Kangaroo Court:

The Working Group on Public Health and Fossil Fuel Combustion

Devra Lee Davis, Tord Kjellstrom, Rudi Slooff, Albert McGartland,
Dwight Atkinson, Wiley Barbour, William Hohenstein, Peter Nagelhout,
Tracey Woodruff, Frank Divita, Jim Wilson, Leland Deck, and Joel Schwartz
The Lancet (November 8, 1997)

Just in time for the December meeting of world leaders in Kyoto, Japan where a treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may be signed, a Kangaroo Court of junk scientists predicts that 8 million people will die during 2000 to 2020 from particulate matter air pollution associated with fossil fuel, unless the world limits greenhouse gas emissions to levels advocated by European nations.

The claim is based on two studies, both of which are classic examples of junk science:

The Pope study claimed that particulate matter air pollution increases adult mortality by 17 percent. Click here for a critique.

The Woodruff study claimed that particulate matter air pollution increases infant mortality by 4 percent. Click here for a critique.

Neither study is capable of associating particulate matter air pollution with such small increases in mortality. But since when has lack of evidence been important to a Kangaroo Court!

Finally, this study is further proof of a disturbing trend among science journals: the publishing studies of studies so as to have maximum public relations impact. Already this year, we have seen the publication of:

One can only wonder about the curious timing of this study published right before the climate treaty meeting. Or is wondering even necessary?

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Copyright © 1997 Steven J. Milloy. All rights reserved. Site developed and hosted by WestLake Solutions, Inc.