How will the coronavirus change perceptions of climate change
By Krestine Reed
I’ve become interested in how COVID-19 sequestration (a.k.a. social distancing and shelter-in-place) may effect GHG and other factors contributing to climate change. There is much being written that acknowledges just how little time is required to make a significant visible and measurable change. We are currently emerged in a real-time case study that shows how existing energy and economic systems adapt to abrupt changes. I’m just hoping that those in the power seats are paying attention. Here is an article of interest that was in Scientific American, March 12, 2020.
“History suggests that global disasters, particularly those with major effects on the economy, tend to drive a temporary decline in carbon emissions. The 2008 recession, for instance, was accompanied by a temporary dip in global carbon emissions. On a local scale, the climate impact of an epidemic is more complex—it’s likely to hinge on a wide variety of changes in the way people carry out their daily lives, from how often they leave their homes to how they travel around their cities to how they do their shopping.” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-the-coronavirus-pandemic-is-affecting-co2-emissions/.
I recently noticed that capitalism never misses a profit making opportunity. In the security of our “social distancing” confines comes the offer to purchase a new automobile and have it delivered to your driveway. And if your personal income stream is interrupted by COVID-19, you are offered extended terms in which to begin repayment. Now that’s ingenious marketing in a fear-based downturned economy. Only in America does consumerism and materialism have the fervor of religion. I’m a little disappointed though, so far I’ve only seen automobile manufacturers of combustion engines offering this deal. At my new house, I got local channels included in the Wave package, so I watched some TV with all those ads. Thank goodness I can get the TV channels option removed.
Federal scientists and lawyers, told to undo regulations that some have worked on for decades, have embedded data into technical documents that environmental lawyers are using to challenge the rollbacks.
These are very difficult times for so many. I have been very touched by the messages that I have received from readers, many of whom are isolated now and are renewing their friendship with Mma Ramotswe and the others.
I have written a poem especially for this moment, and the text is below. It comes to you with my warmest wishes, and my hope that you are keeping well.
“In a time of distance”
The unexpected always happens in the way The unexpected has always occurred: While we are doing something else, While we are thinking of altogether Different things — matters that events Then show to be every bit as unimportant As our human concerns so often are; And then, with the unexpected upon us, We look at one another with a sort of surprise; How could things possibly turn out this way When we are so competent, so pleased With the elaborate systems we’ve created — Networks and satellites, intelligent machines, Pills for every eventuality — except this one?
And so we turn again to face one another And discover those things We had almost forgotten, But that, mercifully, are still there: Love and friendship, not just for those To whom we are closest, but also for those Whom we do not know and of whom Perhaps we have in the past been frightened; The words brother and sister, powerful still, Are brought out, dusted down, Found to be still capable of expressing What we feel for others, that precise concern; Joined together in adversity We discover things we had put aside: Old board games with obscure rules, Books we had been meaning to read, Letters we had intended to write, Things we had thought we might say But for which we never found the time; And from these discoveries of self, of time, There comes a new realization That we have been in too much of hurry, That we have misused our fragile world, That we have forgotten the claims of others Who have been left behind; We find that out in our seclusion, In our silence; we commit ourselves afresh, We look for a few bars of song That we used to sing together, A long time ago; we give what we can, We wait, knowing that when this is over A lot of us — not all perhaps — but most, Will be slightly different people, And our world, though diminished, Will be much bigger, its beauty revealed afresh.
“Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.” — Milton Friedman
UCS is monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily and may modify our supporter communications as we do our best to balance progress on our shared priorities with the ongoing public health crisis. We encourage all our supporters to practice social distancing to the extent possible and have implemented several practices at UCS. Stay well.
Dammed to Extinction is now available for streaming on-line, for $4.99
COVID-19 resource .Doc for US local groups — from 350.org These resources were collected with the goal of best supporting the resilient network of 350 US groups during the emergence of COVID-19. This is a living doc intended for local groups to share within their organization and communities.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (Winter 2020) reports that Subaru is in a group of automakers trying to fight California’s right to keep a higher emission/efficiency standard while the Trump administration is rolling back the national standards.
OCA member Janis Burger is a Subaru owner and she’s written a letter to Ms. Anton, Manager of Corporate Communications in the U.S. (email@example.com). Janis would like to share that letter with other members and Subaru owners alike.
Why California gets to write its own auto emissions standards: 5 questions answered — The Conversation
I’m hoping you can pass these concerns on to the relevant corporate decision makers.
I’ve been a Subaru owner for most of my adult life, as are many of my friends here in outdoorsy Washington state. We are also surrounded by mountains with declining snowpack and retreating glaciers. We are seeing worrisome declines in downstream water supplies, increasing forest fires and days with health-compromising smoke, and more. And ocean acidification is exacerbated on our coast and impacting tidepool species, even in Olympic National Park and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. They can be protected somewhat by their park and sanctuary status, but not from inaction by us humans regarding climate change.
It’s a crime that the newest Subaru’s and even the hybrid Cross-trek barely get better mileage than my old 1992 Legacy got. The Obama administration’s efforts to increase vehicle efficiency and emissions standards were a strong move to cutting global emissions. Now the current administration is ignoring science and trying to roll those back and is even challenging California’s right to keep the higher standards. So it’s shocking that Subaru is part of the disingenuously named Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation that is fighting California’s right in the absence of stronger federal standards. As the Union for Concerned Scientists has reported, Subaru at least has removed the hypocritical posting on its website about AWD vehicles keeping us safe in a changing environment, all the while fighting efficiency standards that would help fight that change.
I will be taking a look at Honda’s line of SUVs and hybrids now since they, BMW, Ford and VW are siding with California.
I hope Subaru’s management will be a better corporate citizen of this planet, join the automakers above to embrace the original Obama guidelines (or even strive to exceed the more ambitious standards since we’re seeing the climate warming faster than even experts predicted).
I’ll be sharing this email with all my Subaru owning friends and members of our local climate action group so we can get the word out.
If you have any updates, I’d love to hear from you.
What if you thought of it as the Jews consider the Sabbath— the most sacred of times? Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling. Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life. Center down.
And when your body has become still, reach out with your heart. Know that we are connected in ways that are terrifying and beautiful. (You could hardly deny it now.) Know that our lives are in one another’s hands. (Surely, that has come clear.) Do not reach out your hands. Reach out your heart. Reach out your words. Reach out all the tendrils of compassion that move, invisibly, where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love– for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, so long as we all shall live.