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Coronavirus and climate

Filed under: — gavin @ 20 March 2020

As we collectively reel from the changes wrought by the current pandemic, people are being drawn by analogy to climate issues – but analogies can be tricky and often distort as much as they illuminate.

For instance, in the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby’s commentary was not particularly insightful and misquoted Mike Mann pretty egregiously. Mike’s response is good:

I am relieved to see policy makers treating the coronavirus threat with the urgency it deserves. They need to do the same when it comes to an even greater underlying threat: human-caused climate change.

In a recent column (“I’m skeptical about climate alarmism, but I take coronavirus fears seriously,” Ideas, March 15), Jeff Jacoby sought to reconcile his longstanding rejection of the wisdom of scientific expertise when it comes to climate with his embrace of such expertise when it comes to the coronavirus.

In so doing, Jacoby took my words out of context, mischaracterizing my criticisms of those who overstate the climate threat “in a way that presents the problem as unsolvable, and feeds a sense of doom, inevitability, and hopelessness.”

As I have pointed out in past commentaries, the truth is bad enough when it comes to the devastating impacts of climate change, which include unprecedented floods, heat waves, drought, and wildfires that are now unfolding around the world, including the United States and Australia, where I am on sabbatical.

The evidence is clear that climate change is a serious challenge we must tackle now. There’s no need to exaggerate it, particularly when it feeds a paralyzing narrative of doom and hopelessness.

There is still time to avoid the worst outcomes, if we act boldly now, not out of fear, but out of confidence that the future is still largely in our hands. That sentiment hardly supports Jacoby’s narrative of climate change as an overblown problem or one that lacks urgency.

While we have only days to flatten the curve of the coronavirus, we’ve had years to flatten the curve of CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, thanks in part to people like Jacoby, we’re still currently on the climate pandemic path.

Michael E. Mann

State College, Pa.

The writer is a professor at Penn State University, where he is director of the Earth System Science Center.

Direct connections

There are some direct connections too. The lockdowns and travel restrictions are having a material effect on emissions of short-lived air pollutants (like NOx, SO2 etc.), water discharges and carbon dioxide as well. The impacts on air and water quality are already being seen – perhaps allowing people to reset their shifted baselines for what clean air and water are like.

Business-as-usual is kaput

Obviously, nothing is going to be quite the same after this. We will soon be describing prior norms and behaviours as “that is so BC” (before coronavirus). Already, when watching pre-recorded TV shows, I internally cringe when seeing the handshaking and hugging.

But it should also be obvious that for worst-case scenarios to materialise, it is a combination of factors that drive the results. Luck, good or bad, and decisions, wise or unwise, combine to create the future. Luck drives the specific potency of the virus, it’s incubation period and lethality, but societal decisions determined the preparation (or lack thereof), the health care system design or capacity (or lack thereof), and governmental responses (adequate or not).

Indeed, every possible future can only be reached by a specific track of what is (the science) and what we do about it (the policy). That is no different with climate as it is with pandemics. There is no possible future in which no-one made any decisions.

36 Responses to “Coronavirus and climate”

  1. 1
    Dan Miller says:

    The societal shutdown in response to the virus is showing people how quickly we can go from from “ok” to “not at all OK”. The virus will be a tremendous disruption but it will improve over months and be under control in a couple of years. But climate change will change things from OK to not Ok on an accelerating basis. Without strong action now, at some point (not too long from now) we will be at permanently not OK.

    The Coronavirus is also providing us with an experiment on human-caused aerosols, which supposedly hide about half of global warming. We should now be seeing a spike in warming that should allow us to more carefully measure the impact that such aerosols have on warming. Is anyone working on this now?

  2. 2
    Susan Anderson says:

    Jeff Jacoby is Boston Globe’s right-leaning Republican opinionator. He is not representative the paper’s reporting. I’m glad Mike Mann cleared up the record.

    It would be nice to see Ben Santer’s humdinger of an article from the Scientific American here. How COVID-19 Is like Climate Change: Both are existential challenges—and a president who belittles and neglects science has made them both tougher to address https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/how-covid-19-is-like-climate-change/

  3. 3

    Gavin, what’s the point of entering RCP 8.5 in a horserace with Pestilence, Famine, War and Death ?

