I apologise for the flippant and mediocre jokes I attempted in my recent blog on the coronavirus and climate emergencies. They were in bad taste for so serious a matter. The message though was clear – that the wartime action of rationing is the solution to panic buying by the public. My observations of the coronavirus crisis so far have been the fairly obvious ones – that government responses have been varied, sometimes reactionary and in many cases too late.
The recorded virus fatalities now (26.3) number over 20,000 and this figure leaps every few days on an exponential path. The fatality numbers vary greatly from nation to nation and appear much higher when government actions are minimal and/or late. Relatively the ‘command economy’ of China has fared much better and wartime experience suggests that this eventually will be the way of the climate emergency.
Though hard to imagine the fatalities and disruption of the climate emergency will be much greater than we are experiencing now. The ‘warming’ fatalities are already quite high but are seemingly unrelated to climate change. Two recent examples include the 372 extra fatalities during the heatwave that preceded Black Saturday or the more than 400 extra smoke related deaths that occurred during our recent bushfires. As the planet warms these uncounted ‘climate fatalities’ will continue increasing as a wide range of extreme weather events – heatwaves, droughts, bushfires, storms – get worse.
The media is yet to grasp the climate emergency like they have the coronavirus but the current treatment is surely indicative of what it will eventually look like. Whilst a vaccine for the coronavirus will be available within 18 months the climate emergency will dominate the lives of every living human being in one way or another for the foreseeable future. For one thing spreading harmful and misleading information on climate change, as some sections of our media have persisted with, will become a criminal offence.
But there is also some good news on the climate emergency front. When we start to tackle the climate emergency there will be no unemployment like the current crisis has engendered. The opposite will be the case with full employment and possibly even conscription to direct labor and resources to where they are most urgently required. In many cases there will be over full employment especially in the regions as our power systems become more decentralised. The dole office will be replaced by a labour co-ordinating office. And governments (mainly western) will move away from the ‘laisse faire’ of free enterprise towards that of a command economy.