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Lancet’s Heat-Related Deaths Con Trick

December 4, 2020

By Paul Homewood



The new Lancet report on climate change is now out:



The number of older people dying from heat-related causes has doubled in under 20 years, a report revealed yesterday.

Britain suffered an estimated 8,500 heat deaths among the over-65s in 2018 – more than twice the average for the years 2000 to 2004.

Researchers blamed heatwaves and said healthcare is ‘at risk of being overwhelmed in the future’ unless drastic action is taken to halt climate change.

The Lancet Countdown report said rising temperatures will increasingly threaten health, but cutting red meat consumption and air pollution can help.

It stressed that heatwaves are one of the major health impacts of climate change and over-65s are the most vulnerable. The research also revealed the UK was hit by 5.6million hours of lost work in 2019 due to heatwaves.

The climate crisis made 2019 a year of record temperatures, with a highest ever in the UK – 38.7C (101.66F) – in Cambridge.

Figures show heat-related deaths of vulnerable people across the world have increased by 54 per cent in the past two decades, claiming 296,000 lives in 2018. 


The Lancet Countdown includes the usual junk science which I have repeatedly disproved every year. Rubbish like extreme weather, diseases, food security and reduced labour productivity.

However, this year they have added a new section on heat mortality:


Although the report does not specifically give numbers for the UK, it is claimed that Britain suffered 8500 heat deaths amongst the over 65s in 2018, double the rate between 2000-2004. This claim clearly comes from the Lancet, as it has been plastered all over the media this week.


The report goes on:






I am sure the German government will be delighted to learn that its neglect of the elderly population has led to 20,200 heat deaths!

But, of course, nobody has died with “heat related” written on their death certificates. As usual, with climate science, it is all based on computer models, which operate on a Garbage In, Garbage Out basis, otherwise known as GIGO.

This model is programmed with the assumption that the hotter it is, the more likely old people are to die.

For some reason, the Lancet conveniently forget to mention that cold kills far more people than warmth does. Worldwide, scientists have worked out that cold weather is 20 times as deadly as hot weather, even in hot countries such as India. Since this study was actually published by the Lancet in 2015, you might have thought they included it in their new findings!

In Britain, of course, there are tens of thousands of excess deaths in winter. In contrast, summer months always record the lowest number of deaths in the year.:




As far as the UK is concerned, at least, there is no need for the Lancet to employ their shonky models. We have the actual mortality data, as supplied by the ONS.

We cannot directly compare the summer of 2018, with that of 2004, because the total number of deaths occurring during the year as a whole has been steadily rising since around 2009. Currently annual death tolls are about 30,000 higher than in 2004:


This is not because we all less healthy, but because the population is both getting larger and older. For example, there are now many more over 80s than there was two decades ago due to the fact that we are all living longer on average; and as that is when most people die, the number of deaths has also started to rise again.

Put simply, death is playing catch up!

That is why the ONS look at Age-Standardised Mortality rates when comparing trends.





And when we look age-standardised mortality in July and August for over 75s, we find that even in 2018 it was much lower than in 2004. (The series only began in July 2020, so there are no figures for June):




And from the weekly registrations of deaths, we can also chart the summer deaths for over 65s:



The heatwave summer of 2018 actually recorded the second lowest number of deaths in the five-year period.

Clearly that heatwave had no measurable effect on death tolls amongst the elderly at all.

All of this should have been very evident to the Lancet’s “experts”, and very easily accessible. We also know from COVID research this year that all other EU countries have similarly rigorous data available for mortality rates.

So why did they choose to ignore all of this real world data, and instead use phony results from dodgy computer models?

  1. JimW permalink
    December 4, 2020 1:53 pm

    Because we live in a virtual world now. Reality and facts are quickly being phased out.

    • December 4, 2020 2:41 pm

      Whatever the death stats are, it tells us nothing about the factors that determine the weather/climate. Media waffle about climate change is just that – waffle, signifying nothing.

