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Climate Vse Corona Virus

Existential threat and the generational divide.

While the world as we know it collapses around us the politicians and pundits are in a tailspin. Words like “emergency, unprecedented, panic, collapse, economic meltdown and existential threat” are being tossed around like confetti. Raging firestorms, hail-stones the size of cricket balls, unseasonal floods, locust plagues, and now the Covid 19 pandemic. This is our world in 2020.

This pandemic is frightening, but in truth, it is far more frightening for some of us than for others. The young are largely unaffected, with relatively few deaths and a reasonably non-threatening prognosis. However, for those in their late 50’s or beyond the threat is immediate and palpable. They could die, and they could die reasonably soon.

Without casting criticism on global governments’ measures to stem the spread of Covid 19, one cannot deny the stark contrast between our response to the pandemic, and our response to the very real existential threat that is climate change. So now, all of a sudden we believe the scientists?

If the great toilet paper panic of 2020 has taught us anything, it is that many of us are shamelessly self-interested to the point of utter irrationality. So consider this, is it a coincidence that an existential threat that is beating down the door of the “power rich” demographic gets such unprecedented action; Whereas the looming disaster of climate change, that will impact heavily on the currently “power poor” younger generations is largely ignored?

The French have a saying, “Apres moi le deluge.” Which translates as “After me the flood.”

This pithy little epithet pretty well sums up the attitude of those who hold power.

Corona Virus has made a mockery of the economic excuses. When the bell tolls for the powerful no level of economic sacrifice is too great, but when it comes to economic realignment to stem climate change, our children and grandchildren can quite literally burn in hell.

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  1. JudithW

    Spot on! The response to COVID19 shows just how hollow the economic argument preventing action on climate change really is. COVID19 attacks the respiratory system and & how many will have compromised respiratory systems after the recent fires?

  2. DrakeN

    “Apres moi le deluge.”

    Similarly: “The Devil take the hindmost.” and “The Lord helps them that help themselves.” [a bit of ‘double entendre’ in that one]

    vis-a-vis “Jesus will save those who believe in Him” while the rest will burn in hell.

    The popularity of the Pentacostal Churches bears witness to the selfishness and self righteousness inherent in so many of us.

  3. Kaye Lee

    The contrast is so stark.

    All of a sudden, we will pay whatever it takes – cost is irrelevant – the safety of Australians comes first and we will listen to the best scientific/medical advice available.

    Now we don’t talk about being “alarmist” – we are “ahead of the curve” supposedly.

    It’s an interesting take on it being generational. I would suggest another reason. They are more scared of a recession on their watch than of any existential threat be it immediate or in the future.

    Despite all the problems we had, they wanted a surplus. Spouting their success at being a multicultural nation, they have shamelessly used fear and culture wars to divide us purely for cynical political purposes. They have brazenly lied. They have weakened us and trashed our reputation.

    None of that mattered to them.

    But a recession? Now THAT got their attention.

  4. New England Cocky

    The “nice thing” about COVID-19 is that it is an equal opportunity infection regardless of the social or political status of the victim. Just see how Benito Duddo or the local unemployed person at your local railway station can both be infected if they are not hygienic and WASH HANDS REGULARLY.

  5. TuffGuy

    Perhaps I have some sort of weird logic but IMO our first response to the rapid escalation of the corona virus, given that we live on an island, should have been simply to just shut down all air travel into the country (and passengers by sea). Anyone who wants to leave can go nuts but if you stop people flying in then no virus comes in and the entire country can just go about their business as normal with no virus except for the initial few.
    Ships can come and go with cargo which can be left on the wharf for a couple of weeks, prevent crews from coming ashore, all is good.
    To me this option just sounds so simple and CHEAP and would have been fantastic PR for any current government.

  6. Pingback: Climate Vse Corona Virus #auspol - News Oz

  7. johno

    Just ran out of tofu, very much doubt there will panic buying on tofu. Will find out today down at the local supermarket.

    This is a good food calculator for food/carbon emissions.

  8. Ken Fabian

    I fully expect climate and clean energy will be (very deliberately and with forethought) sacrificed in all the excitement – much more important priorities, after all. Coal and gas… will be treated as the essential industries that must be protected… to be the economic saviours that get the economy back to black.

  9. ajogrady

    7 million people per year die from the effects of air pollution. That is 7 million people die from the the burning of fossil fuels. The Corona virus attacks the respiratory system and the number of deaths from the virus is hugely favouring the elderly or those who have had a far longer exposure to air pollution/burning of fossil fuels. Young people who have not been exposed to air pollution/burning of fossil fuels are hardly effected. Joining the dots it would be easy to make the case that not only does the burning of fossil fuels have a major impact on our collective climates but also our collective health outcomes. 7 million now but how many will there be with the double wammy of air pollution/burning fossil fuels combined with the Corona virus.

  10. johno

    Ken, you could be right but renewables do seem to be coming along eg this large wind farm proposal off Victoria’s coast. It has the potential to power one quarter of Victoria’s energy grid.

    Some people are concerned about the potential effect on the nearby Ramsar wetlands, and the effects on migratory animals like whales, birds, seals, sea lions and fish species.

  11. Ken Fabian

    Johno, I suspect it is precisely because renewables are coming along better than expected that the pro coal and gas climate science deniers will take every opportunity to slow their uptake. Giving renewables enough rope in the certainty they must fail is one of best mistakes mainstream politics ever made. Lacking any concern for climate consequences, LNP support for The Transition lacks conviction, whereas their support for fossil fuels remains boundless.

    As for the environmental costs and compromises in a shift to renewables, there will surely be some. But the solutions have never truly been up to Environmentalists to find or enact or to grant approval; that mainstream politics ceded the issue to them, only to object to everything they propose looks like a deliberate distancing tactic, passing over the reasoned and reasonable whilst raising the more extreme voices up in order to associate the issue with them. Then tear them down. As long as the climate issue is seen as Environmental and fringe and driven by extremists the focus remains shifted away from the LibNatLab triopoly – away from those actually holding the positions and high trust and responsibility.

  12. tom bergner

    Fantastic article Letitia.

    Nailed the key hypocrisy of the majority of insecure, timid and totally afraid Australian public that have been led down a path by the horrific LNP party and their corporate business masters.

    We truly see how the worlds “best multicultural society” truly operates under pressure.

    Like Lemmings over a cliff.

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