FP: The Covid-19 Lockdown Will Not be Extended to Address Climate Change

Police checkpoint
Opel Vectra A pre-FL stopped on a checkpoint in Bulayz, Iraq, in November 2005. English: Petty Officer 1st Class Alan D. Monyelle, U.S. Navy / Public domain

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to FP it is a false hope to expect that “similarly ambitious” policies to the global lockdown to stop the spread of the Chinese Coronavirus will be implemented to address climate change, at least in the short term.

Sorry, but the Virus Shows Why There Won’t Be Global Action on Climate Change

Extreme measures to fight the coronavirus have raised activists’ hopes for similarly drastic action on global warming. Here’s why they’re wrong.

BY JASON BORDOFF | MARCH 27, 2020, 1:51 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted daily life, caused widespread sickness and fatalities, and sent the global economy careening toward a depression. Governments have responded by taking unprecedented steps to shut down entire cities, ban travel, and isolate nations—extreme measures that are giving hope to climate activists that similarly ambitious policies might be possible to address global warming, which many consider a similar existential threat. Yet that would be the wrong lesson to draw, as the very same barriers preventing an effective COVID-19 response continue to keep climate change action out of reach.

Like COVID-19, climate change is the ultimate collective action problem. Each ton of greenhouse gas contributes equally to the problem, no matter where in the world it is produced. The United States contributes 15 percent of emissions each year; Europe, a meager 9 percent. Lawmakers in Brussels may choose to impose an economic cost on Europeans by ratcheting up the pace of decarbonization, but there will be little benefit in avoided climate impacts unless others around the world do the same.

Unfortunately, too often the need for collective action is an excuse for inaction. House Republicans often argue that if China won’t commit to major emissions reductions, neither should the United States. As U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander recently put it, “When it comes to climate change, China, India, and developing countries are the problem.”

The second sobering lesson from COVID-19 for climate change efforts is the importance of public buy-in and education. The problems of collective action described above are less acute when the public broadly understands the gravity of the threat.

COVID-19 may deliver some short-term climate benefits by curbing energy use, or even longer-term benefits if economic stimulus is linked to climate goals—or if people get used to telecommuting and thus use less oil in the future.

Yet any climate benefits from the COVID-19 crisis are likely to be fleeting and negligible. Rather, the pandemic is a reminder of just how wicked a problem climate change is because it requires collective action, public understanding and buy-in, and decarbonizing the energy mix while supporting economic growth and energy use around the world.

Read more: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/27/coronavirus-pandemic-shows-why-no-global-progress-on-climate-change/

This kind of talk is endlessly repeated by the green swamp, the Covid-19 lockdown really does seem to be the template for how Greens want us to live – police checkpoints to stop unnecessary travel (necessity defined by the government), most businesses permanently closed or drastically curtailed, lots of government handouts to encourage people to stay at home and rot.

FP is taking a more realistic view, saying it won’t happen overnight, but with greater efforts to educate the public, and a little economic growth to keep everyone happy, the goal might be achievable.

Of course if climate activists and greens achieve their state of permanent lockdown, the special people will still get to travel, and enjoy the luxuries of life we currently take for granted; their need to attend climate conferences in exotic holiday locations will justify their government funded air travel excesses, just as it does today.

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March 27, 2020 6:11 pm

“climate change is the ultimate collective action problem. ”

The fact that this is considered a problem is the problem.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
March 27, 2020 6:31 pm

Too right! Spot on!

Reply to  co2isnotevil
March 27, 2020 7:31 pm

The problem is the collective action of ‘activists’ who want to destroy the West.

Reply to  MarkG
March 28, 2020 2:54 am

“similarly ambitious ”

Maybe once they see the real life results of “similarly ambitious ” on the REAL lives , their state welfare checks and the cost of living they may be a little less “ambitious”.

