This story originally was published by Real Clear Wire
By Vijay Jayaraj
Real Clear Wire
On a recent cold winter day, residents of Munich were surprised to see people skiing in the street. Yes, that is how much snow fell in the German city and other parts of Europe during the early winter of 2023-2024.
Despite a disruption to both ground and air travel, the Germans survived the freezing weather with access to heating and basic utilities. But not everyone in our world is as fortunate as those living off reliable energy sources in Western economies.
Billions of people all over the world do not have access to secure sources of heat and electricity. For these, winter can be a death blow. A political war against fossil fuels is making matters worse for those unprotected from frigid temperatures.
Snow is deadly and is not going away
The gravity of winter’s hazard has been overshadowed by the prevailing discourse on purported man-made climate change. We have been inundated with warnings about the perils of warming. But historically, it is the cold that has been disastrous. It has altered the course of history across the world and left people scrambling for food as plant life dwindled.
Winter’s icy chill claims far more lives than scorching summer heat, according to global analyses of fatalities caused by various natural hazards. In fact, a 2023 health study conducted across 854 European cities reveals that an estimated annual excess of 203,620 deaths were due to cold while just 20,173 were attributed to heat. In comparative terms, only 1 in 10 excess deaths from extreme temperatures were attributable to heat while a majority were due to cold.
The fearmongering around warming aside, winter’s cold bite is going nowhere and will continue to test humankind’s survival mechanisms. Since August 2023, snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has remained at or above the 57-year mean.
Pseudoscience endangers people with impractical energy policies
With climate science co-opted by a worldwide political crusade against allegedly human-induced global warming, communities may find themselves ill-equipped to face upcoming winter weather.
In regions with particularly harsh winters and limited access to reliable heating sources, the threat of death and illness due to anti-fossil fuel policies is grave.
In places like Mongolia, where economic hardship and energy converge, staying warm is a continual wintertime focus. This year, the country’s imports of electricity from Russia were disrupted, resulting in load shedding to millions of people in the middle of winter.
At minus 35-degrees Fahrenheit, the people of Mongolia were left to fend for themselves. To brave this harsh climate, they rely on just two crucial energy sources: internal electricity generation from their plentiful coal reserves and the direct use of coal for heating homes. When faced with below-freezing, snow-blanketed winter days, neither wind nor solar power can guarantee a steady energy supply.
In other countries of the region, the scenario is similar. Destitute communities in Afghanistan rely on coal to endure the winter. In Kyrgyzstan, the unreliability of hydropower results in a continuous need for coal. Likewise, people in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan depend on coal for warmth, although the latter is also increasing its reliance on gas.
It is easy for hypocritical politicians who fly in private CO2-emitting planes across the Western world to champion the elimination of fossil fuels. But their activism blatantly ignores the bone-chilling grip of winter on faraway communities.
It is long past time for the western media to boldly report the critical role of fossil fuels in supporting human life during harsh winter conditions. Such fact-based reporting would put to rest the false narrative of a world doomed by warming.
This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.