COVID-19 may kill at least a half-million Americans and five-million worldwide, just in the next two or three years, unless we are able to develop a vaccine and unless people will be encouraged to take it.
That is an awful lot of deaths, but it pales in comparison to the people who will suffer and die because of global warming.
More Than 250,000 People May Die Each Year Due to Climate Change
By Rachael Rettner January 17, 2019
In the coming decades, more than a quarter-million people may die each year as a result of climate change, according to a new review study.
In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that climate change would lead to about 250,000 additional deaths each year between 2030 and 2050, from factors such as malnutrition, heat stress and malaria.
But the new review, published Jan. 17 in The New England Journal of Medicine, said this is a “conservative estimate.” That’s because it fails to take into account other climate-related factors that could affect death rates — such as population displacement and reductions in labor productivity from farmers due to increased heat, study co-author Dr. Andrew Haines, epidemiologist and former director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told CNN.
In addition, the WHO estimate didn’t take into account illnesses and deaths tied to disruptions in health services caused by extreme weather and climate events, the review said.
Climate change is the single, most important, species-survival event to take place since humans began to walk the earth. Yet it doesn’t receive the media attention of COVID-19, or police brutality, or the stock markets, or sports.
While an entire, multi-page section of your daily newspaper is devoted to sports, the looming extinction of our species garners only the occasional article.
Yet, climate change is actively denied by Donald Trump and his science-illiterate followers.
One might hope that the potential suffering and eradication of a substantial portion of our children and grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren, would merit a bit more seriousness. Sadly, we must endure “present bias,” in which future lives are discounted vs. current comfort.
Even those who wish to address the threat to the survival of the human species are blocked by ignorance and myths.
Joe Biden sets out aggressive plan to tackle climate change
By Evan Halper, Staff, writer, July 14, 2020
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden unveiled a proposal for rebuilding the economy Tuesday that focuses heavily on restoring American leadership in the fight against global warming, directing government recovery efforts toward expanding clean energy and rapidly reversing the Trump administration’s abandonment of climate efforts.
In a speech in Wilmington, Del., the former vice president called for a massive green jobs and environmental justice program that would invest $2 trillion in his first term on building new renewable energy infrastructure.
“Climate change is a challenge that’s going to define our American future,” Biden said. “I know meeting the challenge will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to jolt new life into our economy, strengthen our global leadership, protect our planet … We’re not just going to tinker around the edges. We’re going to make historic investments that will seize the opportunity to meet this moment in history.”
The spending would go toward expansion of high-speed rail, building electric cars and greatly increasing the use of wind, solar and other renewable technologies to generate power, among other goals. Under Biden’s plan, the U.S. would fully end the use of oil, coal and other fossil fuels to generate electricity by 2035. He would bring the nation to net zero emissions of greenhouse gases no later than 2050.
The plan is notably more aggressive than the one Biden campaigned on during his party’s primaries, part of an overall move in which he has embraced some of the proposals of his more progressive rivals in an effort to unify the party for the general election.
This is the “aggressive” plan — 30 more years of global warming?? Thirty more years of increasing death rates as the world gets warmer and warmer?
We won’t get into the non-science or pseudo-science of global warming deniers. If you want to see the claims, go here. I’ll go along with the scientific majority on this.
If the scientific majority is wrong, and we take action, we’ll only have devoted a lot of time and money to controlling CO2, while creating millions of jobs. If the scientific majority is right, and we take action, we’ll save humanity.
Compared with Biden’s earlier proposals, the current one would spend more, do it faster and aim more investment toward disadvantaged communities.
“The science tells us there is no time for delay on climate change,” the plan says. “Biden will make a $2 trillion accelerated investment, with a plan to deploy those resources over his first term, setting us on an irreversible course to meet the ambitious climate progress that science demands.”
Why only $2 trillion? That’s less than the U.S is spending to remediate COVID 19 — i.e. to deal not only with the disease itself, but also dealing with its current and future effects on people and the economy.
Consider the current an future effects of global warming:
Arctic ‘transitioning’ to a new climate
Extremes are becoming routine, study suggests.
The Arctic has started to transition from predominantly frozen to an entirely different climate, according to a new report.
Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists from the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) say the planet’s north has warmed so significantly that its year-to-year variability is moving outside the bounds of any past fluctuations, signalling the move to a new normal.
Sea ice has melted to the extent that even an unusually cold year will no longer have the amount of summer sea ice that existed as recently as the mid-20th century.
“The rate of change is remarkable,” says lead author Laura Landrum. “It’s a period of such rapid change that observations of past weather patterns no longer show what you can expect next year.”
Ice is melting worldwide, especially at the Earth’s poles. Global sea levels are rising 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, and the rise is occurring at a faster rate in recent years.
