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Global warming has saved 500,000 lives in England and Wales in the last 20 years

January 17, 2022

By Paul Homewood


It’s official; a warmer climate has saved lives in England & Wales:



1. Overview

This article estimates the change in deaths and hospital admissions associated with rising average temperatures in England and Wales in 2001 to 2020; the trends are relevant to climate change but may also reflect other factors such as improved healthcare and housing.

These experimental statistics are a step towards regular, transparent Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates of climate-health impacts, which are diagnosis-specific and inform policy-makers and the public. Our methods will develop over time and should be read alongside important government reports and the scientific literature on climate risk.

We found relatively little increase in deaths caused by warmer weather and a reduction in deaths caused by cold winters, leading to a net decrease in deaths; in contrast, there was a net increase in hospital admissions linked to warmer weather, especially from injuries.

Previous research has linked warmer weather to injuries from outdoor activities, increased violence and mental health problems; direct harm from extreme heat is still less common but this is likely to change over time.

Our findings are consistent with previous research and confirm that the warming trajectory predicted by climate scientists is already affecting health in England and Wales; however, in the UK’s cool-to-temperate climate, the mortality impact is limited and appropriate policy and behaviour changes could mitigate much of the health risk from increasing temperatures.

5. Changes in deaths from conditions associated with warmer and colder days

A general decline over the years 2001 to 2020 in the rate of deaths involving causes associated with warm or cold temperatures is shown in Figure 1.

Over a 20-year period the estimated change in deaths associated with warm or cold temperature was a net decrease of 555,103, an average of 27,755 deaths per year (Table 1). A decrease in deaths from outcomes associated with cold temperature greatly outnumbers deaths associated with warm temperature.

Warmer weather in the UK rarely reaches temperatures that cause direct heat-related harms. While the reduction in deaths may relate to climate change, some evidence also suggests the population has reduced vulnerability to cold, see more detail in the Discussion section.


I bet we won’t hear that on the BBC!"

  1. steve permalink
    January 17, 2022 6:13 pm

    Made the Telegraph at least – BBC no chance.

  2. Penda100 permalink
    January 17, 2022 6:33 pm

    No we won’t hear about fewer people dying because of climate change. But we did here about the need for the UK to fight climate change and prevent the possibility of UK temperatures becoming 4 degrees higher than the global average – in 2080! A few minutes later there was a report about energy poverty but, of course, no mention of the the subsidies for renewable energy (necessary to fight climate change) and their impact on UK energy prices. The licence fee needs ending now, not in five years time.

  3. January 17, 2022 7:26 pm

    These “stats” are total and utter garbage, probably worth a complaint about the waste of taxpayers money.

    If air temperature is the control knob for death then generally those in the South (of the Northern hemisphere) should be living longer than those in the North, which is not the case. Indoor air temperature is what matters, maybe.

    Does anyone know of a good debunking of deaths from air pollution? It keeps raising its ugly head (follow the money and the votes), is also utter garbage from a statistical viewpoint (high density of vehicles is associated with prosperity, which is associated with good health), but I can’t find the appropriate stake or silver bullet to finish it off.

  4. January 17, 2022 7:27 pm

    Dame somebody Brown of the CCC was interviewed on Radio4 about the new CCC report on risks from climate change. When she was asked about this ONS finding about the benefits of warming, she stuttered and stammered, but had no answer. Truly pathetic woman.

    • January 17, 2022 7:50 pm

      Yes I heard that interview. She was very evasive as of course it didn’t suit the ‘we all will die!” narrative

      • Gerry, England permalink
        January 18, 2022 12:57 pm

        But it is true! We will all die. We just don’t know how, where or when.

    • Stephen H permalink
      January 17, 2022 8:55 pm

      I nearly fell off my chair when I heard Evan Davis raise that point but, of course, normal service was resumed thereafter when the wretched woman sounded so ashamed that one might have assumed she’d been caught “stealing from a poor box”.

      • roger permalink
        January 17, 2022 10:43 pm

        As indeed all these people ARE doing.

  5. bluecat57 permalink
    January 18, 2022 1:31 pm

    Only to be taken away in 2 by irrational government policies.

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