By Joe Bastardi
First of all, this is in no way meant to minimize the threat from Covid-19. In fact the opposite. It is meant to point out similarities in some of the messaging that goes on with climate and this virus. I have written on this to some extent previously, but I wanted to sum up several parts here including some new observations. Warning: This is a long boring story. The best time to read is when you are going to sleep, I was going to market it as an audio presentation for insomnia but I thought that would be tacky. Hows that for honesty.eh?
But give it a try..
1) The end result is unknown. That means predictions have a wide variance and thinking you KNOW THE RESULT is arrogance on display. Believing and KNOWING are 2 different things. We see this in the climate change issue in the fight over CO2 effects. Many on my side of the issue believe the introduction of CO2 to the atmosphere has the biggest effect and there is a diminishing return with more. So the arguments range from the ‘nothing at all crowd’ to the ’limited effect’ (1.2C, of which, if true we have over the last hundred years have gotten pretty close to that and where I am and have been) to the 4-5C warmer which is where many CO2 climate control knobbers find themselves. Then to the tipping point of runaway warming with virtually no limit.
Now consider the ranges you are seeing here in this situation. I do not need to review it because anyone paying attention knows we have ranges, the no discernible effect from the regular expectations of mortality with age. In fact I have heard it argued that people becoming more vigilant will mean an increase in the median age of death in the coming years. As we all are going to die, it is just a question of when and what the cause. Then to the kind of numbers that would rival major epidemics of previous times. Lost in all, that is the fact we have far more people living in the world today which means mortality percentages are lower, but with a much more prosperous world, the effect on the quality of life is indeed devastating, In addition with more people on the planet, more are going to be exposed and perish. That is a function of the median age rising and the explosion of population and prosperity. So it is extremely serious.
2) The people arguing over this. There are all sorts of cross motivations here. There is the purely objective person with no interest except in the right answer. They are on both sides of this issue. One of the perks of my job I have found is that a lot of doctors love the weather, so I have some close personal friends in the medical profession. Until now I would talk to them about the weather, and they would advise me on health. Fairtrade right? But in talking to them now, I find many of them are looking at this as yet another disease that comes along and we adapt to. There are even a few who believe the response of ,”an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is worth it even if this turns out to be a best-case scenario. They realize until the unknowns are known, its wise to prepare. However, there are things in the media that are downright scary and doomsday. Additionally, any good news or potentially good news is either ridiculed or not reported. So we morph into a situation where you have people of goodwill with an honest disagreement. Then to a second level where people wish to push something in a direction to fit into a set outcome. In other words, an agenda develops and once a person becomes invested in the result, the persons’ vision can become clouded to anything beyond the result one forecasted. Believe me, in what I do, that is a constant concern, that my forecasts some time hang on too long because I am so convinced I will be right. So I am not trying to be critical, but more observant here of what I see as a common denominator. When someone, for instance, is saying that the climate emergency is worse than the Covid-19 outbreak, that should raise red flags simply due to the time scales as Covid-19 can tear down much in a year. In fact in the US, because of the mild winter, the economy likely did better than was thought before the winter, as we had record housing starts in January. So right there the climate “emergency” had a result in the US that was positive while unless you are against progress for mankind, (that is another issue, the wish to diminish man’s progress) the warmer winter was great. The point is that in both issues, there are very good people that disagree, but a whole cottage industry that is swung by agenda has sprung up. So there are some dire messages here, but in the end, the facts show that warmer is better for life, very much opposite the possible fast result of COVID-19.
One test I have devised is trying to detect tone. For instance, the amount of cases in China matches almost exactly the total in India since their first case was reported a few weeks ago, Why is that? An objective person wants to know. However, someone jumping to conclusions or just looking at one side of the issue, for whatever reason will say, well they don’t know how to test or they are not reporting. Then why is South Korea so leveled off? As far as the anti-malarial, the warnings of what can go wrong are no different than what you see on TV for the preventive drugs they advertise. A whole list of possible side effects. If there were an outbreak of malaria in this country, would we not make those drugs available. I have read the studies that are out there. There are encouraging possibilities. It’s not the Holy Grail or a magic bullet, but the TONE of people that are trying to throw cold water on it should have them trying to do the same for any common drug on the market today. Just watch a TV ad for any common drug, I think “Why would anyone take that”, when one of the side effects listed is death. The idea that there is a reward without risk in anything is absurd. Blasting the President for a false hope or actually trying to lead, especially when he says, “We’ll see,” is simply showing a closed-minded intolerant approach to all this. So the objective person wants to know the why’s of this and most of the people working on this are doing that. As another whole subset is working on a different agenda. Another link to the climate change issue as far as how it is approached. In additional, add Red Herrings into the equation, such as racist claims should raise red flags. When we change the name of these diseases:Here are 17 other diseases named after populations or places:
From this link:
West Nile Virus
- Guinea Worm
Named by European explorers for the Guinea coast of West Africa in the 1600s.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Named after the mountain range spreading across western North America first recognized first in 1896 in Idaho.
- Lyme Disease
Named after a large outbreak of the disease occurred in Lyme and Old Lyme, Connecticut in the 1970s.
- Ross River Fever
Named after a mosquito found to cause the disease in the Ross River of Queensland, Australia by the 1960s. The first major outbreak occurred in 1928.
- Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
Named after its 1940s discovery in Omsk, Russia.
- Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
Named in 1976 for the Ebola River in Zaire located in central Africa.
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
Also known as “camel flu,” MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and all cases are linked to those who traveled to the Middle Eastern peninsula.
- Valley Fever
Valley Fever earned its nickname from a 1930s outbreak San Joaquin Valley of California, though its first case came from Argentina.
- Marburg Virus Disease
Named after Marburg, Germany in 1967.
Named after Norwalk, Ohio after an outbreak in 1968.
- Zika Fever
First discovered in 1947 and named after the Zika Forest in Uganda.
- Japanese Encephalitis
Named after its first case in Japan in 1871.
- German Measles
Named after the German doctors who first described it in the 18th century. The disease is also sometimes referred to as “Rubella.”
- Spanish Flu
While the true origins of the Spanish Flu remain unknown, the disease earned its name after Spain began to report deaths from the flu in its newspapers.
Hong Kong Flu (1968)
- Lassa Fever
Named after the being found in Lassa, Nigeria in 1969.
- Legionnaire’s Disease Named in 1976 following an outbreak of people contracting the lung infection after attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
3) The wide variance in forecasts. I touched on this above to some extent. Forecasts of doomsday are as old as mankind itself. But there is a link,
This outstanding post several days ago on CFACT:
showed how wrong forecasts were from the first earth day. Many of those same forecasts are showing up now, but of course, the opposite reason from the first one. Which as I have reviewed before, is opposite of what previous warmer times have produced and so much so they were called climate optimums. But only time will tell if the worst forecasts with either will come to pass. In almost all cases, such forecasts have not come true which is why they are never brought up.
4) Showing the real value of the American Safety net. This gets interesting also. I believe in less government, but we do need an essential framework. There is the argument in the man-made climate change community that we should have the same kind of response we have for COVID-19. This which is interesting in that if anything COVID-19 is showing, what happens when the business engine of the nation is shut down, it leads to misery. One can not argue that before this hit, life on the planet had improved dramatically over the last 100 years. This despite and aided in fact by warming. Yet a threat like COVID-19 will be something to show that the government is essential in stepping in for threats like this. Trying to portray a much more gradual event, arguably not hindering man’s progress but enhancing it, seems like a false equivalency. One thing is for sure, you are seeing what taking a couple of trillion dollars out of the economy can do. Imagine a 10 trillion dollar plan to fight “climate change”?! The Covid-19 event, like hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. are showing why there has to be a safety net. The question is the extent.
5) The attacking of ideas. I have found that people I see are treating each other nicer. However over social media and regular media, the level of viscousness in COVID-19 is mimicking the kind of things I see in climate. I have been accused of minimizing the threat. Since I am 64 years old, and the people I have known, loved and looked up to longest are right in the middle of the median age this disease is killing. I am exactly opposite. But if you are looking to destroy an idea, you do anything you can to do so. I had a dear friend of mine say he wanted to make sure I was not cavalier about this. On a personal level, for me, its a test of my faith. That it may not be for other people, does not upset me. What is concerning in this matter, climate, etc, is the branding of people that offer different ideas, even people that you agree with on almost everything, get upset because they may think you don’t see things their way. They will do anything to FORCE, keyword FORCE, another person to bend to their will. Attacking people is an attempt to censor ideas. It is close-minded and intolerant. If I had a nickel for every time in my life someone that disagreed with me, exposed me to something I learned, I would be a very rich man. You don’t learn anything shutting out ideas. I welcome discussion and if wrong it makes me stronger if I learned something I can use. You don’t do that by trying to destroy people, and there seems to be some of that going on.
Obviously this is a very serious situation, one of my professors at Penn State used to say that Weather Watches for a common events such as snow can cause more disruption than the snow itself. (For those in the south, how many times have you seen snow forecasted and the shelves laid bare? The storm comes and 2 days later all the snow is gone.) There is that possibility here, but what it does show with no uncertainty, is what happens when our business engine shuts down. So it is instructive. I believe that the pain we are going thru will be worth it, even if this fizzles out completely. I can not say the same about using this as a strategy to develop a war footing on “climate change” and trying to portray COVID-19 as actually MINIMIZING the seriousness of the common foe in front of us now. As someone who believes in linkage in events, similarities in patterns, I am noticing some here. There are good people on both sides on all issues that truly are searching for the right answer. Watch closely and see if you can see the linkage I am talking about. Perhaps not, but the call is yours, not mine.
The bottom line is that freedom is needed for the pursuit of any answer. Those wishing to limit that by demonizing and destroying people who disagree with them are motivated by their desired outcome, no matter what the actual outcome may be. (Examples: The call for the new dust bowl back in 2012, when the exact opposite evolved the rest of the decade or the idea the arctic would be ice-free by 2013.)
Please stay safe and heed the cautions being advised. I do not know or pretend to know the outcome of COVID-19, though I may believe in a certain result. Yet, like the weather, I can not let contrived notions cloud my vision pertaining to the challenge. I do know open-mindedness and freedom should be used as keystones for the way to face challenges and if one looks at the prosperity of our nation, the results speak for themselves.
Joe Bastardi is a pioneer in extreme weather and long-range forecasting. He is the author of “The Climate Chronicles: Inconvenient Revelations You Won’t Hear From Al Gore — and Others”
This article appeared on the CFACT website at https://www.cfact.org/2020/03/23/covid-19-and-climate-false-equivalencies/