Vanishing ice has challenged species such as the Adélie penguin in Antarctica, where some populations on the western peninsula have collapsed by 90 percent or more.
Precipitation (rain and snowfall) with severe floods has increased across the globe, on average.
Yet, some regions are experiencing more severe drought, increasing the risk of wildfires, lost crops, and drinking water shortages.
Ticks, jellyfish, and crop pests—are thriving. Booming populations of bark beetles that feed on spruce and pine trees, for example, have devastated millions of forested acres in the U.S.
Hurricanes and other storms are likely to become stronger.
Large parts of the U.S., for example, face a higher risk of decades-long “megadroughts” by 2100.
Less freshwater will be available, since glaciers store about three-quarters of the world’s freshwater.
Some diseases will spread, such as mosquito-borne malaria (and the 2016 resurgence of the Zika virus).
Ecosystems will continue to change: Some species will move farther north or become more successful; others, such as polar bears, won’t be able to adapt and could become extinct.
And we as a species, may not be able to tolerate the heat in many parts of the globe. Much of the world will become unlivable:
Unsuitable for ‘human life to flourish’: Up to 3B will live in extreme heat by 2070, study warns
Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
Temperatures over the next few decades are projected to increase rapidly as a result of human greenhouse gas emissions.
Without climate mitigation or migration, by 2070 a substantial part of humanity will be exposed to average annual temperatures warmer than nearly anywhere today, the study said. These brutally hot climate conditions are currently experienced by just 0.8% of the global land surface, mostly in the hottest parts of the Sahara Desert, but by 2070 the conditions could spread to 19% of the Earth’s land area.
These are projections. They may be high or low. Yes, the situation could even be much worse than projected. Are we willing to take that chance with the future of our grandchildren and their grandchildren? Is this the legacy we wish to leave for future generations?
But it gets even worse:
Climate change will reduce food production which is predicted to lead to a net increase of 529,000 adult deaths worldwide by 2050, according to a 2016 study.
Climate change could also force more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030, according to World Bank estimates, which in turn, would make them more vulnerable to the health effects of the changing climate.
This planet is our only home, and will be our only home for the foreseeable future. We are like a tiny lifeboat in a giant ocean. The lifeboat is leaking but still, we argue about whether to fix the leaks. It’s madness.
Republicans warned the plan would further sink the economy and trigger the loss of millions more jobs.
“Today, Joe Biden gave a speech in which he said the core of his economic agenda is a hard-left crusade against American energy,” President Trump said during an hourlong Rose Garden polemic against Biden.
“He wants to kill American energy. This would do nothing for the environment but would cripple the American economy.”
Trump doesn’t want you to know that Biden wants to add stimulus dollars to the economy. This will create far more jobs than did Trump’s tax cuts for the rich.
Some key details, however, were absent from (Biden’s) proposal. Most notably, it does not specify how it would be paid for.
Senior campaign officials said a rollback of the Trump tax cuts, as well an increase in corporate taxes would be part of the payment plan, which the campaign vowed to release in the coming months.
The best part of Biden’s plan is that it would add $2 trillion to the economy. A rollback of tax cuts and an increase in corporate taxes would be unnecessary and counter-productive.
The U.S. federal government is Monetarily Sovereign., Unlike state and local governments, and unlike euro nation governments, the U.S. federal government neither needs nor uses tax dollars. It creates new dollars, ad hoc, to pay for all its spending.
The whole question of “How will this be paid for” is obsolete. The federal government pays for everything by creating new dollars. Anyone who asks how a federal program will be paid for demonstrates abject ignorance about federal financing. The federal government never can run short of dollars.
Think of those tax dollars you work so hard to earn and then are forced to send to the U.S. Treasury. Those dollars are destroyed upon receipt, never to be used or seen again. Rolling back tax cuts and/or increasing corporate taxes would take growth dollars from the economy and not help pay for anything.
Biden has also said he supports a carbon tax — a policy many environmental economists say is crucial to effectively curbing climate change — but there is no mention of that in the current proposal.
The only purpose of a carbon tax would not be to raise funds for the government, but rather to penalize and discourage the use of carbon-based fuel and products.
Far better, however, would be to reward and encourage the use of alternative eco-friendly, non-carbon-based products, just as the government now does to encourage the use of solar panels. The carrot is better than the stick, especially when the carrot will stimulate jobs and economic growth.
The audacity of the spending plan reflects the increased appetite among voters for taking action to curb global warming, as scientists warn time is running short and Trump administration rollbacks have left America isolated from the global effort.
“When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax,’” Biden said. “The word I think of is ‘jobs.’”
