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The real wake-up call for the world


AS London falls silent, there are a few news items to pull together, all of course coronavirus connected. In no particular order:

Marc Morano brings news of an interview with former UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres on Channel 4 News. 

Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked: ‘Is there any sense that this could be self-controlling – that as we see economic growth possibly slowing down around the world, because of coronavirus – that’s actually good for the climate?’

Figueres replied: ‘Well, that is, ironically, of course, the other side of this – right? It may be good for climate. But I think – because there is less trade, there’s less travel, there’s less commerce.’

Weaponising coronavirus, Figueres said we could expect more disease outbreaks ‘if we continue to deny, delude and delay on climate change’.

She also used the virus as an opportunity to plug the UN’s campaign to reduce and stop meat-eating around the world. ‘If we continue to eat animals, we will actually be poisoning ourselves and being the genesis new diseases that we have not seen before,’ Figueres explained.

There are a number of issues here:

1) She talks of ‘slower growth’, which ultimately means no improvements in living standards for the world’s poor. In reality, of course, her policies won’t just lead to slower growth, but a global recession.

2) Quite what diseases she has in mind if we deny climate change is a mystery.

3) As for meat eating, wet markets exist in China, and indeed many other parts of the third world, because people there are too poor to buy anything else. They would naturally love to be able to buy their food from Aldi instead, but that would involve all of the carbon spewing technology, production and transport she loathes. Maybe she expects them to eat bamboo shoots instead.


One of her fellow travelling eco-loonies goes even further. Climate activist, astrophysicist and 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 favour 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.

‘Venice . . . is now deathly silent. What a respite for the Venetians! What good news for the ecologists and tourist-haters! This positively affects the reduction of CO2 emission and the whole wave of destruction associated with holiday and professional conference tourism . . . It is certainly not very good for the economy in general, but it is fantastic for the environment.’


Meanwhile the eco-rabble at XR take a slightly different stance:

Drastic measures taken to stem the coronavirus outbreak demonstrate that climate change can be tackled, Extinction Rebellion has said. 

The environmental group pointed to a media reporton how pollution has dropped in China as attempts to stop the virus spreading led to factories being shut down. 

According to the report by the Independent, NASA said the drop in pollution was at least partly down to the economic slowdown brought on by efforts to contain coronavirus.

‘Closing industrial plants and asking people to stop at home has led to sharp drops in the burning of fossil fuels — a key cause of the climate crisis — in the world’s largest greenhouse gas producer,’ the report states.

Reacting on its Facebook page, Extinction Rebellion wrote: ‘Proof that the climate and ecological emergency is solvable and that the solution has nothing to do with population.

‘It’s more about consumption. It’s more about a not fit for purpose economy. It’s more about how we organize as a society and decide how we want to live.

‘We can withdraw our consent from this ecocidal, oppressive and destructive system, and decide to live in a different way. All together. Another world is possible.’

XR don’t explain how millions of Chinese workers are supposed to feed, house, clothe and otherwise support their families without any pay coming in for the rest of their lives. Or how the country can return to pre industrial times without hundreds of millions dying.


Then we have Slow Joe coming to along to offer his solution to the ‘Climate Crisis’:

‘Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made extreme remarks during CNN’s presidential debate on Sunday night, suggesting that he would end the oil industry’s ability to drill, would ban new fracking projects, and would take millions of cars off the road. 

‘During a debate in December, Biden indicated that he was willing to cut hundreds of thousands of oil and natural gas jobs.’

Which all rather neatly brings us full circle to coronavirus and the lockdown of much of the European economy. Because if Figueres, Biden and the eco-rabble get their way, the current economic dislocation will look like a Christmas party in comparison.

Forget about ‘slower growth’; the policies proposed, not least in the UK, will shut down whole swathes of western economies, massively cut standards of living, lead to mass unemployment and leave many towns and cities as zombiefied as London appears to be today. And not for a few weeks or months, but for years.

That is the real wake-up call from the coronavirus.

This article was first published in Not a Lot of People Know That on March 17, 2020, and is republished by kind permission.

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Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood is a former accountant who blogs about climate change at Not a Lot of People Know That

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