Why are climate change alarmists also coronavirus alarmists?

My Facebook friends who previously posted mournful and/or urgent messages regarding climate change are now posting messages about the calamity of coronavirus (also how it would hardly bother us at all if Obama were still the Great Father in Washington).

One inveterate climate change alarmist posted on Facebook, for example, “We need trillions of dollars to radically change the economics of health care and work in the US in an instant.” (because spending 20 percent of GDP on health care is not enough?)

The 14th century Black Death resulted in significant cooling due to farmland reverting to forest (Wikipedia). Presumably even the most alarmed coronavirus alarmists aren’t expecting a reduction in human population along the same lines as the Black Death, but for folks whose #1 priority is arresting global warming, why is any epidemic fatal disease a cause for constant alarm?

I can understand being a climate change alarmist. I can understand being a coronavirus alarmist. I can’t understand how someone can be simultaneously alarmed about both phenomena.

12 thoughts on “Why are climate change alarmists also coronavirus alarmists?

  1. Well, I don’t think there’s enough money to be simultaneously alarmed about both. At least in terms of the business perspective for the airline industry (which has just asked for a $50 billion bailout), climate change impacting their business model has been relegated to a distant place far, far away, over the horizon. Rationally, wouldn’t climate change alarmists also welcome the demise of the airline business, not to mention the coronavirus more generally? Coronavirus is going to put a huge brake on our economy, which would seem to be what climate change alarmists want to see happen sooner than later. Shouldn’t they be happy?

    Secondly, I make the following observation, which I’ve had several times reading your blog: you are a relentlessly logical person. The better part of your adult life was spent training your innately predisposed mind to approach problems logically, look for contradictions both obvious and subtle, do rigorous examination of complex systems looking for flaws, and architect systems that can help solve difficult problems. Therefore I conclude that you’re too smart to understand the way most people think.

    “But the power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.” – Edward Gibbon

    • Philip is somewhat like Robin Hansen at Overcoming Bias. But Philip is more intelligent — a child prodigy who just kept getting smarter. Philip also has far more interesting life experience, is more expressively courageous, and has a wicked sense of humor. Philip G., keep your immune system strong. We don’t want to lose you!

    • Bill: Thanks for the kind words, however unearned. I hadn’t seen Overcoming Bias. http://www.overcomingbias.com/2020/03/expose-the-young.html is interesting. Dr. Hanson seems to have come up with the same conclusion as the UK government and its science/health advisors.

      A commenter points out “Certain large research universities might have been the ideal places to expose the young. Already a high concentration of young and relatively self contained. You’d have to remove vulnerable/old students, faculty, and staff. But you could just switch them for non vulnerable/old counterparts at other universities where conditions weren’t as amenable to contained exposure. In that sense, sending college students home early for Spring break and having them finish their terms remotely was a missed opportunity.”

      Given how long it takes any U.S. bureaucratic system to adapt, I am still a weak believer that the current lock-down response is a reasonable one. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/03/15/coronavirus-test-results-covid-19-first-person-130739 is a chronicle of the confusion in the day-to-day health care system and the Maryland public health department. Even a few weeks of delay will help these folks get up to speed on doing the basics correctly, e.g., sending out tests to the labs, notifying people of the results.

      It will also let Walmart and CVS restock hand sanitizer after being looted out by those who previously said that their only priority was helping others!

    • PhilG:
      It’s not time to celebrate your intellect. Are you a woman? A gay by a mere chance? How dare you!
      You are not that smart because you failed to self-identify as a victim class. We will raise your taxes! We need that to defeat Donald Trump! We need you! Once Trump is gone all our problems will go away, and the coronavirus will retreat back to Russia!
      Stop, distance yourself, rub in some hand sanitizer, and go again: OUTRAGE!

  2. Both due to wanting to mitigate global warming via none deadly means. Not sure that circle can be squared (or even needs to be…), but perhaps that is their aim (or perhaps they are joining in with each and every comtemporary panic due to reasons other than being well reasoned in their approach…).

  3. In both cases people don’t want people to suffer or die. It’s not like people are worried about climate change because they just don’t like things to be different — it’s because climate change is going to screw things up, a lot, for us humans. And the corona virus will do the same, on a smaller scale but faster timeline. So people are worried about both. It *is* a bit funny that the virus will help a bit with the climate change (global CO2 emissions down as people stop doing their usual routines), but other than that they are unrelated. The worst case 2-3% death rate would be a tiny hiccup in global population growth, and the behavioral changes that are reducing emissions now are temporary (though may have some long term positive benefits if people find that doing video conferencing instead of flying places actually works OK, and they keep it up).

  4. Because they are soulless NPCs addicted to being told what to be scared about. Take away their fear and they might conjure the mental space to think for themselves. The horror the horror.

  5. Cornavirus is a global crisis that challenges global governance.

    In the case of global warming, opponents of action have had time to organize and stonewall any possible action.

    In the case of coronavirus there is no organized opposition to action, at least not yet. It’s been interesting seeing initiative coming from different levels and different places. For instance, New York City declared a state of emergency, then New York State did, then WHO finally admitted it was a pandemic, then the United States declared a state of emergency. It hasn’t progressed from top to bottom or bottom to top, instead it has been breaking through wherever it does.

    • WTF is the “global governance”? The countries exist in the state of anarchy between themselves. The “global” bodies are just talk shops and their only output is endless supply of posturing and moralizing. The actual geopolitics is all about shifting alliances and military maneuvers.

  6. The ability to hold contradictory beliefs simultaneously is called doublethink. The afflicted are easily idntified by their use of newspeak and insistence on punishing various thoughtcrimes.

    Developing these traits in immature minds is the sole mission of American academia. The rest of the academic trappings are the camouflage to deflect resistance by those who hold to their (Bibles and guns, scratch that) their reason and facts. And, well, guns.

    • Whatever the state of global governance is, we have global problems. We can address these problems more or less effectively.

      When the risk that CFCs pose to the ozone layer was first postulated, we didn’t take drastic action: chemical companies kept making them, but they stopped building new factories. When the problem was proven ten years later there was a ban, substitutes were developed, and by 2000 or so the ozone hole was shrinking.

      Also the World Trade Organization was highly successful in opening trade up until about 2000 before there was a breakdown between poor countries that wanted an end to agricultural protectionism and rich countries that wanted more trade in services. Whatever else you might think about the WTO, it was an organization that was effective on its own terms and then became an organization that is not effective at all.

  7. It’s mostly the same people (99% academic women) just projecting self-righteous outrage and motherly advice on anyone they can from the safety of social media. As if that was some sort of leadership…

    now I’m being told to buy giftcards or pay cleaners for months of not working… I understand the point of charity , but do they understand economics? In the big picture, I would be more worried about what the Fed and Treasury are going to do…

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