COVID-19, a dry run for climate chaos | The Jackal

19 Apr 2020

COVID-19, a dry run for climate chaos

It might be controversial to say, but being in lockdown in New Zealand hasn’t been as bad as many people are making out. Sure, you cannot get things like takeaways or simply pop into a cafe to see your friends, but by and large people are getting the essential items they require.

However what happens if supply lines are entirely cut off and the basic necessities of life become unavailable? If nothing else, COVID-19 has shown us that civilisation is precarious, particularly because most people no longer produce their own food.

In this respect COVID-19 is a forerunner to what will occur if climate change becomes unmanageable…because management is all that most countries are currently proposing. Gone are the days when widespread mitigation could have halted anthropomorphic climate change.

That's because most Governments aren’t interested in reducing our over-reliance on petroleum-based products. The tax they attain from fossil fuels is simply too enticing, even though it will pale in comparison to the actual costs associated with the serious consequences of climate chaos.

Today, Greenpeace reported:

Climate change is harder to visualise than coronavirus, but no less dangerous 

The Covid-19 Coronavirus has so far caused more than 145,000 deaths worldwide.  
These are grim numbers from the World Health Organisation, the actual human suffering is impossible to measure. 
By comparison, the WHO predicts that climate change will kill 250,000 people every year between 2030 and 2050. 
A total of five million people. Starting in ten years’ time.

So climate change is set to kill a much greater number of human beings than COVID-19 has to date, but Governments have been treating climate change like it’s somebody else’s problem.

The reason for their lethargy is simple…they’re in the pockets of big oil and gas companies that don’t want to relinquish their substantial income streams in order to save the world.

Oil corporations stand to lose the most from the transition to a zero carbon world.  
They’ve had all that time to build up layers of PR protection, in an attempt to confound people about the science.  
Petroleum moguls like the Koch brothers in the States for example, spending more than $70 million dollars to fund right wing groups and maintain the myths of climate denial. 
Organised resistance and disinformation by wealthy and powerful fossil fuel companies is the primary reason why humanity has failed to act decisively on climate.

Unlike oil and gas companies, COVID-19 doesn’t have a PR firm working tirelessly to mislead the public. That’s why many people still believe that a transition to cleaner forms of energy isn’t urgently required.

Instead COVID-19 has to rely on the stupidity of so-called leaders like Donald Trump, who is risking people’s lives by opening up lockdown too early. His only interest seems to be in saving the economy and limiting the economic downturn.

The neoliberal argument against society acting collectively via the government is dead. As the Financial Times editorial put it recently: “Radical reforms — reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades — will need to be put on the table. 
Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy.”

The small reprieve to climate changing pollution levels will likely be short-lived, with many politicians pushing hard for people to return en masse to the fossil fuel based mass transit model. Perhaps I’m being overly pessimistic, however I just don’t see that the effects of COVID-19 will make much difference at all to the mindset of those who would destroy the world for short term financial gain. But I guess only time will tell.