It’s rare for a science writer to be asking that kind of thing but then the writer in this case is Alex Berezow, who would have the good sense to know horsefeathers when he sees them. Much of the nonsense derives from hopping onto a political bandwagon:
The point is that hopping aboard a political bandwagon is good for grabbing attention — and subsequently, funding. We are witnessing a similar phenomenon with respect to climate change. No matter how extraneous a topic, researchers try to tie it to climate change. Job-stealing robots? Climate change. Resurrecting the woolly mammoth? Climate change. Cancer therapy? Climate change. What could climate change possibly have to do with cancer? The latter article provides one example: “[P]eople with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer [a]re more likely to die if their radiation therapy [i]s interrupted by hurricanes.”
It is within this dubious milieu — where any outlandish link to climate change is simply assumed to be scientifically legitimate — that the New England Journal of Medicine recently published a perspective on the importance of “decarbonizing” the healthcare sector. The opening sentence makes a bold claim: “ Nowhere are the effects of climate change manifesting more clearly than in human health.” Really? One might argue that satellite images showing melting ice caps and retreating glaciers are a lot clearer than that — or perhaps the notable increase in the temperature of the planet, or record-breaking heat waves.
While that first statement could be dismissed as poetically hyperbolic, the article’s second sentence cannot be: “Although many people consider climate change a looming threat, health problems stemming from it already kill millions of people per year.” This claim represents a semi-measurable quantity and is either true or false. The authors cited this paper to support their claim, but it appears that none of them comprehended it.Alex Berezow, “Why are medical journals full of fashionable nonsense?” at Big Think (October 24, 2021)
The paper showed that deaths from cold had declined — a “a net decline in temperature-related deaths” which was the opposite of what the NEJM perspective writers assumed.
Of course, the beauty of science in an age of Woke Correctness is that it doesn’t have to make sense, just be Woke and Correct. And we all just need to Trust the Science more.