EPA coal plant rule claims hot weather kills more than cold weather

This is junk science because:

  • It is a well-established universal phenomenon that deaths increase during winter time.
  • EPA is basing its claim on a single study that it admits is “not conclusive.”

The text from EPA’s regulatory impact analysis is below.


…Regarding direct temperature changes, it has already been observed that unusually hot days and heat waves are becoming more frequent, and that unusually cold days are becoming less frequent. Heat is already the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States. In the future, severe heat waves are projected to intensify in magnitude and duration over the portions of the United States where these events have already been observed. Heat waves are associated with marked short-term increases in mortality. Hot temperatures have also been associated with increased morbidity. If observed warming continues as projected, it will increase heat related mortality and morbidity, especially among the elderly, young, and frail. Different segments of the population are sensitive to these trends for different reasons. The most sensitive to hot temperatures are older adults, the chronically sick, the very young, city-dwellers, and those taking medications that disrupt thermoregulation. Others that are demonstrated to be sensitive to this trend are the mentally ill, those lacking access to air conditioning, those working or playing outdoors, and socially isolated persons. As warming increases over time, these adverse effects would be expected to increase as the serious heat events become more frequent, prolonged, and extreme.

Conversely, increases in temperature are also expected to lead to some reduction in the risk of death related to extreme cold. However it is not clear whether reduced mortality in the United States from cold would be greater or less than increased heat-related mortality in the United States due to climate change. However, there is a risk that projections of cold-related deaths, and the potential for decreasing their numbers due to warmer winters, can be overestimated unless they take into account the tendency for deaths to increase in winter for reasons which are not strongly associated with cold temperatures, such as influenza. To illustrate the difficulty of measuring the total effect of these two related trends, the latest USGCRP report (2009) refers to a study (Medina-Ramon and Schwartz, 2007) that analyzed daily mortality and weather data in 50 U.S. cities from 1989 to 2000 and found that, on average, cold snaps in the United States increased death rates by 1.6 percent, while heat waves triggered a 5.7 percent increase in death rates. While a single study is not conclusive, this study concludes that increases in heat-related mortality due to global warming in the United States are likely to be greater than decreases in cold-related mortality…

3 thoughts on “EPA coal plant rule claims hot weather kills more than cold weather”

  1. http://sppiblog.org/news/extreme-heat-vs-extreme-cold-which-is-the-greatest-killer

    Heat waves contribute to the death of people who were in poor enough health that they were going to die soon anyway and as a result have no net increase on the years mortality rate. Extreme cold, on the other hand, contributes to mortality among peopel who may have otherwise lived as much as 10 years longer.

    Warming the world may well be the greatest humanitarian act in history, if we were capable of it.

  2. EPA says, ” Heat is already the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States.” so they should allow as much electricity as we want so we can have air conditioning.

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