    Things are bad enough with denialists touting alternative coronavirus cures –
    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/03/climate-skeptic-touts-gin-tonic.html

    The last thing we need is Deep Adoptionists and Climate Survivalists joining the run on supermarket shelves, so kudos to Mike for calling Bendell’s bluff in The Guardian.

  4. 4
    J. Schug says:

    Relation of weather/climate to spread of virus is not unambiguously. Sunny weather (UV) and warm temperatures are usually connected with containment of seasonal flu. But in central Europe this weather with behaviour of the people (enjoying spring-like temperatures in large groups) enhanced the spread.
    Windy and significant colder weather over the weekend will keep people now really at home.

    Concerning consequences of lock-down: dolphins in the chanenels of Venice due to rapid cleaning of water quality are a hoax!
    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/03/coronavirus-pandemic-fake-animal-viral-social-media-posts/

  5. 5
    John Mashey says:

    One parallel is certain: figure out who the real experts are and listen to them. RealClimate readers know that for climate science.
    For COVID-19 info, here are a few useful tips:

    In USA, the top 5 medical schools in most rankings, in some order or other, depending on speciality, are usually {Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, UCSF, U Pennsylvania}.
    I’d listen to things these folks say.
    For example, here’s a March 10 panel at UCSF:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20200313170140/https://www.linkedin.com/content-guest/article/notes-from-ucsf-expert-panel-march-10-dr-jordan-shlain-m-d-/
    Robert Wachter heads the Department of Medicine at UCSF, has written fine books like “Internal Bleeding” and “The Digital Doctor”.
    He is tweeting daily reports as @Bob_Wachter.

    Imperial College is often called the MIT of the UK, has a big, highly-rated medical school (in league with those above) and put out a report that stirred things up in UK & US. It may or may not be right, but I take what they say very seriously.

    *I’m on advisory board for UCSF, get to attend internal seminars & am on mailing lists. I live near Stanford and know some medical folks there. My wife did PhD at Imperial College & I’ve lectured there a few times (although for Data Sciences & atmospheric physics, not medicine) & we know lots of IC folks.

  6. 6
    Oxyaena says:

    Someone told me that coronavirus was essentially “climate change on fast track,” noting how, despite what the experts said, pundits and politicians were calling it a “hoax,” and when that failed they said it was “under control,” and when they finally realized action needed to be taken they were caught wholly off guard.

    Essentially COVID-19 is the story of anthropogenic global warming on speed.

  7. 7

    John Mashey, #5–

    Coincidentally, none other than Guy Callendar–the man who brought GH theory into the 20th century, for those who may not know!–had associations with Imperial College. He was an “almost alum,” having earned a certificate from City & Guilds College, which was later subsumed into IC, and worked at IC in the lab of his father, Hugh Longbourne Callendar. (HLC was one of the foremost physicists of his day–at least, one of the leading Anglophone ones.)

    Guy Callendar “Life, work and times”:

    https://hubpages.com/education/Global-Warming-Science-And-The-Wars

  8. 8
    Patrick Mazza says:

    We who work on the activist side of the equation are struggling to figure out what this means for our tactics. Stuffing city council chambers to demand a city green new deal, or bank lobbies to demand an end to fossil fuel investments, is not going to be practical for who knows how long. My group, 350 Seattle, at the epicenter of the original outbreak, has shifted some of our work to mutual aid. We have a google doc support form for people to request help, and many of our younger folk are swinging in the to do stuff like deliver groceries to seniors. If it’s not direct climate work, it is certainly in the same spirit of coming together to tackle a common threat.

    Having grappled with the seeming intractability of institutions in their resistance to the fundamental changes needed to flatten the curve to climate catastrophe, in my own case for decades, many of us are pondering what the COVID-19 response tells us. If we perceive a survival-level threat, we can move as a society in rapid and unprecedented ways. Most of us have never seen such an interruption in business as usual. Only the Great Depression and WWII are on the same scale. It has burst the bubble of normalcy in which we have dwelled, and which has made it so difficult for people to grasp the onrushing threat of climate disruption. Of course, the speed with which the virus and its impacts have spread have focused attention in a way that is more challenging for the slow moving, diffuse and varIed phenomena of climate disruption. Nonetheless, I believe it will open doors, psychologically and politically, for human society to consider the scale and scope of changes we need to adequately address the climate crisis.

  9. 9
    Patrick19940504 says:

    “We should now be seeing a spike in warming that should allow us to more carefully measure the impact that such aerosols have on warming. Is anyone working on this now?”

