People in Greenland, the world’s largest island, are benefiting from global warming, noted Friday’s Washington Post:
“Rather than questioning global warming, many of this island’s 60,000 inhabitants seem to be racing to cash in. The tiny capital of Nuuk is bracing for record numbers of visitors this year; the retreating sea ice means a longer tourist season and more cruise ships from the United States. Hunters are boasting of more and bigger caribou, and the annual cod migration is starting earlier and lasting longer. In the far south, farmers are trying their hand at an exotic form of agriculture: growing vegetables. ‘Before, the growing season was too short for vegetables,’ said Noah Melgaard, a local journalist. ‘Now it is getting longer each year.’”
Under the Obama Administration, the EPA is seeking to regulate greenhouse gases – which are emitted by everything from factories to cars to farm animals – on the grounds that they threaten public health in the United States by causing global warming. (Such greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, the colorless, odorless gas that we breathe out, and that plants consume). Obama also backed a cap-and-trade global warming bill that’s full of corporate welfare and would increase electricity bills. (In 2008, candidate Obama admitted that under his “cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket”).
But even if such emissions are the principal cause of global warming (as opposed to natural causes like variations in solar radiation), it’s not clear why such warming would harm public health in a mostly northern, temperate-zone country like the U.S. After all, people in warmer U.S. cities have lower mortality rates, and higher life expectancies, than people in colder U.S. cities.
Warmer climates may be particularly helpful for racial minorities in Canada and states near the Canadian border. Most non-white Canadians suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, putting them at risk of cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail. Lack of exposure to the sun is a big part of the problem. As I noted earlier, 50,000 to 60,000 people of all races die every year in America as a result of inadequate exposure to the sun.
Why do so many non-white Canadians suffer from Vitamin D deficiency? While milk is Vitamin D enriched, many non-whites are lactose intolerant. Sunlight is the most potent source of Vitamin D. But in northern regions like Canada, sunlight alone does not provide enough Vitamin D for many people who work indoors. There, the sunlight is too feeble in autumn and winter for people’s bodies to turn sunlight into Vitamin D.
To get enough Vitamin D from the sun, people have to go outside a lot during spring and summer to offset the weak sunlight in fall and winter. But increasingly sedentary lifestyles and office jobs have reduced outdoor activity. And cold temperatures in spring discourage warmth-loving people from going outside, even when the light is strong enough to produce Vitamin D