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HOW TO USE THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC TO SELL CLIMATE CHANGE

Posted on: April 19, 2020

 

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THIS POST PRESENTS INTERVIEWS BY ASTROPHYSICIST NEIL deGRASSE TYSON  WITH CLIMATE SCIENTISTS KATHARYNE HAYHOE AND GAVIN SCHMIDT THAT SEEK TO FIND A CONNECTION BETWEEN AGW CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC. THE TITLE OF THE VIDEO IS “THE CORONA VIRUS AND ITS SIMILARITY TO CLIMATE CHANGE”. THE YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THESE INTERVIEWS APPEARS ABOVE AND THEIR TRANSCRIPTS APPEAR BELOW ALONG WITH A CRITICAL COMMENTARY. 

 

 

 

PART-1: CRITICAL COMMENTARY

IN THE FIELD OF CLIMATE ACTIVISM IT IS GENERALLY BELIEVED THAT THE CORONA-VIRUS PANDEMIC SERVES AS A FORCED TRIAL VERSION OF CLIMATE ACTION AND THAT IT PROVES THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CLIMATE ACTION CLAIMED BY CLIMATE ACTIVISTS. IT IS FURTHER BELIEVED THAT THE CLIMATE ACTION EFFECT OF THE CORONA VIRUS WHEN VIEWED IN TERMS OF THE TRAGIC EFFECTS OF THE VIRUS ON HUMAN WELL-BEING AND HUMAN CIVILIZATION, SHOWS THAT THOUGH CLIMATE ACTION MAY IMPOSE HARDSHIPS ON US, IT SHOULD STILL BE PURSUED BECAUSE THE GREATER GOOD OF THE RESULTS, AS FOR EXAMPLE “SAVING THE PLANET”, WOULD GREATLY EXCEED THE PRICE THAT WE PAY. IN THIS CONTEXT, THE 911 AIRLINE SHUTDOWN OF 2001 IS OFTEN CITED AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE UNINTENDED PLANETARY CONSEQUENCES OF AN UNRELATED HUMAN TRAGEDY [LINK] . IN THESE TWO INTERVIEWS, THE INTERVIEWER SUBSUMES THESE RELATIONSHIPS IN THE INTERVIEWS WITH TWO CLIMATE SCIENTISTS. THE INTERVIEWS ARE INTENDED AS A WAY OF CONFIRMING, STRENGTHENING, AND PERHAPS EXTENDING THE SCOPE OF THIS VIEW. HOWEVER, THE RESULTS IN THE TWO INTERVIEWS TURNED OUT TO BE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT.

GAVIN

IN THE FIRST INTERVIEW, GAVIN SCHMIDT CONCEDED THE POLLUTION ABATEMENT EFFECT OF THE PANDEMIC BUT AVOIDED GOING BEYOND THAT TO THE CLIMATE ACTION ISSUE. WHEN PRESSED HE POINTED OUT THAT THE INSIGNIFICANT REDUCTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS OF 3% TO 5% AND ITS BRIEF TIME SCALE DO NOT PROVIDE SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT THE PANDEMIC HAS HAD A MEANINGFUL AND MEASURABLE CLIMATE IMPACT. WHEN PRESSED ON THE CLIMATE TO COVID TO CLIMATE-ACTION CONNECTION, GAVIN DID NOT OBJECT BUT HE DID NOT PARTICIPATE. AND WHEN ASKED BY TYSON TO CONFIRM THAT FOSSIL FUEL POLLUTION MAKES PEOPLE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE CORONA VIRUS, GAVIN REPLIED THAT HE HAD SEEN THATIN THE PRE-PRINTS“, A POLITE WAY OF SAYING THAT IT’S A PRODUCT OF THE FLOOD OF SPECULATIVE RESEARCH ON THE CORONA VIRUS AND THEREFORE NOT CREDIBLE.