The problem with these loons is that prescribing a return to hunter gather or subsistence farming in a couple of generations time to prove how “left” you are, sounds really romantic and idyllic …. until you try to actually live it.

The dangers of supposed “climate heating” are as distant as the every day reality of their naive utopia. Keep a peek preview may sharpen a few minds.

Reply to  MarkG
March 28, 2020 2:57 am

public buy-in and education

sorry, for a moment there, I though I read public pay-out and indoctrination.

Leo Morgan
Reply to  co2isnotevil
March 29, 2020 2:00 am

The fact that this is considered a solution is also a problem.

Al Miller
March 27, 2020 6:17 pm

Just the thought of people trying to force this way of life on me based a shallow lie ( climate change lies) has me sharpening my pitchfork!

J Mac
March 27, 2020 6:39 pm

Repeated references to ‘collective’ buy-in and action telegraphs their underlying marxism. Jason Bordoff marxism is so transparent, you can see right through him.

March 27, 2020 6:48 pm

By “similarly drastic”, I think the author meant “similarly pointless”. These travel ban, anti-social isolation, etc have no chance of stopping the WuFlu, or even slowing it by much because they aren’t supported by measures that do work, like quarantining infected people. When the Ruby Princess docked in Sydney last week, everybody on board was tested for the WuFlu and 120 people tested positive.

They were all told to go home and “self isolate”, which means catching a crowded train to the airport, flying back to their home state (in some cases even overseas) and then staying in their homes, where they can infect the rest of their family members. Until they run out of toilet paper and other essentials. Then they’ll choose the least sick looking member to go down to the shops (probably by bus if they’re not old enough to drive) to buy essentials. There is no way you could call this effective.

In a real quarantine, the government will provide housing. They may have to rent a hotel or two, but that’s ok, there’s probably nobody staying in hotels anymore anyway. Food and other essentials will be provided. And they won’t be allowed to leave until they test negative. The hotel owners will be glad of an income & the service providers will be happy for the work too, but most important, the quarantine will be effective.

Until all the governments start doing effective things, like testing everyone, quarantining the sick and developing a treatment (which will need a relaxation of drug rules that are mainly designed to give doctors an income), nothing will improve.

March 27, 2020 6:58 pm

It is obvious that a virus crisis and a global warming crisis (if you believe that) can not in any way be similar. Anyone who promotes the same solution is a fraud who would promote the very same solution if plagues of locusts decsended or if Godzilla jumped up out of the Potomac

John Andrews
March 27, 2020 7:03 pm

And FP means what? Please.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 27, 2020 8:36 pm

The Left Wing rag of elitists and globalists run by IYI’s

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  John Andrews
March 27, 2020 7:46 pm

The link at the bottom is to foreignpolicy.com so I assume it’s them.

Joel O'Bryan
March 27, 2020 7:31 pm

As I see it, the only reason NY City, LA, Chicago, and hundreds of others urban areas in the US can “lock-down” people in their homes. condos, and apartments is because a substantial part of middle America and Fly-over country continue to provide them the means to do so.
They could not “shelter-in-place” without a substantial amount of energy production and on-going economic activity dependent entirely on fossil fuels still continuing by dedicated workers and businesses.

Electricity Power plants are still burning natural and coal to provide everyone electricity. Nuclear power plants are still being run by highly competent engineers, technicians, electricians, and security staff. These things are not runs by robots, at least not yet.

The coal and natural gas to run most of those generation plants are still being reliably delivered from the gas and coal fields across the US. Oil fields are still producing and sending their product down pipe. Refineries are still making the gasoline and diesel the 100,000+ US big rig truck fleet need to deliver food and produce to the grocery stores.