He aims to create 1 million new auto industry jobs by pushing the industry to take the lead in electric-vehicle manufacturing. High-speed rail is a focal point of the plan, as is a big investment in zero-emission public transit.
“Pushing” these industries should not mean “forcing” these industries; it should mean “rewarding” these industries. The federal government should use its unlimited power-of-the-purse to encourage carbon-zero business activities.
The goal for quickly decarbonizing the power sector would require new subsidies such as tax credits and grants to accelerate production of solar and wind energy technologies.
The federal government would also help subsidize the retrofitting of 4 million buildings to make them more energy efficient and aim to create 250,000 jobs “plugging abandoned oil and natural gas wells and reclaiming abandoned coal, hardrock, and uranium mines.”
And far better than more tax cuts for the rich or eliminating consumer protection laws would be this:
Much of the money would be aimed at disadvantaged communities.
“We have to make sure that the first people who benefit from this are the people who were most hurt historically,“ Biden said.
His plan sets a goal that low-income communities that have traditionally suffered disproportionately from pollution would receive 40% of “overall benefits of spending” by the federal government in areas such as clean energy and energy efficiency, green transportation and sustainable housing.
Trump has crippled our consumer protection agencies, not only by cutting regulations but also by removing experienced and competent leaders and installing incompetent, crooked, and/or inexperienced lackeys to run these agencies: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, HUD Secretary Ben Carson are but a few examples.
Underpinning the plan is a restructuring of key agencies in the federal government, restoring the climate-forward focus put in place by the Obama administration but then abandoned by Trump.
The Justice Department, for example, would launch a new Environmental and Climate Justice Division “to hold polluters accountable.”
“We’re going to hold accountable those CEOs of corporations that benefit from decades of subsidies that just walked away from their responsibilities to these communities, leaving the wells to leak,” Biden said.
Such an agency was championed by Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, an early rival of Biden’s in the presidential primary who ran on a platform dominated by confronting climate change. Biden adopted several of the ideas pushed by Inslee in his plan.
This article summarizes it best:
“Climate change is causing injuries, illnesses and deaths, with the risks projected to increase substantially with additional climate change, threatening the health of many millions of people,” the report said. “The pervasive threats to health posed by climate change demand decisive actions from health professionals and governments to protect the health of current and future generations.”
The world is dying right before our eyes. Donald Trump is lying, denying, hampering, and hindering. The sand is running down the hourglass. The time to save the planet for our species rapidly is disappearing.
While Biden’s recommended $2 trillion is a notable start in saving the world, it is far too little and may be too late. How much is the future of humankind worth, especially when the money is free?
Efforts to save the planet not only will help assure our grandchildren’s futures, but money spent today will grow our economy today, providing jobs and money to those who need it, while narrowing the Gap between the rich and the rest.
Act now, or too soon there will come a tipping point, when having squandered all our opportunities, we watch helplessly as our little lifeboat in this vast ocean, sinks.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE.
The most important problems in economics involve:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
- Eliminate FICA
- Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone
- Social Security for all or a reverse income tax
- Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
- Salary for attending school
- Eliminate federal taxes on business
- Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually.
- Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.
- Federal ownership of all banks
- Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9%
The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.
11 thoughts on “COVID-19 is the most important event in 80 years, but this is far more important yet.”
Dear Mr. Mitchell,
I’ve been reading your newsletter for some time now and for the most part you make valid arguments and enlightening commentary on very important issues. On the topic of climate change and climate science, I feel you and you readers may benefit from a book recently written by Michael Shellenberger.
My hope is that you and others that happen upon this comment will gain additional knowledge on the topic of climate change and upon doing so will feel a bit of relief from the climate apocalypse narrative that you and others are inadvertently promoting.
Here’s and excerpt from a recent podcast hosted by Michael Shermer (see link below for the pod cast website).
“Michael Shellenberger has been fighting for a greener planet for decades. He helped save the world’s last unprotected redwoods. He co-created the predecessor to today’s Green New Deal. And he led a successful effort by climate scientists and activists to keep nuclear plants operating, preventing a spike of emissions. But in 2019, as some claimed “billions of people are going to die,” contributing to rising anxiety, including among adolescents, Shellenberger decided that, as a lifelong environmental activist, leading energy expert, and father of a teenage daughter, he needed to speak out to separate science from fiction. His conclusion: “Climate change is real but it’s not the end of the world. It is not even our most serious environmental problem.”
Michael Shermer pods cast: https://www.skeptic.com/science-salon/michael-shellenberger-apocalypse-never-why-environmental-alarmism-hurts-us-all/
I suspect you sent me this information about Shellenberger, rather than about the thousands of climatologists who feel global warming is a great threat to humanity, because Shellenberger agrees with your preformed opinion.