 

 

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THE RESULTS WERE VERY DIFFERENT IN THE SECOND INTERVIEW WITH KATHARYN HAYHOE WHICH BEGINS WITH “THE SIMILARITIES ABOUT PEOPLE’S ATTITUDES TOWARDS CLIMATE CHANGE AND TOWARDS THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC DESCRIBED AS: “A HUNDRED YEARS OF SCIENCE TELLS US THAT DIGGING UP AND BURNING COAL, GAS, AND OIL IS WRAPPING AN EXTRA BLANKET AROUND THE PLANET AND CAUSING IT TO WARM AND WHAT WE SEE IS THAT WHETHER PEOPLE AGREE WITH THESE SCIENTIFIC FACTS OR THE RISKS POSED BY THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC DEPENDS ON NOT HOW  SMART THEY ARE, NOT HOW MUCH SCIENCE THEY KNOW, AND NOT HOW EDUCATED THEY ARE, BUT ON HOW FAR TO THE RIGHT THEY ARE IN THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM. THE UNDERLYING CAUSE IS THE FEAR THAT THE WORLD IS CHANGING AND THAT THESE CHANGES MAY CHANGE THE SOCIAL HIERARCHY. PEOPLE IN POWER DON’T WANT CHANGE SO THEY DENY IT. THIS IS WHERE SCIENCE DENIAL COMES FROM AND IT APPLIES EQUALLY TO THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC AND CLIMATE CHANGE. THE AVERSION TO THE PRESCRIBED SOLUTION BY SCIENTISTS IS CLOAKED IN THE LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE AND RELIGION OR IN THE GUISE OF PREVENTING TOTALITARIAN GOVERNMENT. THESE DEFENSIVE MECHANISMS ARE NEEDED BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO BE SEEN AS THE BAD GUY THAT PREVENTS THE CLIMATE ACTION AND THE PREVENTIVE MEASURES NEEDED TO FEND OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC THAT ARE KNOWN TO HURT THE POOR THE MOST.

THIS INTERVIEW PLEASED THE INTERVIEWERS HAVING FOUND SUPPORT FOR THEIR HYPOTHESIS OF A CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE THE CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORONA VIRUS CATASTROPHES AND A CORRESPONDENCE IN THE SCIENCE DENIAL PATTERNS SEEN IN CLIMATE DENIAL AND CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC DENIAL.

As a footnote, we add here the attempt by the United Nations to use the corona virus pandemic to sell its climate change agenda on Earth Day April 22 2020 where Antonio Guterres says:  “On this International Mother Earth Day, all eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic – the biggest test the world has faced since the Second  World War. The context of the speech is contained in the banner under which he gave his speech: CLIMATE EMERGENCY NEEDS CLIMATE ACTION TO PREVENT CLIMATE DISRUPTION. It is noted in related posts that the reason we have a climate emergency is that the UN needs a climate emergency for its own ambition [LINK] [LINK] .

THE REAL PURPOSE OF THIS VIDEO APPEARS TO BE TO USE THE ALL TOO REAL HORRORS OF THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC THAT IS NOW UPON AS A TOOL TO SELL THE HORRORS OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND THEREBY TO PUSH FOR ACTIVISM AGAINST FOSSIL FUELS DESCRIBED AS THE “CLIMATE ACTION” NEEDED TO AVOID THE HORRORS OF CLIMATE CHANGE THAT SHOULD  NOW BE UNDERSTOOD IN TERMS OF THE VERY REAL HORRORS OF THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC. THIS IS HOW LOW  CLIMATE SCIENCE AND THE UN HAVE GONE IN THEIR DESPERATION TO SELL THEIR CLIMATE ACTION AGENDA. 

guterres

 

 

 

 

PART-2: TRANSCRIPT OF THE TWO INTERVIEWS IN SEARCH OF A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC AND AGW CLIMATE CHANGE

