Debate Magazine

The Guardian's Alternate Reality

Posted on the 18 January 2022 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

From The Guardian:
The climate crisis is damaging the health of foetuses, babies and infants across the world, six new studies have found.
Scientists discovered increased heat was linked to fast weight gain in babies, which increases the risk of obesity in later life. Higher temperatures were also linked to premature birth, which can have lifelong health effects, and to increased hospital admissions of young children.

Right. The 'cimate crisis' leads simultaneously to more premature babies, which tend to be underweight, and also faster weight gain/obesity?
The burning of fossil fuels drives the climate crisis but also causes air pollution and a new study in Denmark assessed the impact of dirty air on 10,000 couples trying to conceive naturally. It found that increases in particle pollution of a few units during a menstrual cycle led to a decrease in conception of about 8%.
A recent study in China also found that air pollution significantly increased the risk of infertility, but the average pollution level was more than five times higher than in the Danish study. “Air pollution [in Denmark] was low and almost entirely at levels deemed safe by the European Union,” said Wesselink. “Current standards may be insufficient to protect against adverse reproductive health effects.”

Of course pollution is unhealthy, nobody is disputing that. But it doesn't seem to have that much effect - the birth rate in Denmark is only ever so marginally higher than in China.
Wellenius said an important aspect of the studies was that they showed that vulnerable people often suffered the worst effects, for example people of color and those on low incomes who did not have air conditioning or lived in areas with higher air pollution. “This is absolutely a health equity and justice issue,” he said.
Right. The number of babies being born seems to be inversely proportional to how urbanised or economically developed a country is (it's a fascinating topic in its own right); the world's overall birthrate has plummetted quite precipitously over the last century. The only continent where they are still getting on with it and popping out lots of babies is also the poorest and porbably most polluted one - Africa. But according to the Guardian, the opposite is happening.

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