Farmers are still readying their fields for summer harvest. Ranchers are still tending to their herds. Dairies are still milking their cows and delivering product so grocery stores have milk and cheese and ice cream those urbanites want.
Green produce is still moving out of the valleys of California, Arizona and South Texas. Citrus is still moving out of Florida and South Texas to stores across the US. Produce from Mexico is still moving across. Big rig and the truckers that drive them are still working. Even Amazon is delivering me stuff using their fossil fuel powered delivery fleet. Same for my USPS mail everyday. My mailman drives his gas powered mail truck around my neighborhood everyday now, stuffing my mailbox with junk mail that I promptly deposit in the trash can.

I was just in a big grocery store today. It was well stocked, except for TP and paper towels. (Thanks Eric for causing the TP run here in the US with your remark a month ago about your experience of running out during a bush fires years ago. You started that 🙂 )

All of that happens because our energy economy has not shut down. It is running 100% as always. The only that has decreased is personal automobile travel.

So this economic tsunami from the COVID-19 epidemic is nothing like the energy shutdown the Greens envision under an energy embargo for their climate religion.

March 27, 2020 7:36 pm

Slightly off topic:


Two major points:
China is seeing cases who were considered recovered who test positive again. Too me this indicates that the tests that the Chinese are using is throwing a lot of false negatives.

The second is that CHina doesn’t count those who test positive but are asymptomatic as being active cases when it reports it’s numbers to WHO.

Reply to  MarkW
March 27, 2020 8:09 pm
Reply to  LdB
March 27, 2020 9:05 pm

There are a lot of different tests, and we don’t have good sensitivity and specificity numbers on any of them.

At one point the Chinese abandoned the WHO test because it had a 48% false negative rate.

Reply to  MarkW
March 28, 2020 8:43 am

Apparently the number of urns being delivered to mortuaries in Wuhan vastly exceeds the official death count.


Zig Zag Wanderer
March 27, 2020 7:43 pm

I love the smell of desperation in the morning!

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
March 27, 2020 8:31 pm

and like napalm, it depends on fossil fuel.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
March 27, 2020 10:49 pm

Smells like – DEFEAT.

March 27, 2020 7:55 pm

If there were such a thing as anthropogenic global warming, we need more of it right now to combat COVID-19. Viruses don’t do well in warmer weather.

March 27, 2020 8:05 pm

All the activists can still continue to participate in the lockdown. Absolutely no one stopping them.

March 27, 2020 8:12 pm

Two observations:

Climate alarmists don’t seem able to distinguish between an immediate, rapidly expanding, actually and measurably deadly, real “existential” crisis and one that will take centuries to have any significant impact, with benefits likely outweighing any possible harm for a long time to come.

These people that think shutting down an economy and destroying jobs is no big deal must be sponging off their parents or the government; can’t see the need for an economy or jobs. Guess what happens when your parents and the government stop taking care of you? You have a paradigm shift.

Reply to  stinkerp
March 27, 2020 8:16 pm

A paradigm shift in your pants.

Nick Hill
Reply to  stinkerp
March 28, 2020 1:07 am

Nice pun! Thank God for dark humour!

Reply to  stinkerp
March 27, 2020 8:32 pm

“ne that will take centuries to have any significant impact,”

if ever

Reply to  stinkerp
March 27, 2020 8:33 pm

Or they work for a “think tank” or some kind of “academic” job that allows them to work from home most of the time anyway.

Reply to  MarkW
March 28, 2020 6:58 am

Did you say work? From home? The folks I know of who get to do that are collecting a check at the house. That’s not work, it just means they fall into a demographic that is entitled to capital without having to do what the rest of us have to do for it…

Reply to  meiggs
March 28, 2020 8:45 am

My employer has been doing work from home for many workers for decades. I routinely work with many of them and can assure you they aren’t just “collecting a paycheck”.

Tom Abbott
March 27, 2020 8:46 pm

From the article: “Like COVID-19, climate change is the ultimate collective action problem. Each ton of greenhouse gas contributes equally to the problem”

What problem?

Rod Evans
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 28, 2020 12:12 am

What problem?
Too much green growth! Having to spend time and fossil fuels on hedge trimmers and lawn movers to combat all that Co2 fertilised jungle out there.
It’s a jungle out there I tell ya, a jungle!!

