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Global warming caused Wuhan virus but didn't

12 Feb 2020 | OP ED Watch

Well, that was fast. As Eric Worrall notes in Watt’s Up With That, Time magazine is already predicting that warming will make lethal coronaviruses spread more quickly. This ambulance-chasing piece has the usual disclaimer that in citing the rapid spread of Wuhan as in-your-face evidence of the terrifying evils of climate change there’s no actual evidence that climate change had anything to do with the rapid spread of Wuhan. But it will next time because you know.

In a way it’s odd to find the once-standard disclaimer at all. Nowadays climate change is fearlessly blamed for everything from declining bumble bee numbers to an inadequate supply of sufficiently refined cheese for the culinarily as well as climatically woke. See, a lack of grazing is forcing French farmers to feed cows hay… even though there has not been an increase in climate-driven drought or any other kind. Nor does it matter that the bees have been declining since the 1970s, long before the temperature rise we’re now experiencing. Time runs in funny directions in this area, so “Hotter earth is killing off bumblebees”.

The disclaimer about Wuhan is also characteristically uttered from both sides of author Justin Worland’s mouth. “I have no evidence that climate change triggered this particular virus to jump from animals to humans at this particular time, or that a warmer planet has helped it spread. That said, it’s pretty clear that, broadly speaking, climate change is likely to lead to an uptick in future epidemics caused by viruses and other pathogens. Scientists have understood for decades that climate change would change the way diseases spread, but, as the planet warms, those hypotheses are being tested and scientists are learning in real time.”

So there’s no evidence and the hypothesis is being tested against it? Don’t you need evidence to test a hypothesis? Well, yesly no and vice versa. Whereas if all you have is speculation evidence isn’t necessary. Apparently the problem is that diseases that adapt to warmer temperatures outside our bodies also do better inside our bodies which are warm. And viruses like Wuhan that live inside bats don’t kill bats because bats have warm body temperatures, warmer than ours, but if the earth gets warmer bats will still be safe and we won’t although neither our body temperature nor theirs will have changed. And as is well known, there were no plagues in cold periods like the Dark Ages or the Little Ice Age.

Or were there? As Worrall comments critically, “The problem with this theory is there are large regions of the world which remain near body temperature all the time, and which did so even in pre-industrial times. At most this region has expanded a hundred miles or so North and South due to global warming. There were also significant periods of geological history, such as the Eemian Interglacial and the Holocene Optimum, when mammals including hominids experienced extended periods of far warmer temperatures than today.” But never mind.

As this “Science” piece in Time notes, “For decades, scientists have recognized that climate change would lead to a range of public health consequences.” And every single one of them will be bad “from malnutrition to malaria”. Because climate change is like Satan but more so. And thus it’s behind the rapid spread of Wuhan even if it’s not.

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