If you follow the public input on the emerging coronavirus and look at how it compares to the history of the climate change learning curve, there are overlapping similarities.
The similarities of a virulent Pandemic and Climate Change
Rate of change/emergence: Affected regions, unprecedented, when accounting for phenomena emergence, i.e. the rate of climate change is considered abrupt in the context of the Earth’s climate history, at the same time we created a novel atmospheric chemistry with many newly introduced agents.
In comparison the new coronavirus strain dubbed SARS-CoV-2, which can lead to the clinical disease known as Covid-19, has reached many parts of the world in just a few weeks, mainly due to the global air travel routes. Without those emergence likely would have been delayed through shipping routes, or other slower land routes.
Public debate: Both topics are heavily discussed, mainly centers around health impacts, the dangers, governmental and businesses responses, and individual preparations.
Public opinion: The gist of many articles or tweet‘s on the new virus appears to be a mix of news items, opinions, or simply emotional responses. While some people tend to generalize the threat of SARS-CoV-2, citing the annual flu, others call for draconian actions, such as to close borders, or to stop intercontinental flights.
There is also a lot of unconfirmed, or even false information spread, when it comes to what researchers discovered so far in the process to understand this new disease vector. And this is a very familiar insight for people looking into climate topics, perhaps only outpaces the pandemic by the level of how much money individuals, or companies spent over the years to question climate science, or the solutions.
Importance of Threat Debate
Discussing a potential threat first helps one to better understand, reflect, and alarm, to align his views and thoughts with reality, others. Because there is a gap in our understanding of the true magnitude of an emerging threat, people naturally resort to generalize, to simplify, and also to contemplate possible scenarios, ramifications for one own and on large.
Since climate science evolved over a hundred of years in research, and past models have a solid track record the amount of uncertainty has been reduced over time. And indeed the uncertainty is what drives our collective efforts of understanding the importance.
Because the scope is global for the new virus outbreak or the changing climate, so are the associated risks. People could also be affected locally through supply chain disruptions, certain consumer or production items may become scarce.
Harvard Business Review: We predict that the peak of the impact of Covid-19 on global supply chains will occur in mid-March, forcing thousands of companies to throttle down or temporarily shut assembly and manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Europe. The most vulnerable companies are those which rely heavily or solely on factories in China for parts and materials. The activity of Chinese manufacturing plants has fallen in the past month and is expected to remain depressed for months.
This also means that climate actions are affected, e.g. potential for bottlenecks when it comes to many clean energy technologies, constructions. And since supply chain disruptions affects industries it also means job security is evaluated.
Hence, now is a good time to think about more localized chains to deliver needed items, and I mean this from a governmental perspective, to provide incentives.
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- Coronavirus Hits Once-Isolated U.S. Natural Gas Market https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-hits-once-isolated-u-s-natural-gas-market-11583145001
Teaser image via, Johns Hopkins CSSE https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html