    I am very much interested in this, too. How useful is this pandemic in this respect?

  10. 10
    patrick19940504 says:

    “Mike’s response” link is broken.

    [Response: fixed. Thanks. – gavin]

  11. 11

    Oxy said:

    “Essentially COVID-19 is the story of anthropogenic global warming on speed.”

    The simplest model of contagion growth is described by the logistic equation and the logistic sigmoid S-function. This of course proceeds quickly when the doubling time is on the order of days.

    But more interesting than to make an analogy to AGW is to make the connection to resource depletion and in particular oil depletion. In this context, resource consumption also empirically follows a logistic S-function on the way to full resource depletion. The derivative of the logistic is the well-known Hubbert curve of peak oil fame, at which we are likely beyond peak.

    We’ve recently been discussing the connection between contagion growth and resource depletion over at the Azimuth Project forum:

    https://forum.azimuthproject.org/discussion/377/logistic-equation

    It’s likely that we are not as concerned about oil depletion as with virus contagion because the impact is so gradual in comparison, and we will gradually make a transition to alternative renewable sources of energy over time.

  12. 12
    nigelj says:

    John Mashey @5, thank’s for that excellent link on covid-19.

  13. 13
    Kent Goodwin says:

    I think what we need to focus on here is the opportunity that this pandemic gives for an economic pivot. Politicians and citizens from across the political spectrum will support massive government investment (including quantitative easing) to shorten the recession that is almost certain to happen. If that investment is directed toward rebuilding public infrastructure and supporting alternative energy and energy efficienty intitiatives it will both end the recession and put us on a path to a more sustainable society. Let’s get at it!

  14. 14

    #13, KG–

    That’s a good thought. I agree that recession is pretty much a given, as is a stimulative response. Worth lobbying/agitating for that response to be sustainable, too.

  15. 15
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    It will be interesting to see how the big global reduction in flights will affect especially night temperatures over land. After 9/11 it has been a matter of some scientific debate, to which degree (if indeed at all) night temperatures were affected by the then temporal stoppage of flights over the US. Was it only clear skies over the US in those days, that lowered night temperatures? Or did and do contrails affect night temperatures by absorbing more of the outgoing infrared radiation, given local horisont, north (enough) latitude, albedo etc.?

    https://www.nature.com/articles/news.2008.1335

    Now we have the possibility to test that globally and over a much longer period of time. May be relevant for estimating what to do with absurdly cheap flying prices (due to subsidized jet fuel)

  16. 16
    Nemesis says:

    Crucial question:

    What’s to expect from a massive reduction of industrial activities due to the corona virus in terms of aerosols in the atmosphere? Let’s say, global industrial activities would be reduced by 25% for some weeks or months, then how much temperature rise can we expect?

  17. 17
    Oxyaena says:

    Paul said:

    “It’s likely that we are not as concerned about oil depletion as with virus contagion because the impact is so gradual in comparison, and we will gradually make a transition to alternative renewable sources of energy over time.”

    I hope so, there’s a lot of institutional resistance to alternative energy sources, especially nuclear, but when there’s a will there’s a way, as the old saying goes. You raise an excellent point, Paul, the two situations aren’t exactly identical, but I must stress there are a lot of striking parallels.

  18. 18
    mike says:

    Time to push a version of the GND that is fleshed out a bit and addresses the health care crisis of Covid 19

  19. 19
    Ray Ladbury says:

    The COVID-19 crisis merely shows us how things will unfold going down the road. Conservatives and businessmen will continue to ignore the crisis until it is too late to avoid serious consequences, and once the crisis becomes too big to ignore, they’ll pin their hopes on magical cures from technology. To them, technology is just magic that works.

    And ultimately, they’ll blame the scientists, because while they love technology, they hate science. Our species is ultimately too stupid to survive.

  20. 20
    JCH says:

    In China their scientists warned like crazy that reopening their wet markets put them at risk of another SARS-type outbreak. As usual, it’s around a 50 to 100 billion dollar business. Tourists love the places. It’s part of their culture. The wealthy are addicted to the stuff; they wield a lot of political power. The vested interests and the skeptics of science won.

    The wet markets reopened. (And, not saying this one actually originated in one; I don’t think they actually know that yet.)