Joel O'Bryan
March 27, 2020 9:01 pm

Where the heck did my long post go? It’s not in moderation. That’s one of the things desperately wrong here at WUWT. Sometimes posts just go “missing” for days, not in moderation. Like WordPress is censoring/shadow-banning based on keywords.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
March 28, 2020 7:08 am

Did it have any links? They held one of mine for a long time that was very politically correct but did contain links to pages …. that contained …. data…………..

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
March 28, 2020 11:12 am

No it’s problem NOT with Anthony’s filter settings for comments (#’s of URLs to force comment moderation), but likely with WordPress skulduggery. They likely send comments from certain commenters and with certain key words to the trash bin (not the moderation bin) that the Mods have to go dig for to find.

Chris Hanley
March 27, 2020 9:23 pm

This is a simple empirically-based experiment of what effect the drastic curtailment of global economic activity will have on the atmospheric CO2 concentration.
The (human-induced) climate change industry will try to play down or ignore that aspect.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Chris Hanley
March 27, 2020 9:37 pm

And I’m not arguing whether the increasing CO2 concentration is human-induced or not or by what proportion; it is merely the relationship between two variables: economic activity (GDP per head or however else it can be measured) and the observed atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Chris Hanley
March 28, 2020 3:42 am

The answer seems to be available: although economic and industrial activity have significantly dropped due to Covid-19, there is absolutely nothing changed in the CO2 trend measured at Mauna Loa. This means one can probably cross out “anthropogenic” from the climate change discussion.

Reply to  Eric Vieira
March 28, 2020 8:46 am

Economic and industrial activity have dropped, but energy usage has not.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
March 27, 2020 11:32 pm

Actually, it is also a simple empirically based experiment of what effect climate change measures will have on global economic activity. And yup, its drastic.

George in Florida
March 27, 2020 9:45 pm

The effect of the Pandemic of 2020 on Climate Research will be that they need more money.

March 27, 2020 11:43 pm

The problems of collective action described above are less acute when the public broadly understands the gravity of the threat.

The opposite is true . The public now increasingly understands what a low carbon economy looks like. We’re already starting to debate the death toll from a crashed world economy versus the death toll from Covid-19, and that after only two weeks of low carbon economy.

Any country that gets serious about a low carbon economy for more than a few months may as well just inform their citizens that they are now refugees and should probably pack up and eave for a country that still burns fossil fuels.

Carl Friis-Hansen
March 28, 2020 1:23 am

But it is all so scary, think of the 80 million Germans as of today March 28th 2020:

Germany cumulative
Confirmed: 50,871
Deaths: 351
Recovered: 6,658
Active: 43,862

Source: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html

So, of the about 80 million population, the CoVid-19 has triggered 0.0004% extra deaths, terrible.

Gregory Brou
March 28, 2020 1:26 am

I would expect that the 97% scientists who believe in global warming are working very hard to gather current confinement atmospheric data to prove/disprove the effect of shutting down 90% of airlines. has co2 gone down a measurable amount. temp fallen? same thing with automobiles, power generation, industrials etc. this will be the only global shutdown of this magnitude for the next 100 years and should not be wasted

March 28, 2020 2:59 am

If one can find something god about this world wide situation..

This is what the world would be like if somehow the greens got into power.


