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.