A recent article (23 March, 2020) by Eric Schliesser and Eric Winsberg (“S&W”) in The New Statesman: America, “Climate and coronavirus: the science is not the same,” attempts to make the case for separating climate science – specifically the facts about Anthropogenic Global Warming (“AGW”) – from the COVID-19 pandemic.i This pandemic is driven by the “novel coronavirus,” but I will stick to just “COVID-19.” Superficially, there is nothing wrong with wanting to do so since these are, after all, different topics. But just because the two subjects are non-identical does not mean that lively and effective analogies cannot be drawn between them. It is this last point that S&W wish to deny. Their attempt is specious on multiple levels, and I wish to address a few of those levels here.
To address this speciousness, we must understand the nature of the argument that S&W are making.ii The abbreviated form of their argument goes something like this: (1) The facts about COVID-19 remain highly questionable, as the amount of data is severely truncated by lack of testing, and significantly variable methodologies of evaluations across international, and even local, lines. (2) This lack of data makes any comparison with, or analogy between, COVID-19 and AGW an error. (3) Further, the paucity of adequate data regarding COVID-19 requires us to view any and all such claims with great skepticism. (4) Such skepticism, in fact, that dramatic action which entails substantial economic impact ought to be rejected wholesale. Continue reading