  2. December 4, 2020 2:04 pm

    The Lancet’s approach is to model “indicators” which say things are getting worse every year, when if they actually measured things directly, they would find that things are getting better every year.

    They did the same thing with crop yields: the indicators (modelled) showed that the conditions for farming were getting worse. The real data (yield) showed they were getting better year on year. The Lancet used the former and did not mention the latter.

    • David Parker permalink
      December 5, 2020 6:28 am

      A am a farmer, I mentioned the crop yield nonsense and other matters to a member of the medical profession who made the mistake of suggesting I should keep out of ‘medical’ matters. I leave it to your imagination how I responded to that.

  3. December 4, 2020 2:21 pm

    Heatwaves are why people choose to move nearer the tropics to retire ?

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      December 4, 2020 5:37 pm

      I can’t say about others but after 7 decades of shoveling snow, I have an inclination to move to a place with no snow. Not really looking for heat (See 38.7°C in post; that’s hot, but has not killed me, nor did the 47.2°C I’ve experienced.).
      Is there a place where the temperature stays at about 24°?

      • LeedsChris permalink
        December 4, 2020 11:24 pm

        24c – parts of the Canary Islands are about that temperature all year – or a little above that.

  4. Harry Passfield permalink
    December 4, 2020 2:33 pm

    We are here dealing with the same charlatans who can ramp up the number of Covid deaths regardless of the fact that many deaths were not Covid-related. The letters page of the DT have had many reports of old people dying of unrelated symptoms being counted as Covid. It is no stretch to believe that the PTB could not also put cause of death down to heat stress (brought on by CC) if they wanted to make a point. Well, they’re going to have trouble when it starts to get colder…

    • dennisambler permalink
      December 4, 2020 5:10 pm

      Any death occurring within 28 days of a positive PCR test is a Covid death, even though the PCR test is not diagnostic for Covid 19 without symptoms and medical input.
      Detection of viral RNA by PCR does not equate with infectivity, unless infectious virus particles have been confirmed through virus isolation and cultured from the particular samples.

      The National Clinical Director of the Scottish Government has labelled the COVID-19 coronavirus test “a bit rubbish” due to the fact it provides a positive result even if the person is no longer infectious.
      To be confident that a positive PCR specimen indicates that the patient is infected with SARS-CoV, a second specimen should also be confirmed positive. Finally, all laboratory results should be interpreted in the context of the clinical and epidemiologic information available for the patient.

      Click to access S0519_Impact_of_false_positives_and_negatives.pdf

      RT-PCR tests are highly sensitive, but can show false negatives (giving a negative result for a person infected with COVID-19) and false positives (giving a positive result for a person not infected with COVID-19).

      • David V permalink
        December 4, 2020 8:04 pm

        All tests have false positives and false negatives. There is no such thing as a perfect test. Tests are selected according to the situation. For COVID it is no great problem to have false positives who must isolate unnecessarily but false negatives mean increased numbers of infected individuals free to wander around spreading the disease. Therefore the preferred test has relatively high numbers of false positives in order to minimise the number of false negatives.

  5. Broadlands permalink
    December 4, 2020 2:42 pm

    “Researchers blamed heatwaves and said healthcare is ‘at risk of being overwhelmed in the future’ unless drastic action is taken to halt climate change.”

    This is commonly asserted but rarely answered. What drastic action could possibly be taken to halt the Earth’s climate from changing? Accepting the greenhouse theory and to lower the Earth’s temperature would require taking billions of tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere and storing it somewhere. That’s just not possible. But, they keep telling us anyhow.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      December 4, 2020 4:45 pm

      BL. You’d think these supposedly intelligent people would conclude that it would be a darn sight cheaper to adapt their health services that were in danger of being overwhelmed than it would be to change the climate. I hardly think they feel they will need something like Nightingale hospitals for heat-stroke victims (bearing in mind, having managed to build and provision them they couldn’t be used to full effect because they couldn’t staff them).

