Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Inside Climate News thinks the mounting death toll from Covid-19 will push climate skeptics to embrace blind faith in experts. But they completely ignore that many climate skeptics are deeply worried about Covid-19, and have been from the start.
Decades of Science Denial Related to Climate Change Has Led to Denial of the Coronavirus Pandemic
After the fossil fuel industry spent hundreds of millions of dollars undermining climate science, it’s easy to see how epidemiology came next.
American science denialism, deployed for years against climate change and, most recently, the coronavirus, can be traced back to the early 1950s during the fight over smog in Los Angeles.
Decades of climate denial now appear to have paved the way for denial of Covid-19 by many on the right, according to experts on climate politics. After the fossil fuel industry spent hundreds of millions of dollars attacking climate scientists and accentuating the supposed uncertainty of climate science, it isn’t hard to understand how that happened.
President Trump, who denies climate change, has brushed off Covid-19’s seriousness until recently by relying on many of the same arguments he uses to dismiss global warming, such as ignoring government scientists or blaming China.
Will Covid-19 Deaths Lead Skeptics to Rethink Views on Climate Change?
Conservatives have also been encouraged to doubt the objectivity of scientists, Taylor said. Ideological champions on the right such as Rush Limbaugh have described scientists as part of a liberal cabal to deceive the American people on issues like climate change.
In 2009, thousands of hacked emails from climate scientists were leaked, in a scandal known as Climategate. Climate deniers seized upon excerpts from the emails to cast doubt on the scientific consensus about global warming before international negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Multiple reviews of the scientists’ emails exonerated them of tampering with data, but to deniers, Climategate remains proof of the dishonesty of climate researchers.
“There’s a hostility toward the messengers,” Taylor said. “Technocratic elites and scientists are for the most part Democrats, and that’s one thing the Republican base knows really well. They’re not trustworthy. They’re not part of the tribe. And Republicans have been hearing for 30 years that they have an agenda they want to advance.”
As the death toll from the pandemic climbs, conservatives are likely to set aside their continued skepticism of science, including the facts underpinning climate change, Taylor said. “The distrust of expertise and the medical profession will wither away,” he said, “because we’ll see the consequences of that distrust.”
But Goldman is less optimistic that the impact of Covid-19 can lead doubters to reconsider anything other than Covid-19.
…Read more: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/08042020/science-denial-coronavirus-covid-climate-change
Nullius in verba – Take nobody’s word for it. This is the ancient motto of the Royal Society, a science organisation which was founded in 1660.
Granted much of the Royal Society in my opinion no longer lives up to that motto, but there is no reason we shouldn’t. The blind acceptance of “experts” advocated by Inside Climate News is a religious belief system, not science. Experts frequently get things wrong. Sometimes entire professions get things wrong, for extended periods. History is full of groups of experts who blindly rejected the evidence they had made a mistake.
Consider the alleged expert advice from the WHO. If President Trump had blindly accepted the bad advice of WHO experts, who were still arguing against travel bans in late February, Trump would not have imposed a travel ban on China in January, against expert advice, and the situation in the USA would likely have been much worse than it currently is. The WHO refused to release the names of the “expert” doctors who vetoed a motion to declare a pandemic in January.
Trump’s rival Joe Biden at the time described the January Chinese travel ban as “xenophobia” and “hysteria”, not supported by the advice of experts. Even CNN says that Biden later flipped on supporting the travel ban.
What about the other claim Inside Climate News made, that skeptics’ blind distrust in experts is leading us to reject evidence that Coronavirus is a problem?
For starters, the most damaging rejection of evidence to date in the Coronavirus saga had nothing to do with Conservatives. The corrupt socialists who run China imprisoned and disappeared entire teams of doctors who tried to warn people. Worse the Chinese programme of disappearances is ongoing; According to The Times of Israel, Dr. Ai Fen recently disappeared after publishing a story “The one who supplied the whistle” in China’s People Magazine in March. Many of Dr. Ai Fen’s colleagues including the famous Dr. Li Wenliang have also disappeared or died.
But socialists like the CCP frequently get a free pass from greens when they shoot the messenger, in this case maybe literally.
What about the alleged climate skeptic rejection of the evidence? It is true there are disagreements amongst climate skeptics about the appropriate response to Coronavirus. But readers might remember WUWT raised the alarm about Coronavirus in January, in a post titled China Corona Virus Horror: Hospital Corridor of the Dead and Dying. I don’t think anyone could reasonably describe the WUWT January post as evidence of blanket climate skeptic rejection of the threat posed by the Chinese Coronavirus.