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Study Finds No Support for Global Warming Fears

March 16, 2000|From Times staff and wire reports

Despite previous reports that global warming could unleash epidemics or other harms to health, a blue-ribbon scientific panel mandated by Congress found no conclusive evidence to justify such fears. The 12-member panel analyzed existing data to predict the effects of a slight rise in average global temperature on five possible outcomes: future heat waves, extreme weather events like tornadoes, air pollution, waterborne and food-borne illnesses, and infectious diseases carried by insects and rodents.

Though the U.S.-funded panel, led by Jonathan Patz of Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, acknowledged that various adverse health effects were possible, "the levels of uncertainty preclude any definitive statement" about what is likely to happen. Released Wednesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the analysis also acknowledged the possibility that global warming might have the seldom-heralded benefit of reducing deaths from winter exposure to cold.

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