Climate change expert gives opinion on Wall Street Journal piece

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An academic from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University’s Department of Environmental Science was among 10 scientists invited to share their thoughts on a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on the health risks of climate change.

Dr Philip Staddon (pictured), associate professor in global change ecology at XJTLU, was invited by the University of California Climate Feedback project to comment on the opinion piece by Bjorn Lomborg.

The piece was a response to a report published by the US Global Change Research Program, which gave an overview of the impact of climate change on American public health.

Lomborg argued that climate change would bring health benefits and that health risks associated with climate change were vastly exaggerated.

The scientists invited to comment on the piece were unanimous in their verdict that the data used in the piece was highly selective and that Lomborg had ‘cherry-picked’ the evidence and relied on ‘flawed reasoning’.

“Lomborg is using scientific ‘language’ to suggest that climate change will have insignificant health impacts; this goes against a vast body of evidence,” said Dr Staddon in his comments on the piece.

“The notion that benefits from warmer winters could be more important than risks from hotter summers in terms of human health is plain wrong. For once, the US administration is taking health impacts of climate change seriously, and it is particularly unhelpful to attempt to confuse the public on this issue.”

The scientists who gave comments on Lomborg’s piece are some of the leading experts in the field, including Professor Aaron Bernstein, from the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard; Antonio Gasparrini, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, from the University of Bristol; Professor Steven Sherwood, from the University of New South Wales; and Professor Kristie Ebi, from the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington.

Dr Staddon is also honorary senior research fellow in climate change and human health at the University of Exeter Medical School.

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