  21. 21
    JCH says:

    Nobody in the news is talking about this, but China’s active cases are dropping rapidly and will soon be “15 to close to zero”. That means they are the verge of having eradicated SARS-CoV-2 from their population of 1.4 billion people, and likely within one month of being able to reopen all of their factories with little risk of having another outbreak. Their only major risk is from outside their borders, and they are saying all people arriving in China are quarantined for 14 days.

  22. 22

    One thing about the epidemic: it’s a real-time tutorial in exponential increase that people will remember for quite a while. And I think it will prove insightful in that regard for a fair number of folks.

    By the way, and on that topic, simple extrapolations of currently observed infection rates indicate that the US will be the #1 CO19 nation in terms of straight caseload by the end of the month–by the time you read this comment, that will likely also be readable as “within a week.”

  23. 23

    Another parallel of contagion growth with respect to oil depletion concerns the important identification of leading versus lagging indicators.

    Testing for cases of COVID-19 is a leading indicator of where we are on the logistic curve, while the number of deaths is a lagging indicator. The lagging indicator in this case is often too late a wake-up call for containing the contagion.

    In the case of oil depletion, the leading indicator is the estimated amount of reservoir discoveries, while the lagging indicator is the cumulative production on the logistic curve. Energy analysts that actually monitor this particular leading indicator realize that the logistic sigmoid inflection point happened decades ago (with the number of new reservoirs clearly peaking before 1970), and the lagging indicator of cumulative production will once again be a late wake-up call.

    Oxyaena said:

    “there’s a lot of institutional resistance to alternative energy sources”

    That’s just another rationale for why we were not wrong to move to alternative, non-renewable sources of energy sooner rather than later. We were warned very early but like the current administration’s attitude toward the pandemic, they will likely continue to choose to be reactive rather than proactive, at least partly due to institutional resistance.

  24. 24
    Bill Henderson says:

    My oped on Covid and climate is published tomorrow (23/03) but I’m messaging today because I just read a very pertinent doc that strongly suggests that there are key lessons from our climate experience for Covid planning right now.

    For two decades my climate activism has focused upon lessons learned as a forest activist: the limits of policy change in our neolib governed societies; how mitigation planning was constrained to ineffectual supply-side policies – continuing ‘plans to fail’. This past week I’d been considering an oped roughly ‘What if our Covid policies were a plan to fail like climate?’ Imagine my surprise today to read a science-based, authoritive and in depth argument that we were wasting the Kyoto decade all over again right now on Covid!

    Not my area of expertise, don’t know much about pandemics or how to treat but you should read or at least scan Coronavirus: The Hammer And The Dance by Tomas Pueyo
    https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56

    Very long but a good read, lots of good info and great graphics. You should read it and make up your mind. Of course, as we know from climate, the most promising mitigation paths might not be real life practical. But if you see merit please consider what climate science and mitigation history could be useful to experts, policymakers and publics concerning Covid today.

  25. 25

    JCH 21: China’s active cases are dropping rapidly and will soon be “15 to close to zero”. That means they are the verge of having eradicated SARS-CoV-2 from their population of 1.4 billion people, and likely within one month of being able to reopen all of their factories with little risk of having another outbreak. Their only major risk is from outside their borders, and they are saying all people arriving in China are quarantined for 14 days.

    BPL: All good news… if the Chinese government is telling the truth. A big if.

  26. 26
    Oxyaena says:

    Paul said: “That’s just another rationale for why we were not wrong to move to alternative, non-renewable sources of energy sooner rather than later. We were warned very early but like the current administration’s attitude toward the pandemic, they will likely continue to choose to be reactive rather than proactive, at least partly due to institutional resistance.”

    There’s a strong mass movement to proactively combat climate change, and hopefully both the combined results of this pandemic and that movement will finally spur action from the powers that be. The Trump administration is *incredibly* unpopular, and I doubt he’d be reelected even when facing such a lackluster foe as Biden.

    COVID-19 seems to be the final nail in the coffin of the Trump administration, and good riddance I say to that.

  27. 27

    Oxyaena wrote:

    “COVID-19 seems to be the final nail in the coffin of the Trump administration, and good riddance I say to that.”

    There’s a concept in energy economics called demand destruction, whereby reduced demand due to a societal shock reduces energy consumption. This could lead to a feedback further lowering demand as an economy becomes recessionary. This process is described in chap.8:


    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781119434351.ch8

  28. 28
    Bill Henderson says:

    My Covid and climate oped is up at The Hill Times. It’s behind a paywall but The HT has a great deal for you – a free subscription to make easy access to all Covid articles and there is a ton of good reading here and this is the paper of Canada’s Fed govt and very influentual https://www.hilltimes.com/capturepages/ht-free-trial/

    Charging gray rhinos
    By BILL HENDERSON MAR. 23, 2020
    https://www.hilltimes.com/2020/03/23/charging-gray-rhinos/239697?utm_source=Subscriber+-++Hill+Times+Publishing&utm_campaign=6bef259473-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_03_23_10_00&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8edecd9364-6bef259473-91423180&mc_cid=6bef259473&mc_eid=fb5bc0f121

    Governments around the world are taking drastic measures to respond to COVID-19. Why not climate change?

    This HT issue has many references to covid and climate including an oped very similar to mine questioning why we are not taking climate as seriously as Covid:

    One incontrovertible fact about pandemic that’s both admirable and puzzling
    By MICHAEL HARRIS MAR. 23, 2020
    https://www.hilltimes.com/2020/03/23/240426/240426?utm_source=Subscriber+-++Hill+Times+Publishing&utm_campaign=6bef259473-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_03_23_10_00&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8edecd9364-6bef259473-91423180&mc_cid=6bef259473&mc_eid=fb5bc0f121

    My oped is structured around four quotes that illuminate how neolib orthodoxy frustrated climate mitigation but times are moving so fast. We have a Canadian emergency govt doing unprecidented action to try and contain Covid and neolib BAU is ebbing. The quotes I’m saving (and using in many messages this morning) to illustrate the huge opportunity that’s opening up are;

    Johan Rockström@jrockstrom We are shutting down entire countries, democratically, within our conventional economies, to diffuse Big risk. Why can’t we do a fraction of this mobilisation on a much Bigger Risk – the climate crisis?

    Mariana Mazzucato:
    (I)t is time to finally learn the hard lessons of the 2008 global financial crisis. As companies, from airlines to retail, come asking for bailouts and other types of assistance, it is important to resist simply handing out money. Conditions can be attached to make sure that bailouts are structured in ways that transform the sectors they’re saving so that they become part of a new economy – one that is focused on the green new deal strategy of lowering carbon emissions while also investing in workers, and making sure they can adapt to new technologies. It must be done now, while government has the upper hand.

    Dr. Charles Donovan:
    “We are now seeing the downsides of the choices we’ve made about the kind of energy economy that we have. These are the unfortunate repercussions of a global market that’s exposed to the volatility of the oil markets, and suffers when unforeseeable events like coronavirus arise at the worst time.”

    Avi Lewis:
    We know this can be done in Canada. During the Second World War, under the leadership of none other than “minister of everything” C.D. Howe, this country created 28 new crown corporations to manage every aspect of the war effort. That’s the level of commitment we need for a rapid shift to a climate-safe and more equal economy.

    Indeed, every possible future can only be reached by a specific track of what is (the science) and what we do about it (the policy). That is no different with climate as it is with pandemics. There is no possible future in which no-one made any decisions. And

    This probably doesn’t need to be said, but planning for low probability, high impact, worst case scenarios is looking pretty smart right now. Both by Gavin Schmidt

  29. 29
    nigelj says:

    BPL @25, this may be of interest to you. I read it about five minutes ago:

    https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/china-is-reporting-big-successes-in-the-coronavirus-fight-dont-trust-the-numbers/ar-BB11zSyu

    “China is reporting big successes in the coronavirus fight. Don’t trust the numbers. Jeremy L. Wallace 8 hrs ago…”

    (Still I admire their efforts to contain the thing etc)

  30. 30
    Ric Merritt says:

    This thread contains a number of hopeful thoughts.

    1) China, and therefore any country, can completely stop human transmission of COVID-19, thus eradicating the disease, at least in humans. — Even ignoring the likelihood of an animal reservoir, I’m skeptical for China, more so for western countries, and, sadly, not optimistic for poor countries. I do take some comfort from the proven results reducing transmission, in China, S Korea, Singapore.

    2) This will be the last straw for that confused old man in the White House. — Maybe so, but it’s really not significant for a crowd to run around crowing that they know the result of a future single coin flip, and then crow even louder when the flip goes their way. Hope you’re right. But the result doesn’t convince me of the effectiveness of your prediction.

    3) Virus response proves what we can do when we take serious action, so transfer that to climate. — I wish so hard that this turns out true that I’m highly suspicious of hopefulness on that score. I’m not convinced that I or the other correspondents here are good predictors of mass movements.

    Summary: I’m for hope. But also for appropriate skepticism and sound reasoning.

  31. 31
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    According to a news article in the danish newspaper “Information” today, over forty mutations of the corona virus have already been traced in Iceland. Seems that the trend is towards lesser dangerous types.

    https://www.information.dk/indland/2020/03/forskere-sporet-40-mutationer-coronavirus-alene-paa-island?

    https://grapevine.is/news/2020/03/10/fastsplaining-drive-by-covid-19-screening/

  32. 32
    Al Bundy says:

    Kevin McKinney: I agree that recession is pretty much a given, as is a stimulative response. Worth lobbying/agitating for that response to be sustainable, too.

    AB: Yeah, but a person on life support isn’t terribly interested in buying a big screen TV. When the entire world is trying to avoid going to the ICU stimulus may not be the best response. Ask Killian if GDP is the be-all and end-all or just the end-of-it-all.

    The question is whether to continue to feed rent-seekers 90% of our blood. Without them this virus thing (and this climate thing) would be way less of an issue. Instead of “Eat the rich” how about “Let the rich feed themselves”?
    ________

    Ray L: Conservatives and businessmen will continue to ignore the crisis until it is too late to avoid serious consequences, and once the crisis becomes too big to ignore, they’ll pin their hopes on magical cures from technology. To them, technology is just magic that works.

    AB: You’re paraphrasing an old saw. I’ll go further: To any stupid group the work of an intelligent group is just magic to exploit.

    And they call themselves “the elite”. When the value of a human is measured not by how much they produce but by how much they scarf, scarfing happens
    _______

    Paul P: It’s likely that we are not as concerned about oil depletion as with virus contagion because the impact is so gradual in comparison, and we will gradually make a transition to alternative renewable sources of energy over time.

    AB: Even simpler. Everyone knows that eating right and exercising will improve tomorrow but today Drumpfs all.

    Paul P: In the case of oil depletion, the leading indicator is the estimated amount of reservoir discoveries, while the lagging indicator is the cumulative production on the logistic curve.

    AB: Naw. It’s all about sunk cost. Ought to be stranded assets scream “DELAY CHANGE” quite loudly. And your comments misuse the pronoun “we”. Your “we” doesn’t matter a whit. Their “we” rules the world.
    ______

    Oxyaena: COVID-19 seems to be the final nail in the coffin of the Trump administration, and good riddance I say to that.

    AB: If I had a nickel for each final nail I’d be a billionaire. You are way too rational. This is about the joy of “ef u”. When times are troubled racism wins, especially when demographics threatens the transfer of power to Others.

    Watch Jordan Klepper vs. Trump Supporters. The key quote is, “I don’t care”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzDhm808oU4

  33. 33
    james says:

    Down in Oz we are having autum temps (30C – 45C) (80F – 115F) (Perth forecast Thu 28 Mar is 37C) and COVID-19 is just doing fine. Any thought of seasonal modification of spread is wishful thinking.

  34. 34
    Oxyaena says:

    Al Bundy said: “If I had a nickel for each final nail I’d be a billionaire. You are way too rational. This is about the joy of “ef u”. When times are troubled racism wins, especially when demographics threatens the transfer of power to Others.”

    Eventually you run out of “others,” and fascists start turning on each other as a result. Troubled times breed radicalism, not just fascism and/or generic ultranationalism.

  35. 35
    Bill Henderson says:

    Re: lessons from climate for covid

    Delay is deadly: what Covid-19 tells us about tackling the climate crisis
    Jonathan Watts

    Rightwing governments have denied the problem and been slow to act. With coronavirus and the climate, this costs lives

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/24/covid-19-climate-crisis-governments-coronavirus

    ….
    If state intervention and scientific advice is effective in dealing with the virus, the same principles should be applied more aggressively towards the still more apocalyptic threats of climate disruption and the collapse of nature. Until now, the left has recognised these dangers, but done little to act on them because economic growth has always taken precedence.

  36. 36
    Theo van den Berg says:

    CO2 emissions @ Mauna Loa look confusing when comparing J F M with last year . . . maybe when releasing the lockdown, we should step carefully and avoid releasing the messiest bits of society until they can clean their act . . . amazing what can be achieved, when we really have to.