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josie's avatar

Is the panic about Global Warming sort of like the panic about Coronavirus?

Asked by josie (30931points) March 6th, 2020

Meaning, you don’t know with certainty the extent of the problem, but you choose to capriciously believe that it is a crisis.

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23 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Yes. We are equally screwed.

Yellowdog's avatar

You can also die in your sleep or from a stray bullet. In fact, you’re more likely to.

Climate Change has been going on for millions of years. The same weather patterns and changes in them have been documented throughout history.

johnpowell's avatar

So yellow is suggesting gun control. Didn’t see that one coming. But that is a easy problem. We should work on that first.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Ask again in 3 months. Climate change will still be a crisis, but coronavirus will be all but forgotten.

Demosthenes's avatar

Climate change is a long-term process; coronavirus sprang up overnight. Coronavirus is likely to be more short-term, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty. It’s a “crisis” in that people are dying, it’s spreading quickly, and it’s affecting everyday life. That doesn’t mean I’m going to start freaking out, but there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging it as a crisis.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

“The sky is falling ! ! ! ”

seawulf575's avatar

Yes….they are pretty similar in that aspect. They are both projected to the public as a major crisis, but there is very little fact, or more accurately, there is only selective data coming out. But lots of people are saying it’s horrible so it must be true, eh?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

You really need to Science more @Wulfie.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Sure, why not?
The Swine flu and Carl Sagan’s “Global Ice Age” predictions from the 70’s have calmed..,.

kritiper's avatar

Climate change is a fact and has become more so with the influence of man upon the environment. (Deforestation, the addition of additional green house gasses brought on (and continuing) by the Industrial Revolution.)
Climate change effects the entire planet and all the life upon it. With any luck, COVID-19 will only affect humans.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

And once immunities are built up it shouldn’t have that much of an impact on humans before long. It’s just hitting hard now because it’s a brand new virus and literally no one has an immunity to it.

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_lll True, but for immunities to build up, everyone has to get it first…

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Yes. And everyone will get it. But 82% of those who get it symptoms will be mild.
There will always be a segment of the population who will be at higher risk.

kritiper's avatar

Those lucky 82% just won’t be as unlucky as the .7%
If 80 million are afflicted, at a death rate of 3.4%, that’s 2,720,000 fatalities.

YARNLADY's avatar

We can work on meds for the virus, but there is no cure for climate change.

Sagacious's avatar

What panic; I don’t see a panic about either.

stanleybmanly's avatar

They are exactly the same in 2 aspects. And that is that they are both guaranteed to grow more severe no matter what, as well as the fact that no one is certain as to how severe that will be.

jca2's avatar

The problem with the virus is that it’s not only affecting people (by making them ill) but it’s having a major and immediate effect on the economy. Airline travel is down, cruise travel is down, conferences and trade shows are being cancelled, festivals are being cancelled, people are going to restaurants less, rethinking vacations, rethinking anything where they’re in crowds (for example, Broadway shows). Jobs are going to be lost. If you work in an industry that is fueled by tourism (hotel, airline, etc.) you may lose your job. These things are going to take time to bounce back from, and who knows if the virus will return when the weather gets cold again. It’s not yet known whether or not the hot weather will impact it.

World stock markets are experiencing major impact, which will have sometimes devastating consequences on people’s retirement, people’s ability to make major purchases such as houses, etc.

Climate change will have a long term affect on us, but not such an immediate affect on economy.

JLeslie's avatar


The panic about coronavirus is similar to H1N1 panic several years ago. Even that is a little different, because we fairly quickly found out H1N1 was not as deadly as first thought, and the number of cases did lesson significantly as we moved out of flu season, but it did come back the next flu season, and continues to be around, but the news doesn’t talk about it so most people are clueless. This coronavirus whole towns are practically being disabled from commerce, travel is being cancelled, and so the economic effect is massive.

Climate change scares people, some people are especially freaked out, but the average person does not feel an immediate fear that changes their daily life significantly and suddenly.

Irukandji's avatar

They’re actually nearly complete opposites. COVID-19 is a short-term problem that we are acting on, whereas global warming is a long-term problem that we’re doing virtually nothing about. COVID-19 will cause fewer and fewer deaths over time, eventually dwindling to zero. Global warming will cause very few deaths until it suddenly causes a lot of them. COVID-19 is a new phenomenon about which many people are voraciously poring over the little information we have. Global warming is a long existing phenomenon about which few people care to familiarize themselves with the mountains of information we have (to the extent that many people pretend we don’t know much about it).

It’s not surprising. COVID-19 is the kind of problem that human beings are good at solving: the threat exists in the near term (which motivates us more than long-term problems), and it can be solved by a small group of people (all we need is for one team, or even just one individual doctor, to create a vaccine and public demand will take care of the rest). Global warming is the opposite. It is exactly the kind of problem that evolution did not prepare human beings to deal with. It requires a massive cooperative effort aimed at a problem that won’t truly come to a head for decades. Human beings aren’t even very good at looking out for their own individual future interests, so it’s no surprise that we aren’t very good at worrying about the future interests of our children.

The real problem, however, is apathy. Global warming “skeptics” may be loud, but they’re basically no more consequential than people who get drunk and shout at passersby from a street corner. Just another group of people who are blatantly wrong and completely ignorable. If we could activate all the people who recognize that global warming is happening but are currently choosing to do nothing about it, we’d have a coalition that could really make some changes. But it doesn’t happen because people are more likely to wallow indecisively or leave it for someone else to do. From an individual perspective, the problem looks too big. We can’t make a significant dent simply by changing our own behavior, and we can’t personally make anyone else change their behavior. So in fact we don’t panic. We give up instead. One more failure of the human spirit.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

There IS a cure for climate change @YARNLADY. At least for the climate change we humans caused.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Dutchess_lll This is the reason for all the controversy. I believe it is way too late, and impossible to expect people to make the necessary adjustments.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

No. We can still do this.

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