    • Gamecock permalink
      December 5, 2020 12:31 am

      I’m confident it is considerably warmer here in South Carolina than there. How cos we don’t have thousands of heat related deaths?

      I’m confident it is considerably warmer in Kasserine than here. How cos they don’t have thousands of heat related deaths?

      People dying from heat is NOT a weather problem. And the UK climate hasn’t changed in over a hundred years. This Lancet report is juvenile.

  6. Mack permalink
    December 4, 2020 3:02 pm

    As you rightly note Paul, excess winter deaths caused by cold, fuel and food poverty far exceed the comparatively trivial number of excess summer deaths caused by ‘heat’. And the kind of solutions to ‘global heating’ advocated by the ‘data deniers’ at the Lancet would lead to a dramatic surge in those winter excess deaths. The principle of ‘first do no harm’ seemingly went straight over their heads when they first pitched up at medical school.

  7. LeedsChris permalink
    December 4, 2020 3:03 pm

    Like every single other so-called ‘Profession’, the journals they produce are increasingly just propaganda. The Lancet is the worst. We are at end of truth and proper science and investigation. All that has to be done now is to spout the usual globalist ‘post-truth’ PC/Green nonsense. These are the new Dark Ages coming upon us…

  8. NeilC permalink
    December 4, 2020 3:19 pm

    What information do they use for UK weather over the last 20 years? There has been no statistically significant change in temperature, humidity, rainfall volume or duration, pressure, and a very slight increase in wind speed.

    What utter nonsense.

  9. December 4, 2020 4:44 pm

    The Spectator knows it is propaganda and tears it and the BBC apart:

  10. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    December 4, 2020 5:48 pm

    Thanks Paul. Excellent post.

    The Climate Cult seems to be working overtime to dig themselves into a deeper hole.
    I have a hypothesis that the young journalists hired to cut & paste dire warnings either (a) learn it is BS and move on, or (b) have a religious-like conversion from which there is no reversal.
    Someone needs to invent a “cognitive dissonance” indicator for Cult members who continue that route despite overwhelming evidence that a crisis is not happening.

  11. It doesn't add up... permalink
    December 4, 2020 6:37 pm

    Which are the heat related causes of death that spiked? I can’t find any in the data. The reason is probably because they are far too small to detect. This study of heat related deaths in the US only found about 700 a year across the entire country, with the hottest states with desert climates figuring prominently:

    Then again, the Lancet is known for its campaigning stance, and its publication of papers that have to be withdrawn.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      December 5, 2020 9:13 am

      I have previously seen research that shows for the US it is not temperature but adaptation that is the problem. Thus when temperatures in northern areas are similar to temperatures in Arizona and Florida they have much higher rates of deaths because they are not adapted to those temperatures. There is therefore no fundamental reason for anybody to die.

  12. Athelstan. permalink
    December 4, 2020 6:38 pm

    yep, the lancet is now right down there with nature, national enqirer and the graun.

  13. December 4, 2020 7:40 pm

    Any death of the over 65s occurring within 28 days of a ‘hottest evah’ recorded temperature is a ‘heat-related death’.

    • Joe Public permalink
      December 4, 2020 7:53 pm


      Any death of the over 65s occurring within 28 years of a ‘hottest evah’ recorded temperature is a ‘heat-related death’.

      • Phil Whittaker permalink
        December 5, 2020 1:17 pm

        How about recording any deaths following a ‘hottest evah’ modelled temperature as ‘heat-related’? Most of the BBC’s temperature climate scare stories are broadcast in advance, based on computer forecasts. Surely in these post-normal times we shouldn’t have to rely on anything as old-fashioned as a death certificate when counting climate victims?

  14. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 4, 2020 9:25 pm

    Can I send Deben the bill when all these ‘cheap’ renewables don’t reduce my energy bills?
    The presenter had done some shallow research, mentioning >20% of our bills is already for ‘climate’, but then had no more ammo to challenge Deben’s complete BS. Is Deben guilty of misconduct in public office – I’d say so? All of the interviewees were refusing to admit the impossibility and cost and the real level of public support if truthfully informed.

