Top scientist calls for an end to politics in the climate change debate
Professor Paul Reiter, a specialist in diseases transmitted by mosquitoes whose career spans more than 30 years, today calls for an end to the misrepresentation of his speciality in the climate change debate by environmental activists and intergovernmental bodies such as the IPCC.
He seeks funding to set up a forum in which scientists can provide the public with a more balanced perspective of issues such as climate change, insecticides and genetically modified organisms in order to de-polarize such debates.
Prof Reiter is speaking this week at a symposium held by the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in New Orleans.
Prof Reiter said: “For more than a decade I have been dismayed by the way alarmists have managed to misrepresent the science about the relationship between climate change and insect-borne diseases.”
“The reality is that climate is only one variable in the complex natural history of the mosquito-borne diseases, and many of the claims made by activists are pure nonsense.”
“We would be better off redirecting the millions spent on climate change research to preventing diseases such as malaria, which currently kills one child every thirty seconds.”
- Environmental activists have repeatedly misrepresented the science of diseases like malaria. Specialists who protest are generally ignored or labeled as ‘skeptics’.
- The transmission of malaria is complex. It is the result of the interplay of climate, ecology, mosquito biology, mosquito behavior and many other factors that defy simplistic analysis.
- It is facile to attribute current resurgence of the disease to high temperatures. Malaria is not an exclusively tropical disease and it was once widespread in countries such as Scandinavia and Canada.
- Activists repeatedly state that malaria is expanding in sub-Saharan Africa and moving to higher altitudes – but they fail to mention that only two per cent of the continent is above 2000m, often with land that is too arid for people to survive on.
- Al Gore’s claim that Nairobi has recently become malarious because of global warming is nonsense. Nairobi was highly malarious from the start, in 1899; in 1927 the British Government pledged the equivalent of $1.2 million for its control.
- The rapid increase in human and animal diseases worldwide is a cause for concern but the obsession with climate is unwarranted and will only misdirect efforts to tackle the problem.