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Tale of Two Panics — Covid & Climate

April 28, 2020

While they are occurring on vastly different time scales, the Covid-19 panic and the climate change panic are remarkably similar.

While they are occurring on vastly different time scales, the Covid-19 panic and the climate change panic are remarkably similar. Perhaps there are certain basic social panic mechanisms that always occur, which are yet to be discovered. Yet in any case the striking similarities between these two are worth exploring a bit.

To begin with, each panic began with runaway computer models. In the Covid case the U.S. death count was projected to be around 2,000,000, clearly calling for draconian government action, which soon followed. That number now stands at about 60,000, about the same as a bad flu year, but the damage is well underway.

Claims that the ruinous actions brought the numbers down are belied by the countries that fared just as well without them. Nor do we know what made the model so “hot” as it has not been analyzed, or even properly documented and released for analysis.

In the climate case the hot models take a benign increase in atmospheric CO2 and turn it into a coming catastrophe. We actually know how they do this using massive (and purely speculative) positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds. That these models have clearly been falsified by observation is ignored by their masters.

In both cases the speculative terror to come was heartily embraced by the mainstream media, accompanied by relentless cries for action. Predictably the public responded with fear, giving the government ample room for action.

In both cases the result has been mandates for economically destructive abstinence. In the Covid case the mandate is to hide thy self away. Don’t go out, don’t go to work, don’t go to school. That the economy is rapidly collapsing is no surprise.

In the climate case the mandate is to stop using our primary source of energy — fossil fuels. Don’t drive. Don’t fly. Don’t eat meat. Build millions of windmills and solar collectors. Commit to zero carbon suicide. That the economy is slowly collapsing is no surprise. Energy prices rise and rise.

In both cases the ridiculous bandaid that is applied to catastrophic collapse is a so-called “stimulus”. Millions are out of work so they get just over a thousand dollars. Windmills and solar panels do not work as needed so they get subsidies. And still the government feeds the fear.

What is really needed in both cases is freedom and reality. Freedom from computer driven fear, freedom from fear driven mandates, and the reality that the problem being solved by collapse never existed in the first place.

These are both panics, pure and simple. Recovery will not be easy because fear, once begun, is long lasting. Children were already having nightmares fueled by climate fear, now they are afraid to go outside and play. In both cases the worst may be yet to come because the fear mongers are relentless.

Still we will wallow out of this pit, despite the governments that put us into it.

The bigger challenge is how to prevent catastrophic panics in future? In communication science this sort of thing is called a “cascade”. The model results trigger the press, who trigger the people, who trigger the government.

Each step is an amplifier, whereby a hot model hurts hundreds of millions of people. Maybe the model is the place to start. Perhaps presenting catastrophic conjectures as established facts should be punishable, so people do not do it.

Giving a false alarm that causes great harm is wrong. Calling the false alarm science does not change this fact. If anything it makes it worse. Scientists are supposed to be very careful about their claims.

Of course we also need to fight the virus, but medically not socially. We also need a workable virus prevention and protection system, especially one that prevents panic. A good way to fund this system is by redirecting money slated for foolishly fighting CO2.

See my https://clintel.org/fight-virus-not-carbon/.

[Originally posted at CFACT]

Author
David Wojick is a former consultant with the Office of Scientific and Technical Information at the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science.
dwojick@climatechangedebate.org