    (I saw it real time, I assume the link will work for others but my browser is stone-age.)

  15. December 4, 2020 10:01 pm

    More confirmation (as if any were needed) that the once highly lauded Lancet has now descended into a mouth-piece rag for the green industrial complex.

    • mikewaite permalink
      December 5, 2020 8:57 am

      As Paul and others have pointed out the Lancet has previously (in 2015 and 2017) published work that showed that the effect on mortality of moderate cold far, far exceeds that of moderate heat However about 2 years ago the arch priestess of climate crisis , Christiana Figueres , was appointed as chair of Lancet Global Health editorial board which may explain the current trend of papers towards climate hysteria.
      However one should consider that she did not ( I presume) barge her way onto the Board, she must have been invited onto it by the people who actually control the Lancet publications . They presumably had already decided to use their publishing power to promote climate politics and that she would be a very useful tool.
      I don’t know who they are, but they are the ones resonsible for the change in character of the Lancet from a highly regarded journal reviewing advances in medical science to, in part, a political rag, as you say Luc.

  16. Phoenix44 permalink
    December 5, 2020 9:10 am

    Exactly my thought when I read the story deaths from everything in that age group will have increased significantly.

    It is fraudulent, utterly fraudulent. Anybody reviewing it would have said so.

  17. Vernon E permalink
    December 5, 2020 11:12 am

    Well I’m eighty-two and I’d love to have more sunny days in the garden.

  18. Ray Sanders permalink
    December 5, 2020 12:36 pm

    ” Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, has stated that ‘peer review to the public is portrayed as a quasisacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller, but we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong’.”
    And as all readers of this blog will know, Richard Horton himself is rather two faced on Covid issues.

  19. December 5, 2020 1:25 pm

    Another tainted once august and credible “science” based journal. The Left are serious in their “long march through the institutions”. The complacency on the right is a great concern. These guys mean business and their confidence is clear in the fact that they feel they can put out any old junk that would get a 16 year old an F grade for poor experimental design knowing they will not suffer the usual humiliation or loss of position and that any challenge will be ignored in the media.

    “So why did they choose to ignore all of this real world data, and instead use phoney results from dodgy computer models?”

    If I am not mistaken, in general science is conducted today using around 80% empirical data and 20% modelled data. The Climate Industry is a unique outlier because it relies on at least 80% of modelled data and pays lip service to aliased real data and then selectively only when it fits the narrative.

    The bottom line. It is easier to cheat with modelled data because the outcome is decided by the input. I propose this is why right across this charade there is an over emphasis on modelled data because it will say what they want which is the narrative.

  20. JBW permalink
    December 5, 2020 1:53 pm

    Not all surgeons have drunk the Kool Aid. My wife’s surgeon recently prescribed a diet of eggs and red meat to help heal her wounds as she needed the extra protein. Nice change having steak and eggs again.

  21. Sylvia permalink
    December 5, 2020 4:26 pm

    It is highly unusual for people to die of heat unless it is EXTREME and there is no water. Most people die of the COLD so if there is no means to heat our homes then most will die of cold.

  22. P. Dean permalink
    December 6, 2020 8:20 pm

    I think the last sentence of the Lancet’s report’s conclusion gives its agenda away:
    “The window of opportunity is narrow, and, if the response to COVID-19 is not fully and directly aligned with national climate change strategies, the world will be unable to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement, damaging health and health systems today, and in the future.”
    It is an attempt to bracket Covid-19 and climate ‘change’ together, as existential threats, that have to be dealt with simultaneously. I get the impression that if the vaccines work extremely well, that particular threat will have been knocked out decisively, thus leaving climate change as continuing to go no where.

  23. December 8, 2020 9:37 am

    It always worries me when they compare the actual figure now with an average over past years. The average is made up from a mix of higher and lower values so this says nothing about how unusual or extreme the current value is.

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