Feed WWF’s Press Guy to the Pandas

Look. I am a big fan of Pandas and Land-Lobsters. The WWF? Not so much.

Speigel Online pointed to a new study done for the WWF by one of the leading German economic think tanks. That wouldn’t have been so bad if the WWF press release hadn’t have been so..blaach. Spiegel reports,

The press release from the World Wildlife Funds (WWF) isn’t exactly squeamish in wording. “A sharp rise in heat related deaths and loss of productivity as a result of climate change threatens Germany by the end of the century, ” can be found on the web page of the environment and animal protection organisation. More and more days with extreme temperatures won’t just lead to a loss of between 0.1 and 0.5 percent of the GNP. A “tragic” result will also be the increase in heat related deaths: in the years from 2071 and 2100 an increase of between 5,000 and 15,000 deaths per year due to heat – “without acclimatization,” as the WWF laconically adds.

The press release doesn’t dedicate more than these two words to the central facts. The study itself, produced for the WWF by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), sounds much different. Because it is based on a simple calculation. The IfW experts used the “Remo” model from the Hamburg Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology that simulates the heat stress in Germany between 2071 and 2100 – and simply compared them to the conditions in 2003. [my translation]

Basically, since the summer of 2003 was the worst year in recent history for heat deaths not only in German but in Europe as a whole (France was especially hard hit), but the calculations are offset by a number of other factors. Indeed while the number of people dying due to the heat might go up, the number of deaths caused by cold winters will be reduced thus mitigating the first effect.

The study itself also points out even more important factors.

The presented effects of climate change on human heath are all – among other simplifications – estimated assuming that here is no adaptation to the higher summer temperatures. Since we are looking at a process that will take more then 50 years, this is of course, unrealistic. A number of measures as well as natural adaptation can and will occur. The inclusion of these factors is not possible considering the current level of knowledge and remains an area for future research.

It isn’t even clear whether adaptation to the increased summer temperatures combined with the reduction of cold related deaths might bring a positive balance. One interesting result of the study is to look at the related medical costs that might become necessary. The study isn’t great but it is not the we-are-all-going-to-die senario painted up front.

The problem is that the press release simply gives people like Senator I-Hate-Polar-Bears Inhofe more ammunition even if the study is well written. And the study itself really doesn’t say much more than “this is an important thing to look at.” *sigh*

Argueably, the press guy at the WWF and the discredited NASA press hack Michael Deutsch have some things in common. They are both interested in Global Climate Change and both spin things beyond recognition. Even if it is in opposite directions.

But to be honest. I’d just feed the WWF guy to their Panda. Unfortunately it wouldn’t do any good because Pandas only eat bamboo.

So let’s feed the WWF guy to Michael Deutsch.

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