You're all going to die! #683

I was reminded the other day (was in on University Challenge?) of Lord Salisbury's description of the Daily Mail as  "a journal produced by office boys for office boys". We don't have such things as 'office boys' any more so I'm not sure what the modern day equivalent would be. There's the basis for a phone-in competition there somewhere. It  might just be easier just to call it 'a journal produced by morons for morons' and have done with it. The sort of morons who read (and produce) this sort of thing:

As Britain basks in sunshine, why heatwaves and malaria 'could kill thousands within five years'

Yesterday was declared the hottest February 12 ever - as Britain was warned that climate change could lead to thousands of deaths during heatwaves and outbreaks of malaria.
A report said there was a "high risk" of a dangerously hot summer within five years that could kill 6,000 people. But these would be more than offset by milder winters leading to fewer deaths from the cold, currently 20,000 a year.

...Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said "The UK Government is leading the way in persuading the world that we must all turn our attention to the health effects of climate change - the World Health Organisation recently congratulated us for winning over other countries.
But hold on, what's this? Despite warmer summers from 1971 to 2003, the number of heat-related deaths stayed the same. However, winter deaths fell by 3 per cent as temperatures rose.

And as for the 'high risk': There is a one in 40 chance that by 2012 the South East will have a heatwave that could cause 3,000 immediate deaths and 3,000 more later, it said.

I'm not a gambler but even I wouldn't bet much on a 40 to 1 outsider.

As for Malaria. Despite the Mail article being illustrated with a big, scary picture of a blood-filled mosquito it has this to say: While malaria outbreaks are likely to be rare, health authorities will need to be alert to outbreaks on the Continent.

So, all in all it's great news somehow disguised as doom and gloom. If we continue to get warmer weather there will be fewer deaths overall from the effects of climate. We won't see anyone stricken down with malaria, although if you look carefully you might spot some cases on 'the continent'. And there is only a 1-40 chance of a scorcher which will match the scorchers (mean temperature in excess of 18.5C) of July 1852, July 1921, August 1947, August 1975, July 1976, July 1983, July1995, August 1995, August 1997. And even if there is, there's no evidence it will lead to more deaths.

July 1976, Ah, I remember it well. Ooooh, the mosquitoes and rotting corpses!