A Story of Two Hysteria Half 2 – Are You Achieved With It?

Reposted by Forbes

Tilak Doshi contributor
I analyze energy economics and related political issues.

A little over a year ago, I wrote an article on these pages pointing out the remarkable similarities in government responses to the effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. Last year’s developments have only underscored the resilience of these similarities. The striking parallels in government policy to reduce perceived “existential threats” to humanity have become even more remarkable. They reveal a number of critical shortcomings in policy-making, from over-reliance on speculative models, lack of transparency and ideological corruption of science, selective reporting and groupthink, to the suppression of skeptics. Let’s review some of these parallels in government policy towards the Covid pandemic and climate change.

Two current events

On the Covid-19 front, the most explosive development concerns the increasing plausibility of the view that the Sars-Cov-2 virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This happened after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and senior medical advisor to the President, openly denied it for over a year. This was accompanied by an onslaught of supportive articles from the mainstream media and the demonization of Senator Tom Cotton as a “conspiracy theorist”. He was one of the first to increase the likelihood of a laboratory release of the coronavirus from the Wuhan Institute. Newly published emails from Dr. Fauci now suggest that he may know that the Chinese research institute was doing dangerous gain-of-function research.

Perhaps equally important in the wars of climate change is the publication of Steve Koonin’s book Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters. Professor Koonin is a leading climate scientist graduated from Caltech and MIT with over 200 papers. Previously, he was provost at Caltech and senior scientist at BP. Most importantly, he was the scientific advisor to former President Obama, who, after retiring from his government job and returning to science, “takes the ax” on “the climate emergency.” Despite his unimpeachable academic credentials and previous position with a democratic government, there has been no shortage of attempts to “cancel” Koonin, and hatchet jobs in his book are widespread (here, here, and here).

The use and abuse of models

The use of predictive models, often with highly controversial assumptions, has played an overwhelming role in guiding government responses. In my previous article, I pointed out how the inexpedient model of Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, London, panicked governments in the UK and the US into severe economic and social lockdowns with incalculable collateral damage to life and livelihoods altogether Populations in many countries. This, as I mentioned earlier, could be compared to the alarmist “hockey stick” chart of global warming that has been adopted by climate activists, the mass media and politicians since its publication in 1999. This has resulted in huge public funding for subsidies and mandates over the past two decades in the US and Western Europe to advance expensive and unreliable “renewable energy” technologies, which ultimately has little impact on global fossil fuel dependence.

My previous article suggested that lockdown policies are to the pandemic what decarbonization (“net zero by 2050”) is to climate change. There’s growing research to show that lockdowns – people who stay home, small and medium-sized businesses are forced to close – don’t work. There is no relationship between the severity of the lockdowns and Covid mortality. A paper published by NBER last month found no positive effects of “shelters” or lockdown measures on excess mortality. The effects of lockdown orders have been assessed in 43 countries and all 50 US states. The main finding was that arranging housing on-site not only reduced the number of deaths, but actually resulted in a number of deaths from all causes. Well-documented collateral damage from lockdowns includes widespread poverty, depression, bankruptcy, and unemployment (here, here, and here). It was becoming increasingly clear that the lockdowns had little basis in scientific research and that hysteria and groupthink were largely responsible for their adoption. The folly and hubris of central planners and preferred technocrats were seen in full

The excessive costs of the “decarbonisation” measures pursued in many countries are also well documented. The Federal Audit Office warned in a recent report that the drive for “net zero” had become an existential threat to the economy. The auditor sees “the danger that the energy turnaround in this form will endanger Germany as a business location and overwhelm the financial strength of electricity-consuming companies and private households”. The report notes that as energy costs rise, decarbonization not only threatens the country with deindustrialization, but also sees an alarming threat to the country’s energy security. California, with an aggressive decarbonisation policy similar to that in Germany, is now confronted with the threat of power outages as electricity costs “explode”.

According to Roger Bootle, founder of Capital Economics Ltd and author of the book “The” from 1996, the path to “net zero by 2050″ promoted by the International Energy Agency, the European Union and the British and US governments is now threatening the global one Inflation death of inflation ”. He said, “If I had to put my money on a single factor that would drive costs up in the years to come, I would say that environmental focus, and specifically the pursuit of net zero … is a whole lot of cost and price increases throughout [global] Economy.”

“Follow Science”

The mantra “follow science”, cited endlessly by politicians to justify a draconian lockdown and decarbonisation policy, was used to free oneself from democratic constraints and the duty to form judgments. Relying on “The Science” is both foolish and dangerous, because science is neither consensual nor the “definitive answer” to any political debate. Which scientists are you listening to? Science is a methodology that constantly seeks plausible answers that match empirically validated models, rather than some abstract final state of “known knowledge”. Epidemiological and climate models, which are used to predict outcomes of highly uncertain and only partially understood processes, often produce results that are “sociological” and designed to provide politically correct answers. These abstract predictive models, which are not subject to empirical validation, can by all means be “worse than nothing”.

Appeals to science and predictive models have dominated advocacy for a policy of the power triumvirate – lawmakers, bureaucrats, and the mainstream media – to mitigate perceived threats to human wellbeing, be it the Covid pandemic or climate change. But such appeals are ultimately political. The final word is perhaps best with the eminent American essayist HL Mencken, who wrote, “The whole goal of practical politics is to keep the population on alert (and therefore clamoring to safety) by providing them with an endless series threatened by hobgoblins. most of them imaginary ”.

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