(1)  INTERVIEW#1: GAVIN SCHMIDT:

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ND Tyson: What has been the impact of the pandemic on AGW and what has been the impact of AGW on the pandemic? But before that what can you tell us about CO2 emissions, the big driver in our atmosphere for how much heat energy we retain. How does that relate to the Corona virus?
Gavin Schmidt: One of the things that we do as part of our economy and part of the energy that we generate and the electricity that we use is that we burn fossil fuels. When we burn the fossil fuels it produces carbon dioxide. That carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere where it acts as a really really important greenhouse gas and that’s causing the warming. The cumulative amount of carbon emissions that we’ve had since the industrial revolution 150 years ago has warmed the planet by about 2F over that time period and the warming that we’re seeing now, decade by decade by decade, is so much, is entirely due to our activities. But it’s not just carbon dioxide. It’s also the pollutants that we’re putting into the air that you can touch and see and feel – soot, smog, all of these things impact the climate.

ND Tyson: Just to be clear, if CO2 were purple, we would be much more plugged in to its role as a pollutant in the atmosphere.
Gavin Schmidt: Well yes, so we’ve increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 40% over that period. So that’s really quite a substantial amount. And we can see the other pollutants and right now if you’re in a city where there is a lockdown, you’re actually not seeing them. The air has been cleaner now, this month, than perhaps it has been in many many decades. And that’s true in China, it’s true in Northern Italy, it’s true on the East Coast, and it’s true in parts of California.

ND Tyson: Because????
Gavin Schmidt: Because we’ve stopped driving around so much, the amount of transportation that’s going on, the amount of internal combustion engines that are being turned on has gone way way down. And those are producers of things like nitrous oxide, NOx, NO2 which are components of smog that leads to high ozone levels which are very unhealthy ….
ND Tyson: Quick question, what does NOx refer to?
Gavin Schmidt: NOx is a whole range of nitrous oxides that are NO2, NO4, NO6, N2O5, and more complex …
ND Tyson: So is your variable x telling you how many oxygen atoms are attached?
Gavin Schmidt: Right. Exactly. So there is this one class of nitrous oxides that are very reactive and both ozone precursors and unhealthy in and of themselves because they come out of internal combustion engines. Those have been going way way down.
Third Man: Gavin, this problem is solved. I don’t know why we’re even having this show, it sounds to me like we’re all good. (Smiles all around).
Gavin Schmidt: This is the thing. We know that these pollutants and we know that carbon dioxide comes from our industrial and our agricultural activities We’ve known this for centuries. If the answer was as simple as let’s just stop doing everything that we’re doing, then you’re right, we would have solved this problem. And right now we’re doing half of that. We’re half stopping lot of the things that are producing some of these pollutants but I know how much fun you’re having right now but I don’t know that this is a final and permanent solution.
ND Tyson: Tell me about air travel as well, as a contributer just as driving is?
Gavin Schmidt: Right. And so air travel is about 3% of global carbon emissions. Obviously air travel has gone way way down in the last couple of months but it gives you a sense of how difficult the carbon dioxide problem is. It’s that even if we stop flying, that’s only 3%. If we stop driving cars, that’s another 5% to 10% because we haven’t stopped the trucks, we haven’t stopped the trains, and we haven’t stopped the shipping. And so the total emissions of carbon dioxide we’re expecting as a change due to the corona virus is perhaps only about 5% to 10% of global emissions.
ND Tyson: Plus the farming footprint hasn’t changed for carbon dioxide, correct?

Gavin Schmidt: Correct. And the electricity. We’re still generating electricity, we’re using it to power our internet …. interrupted by NDT.
ND Tyson: Not all of which carbon foot printed.
Third man: Particularly coal, right? You still have a bunch of countries that are burning coal. Recently in America you know, we had to BRING IT BACK! so you know
Gavin Schmidt: We haven’t brought coal back. Coal is having its lunch eaten for it in the market place, so coal in the US and in most of Western Europe and Japan is on its last legs. But there are still a lot of coal fired power stations being built, being used, in China in India, Eastern Europe, and the like.
ND Tyson: If the air quality is a little better is it too early to know whether the cleaner air is actually saving the lives of people who might have otherwise been on the brink due to respiratory issues?
Gavin Schmidt: So that’s a great great point. We know that heavy amounts of particulates, small particles in the air, are very very deleterious to people’s health and they kill hundreds of thousands of people prematurely every year in China and similarly in India and in other parts of the world. And so reducing those pollutants is a health gain but how many lives we’re saving and how many lives we’re not cutting short in a month of clean air or two months of clean air, that’s a little bit trickier because most of the problems are associated with persistent exposure. So if we cut it down and kept it cut down then I think we’d be saving many many thousands of lives maybe even hundreds of thousands of lives and we should be working towards that ….
ND Tyson interrupts: But something we’re still in the early stages of I think, medically my understanding is that you’re right, a couple of months of clean air, what’s that relative to years and years exposure and so if you did have this respiratory susceptibility to pollution, early evidence has been showing that you are more susceptible to the corona virus and its effects. Have you read about that? Gavin Schmidt: I’ve only read about it and again I’ve only seen these pre-prints that have been popping up to suggest that there is of heavy pollution making your susceptibility to the corona virus worse ….
ND Tyson interrupts: Some people don’t know what a pre-print is.
Gavin Schmidt: Science works much faster than our ability to publish it. So the scientists who are working at the cutting edge of he corona virus, both the epidemiology and the biology and the impacts are producing science at a very very rapid rate and they are just throwing up their papers onto what are called pre-print servers where you can look and every day there are hundreds of papers; where you can get a really cutting edge view of what people are doing. Now the problem with pre-prints is that you don’t know if it’s right and it hasn’t been checked, it hasn’t been peer reviewed so there’s some stuff up there that is obviously not going to be correct and that can be more confusing than useful ….
ND Tyson interrupts with a joke: There was one that said that space aliens brought the corona virus. That’s a pre-print. Hahaha. So tell me about one of the things that you and your entire institution, as director of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies relies on in climate modeling. Modeling in general – which is quite a daunting task when the models you create … intended to represent reality where you have many many variables and you have to sort of get a handle on all those variables. Is there any connectivity between modeling climate and modeling the spread of the corona virus? (Third man interjects: And which modeling works best for you, is it swimwear or evening wear?
Gavin Schmidt: So let’s be clear, models are absolutely fundamental to the scientific enterprise. If you want to make a prediction for something that’s going to happen to be able to test your theories, you have to be able to quantify that. You quantify that by using a model. Now, there are different kinds of models. I think that a lot of the conversation on the corona virus and the epidemiological models that are being used is that people don’t really understand why and how there are different kinds of models. And so there are some models where you get a bunch of data and basically you fit a line through it or you fit a curve through it and you predict what’s gonna happen.
ND Tyson interrupts: To be clear, you want to predict not only what will happen in the future but the intensity of what will happen in the future….
Gavin Schmidt: So if you’re on an exponential growth path you don’t want to make a linear extrapolation from that, you want to make an exponential extrapolation. But that only goes so far. And so what happens when you introduce some public policy and really, the system has shifted, so you need to model that a little bit differently. So the whole idea is to be able to make predictions so we can be prepared or more prepared than we currently are. So there’s models where you’re basically fitting a line. And there are models that are more sophisticated where you are actually trying to track how a virus goes from one another to another in what kind of circumstances, and some of that modeling is very very very complex. Some if it, you have agents who are infecting each other and you’re trying to aggregate that to the national or the global numbers. That’s very very complicated. The fitting a straight line stuff is very simple But it turns out that you often get a good sense of where things are going with the simpler models but if you actually want to make a future prediction you need to do that more complex model. And with respect to the climate, it’s the same kind of thing. You can look at the temperatures over time and you can put a straight line through it and think that that’s a prediction, It’s not terrible but it isn’t going to tell you what’s gonna happen the next time there is a volcano or the next time there’s an El Nino or the next time we do something about ….
ND Tyson interrupts: What you’re saying is that you can’t predict when you have unpredictable things, can’t predict with precision or accuracy when you have unpredictable forces jumping in to mess up your model.
Gavin Schmidt: Well, it’s hard to know exactly where things are going to go because the answers from your model are hopefully gonna impact public policy, people are gonna make different decisions based on what they think is going to happen, right? So the lockdowns we’ve seen, those are in response to models that said that if you don’t do that, it’s gonna go up exponentially and so they said we don’t want that so let’s change things and now that’s a new element that’s going to give a different answer. So it’s not that the models changed right? But he scenarios have changed …
Third Man interrupts: With that in mind, I’m not a scientist, I’m just listening to this, I wanna know, what have you gotten right that I can rely on looking into the future, so can you give us an example of what models you have that said that’s the deal “we got it right” or even more importantly, “we were way to conservative”.
Gavin Schmidt: Right, going back to my field where I know more, so in climate we started seriously looking at the carbon dioxide problem in the 1960s, and people made predictions then that well, by the end of the century we’ll have warmed up by about 1C and we did. But it wasn’t just that it was going to get warmer it was quite precise. Then they said ok, but up in the stratosphere which is the part of the atmosphere above the weather, they said something weird is going to happen there, it’s going to get colder, and it turns out that that happened as well. Then they said, well, the water vapor is going to go up, and well, that happened too. And all of these things we predicted, the increase of heat in the ocean, we predicted that, and predicted the rate of warming that was observed ….
ND Tyson interrupts Gavin: But Chuck ….
Third Man interrupts ND Tyson: But what have you got wrong so that nobody gives a shit that you got all this stuff right?
ND Tyson interrupts Third Man: Right, that’s a separate social issue that has to be solved.
Gavin Schmidt: So what is the issue? The issue is the one that we see.
ND Tyson interrupts: You said that the temperature will go up by 1C and 1C equals 1.8F about 2F
Gavin Schmidt: And yes, that’s how much we warmed.
ND Tyson: So let me just ask want to bring this segment to a fast close, ‘cause we have more of the show on continuing the topic with yet another guest, so just to be clear, the fact that there is a virus this pandemic is not itself of interest to you, a climate scientist, what’s of interest to you is the effect that the pandemic has had on our consumption of fossil fuels and how that then affects your climate model.
Gavin Schmidt: Well I’m pretty interested in what’s happening with the virus just as a basic human being, I am not purely a climate scientist
ND Tyson interrupts: Good to know that you are a human being, thank you.
Gavin Schmidt: Well yes, wearing my climate scientist hat I’m very interested in how this is impacting air quality, radiation, temperatures going forward, carbon dioxide going forward. We’re diving into that.
ND Tyson: In much the same way after September 11, (2001), we had weeks of no traffic, no air traffic, so I remember reading the astronautic house for no one could see contrails crisscrossing the country and the world over that period of time. It is an interesting unintended experiment that we subject ourselves to {This is a reference to the airline shutdown following the 9/11 terrorist attacks that led to a reduction of jet contrails and a claimed increase in the diurnal temperature range across the US https://www.int-res.com/articles/cr2004/26/c026p001.pdf }
Gavin Schmidt: That’s a great example that you brought up there because in that period it was, …, the air traffic was only down for a few weeks and that wasn’t really enough to kind of pull out the signal that was from the contrails, what they do to the climate, from .. kind of disentangle that from just weather. This situation that we have here is going to be longer and more long lasting and I think we will in fact get an answer to that same question.
ND Tyson: The corona virus pandemic will help your models become more accurate.
Gavin Schmidt: Yes, it’s a pretty high price to pay for a few improvements in the model but what you say is true.

 

(1)  INTERVIEW#2: CLIMATE SCIENTIST & ASTROPHYSIICIST KATHARYN HAYHOE:

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ND Tyson:  So, Katharyn, you are the director of the Texas Tech Climate Center; and in that capacity you also serve as professor at Texas Tech. In what Department are you?

Katharyn Hayhoe:  Well, I have had an eerie career. My undergraduate degree is in astrophysics, my masters and phd are in atmospheric science. I am currently in the political science department at Texas Tech because climate change is the most political science there is. (laughter). And here’s the story. I was planning to continue to graduate school after physics. I was studying galaxy clusters around quasars … and I took a class around climate science to finish my undergraduate degree – and it completely swamped me because I had no idea that climate change was the very same physics that I’ve been studying. It’s fluid mechanics and orbital dynamics and so on. It is the same physics. And I had no idea that climate change was a threat multiplier. And it was taking all of the issues we already cope with today making them worse and so in my naivete as a student I thought I will do everything I can to help with the climate change now, and it’s so urgent, surely we’ll fix it – and then I’ll go back to astrophysics.

ND Tyson: Ahhhh! Stupid! So we didn’t fix the climate problem. So the need for you was more urgent than ever in this world. So you never came back on.

Katharyn Hayhoe: That’s what it felt like. I wanted to come back on. I am still waiting to come back on.

ND Tyson: So I will get pig headed about that. I just live closer to CBS and NBC and ABC than you do in Lubbock, Texas.

Katharyn Hayhoe: Exactly! That’s why you’re on there talking astrophysics, which we need because it’s the same science. People need to understand that the physics is the physics no matter whether we’re here on earth or on the other side of the universe. And it explains both our planet and how it operates as well as how the universe operates.

ND Tyson: So tell me now why are we talking  to you about the Corona Virus.  

Katharyn Hayhoe: We are really concerned right now obviously about the impact of this pandemic on our world. But the reason why we are concerned is because it affects our health, our welfare, and the economy of our families, our loved ones, our communities, our cities, our countries – AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTS TOO, JUST OVER A LONGER TIME SCALE. (Translation: if the corona virus scares you, now you know what climate change will be like if we don’t take climate action. So if the corona virus scares you, so should climate change. Be afraid, be very afraid).

ND Tyson: So, the corona virus is a microcosm of climate change. It’s a disaster reel playing out in fast motion.

Katharyn Hayhoe: Yes! That’s exactly what this is. It is playing out in a matter of days what climate change plays out in years. to decades. In terms of the corona virus time scale, climate change is now in the second week of March. And for how far we’ve already progressed, and how great and how imminent the risk is that we take today.

ND Tyson: So tell me about Echo Systems. And the spread of the corona virus, or the existence of the corona virus in the first place, any virus, especially specie jumping viruses, how is that all interconnected?

Katharyn Hayhoe: So, corona virus came to humans through a process called gnossis where it jumped from an animal to humans. It is where a virus that already exists in an animal population jumps over to humans; and we have no immunity to it and so we are incredibly vulnerable. So, the fact that it jumps over to humans is primarily due to the fact that animals like pangolins were being sold in wildlife food markets. But we know that, first of all as human expansion shrinks wildlife areas in ???? ecosystems, humans are coming into more and more contact with animal populations that have nowhere to go. And climate change is changing where different types of vegetation grow, where different animal species live, increasing the possibility of drought that wipe out food supply, that’s also making animals more desperate and more likely to engage with humans in its search for food which puts us additionally at risk for getting more of these diseases, making that jump from animals over to humans.

ND Tyson:  So the corona virus is just one example of what will continue to happen going forward, as humans displace ecosystems?

Katharyn Hayhoe: YES.

ND Tyson: So corona virus could be the new normal.