Given the 100-vs -1 choice, you chose the 1. So I am curious about why you reject the opinions of the vast majority. What do you find so convincing about Shellenberger’s separation of science from fiction.
Paraphrasing the article: If I am wrong, the only penalty is that we will have spent a great deal of time and money creating eco-friendly solutions. Not much of a penalty.
But, if I am right, the penalty we will pay is the deaths of millions.
Sparing me the time and effort of reading a book, can you summarize for me, what courses of action Shellenberger suggests? Thank you.
Michael Shellenberger is a self-proclaimed environmentalist and not a climate scientist. In fact he is not a scientist of any kind, he is an environmental activist and policy wonk. He, like most climate deniers, cherry pick data and draw conclusions based on half truths that are overly simplistic and misleading.
He also makes the same argument right wingers make that scientists are being alarmist because they are only motivated by prestige and lucrative research grants, and ignore the trillions of dollars at stake by vested interests in the status quo.
Climate change is an existential threat and many people simply prefer to tell a good news story rather than leave their personal comfort zones and face the hard realities of a warming planet. It is so much easier to do nothing, and convince others as well, especially when you personally are unlikely to experience any consequences.
Rodger has it exactly right, if we take dramatic action now and we are wrong about climate change, then the outcome is we have created millions of jobs and developed cleaner more sustainable energy sources. If we do nothing and we are wrong, millions more will die.
How is this even an argument? (BTW, this is the same logical fallacy behind wearing/not wearing masks to prevent spread of COVID19)
I’m not sure what Shellenberger’s motives are: Sell books? The joy of arguing? Or just the thrill of being a contrarian and having “discovered” some truth that most people haven’t yet discovered.
I currently am a contrarian in the conventional world of economics (although the conventional world may be changing), and I can tell Mr. Shellenberger that being a contrarian isn’t as thrilling as he may believe.
His situation is worse than mine. I can hope to see myself vindicated and accepted by the majority. He cannot, even in the unlikely case he is correct, he cannot be proven correct.
Worse yet, he finds himself in agreement with Donald Trump, which alone should give Shellenberger pause.
The media is horribly complicit in all of this. In their never ending fecklessness to appear unbiased they give equal time to all these climate deniers, and thereby obfuscate the truth and associated risks of climate change. Legitimate science and the scientific method are fundamentally unbiased, and any bias that is present is usually checked during the peer review process.
Scientists don’t have a vested interest in a specific outcome, they typically seek facts and develop theories based on those facts that explain observations. Climate deniers, on the other hand, are fundamentally biased in that they have vested personal, political, and financial interests in opposing the science. Giving equal time to climate deniers in the interest of being unbiased, introduces enormous amount of destructive bias into the dialogue with disastrous consequences.
Just as maddening is the claim on the right of bias within the climate science community because all these climate scientist are just “trying to get grant money”. Somehow in their tortured logic, scientists fighting over millions of dollars in grant money is a greater incentive for bias than the energy industry with trillions of dollars in potential profits in untapped oil fields at stake.
Meanwhile while Trump and his Republican enablers fiddle, the gulf coast drowns and the west burns.
No mention of radioactive waste material derived from “clean” nuclear power. Where do we bury it without fear of leakage, or the distinct possibility of accident or sabotage during transport to the bural ground. The more we rely on nuclear the more waste, and the greater the chances of everything going to hell. You can add this to the climate apocalypse narrative.
Thorium might be a possibility. See: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/destroying-nuclear-waste-to-create-clean-energy-it-can-be-done
The following is not for those who rely on palm readers, astrologists, quack doctors, QAnon, conspiracy theorists, and Fox News for their daily information.
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posted on 16 September 2020
COVID-19 Is The Most Important Event In 80 Years, But This Is Far More Important Yet.
by Rodger Malcolm Mitchell, http://www.nofica.com
John B. Lounsbury Ph.D. CFP
Managing Editor Econintersect.com
Senior Contributor TheStreet.com
Highly ranked author Seeking Alpha
For those of you who enjoy being lied to, and who think it is just fine for the President of the United States to lie again and again and again and again and . . .
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As the planet warms, starving birds are falling from the sky in a “mass die-off”
By AJ Dellinger
According to researchers at New Mexico State University, flycatchers, swallows, wood-pewees, and warblers are experiencing a “mass die-off” as they attempt to make their way across parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and Nebraska.
Many of the affected species are insectivores and long-distance migrants that spend the fall months making the trip from parts of Alaska and Canada down to Central and South America for the winter.
During that trip, they pass through parts of the western and southern US. Typically on these trips, the birds would stop every couple days to scavenge for food and replenish themselves before continuing the journey.
That has become untenable for a variety of reasons, most of which are linked directly to the effects of climate change.