left wing cause to come around”.

    And, this is not “the thinnest of threads” but [again from the letter] :

    Some view climate change as a futuristic abstraction. Others are unsure about the science, or uncertain about the policy responses. We want to assure you that the science is strong and that there is nothing abstract about the risks facing our Nation.
    FAR FROM BEING “THE THINNEST OF THREADS” :
    National Academy of Sciences
    What we know today about human-induced climate change is the result of painstaking research and analysis, some of it going back more than a century. Major international scientific organizations in disciplines ranging from geophysics to geology, atmospheric sciences to biology, and physics to human health – as well as every one of the leading national scientific academies worldwide – have concluded that human activity is changing the climate. This is not a “belief.” Instead, it is an objective evaluation of the scientific evidence.

    The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was created by Abraham Lincoln and chartered by Congress in 1863 for the express purpose of obtaining objective expert advice on a range of complex scientific and technological issues. Its international reputation for integrity is unparalleled. This spring, at the request of Congress, the NAS issued a series of comprehensive reports on climate change that were unambiguous.

    The NAS stated, “Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities . . . and in many cases is already affecting a broad range of human and natural systems.” This conclusion comes as no surprise to the overwhelming majority of working climate scientists.

    Climate Change Deniers
    Climate change deniers cloak themselves in scientific language, selectively critiquing aspects of mainstream climate science. Sometimes they present alternative hypotheses as an explanation of a particular point, as if the body of evidence were a house of cards standing or falling on one detail; but the edifice of climate science instead rests on a concrete foundation.

    NOR IS THIS A LEFTIST CAUSE, ACCORDING TO THE LETTER :
    The debate about climate change has become increasingly ideological and partisan. But climate change is not the product of a belief system or ideology. Instead, it is based on scientific fact, and no amount of argument, coercion, or debate among talking heads in the media can alter the physics of climate change.

    Political philosophy has a legitimate role in policy debates, but not in the underlying climate science. There are no Democratic or Republican carbon dioxide molecules; they are all invisible and they all trap heat.

    WHEN WILL “THEY” LEARN ? THEY’VE LEARNED QUITE A LOT ALREADY — BUT WOULD YOU DO SOME LEARNING ?

    “subjects that they obviously know nothing about” — IT WOULD SEEM YOU ARE LACKING IN THE REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE OF THE SUBJECT, AND NOT THE “ORGANIZATIONS” YOU WRONGFULLY CLAIM LACK CREDENCE.

  7. This is the same AMA that supported Obamacare even though most doctors are opposed to it. It all makes you wonder who they really represent.

  8. Jerry Snyder appears to be another AGW PR frontman. Easily found this on his ‘expert’ :
    ‘Oreskes claims to have analysed 928 abstracts she found listed on the ISI database using the keywords “climate change”. However, a search on the ISI database using the keywords “climate change” for the years 1993 – 2003 reveals that almost 12,000 papers were published during the decade in question (2). What happened to the countless research papers that show that global temperatures were similar or even higher during the Holocene Climate Optimum and the Medieval Warm Period when atmospheric CO2 levels were much lower than today; that solar variability is a key driver of recent climate change, and that climate modeling is highly uncertain?
    These objections were put to Oreskes by science writer David Appell. On 15 December 2004, she admitted that there was indeed a serious mistake in her Science essay. According to Oreskes, her study was not based on the keywords “climate change,” but on “global climate change” (3).

    Her use of three keywords instead of two reduced the list of peer reviewed publications by one order of magnitude (on the UK’s ISI databank the keyword search “global climate change” comes up with 1247 documents). Since the results looked questionable, I decided to replicate the Oreskes study. ….(google ‘Oreskes for more on this fraud)

  9. I now will have second thoughts about medical care when it pertains to anything that the AMA has their fingers in. If they have it so wrong when it comes to Global Warming than I would think my life is at risk when doing business with them.

  10. Your pontificating correspondent says you do not know what you are talking about and that the claim of AGW is proven thus decided – instead of all the poncy rhetoric why do arrogant people such as this simply rebut the recorded data as presented, with their source of data – we have similar things going on in the South Pacific where so called scientists are claiming massive sea level rise where the records show that no such out of the ordinary changes have occurred in recent years – Tell a story enough times and for these parasitic so called scientists it now becomes a fact – despite what the official/accepted records show!

