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All those years of climate science denial led to denial of COVID-19 pandemic

Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week


Neela Bannerjee and David Hasemyer at Inside Climate News write—Decades of Science Denial Related to Climate Change Has Led to Denial of the Coronavirus PandemicAfter the fossil fuel industry spent hundreds of millions of dollars undermining climate science, it’s easy to see how epidemiology came next:

American science denialism, deployed for years against climate change and, most recently, the coronavirus, can be traced back to the early 1950s during the fight over smog in Los Angeles.  

When a Cal-Tech biochemist fingered nitrogen oxide emissions and uncombusted hydrocarbons from automobiles and refineries as the cause of the thick smog that often blanketed the city, the American Petroleum Institute counter-attacked by highlighting the alleged uncertainty of his science. The tactic was a test run for the fossil fuel industry’s assault 40 years later on climate science.

Decades of climate denial now appear to have paved the way for denial of Covid-19 by many on the right, according to experts on climate politics. After the fossil fuel industry spent hundreds of millions of dollars attacking climate scientists and accentuating the supposed uncertainty of climate science, it isn’t hard to understand how that happened.

President Trump, who denies climate change, has brushed off Covid-19’s seriousness until recently by relying on many of the same arguments he uses to dismiss global warming, such as ignoring government scientists or blaming China.   

Climate deniers have long attacked climate scientists, and Covid-19 deniers recently launched a smear campaign against Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in part because he corrected the President’s inaccurate statements about the pandemic. […]

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QUOTATION

“A state of half-ignorance and half-indifference is a much more pervasive climate sickness than true denial or true fatalism.”
             ~~David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (2019)

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2006—Joe Wilson Responds to Washington Post Editorial:

The world awakened this morning to a puzzle of ridiculousness: a Washington Post op/ed that can only be described as a hit piece on Joseph Wilson’s “absurdly over-examined visit” (the editorial’s words, certainly not mine) to Niger, in which the editorial staff claims there was no effort at the White House to discredit Mr. Wilson … while its news pages headlined an investigative piece on the front page entitled “A `Concerted Effort’ to Discredit Bush Critic.”

The ironic juxtaposition of the two articles was not lost on Mr. Wilson, who in a private communication to me this morning (sorry, no link) made the following statement:

Sunday’s Washington Post lead editorial once again misrepresents the facts as the paper’s own reporting in the Barton/Linzer article in the same edition makes clear. While I respect the separation of news and editorial function it might be helpful to the Post’s readers if the editorial board would at least read the news before offering its judgments.  One of the reasons my trip to Niger has been overanalyzed, as the Post editorial says, is because people like those who wrote the editorial continue to misconstrue the facts and the conclusions.”

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin says polls say no one’s buying what Trump’s saying. Ending federal testing funds won’t help things, either. Trumpsters are already arguing the deaths are overcounted. OTOH, the slush fund may be less slushy than originally feared.

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