War on Science, Coronavirus edition: The same cast of climate change deniers turn their guns on public health experts

  • Published on April 9th, 2020

Whether it’s the fiscal pressure evidenced by the layoffs at API and Heartland, or the ideological assault of a government actually doing something in the face of a crisis, deniers seem to be moving from a somewhat passive skepticism of coronavirus measures to actively advocating against them, and they’re using a familiar strategy.

coronavirus covid19

By Climate Denier Roundup

We’ve already talked about the campaign against public health officials waged by former smoking shills turned climate deniers, like Steve Milloy. Now deniers like Marc Morano have started questioning if it’s really so bad, saying Trump is “being held captive by ‘public health’ officials.”

Then there’s Heartland’s neo-Nazi-ish neo-Greta-wannabe Naomi Seibt, who’s engaging in the casually genocidal practice of using a virus as a metaphor to dehumanize others, calling public health experts “a virus to your intelligence.” Though obviously it’s a metaphor, and there’s no evidence that Seibt is in any way acting in concert with the groups of neo-Nazi accelerationists who are exploiting coronavirus, it was also just a metaphor when Hitler talked about “how many diseases have their origin in the Jewish virus!”

Getting back to climate, deniers have long raged against climate models. Turns out that they can use the exact same arguments to cast doubt on coronavirus models! That’s according to climate deniers at CFACT as well as in the Wall Street Journal, where an op-ed published last week warns that “When competing models are giving wildly different, and in some cases frightening, predictions, the pressure on governments to adopt a draconian approach can be overwhelming. But, as we are seeing, the costs of such measures are extraordinarily high.”

The op-ed’s authors are talking about Covid-19, but their argument is completely interchangeable for what deniers say on climate. Doubt and denial are the only tools coronavirus and climate deniers have to work with, and deniers are decidedly not experts on anything but deception.

Okay, well there’s one other thing they can do: lavish undue praise on the fossil fuel industry. For that, we have a piece in the not-so-undercover-rightwing-and-industry propaganda outlet RealClearEnergy by Katie Tahuahua from the not-so-undercover-rightwing-and-industry propganda front group the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

With all the subtlety and finesse of a cartoon piano falling off a building, the headline reads “Surviving the coronavirus? Thank fossil fuels.

It’s not until halfway through this ode to her funders does Tahuahua think to mention how those “working in health care today are selflessly placing their own well-being at risk to give us all access to the advanced medical care we so often take for granted”, but that sentiment is immediately undercut by how she chose to end the sentence: “just like the energy that powers it.”

In case you were wondering, apparently not all electrons are equal: Tahuahua claims renewables are just not good enough to keep the life-saving electricity flowing to hospitals and concludes by calling on policy-makers to “forcefully oppose any policy… that weakens the reliability of our electric grid or raises the cost of electricity for any reason.”

Since renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels and just as reliable, we agree with that statement! Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry is in desperate need of money and policies that raise the cost of electricity to keep them online.

Making the piece, like most climate denial, both morally repugnant AND factually inaccurate.

(Crossposted with DailyKos.)

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