Katharyn Hayhoe: We have already seen a few of these. This is not the first time. We’ve seen SARS, we’ve seen swine flue, in fact we saw the Spanish Pandemic back over a hundred years ago. It’s one of the reasons why my last name is Hayhoe.

ND Tyson: So Katharyn, tell me about what role governments … will governments learn something from the corona virus that they can then apply to staving off climate change? (with laughter from the Third Man).

Katharyn Hayhoe: Let me just say, one would hope that. And one would hope that one of the basic lessons they will learn is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is not rocket science! (forgive me for saying that). It is just the understanding that a stitch in time saves nine.  (The point here by Hayhoe is that climate action early on will be easier and more effective than climate adaptation or belated climate action). (What we can learn from the Corona pandemic is that) Preparing for and preventing future risk is a lot safer and more affordable than waiting for the (climate change) tsunami to roll over your head and then trying to survive it.

Third Man: You talk about the fact that food insecurity is a big deal right now because of the corona virus, and food insecurity with respect to climate is when things get really real. If people can’t eat, that’s when the proverbial shit hits the fan.

Katharyn Hayhoe: Yes. I will tell you that going all the way back to when I decided that I had to do my bachelor’s in climate change instead of astrophysics, what stabbed me in the heart, what made me really change my mind on what to do with my life, was whn I found out that the poorest people in the world were the ones most affected by a change in climate. And we are seeing that play our here today. Let me give you a couple of examples. First of all I was talking with colleagues who live around the world and they were saying that people who live in poor countries, the middle class people are sitting in their air conditioned homes with the groceries they ordered online and poor people can’t go our to get jobs to support their family and they would be arrested if they did go our because of the quarantine because they can’t even feed their families. Here, in the United States, we are seeing that African-American populations are being disproportionately affected by this disease. We don’t know for sure but I suspect it’s what we’re seeing around the world. People who already live in areas with very poor air quality, which is primarily due to burning fossil fuels, it is what causes climate change, those people are much more vulnerable. A study they did on SARS 15 years ago shows that if you caught SARS and you lived in an area with very dirty air, you were twice as likely to die from it that if you lived in a place with clean air. So we know that that is the case in the ??? today. And then there’s the issue of ?feed for the different feed security?. The more well-off and affluent we are the better insulated we are, at least for the fist few months, from the impacts of pandemics, from climate change, from disasters, it is always the poorest and the most vulnerable who suffer first.

ND Tyson: So you’re in the department of political science, so you, these are people who, who presumably care what you say but you’re coming to them from an entire scientific foundation of an understanding of the past present and future of nature and our intersection with it; so what kind of an audience do you get? (an intellectual rant?).

Katharyn Hayhoe: I would say that political scientists I have spoken with are more worried about this than climate scientists are, if you can imagine! Because they know that one of the fist things to go as disasters build up in the world, one of the first things to go is the democratic system.

ND Tyson & Third Man: Oh! That is ugly. That is scary. You mean it becomes more totalitarian?

Katharyn Hayhoe: People are willing to cede more control to a leader in a climate disaster.

ND Tyson: We’re back, Star Talk, It’s the Coronaverse. We’re keeping our distances. Question for Katharyn Hayhoe: What similarities do you see about people’s attitudes towards towards climate change, plus or minus, and attitudes towards the Covid19 corona virus?

Katharyn Hayhoe: Absolutely! So for a long time we’ve known here in the US an sadly increasingly in other countries around the world – Canada, UK, Australia, and more, that the number one ???? on whether we agree on over a hundred years of science that tells us that digging up and burning coal, gas, and oil, is wrapping and extra blanket around the planet. It’s causing it to warm. The number one predictor of whether we agree with these facts is not how smart we are, it’s not how much science we know, it’s not how educated  we are, it is simply where we fall in the political spectrum. And today, we see that the farther to the right you are in the political spectrum in the United States, the more likely we are to dismiss the risks posed by the corona virus pandemic as well.

