Human Exceptionalism

UK Doctors Should Put NHS in Proper Order Before Enlisting in Fight Against “Global Warming”

Calling global warming, “our era’s cholera,” a UK greenie named Muir Gray is urging doctors to get involved in stopping climate change (as if they don’t already have enough to do). From the column:

Climate change will hit the poorest nations hardest, but it will affect us too. In the summer of 2003,…an unexpected heatwave, killed 14,000 elderly people in France.

Yes, well that was because of a lack of air conditioners, which global warming ubber alles types like Gray want to do away with. Also, during the heat wave, most of France was on vacation and too few people were checking on the old people to see how they were doing as the vaunted safety net of France failed miserably. (If Bush had presided over such a debacle, the screaming would never have stopped.)

Ignoring the fact that anti global warming activism may well impede the development of sufficient electrical resources to keep people from dying during a bad heat wave, Gray pushes beyond the boundary of reasonable discussion:

Smoking, Aids, swine flu? They all pale into insignificance compared to climate change’s threat to health. That proposition will instantly provoke a hostile reaction from the diminishing band [me: actually, I think skepticism is growing] of climate-change sceptics. But as a doctor of 40 years’ standing who has been involved in running public health services for 30 years, I know that the evidence is good enough to make action, not inaction, the sensible choice. An empirical view of the data shows that delay will not just increase the amount of preventable harm, it may take us past a point of no return.

Get a grip: Millions of African children die now–not in some computer program projection’s simulated crisis–of measles and malaria, not to mention malnutrition, the effects of unclean water, and improper sanitation. As many as one in four people in some African countries have HIV. These existing crises are more than enough to take up the time and attention of the public health sector and physicians without also jumping into the questionable campaign to stop global warming.

And–oh gosh–more to worry about: The NHS’s carbon footprint is too high!

But the medical profession needs to put its own house in order too. I was in a hospital last month that is doubling its electricity supply “to meet demand”, with no thought about the future…The NHS is gigantic and has a carbon footprint that is nearly one twentieth of the whole UK’s footprint–1.3 million staff each with their own footprint, the drugs bought, the buildings, the transport, the water and the food, too much of it thrown away. Now is the time for the profession to mobilise and show the passion that took them into medical school but is then so often extinguished

By neglecting the needs of current patients whose proper care requires most of that electricity?

Gray is something called the Public Health Director of the Campaign for Greener Healthcare. But I think my idea about all of this is better than his: Before UK doctors pour their energies into practicing and promoting greener health care, they should first focus on providing better health care. Considering the chaotic and incompetent mess that is the NHS, doctors let the environmentalists worry about pushing the green, and instead, put first things, first.

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