Death certificates should recognize 'climate change,' study claims


A new study published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal is calling for death certificates to recognize the impact of “climate change.”

“Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates,” said Arnagretta Hunter of Australian National University, a co-author of the study.

She said there is a second component on a death certificate that allows for pre-existing conditions and other factors.

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“If you have an asthma attack and die during heavy smoke exposure from bushfires, the death certificate should include that information,” she said. “We can make a diagnosis of disease like coronavirus, but we are less literate in environmental determinants like hot weather or bushfire smoke.”

She claimed climate change “is the single greatest health threat that we face globally even after we recover from coronavirus.”

Marc Morano, publisher of the climate-change skeptic blog Climate Depot, commented, “Given the focus on COVID-19 infection rates and death tolls, it appears the climate activists in academia may want in on the scary and emotional death toll counts in order to draw attention back to their climate cause.”

Morano cited statistician Matt Briggs saying, “They discovered a way to boost fear and keep control! Daily body counts blasted from the evil media, ‘Over 100 people died from climate change today, raising questions about … blah blah.'”

Should so-called ‘climate change’ be recognized on death certificates?

Morano noted opposition to the death certificate idea from the climate skeptic blog Tallbloke.

“Climate alarmists yet again strain credulity to the limit, no doubt hoping to stir up guilt in the populace about energy use,” the site said.

The Climate Depot report said: “If ‘climate change’ becomes a cause of death listed on birth certificates, it could result in some interesting reading. Many climate activists have claimed that ‘global warming’ will lead to cannibalism.”

It cited Ted Turner warning in 2008 that global warming survivors would become cannibals. The famous “population bomb” forecaster Paul Ehrlich said in 2014 that “climate change” will force people to “eat bodies of dead.”

An Australian National University news release on the study said the trigger for the proposal that climate change be listed on death certificates came from researchers’ statements that heat-related deaths in Australia are “underreported.”

Researchers said the number of deaths attributed to excessive natural heat is at least 50 times more than recorded on death certificates.

They claimed that while records show 340 deaths in Australia from excessive heat over the past 11 years, a “statistical analysis” found nearly 37,000 deaths could be attributed to heat.

The authors of the study write:

Non-biomedical external factors are often omitted on death certificates, contributing to inaccuracies in cause-of-death estimations in many countries. Other factors contributing to poor quality data include scarcity of resources necessary to maintain or improve the data quality and a lack of physician training in death certificate completion. In response to such weaknesses, many countries are exploring ways to modernize death certification and recording processes.

Given the unpredictable nature and global scale of climatic and other environmental events, such as the Australian heatwaves and bushfires of 2019–20, it is imperative that systems designed to monitor national mortality accurately reflect the impact of large-scale environmental events. Combining death and temperature data sources to estimate temperature-related mortality or augment death certification data will improve the surveillance of heat-related mortality. However, for more than 2 billion people who live in tropical locations that are most vulnerable to heat, the resources required for valid mortality data are scarce.

Climate change is a concern to many people. But if the effect of extreme temperatures is not recorded, its full impact can never be understood. Death certification needs to be modernized, indirect causes should be reported, with all death certification prompting for external factors contributing to death, and these death data must be coupled with large-scale environmental datasets so that impact assessments can be done.


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