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Australian institute links global warming to increased mental illness

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A report from Australia’s Climate Institute links global warming with mental illness.

In its report, the anti-carbon emissions organization argues that a spike in severe weather events in Australia coincides with increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.

 “Climate change will have many adverse impacts on Australians’ health — physical risks, infectious diseases, heat-related ill effects, food safety and nutritional risks, mental health problems and premature deaths,” the Climate Institute declared. “The emerging burden of climate-related impacts on community morale and mental health—bereavement, depression, post-event stress disorders, and the tragedy of self-harm — is large, especially in vulnerable rural areas.”

The report adds that those living in “rural areas” of Australia “are already beginning to suffer.”

“Across all sectors of the Australian population, mental health (too often the Cinderella of our public health policy) is vulnerable to the stresses and disruptions caused by a changing climate and its environmental and social impacts,” the report says.

However, Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish professor and environmental statistician who is a cautious believer in global warming — but also an advocate for sound and rational decisions about how to fix it — told the Daily Caller news website that the Australian study is “problematic.”

Cutting carbon emissions to slow a mental health epidemic down the road, Lomborg says, is an extreme reaction that makes it difficult to take global warming and climate change advocates seriously.

According to Lomborg:

The new report “emphasizes that we’ve seen an increase in catastrophes, and obviously this is from Australia. The link is that we see more hurricanes, we see more floods, we see more bush fires and that leads to social disruption and hence, we should cut carbon emissions. Well, actually, if you look at the past of hurricanes since 1872 in Australia, severe hurricanes have declined slightly, not increased.

“If we look at bush fires as normalized to damage costs, we’ve also seen declining, not increasing, damage costs,” Lomborg continued. “And, that’s also true for flooding.”

Lomborg, author of the bestselling book The Skeptical Environmentalist, said the Climate Institute’s new report exaggerates certain statistics and findings in order to make its point, while leaving out other information.

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