The Times of London has reported on a conference of doctors in which it was claimed that climate change poses a serious threat to the health of people in Britain - mainly because heatwaves will increase the strain on peoples' cardiovascular systems, and exotic diseases such as malaria will make their way to our increasingly warm climes. This in addition to the health chaos they predicting in the developing world.
This requires some perspective.
First off, surely warmer temperatures will be better for health in northern latitudes? A country like Britain has only 1,000 heat-related deaths every year, compared to 40,000 cold-related.
Second, there is little evidence that the changing patterns of malaria have anything to do with climate. As Prof Paul Reiter has pointed out, malaria was endemic throughout northern Europe until the second half of the 19th century, when changes in agricultural practices, improved drainage and better human dwellings led to a spontaneous decline of the disease-- even while records show temperatures rose in this period.
Third, most 'carbon mitigation' strategies we hear about these days involve severely curtailing economic activity. Most disease in developing countries -- diahrroea, chest infections and malnutrition-- is caused by poverty. Economic growth is the one sure fire way of eradicating these diseases, as well as giving poor people the ability to adapt to a changing climate.
Maybe we should see what kind of an effect a global recession would have on health instead?
There's more over at the CFD main site if you are interested.