Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author
To those who have been misled to believe that a warming planet is dangerous, prepare to have a myth shattered: Data from hundreds of scientific journals across major publishing platforms and policy reports from major governments say cold is responsible for more deaths than hot weather worldwide.
Nonetheless, many people find it hard to believe this fact because of the decades-long propaganda and hysteria surrounding global warming. Here is why we should be thankful that our world is warming.
Human Body is Made for Warm Weather
Humans evolved in warm environments. The body is better equipped to handle heat than cold as it can regulate temperature through sweating and other mechanisms. However, in cold weather, our bodies must work harder to maintain a normal temperature, which can lead to a variety of health problems.
Anecdotes of heart attacks induced by shoveling snow are common in northern climes. When exposed to cold temperatures, the body’s blood vessels constrict to conserve heat, which can increase blood pressure and strain the heart.
The relative dryness of cold air is irritating to airways, causing inflammation and making breathing more difficult, particularly for those with preexisting respiratory conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
So, it is no wonder that civilizations flourished when temperatures were higher, especially when home heating was primitive or nonexistent.
Lessons from Norse Farming in Greenland
Some of the earliest civilizations – such as those in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley – developed in warm, arid regions with fertile soils and abundant water resources. They were able to support large populations that developed sophisticated technologies, such as irrigation systems that made agriculture possible in dry lands.
Warmer temperatures are associated with higher crop yields, particularly for plants like wheat, rice and maize. Greater warmth increases the length of the growing season and improves the rate of photosynthesis.
In contrast, colder regions like northern Europe and Asia were historically less hospitable to human populations. In these regions, food production was more difficult and the risk of famine and disease higher. The only time life in colder regions was favorable is when there were centuries-long warming phases.
An example of this is the Vikings who developed a thriving civilization in Scandinavia and grew food in Greenland during the Medieval Warm Period. Charred grains and waste from threshing grain proved that barley was cultivated in Greenland by medieval Norse farmers.
As summer and winter temperatures decreased with the waning of medieval warmth, Vikings abandoned farming and turned to seafood. “Greenland’s climate worsened during the Norse colonization,” says Eli Kintisch in “Science” magazine. “In response, the Norse turned from their struggling farms to the sea for food before finally abandoning their settlements.”
Kintisch continues, “It was a sustainable lifestyle for hundreds of years. But in the 13th century, economics and climate began to conspire against the Norse. After 1250, a cooling climate posed multiple threats to a marine-oriented society.”
Even in moderate parts of Europe, the 16th century Little Ice Age was horrific. “All things which grew above the ground died and starved,” reported the National Post.
“The cold was so extreme and the freeze so great and bitter, that nothing seemed like it in the memory of man,” recalls Pierre de l’Estoile, the diarist.
Then, a warming that began in the 17th century and continues to the present day restored more bountiful harvests and a measure of food security that allowed time and energy for innovation and the onset of the Industrial Revolution. Since then, the human population has increased 10-fold.
So, the notion that warming is killing the planet is false. In fact, it is dangerous to direct public policy toward reducing the global temperature.
Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK and resides in India.
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