  11. The AMA does not reflect the views of its members any more than the NEA reflects the views of classroom teachers or the Association of Police Chief reflects the cop on the street. Only about 15% of the practicing physicians are members of the AMA.

    The AMA has developed income streams related to life and medical insurance sales, a monopoly on the health insurance procedure codes, and a monopoly on mandatory annual training for physicians These out side sources of income make up over 80% of the organizations income. The two largest, the monopolies, continue to exist only by the good will of the government. Thus the AMA walks in lock step with the federal government and the membership and the truth be damned.

  12. @Jerry Snyder
    You say the Alarmist science rests on a concrete foundation? I think your “concrete foundation” is running down your pants leg…

    If you knew even a little about science, you’d see the weakness of the Alarmist claims in a heartbeat, but because you do not see these obvious and looming weaknesses, you post here to ‘help’ those who you think are ‘against science’… Oreskes’ ‘study” was IMPOSSIBLY foolish – using three words to do a search? An eight year old would have known better! And yet you use that gibberish to support your claims? LOL!

    Do you have any idea how silly that sounds? Enjoy your ‘concrete foundation’ and try not to mind the stink…

  13. CO2 is a trace gas in air and a poor absorber compared to water vapor which is not only seven times better at it, but has 80 times as many molecules causing 560 times the heating effect or 99.8% of it! CO2 is insignificant by definition. It is defined as a “trace gas” in air. It is just that simple.

    Doctors are not scientists. They use the tools of science: (1) A classification system called “diagnosis.” and (2) a pharmacopia of substances, potions, nostrums and salves known to be effecting in treating what diagnosis has determined to be responsible.

    For ideas, science and humor see The Two Minute Conservative at http://adrianvance.blogspot.com new for you every day. Also on Kindle.

  14. The increase in Lyme Disease in Maine has absolutely nothing to do with climate change. The spread is due in large part to firearm ordinances in the more urban areas that prohibit or severely restrict hunting. The deer tend to congregate in the more populated areas because of the reduced predation from natural enemies, more shelter and more abundant food sources. The close proximity to humans increases the risk of transmission. The primary Lyme Disease vector is not the deer population but the white footed mouse population. Many studies have shown that fluctuations in the white footed mouse population follow more closely with reported cases of Lyme Disease. The mice are often in closer proximity to humans than deer and are a significant transfer risk. Besides the deer tick other members of the black legged tick family are potential Lyme Disease carriers and are not associated with the deer population. So much for the AMA being on top of Lyme Disease and climate change.

  15. So take a real look at CO2. 385 ppm they say. Lets go one better, assume it is 400 ppm. Hmmmm. 40 molecules versus 99,960 other molecules. Specific heat capicity of gases says no measurable effect.

    Assume further that all of 5% of CO2 is due to humans. Hmmmmm, indeed. All of 2 molecules affecting the temperature of 99,998 other molecules.

    I think not.

  16. This sort of desperate reach to frighten the public is a direct result of them losing the argument…and losing badly. It’s quite amusing to witness the AGW ding-a-lings resort to the same scare tactics that caused them to lose the argument in the first place.

  17. Not to be nit-picky but Dengue is not a virus, it is a parasite. And it has many strains. In addition, there is no natural immunity the body can develop to the parasite. It takes advantage of those with already weak or compromised immune systems. There is an experimental vaccine in Switzerland, but it only targets the most prolific strain in Africa. I live in the Philippines so it would do us no good here. They would need to develop countless vaccines for all the strains of the parasite, which is constantly mutating. But they won’t because there isn’t enough profit in the venture to begin with.

  18. Jerry
    I am a supporter of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) and have been for years, as it was the only radio and TV programs that were available for me while working in the remote Kimberley region in West Australia. I am a unionist and basically a labor (= democrat= left) supporter here in Oz.
    When the ABC showed “the great global warming swindle” a few years ago, I was amazed. They advertised it for a few weeks before, but when they showed it, they had a “panel” to discuss the doco afterwards….a panel “biased” to AGW.
    I had already had a feeling of the so-called-unbiased-ABC had an agenda. Late last year the managing director had a meeting with the reporters and staff of the ABC because he wanted “balance”….as they had refused to interview or present views of “deniers”.
    You should have seen their “childrens section” they had last year about a childs “carbon footprint”…..Stalin would have been proud.
    It would have brainwashed any child.

    So when the ABC.NET.AU report on “climate change”….I ignore it. Tokyo Rose of a former generation.

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