March 28, 2020 3:49 am

NEW YORK (from New York Governor Cuomo daily briefing):

Apex of hospital need could be in 21 days from now in New York
All hospitals need to increase capacity by 50%, some by 100%
Need a total of 140,000 hospital beds. Currently have 53,000 (an additional 87,000 hospital beds are needed)
Need a total of 40,000 ICU beds. Currently have 3,000, with 3,000 ventilators. An additional 37,000 ICU beds are needed
Will use college dormitories, hotels, nursing homes, and all possible space by converting it to hospitals if needed in April
138,376 people have been tested
Schools will stay closed for an additional 2 weeks after April 1, to then reassess the situation and extend again if needed. 180 days requirement has been waived
“This is not going to be a short deployment […] This is going to be weeks, and weeks, and weeks […] This is a rescue mission you are on, to save lives. […] You are living a moment in history that will change and forge character”

March 28, 2020 3:57 am

Dr Sucharit Bhakdi is a specialist in microbiology. He was a professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and head of the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene and one of the most cited research scientists in German history.

What he says:

We are afraid that 1 million infections with the new virus will lead to 30 deaths per day over the next 100 days. But we do not realise that 20, 30, 40 or 100 patients positive for normal coronaviruses are already dying every day.


Reply to  richard
March 28, 2020 4:31 am

Do not click on that link. Wherever it leads — “heatmeet 19” mainly — it is NOT to principia-scientific!

Eamon Butler
March 28, 2020 5:00 am

Ok, let’s have a Global poll to see who wants to continue with the current lockdown measures, used to deal with COVI19, to help fight Climate change? Hands up, … Anyone?
We are currently enduring great hardship and sacrifice, and the Loonie Greens, Enviro nut jobs, believe this is what we need to do to tackle their imaginary climate crisis/emergency.As usual, they haven’t thought things out very well.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Eamon Butler
March 28, 2020 5:30 am

I saw a poll yesterday of Americans and 75 percent approved of the actions being taken to try to reign in the Wuhan virus

Reply to  Eamon Butler
March 28, 2020 5:52 pm

Broad spectrum lockdown measures in remote rural communities do not make sense.

March 28, 2020 5:14 am

Rhode Island hunting down New Yorkers seeking coronavirus refuge


Rhode Island plans to send the National Guard out to knock door-to-door in an attempt to hunt down anyone who has arrived in the tiny state from New York City during the coronavirus pandemic. State police, meanwhile, have begun pulling over cars with New York state plates.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said anyone traveling there from New York will be ordered to undergo a 14-day quarantine and could face fines or even jail time if they’re found to not comply.

“Right now we have a pinpointed risk,” Raimondo said at a news conference Friday. “That risk is called New York City.”

Reply to  john
March 28, 2020 7:03 am

New Yorkers love open borders, what’s not to like?

John Bell
March 28, 2020 5:39 am

100,000 people have CV19 now in the USA, that is .03% of the USA or 30 people in a stadium of 100,000. Seems pretty low.

Reply to  John Bell
March 28, 2020 9:10 am

there are 80 countries with Corona that have had no deaths so far.

March 28, 2020 5:59 am

Why the need for ventilators?
The medical machines that keep patients breathing are much in demand amid the respiratory illness’ outbreak, which in the most serious cases attacks the lungs.

Louisiana’s governor said on Friday that New Orleans could run out of ventilators by 2 April.

The Society of Critical Care Medicine has estimated that 960,000 intensive care patients will require a ventilator at some point during the US coronavirus outbreak.

New York has requested 30,000 ventilators, but Mr Trump said during Friday’s briefing he felt that was a “high” estimate.

March 28, 2020 6:51 am

The greenies should be careful what they wish for. With all these corona virus shut-downs we are going to lucky if we manage to avoid a global economic depression. The last global depression in the 1930’s didn’t end that well.

Ian Hawthorn
March 28, 2020 2:06 pm

What I want to see is whether the Moana Loa CO2 measurements show any kind of impact whatsoever from the huge drop in CO2 emissions caused by the coronavirus lockdowns. My suspicion is that CO2 will continue its straight line increase unabated.

Ray Tomes
March 28, 2020 6:00 pm

I have done an analysis of recent CO2 changes to see whether covid19 is having any effect. It should if cutting CO2 emissions was the cause, because industrial production is down in China, Europe and America.

COVID19 Effect on CO2 levels


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