Paul Reiter is a scientist who specializes in studying mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases and he writes about Gore's movie claim that, as global warming increases, malaria is moving into areas where it has never been before. The only problem is that Gore's claim is based on a total lie about the history of malaria.
In his serious voice, Mr Gore presented a nifty animation, a band of little mosquitoes fluttering their way up the slopes of a snow-capped mountain, and he repeated the old line: Nairobi used to be ‘above the mosquito line, the limit at which mosquitoes can survive, but now…’ Those little mosquitoes kept climbing.Note that this isn't about a constructing a model to predict temperatures into the future or to reconstruct temperatures from a thousand years ago. This is straight history that could be easily verified by the briefest of research. Despite having had his error pointed out to him, and the fact that an article was published in Lancet exposing the error, Gore continues with the lie. So much for only considering peer-reviewed research.
The truth? Nairobi means ‘the place of cool waters’ in the Masai language. The town grew up around a camp, set up in 1899 during the construction of a railway, the famous ‘Lunatic Express’. There certainly was water there — and mosquitoes. From the start, the place was plagued with malaria, so much so that a few years later doctors tried to have the whole town moved to a healthier place. By 1927, the disease had become such a plague in the ‘White Highlands’ that £40,000 (equivalent to about £350,000 today) was earmarked for malaria control. The authorities understood the root of the problem: forest clearance had created the perfect breeding places for mosquitoes. The disease was present as high as 2,500m above sea level; the mosquitoes were observed at 3,000m. And Nairobi? 1,680m.
As Reiter points out, the climate panic-mongers are fond of this argument that global warming will spread malaria to areas where it has never been before. Except that malaria has been in northern Europe before.
Take their contention, for example, that as a result of climate change, tropical diseases will move to temperate regions and malaria will come to Britain. If they bothered to learn about the subject, they would know that in a period climatologists call the Little Ice Age, when Charles II held ice parties on the Thames, malaria — ‘the ague’ — was rampant in the Essex marshes, on a par even with regions in Africa today. In the 18th century, the great systematist Linnaeus wrote his doctorate on malaria in central Sweden. In 1922-23 a massive epidemic swept the Soviet Union as far north as Archangel, on the Arctic circle, killing an estimated 600,000 people. And malaria was only eliminated from the Soviet Union and large areas of Europe in the 1950s, after the advent of DDT. So it’s hardly a tropical disease. And yet when we put this information under the noses of the activists it is ignored: ours is the inconvenient truth.Rather than lying and fear-mongering about the spread of malaria to regions where it has never been before, it would be much more efficacious to put together a relatively inexpensive program combining DDT spraying and the use of mosquito nets. The World Health Organization now allows the use of DDT to fight malaria and nations that have adopted it have seen amazing decreases in malaria deaths.
A few years after the World Health Organization (WHO) reversed its decade’s long policy against the use of DDT, another African country will begin using it as part of its malaria eradication program.As Bjorn Lomborg estimates, it wouldn't cost much to adopt this sort of policy and save millions and millions of lives.
The nation of Botswana announced it will begin using the very effective pesticide in areas hardest hit by malaria. This follows other nations like Uganda who also reversed their policy after the WHOs policy change.
In Uganda for example, their Health Ministry predicted that infant mortality due to malaria would go from 88 out of 1000 births to 10.
Take malaria. Most estimates suggest that if nothing is done, 3% more of the Earth's population will be at risk of infection by 2100. The most efficient global carbon cuts designed to keep average global temperatures from rising any higher than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (a plan proposed by the industrialized G-8 nations) would cost the world $40 trillion a year in lost economic growth by 2100—and have only a marginal impact on reducing the at-risk malaria population. By contrast, we could spend $3 billion a year on mosquito nets, environmentally safe indoor DDT sprays, and subsidies for new therapies—and within 10 years cut the number of malaria infections by half. In other words, for the money it would take to save one life with carbon cuts, smarter policies could save 78,000 lives.But Al Gore doesn't seem interested in such a cheap way to save so many lives. He'd prefer to continue to lie about mosquitoes and hope that the public and all the schoolchildren forced to watch his movie over and over never learn about his very convenient lie.