ND Tyson: So, uh, why? is the one cause the other or does the other cause the other? I mean ….

Katharyn Hayhoe: They are both symptoms. I think the underlying cause is fear. It’s the fear that the world is just changing too quickly, that people who have been sort of at the top of the heap for a long time are feeling like they are being shoved to the back of the line. And anything that talks about change, whether it”s immigration, whether it’s government solutions for clean energy, I mean we’ve been using coal since the middle ages, what’s wrong with it? Anything that is new is seen as a threat to the established ….

ND Tyson interrupts: Wait wait wait wait. So when you say fear you don’t mean fear of the consequences of climate change or the virus, you mean a fear of a change in their socio-political status.

Katharyn Hayhoe: Absolutely.

ND Tyson: So you will resist … So why don’t you … OK … Let me just as you, If I don’t want my status to change, why don’t I just declare, “I don’t want to make these changes”? I see the science, I agree with the science, I don’t want to change policy based on it. Why don’t they just do that?

Katharyn Hayhoe:  That would be the honest thing to do. And there are people who actually do do that, but for a lot of people the self defense mechanism kicks in. 99.9% of the climate denial I see is actually a solution aversion, but the solution aversion will arrive cloaked in either a sciency or a religousy sounding smokescreen. In other words “it’s just the natural cycle, it’s the sun, God is in control. But when you dig down, anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, on their own initiative people will say, “well I don’t want to fix this problem because it means government control, I won’t be able to drive my truck, I won’t be able to do my job, China’s going to take over the world. But psychology comes into play because if I say “It’s a real problem, and it will hurt the poorest people in the world, but I don’t want to fix it”, that makes me the bad guy. And none of us want to be the bad guy. We want to be the good person, so we throw up this defense mechanism to explain why we are good and smart in rejecting this problem.

12 Responses to "HOW TO USE THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC TO SELL CLIMATE CHANGE"

GAVIN MAY BE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE BUT IN THIS VIDEO I SAW SOME EVIDENCE OF INTEGRITY IN THIS MAN.

Khun Cha-am,

I watched this the other day and was surprised by Gavin – it was the most subdued I’ve ever seen him. I just couldn’t bring myself to watch Hayhoe – she disgusts me. Neil Tyson proved that he is just a media personality, not a real scientist. The other bozo on screen was just a silly distraction.

I don’t think any of these folks did their movement any favors, thank goodness.

They really didn’t help their cause in this sham of a supposedly highly scientific discussion among high level scientists.

Thank you for this comment Mark. I fully agree with everything you said.

“But when you dig down, anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, on their own initiative people will say, “well I don’t want to fix this problem because it means government control, I won’t be able to drive my truck, I won’t be able to do my job, China’s going to take over the world.” K. Hayhoe
I don’t think I have ever encountered this attitude. Nearly all of the skeptics I read contend there is no problem or it is too little to worry about. I don’t think I have ever read a serious piece that accepted the “climate crisis” as catastrophic and curable but thought letting government do the fix was not acceptable. There are plenty of folks that don’t think big government could fix it if it were a problem and plenty that think the big government attempt would be much worse than the problem but no one that doesn’t want to fix a catastrophic problem if it requires big government.
Is she just being overly glib or does she just talk to folks (not CAGW skeptics but true believers that hate big government) I have never hear from?

Good point sir and an astute observation.

during my transcript writing I saw some inconsistencies in her assessment particularly having to do with an apparent need to go along with tyson so maybe she was winging some of it.

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  • chaamjamal: Thank you for your valuable input. The carbon footprint of climate science is a reference to carbon dioxide emissions but denominated in tons of carbo
  • chaamjamal: Yes sir. Well said. Thank you.
  • jamesmatkinwritings: Here is a reference about your fake carbon footprint -Caring about sound science: Carbon is not carbon dioxide Wiki Commons photo October 25,
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