If Climate Change Is Killing Us, Why Is Life Expectancy Increasing? by Ryan McMaken

The climate may be changing, but you can’t prove its dangers by citing life expectancy figures, which in most of the world continue to rise. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (“Mortality in the United States, 2017“), “Life expectancy for the U.S. population declined to 78.6 years in 2017,” largely due to obesity and drug addiction.

The American life expectancy trend does not reflect global trends, however.

Worldwide, the evidence continues to point toward rising life expectancy in most of the world, with the biggest gains in the poorest countries.

According to data compiled by the World Bank, life expectancy continues to grow fastest in Africa. During the ten-year period from 2007 to 2016, the largest gains were realized in Zimbabwe, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Botswana, Malawi, and South Africa. The gains in years ranged from 13 years over the period in Zimbabwe to nearly 10 years in South Africa. Wealthy and mid-level countries saw gains during this period as well, including Switzerland and Mexico, where life expectancy increased 1.1 years and 1.4 years, respectively.

Indeed, the continued gains should surprise no one who keeps up with global trends in health. Globally, access to sanitation and clean water has improved substantially while extreme poverty, malnourishment, and child mortality have all declined. This has especially been the case in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, where some of the worst poverty can be found.

Why the Climate-Change Panic?

Oddly, however, you won’t hear much about this in the context of the climate change debate.

For years — as life expectancy numbers have continued to rise — pundits and researchers have repeatedly attempted to claim that climate change has led to — or will soon lead to — declines in overall life and health.

For example, The New Republic announced in 2015 that climate change “devastates food security, nutrition, and water safety.” Yet, the data shows that none of these things have been in any way “devastated” over the past decade. In fact, the indicators are all better now than where they were ten years ago.1

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