Once again, climate change policy is causing more harm than climate change
Over the weekend, the graph below attracted my attention. It shows the provisional deaths figure by week for England and Wales and because it is issued only two weeks in arrears, captures much of the recent heatwave:
It’s been a killer summer.
Exhibit 1: Deaths registered in England & Wales in 2018 compared with the same period in 2017.
Don’t Panic. pic.twitter.com/zOuEhFgQxT
— Howard Goodall ? (@HG54) August 5, 2018
It’s clear that high temperatures have had precisely no effect on mortality so far, which of course is something to be celebrated, although it’s not particularly surprising. However, the left-hand end of the graph suggests that the winter deaths figure is not doing so well, with almost every week this year characterised by mortality figures that are higher than the previous year. A little further investigation suggests that the deaths figure for winter 2017/18 will be as much as 13,000 above the figure for the previous year.
Each November, the Office of National Statistics publishes a graph of excess winter mortality, and it is therefore possible to see what this might look like when the 2017/18 figures appear at the end of the year. Something like this (my 2017/18 estimate in pink):
It is clear that the long decline in excess winter deaths came to end in the first years of this century and that there has been an upward tend in recent years.
Now what could have caused that, I wonder? Here’s my theory: