Climate Alarmists See a Silver Lining in the Wuhan Virus, and It’s Not for the Benefit of the Human Race

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Some climate alarmists are almost giddy about secondary effects of the worldwide Wuhan virus pandemic, as reported here:

Climate activist Astrophysicist & Philosopher Martín López Corredoira on coronavirus and its impacts: “Neither Greenpeace, nor Greta Thunberg, nor any other individual or collective organization have achieved so much in favor of the health of the planet in such a short time.”

“There are also positive aspects. As said by the proverb, every cloud has a silver lining…We see a reduced production in Chinese industry, which has resulted in a huge drop in China’s pollution.”

These people seem to care more about “the planet” than they do about its human inhabitants. Laura Ingraham explored that notion with Mike Shellenberger, President of Environmental Progress, on her show last week. The below provides a bit of his background and is excerpted from the Environmental Progress website:

Michael is a leading environmental journalist who has broken major stories on Amazon deforestation; rising climate resilience; growing eco-anxiety; the U.S. government’s role in the fracking revolution; and climate change and California’s fires.

He writes on housing and homelessness, and has called for California to declare a state of emergency with regards to its addiction, mental health, and housing crises. He has authored widely-read articles and reports on the topic including “Why California Keeps Making Homelessness Worse,“California in Danger.”

Michael has been a climate and environmental activist for over 30 years. He has helped save nuclear reactors around the world, from Illinois and New York to South Korea and Taiwan, thereby preventing an increase in air pollution equivalent to adding over 24 million cars to the road.

His articles for Forbes, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, and his TED talks (“How Fear of Nuclear Hurts the Environment,” “Why I Changed My Mind About Nuclear Power” and “Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet”) have been viewed over six million times.

In short, he didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday on the subject of preserving the environment for future generations. He parts ways with the climate alarmists, who are about “saving the planet” regardless of the costs and impacts on human life.

Ingraham introduced the segment: Shutting down entire industries and then forcing people to stay behind closed doors is terrible for the economy – for our mental well-being and for our standard of living. That must be why climate-change activists are celebrating. Leftist cheerleaders at CNN write, “There’s an unlikely beneficiary of coronavirus: the planet.” USA Today asks, “Could the coronavirus actually be saving lives in some parts of the world because of reduced pollution?” Here’s what the architect of the UN Paris Accord had to say [Christiana Figueres, former UN Climate Chief]: “One thing that I think is actually very positive … if we really sustain several months of reduced travel, we may realize that we don’t’ have to travel as much. … Can this have actual behavioral change impacts? Maybe, and let us hope.”

Ingraham: Emissions are down, but people are getting pretty miserable, and economies are in free fall, so is this really their vision of what a healthy society looks like?

Shellenberger: Unfortunately, for some of our anti-human environmental brothers and sisters, this is a model for what they’d like to live, but I don’t think it’s a model for what most people would like to live. What we forget is that carbon emission peaked in the United States over a decade-and-a-half ago; they’ve actually declined by more than 35% when you look at the emissions from electricity production, mostly thanks to the fracking and natural gas revolution. If you’re looking for a model on how to deal with climate change and how to reduce carbon emissions and preserve the environment, you want a lot of economic growth and prosperity. That’s what brings us cleaner forms of energy.

Ingraham: Christiane Amanpour over at PBS wanted to remind us of the silver lining: “If there is a silver lining to this crisis, it is visible above China. The dramatic slowdown in manufacturing and driving has caused a reduction in carbon emissions. We’ve all seen these NASA satellite images that show the improvement in China’s air quality.” They’re showing a lot of these satellite images, and it’s Italy before and after … I think of the people in Italy before and after [not air quality]. Again, some of the most extreme elements of the environmental lobby. … They actually seem to be happier the less we’re doing. … I don’t think they really want us to see the rest of the world.

Shellenberger: I think that’s really sad. I think what you see with a lot of people who are celebrating this moment … and I see it on line that humans are the virus, and the virus is eliminating the human cancer on the earth. I think it’s a minority view … it’s a very dark view. I think the truth is that economic growth and lifting people out of poverty has been the most important way to reduce air pollution … to reduce mankind’s negative impacts on the natural environment. The truth is that air pollution has been in decline in the United States since the late 1960s. Carbon emissions peaked over a decade-and-a-half ago. In Europe, carbon emissions peaked in the ‘70s. The good news is that the switch to natural gas and nuclear means that it’s unlikely that temperatures are going to get very high. It’s probably going to peak under three degrees temperature increase since pre-industrial times, so this current situation is a terrible example to use for what it means to protect the environment.

Ingraham: Ron Klain used to work for Obama – a top White House official. He said that the virus and climate change were somehow linked. Klain: “There is one more thing we can do to reduce the risk of spread from animals to humans, and that’s combat climate change. Climate change is driving this problem to some extent. … Climate change has a lot, a lot, a lot of bad effects. What we don’t think about very often is it’s a driver of these epidemics, but it certainly makes our risks go up on this planet.” Have you heard anything about that? The wet markets, the eating of the bats and other animals, or whatever the heck they did to have this virus to become such a global problem as climate change?

Shellenberger: There is always an argument to be made that you can worsen some disease epidemics with warmer temperatures, but the fact of the matter is, … nobody thinks climate change caused the 1918 flu, which killed 50-100 million people. I haven’t heard many people claim that there is a causal connection, but what he said is exactly right. Who would have thought that the wet live markets in China would be a major source of global chaos … of this economic challenge we’re going to be having of mass death … but that’s the reality, and experts have been warning against Chinese markets … the live markets where the animals are on top of each other … they’re very unsanitary. We’ve been worrying about those markets for two decades now. One of the things that ought to come out of this is that there ought to be some effort internationally to make sure that countries get rid of those markets, which are breeding grounds for dangerous viruses like these, and move countries towards more modern meat production and consumption.

End of the Q&A. Yes, indeed, the climate activists ignore inconvenient truths: that carbon emission peaked years ago in the US and Europe, that fracking and natural gas have greatly contributed to the reduction of carbon emission in many countries around the world, and that economic and technological developments are the keys to reducing emissions in the developing world.

No wonder some on the Left are making common cause with ChiCom propaganda relating to the Wuhan virus pandemic. The climate alarmists are typical leftists who exploit crises to advance their ideological claptrap. When most decent people are focused on enabling measures to combat the virus, the climate alarmists are more worried about “the planet” and shutting down human development, which would condemn people in the Third World, in particular, to poverty and disease. Evil people they are, as Yoda would say.

The end.