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Peckman: What pandemic teaches us about climate change

Peckman: What pandemic teaches us about climate change

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Bob Peckman

Bob Peckman

Trump did not create the virus, but his lack of leadership resulted in economic and humanitarian disaster. More than 250,000 Americans are dead and we have the highest number of cases in the world.

Why are we among the world losers? Do not say that Trump was sabotaging our country. That is just as silly and counter-productive as saying that Biden wants riots and late-term abortions.

From Trump’s recently revealed comments, I think we can assume that he was telling reassuring lies to avoid upsetting the economy. He certainly has no qualms about panicking people by accusing Democrats of doing unimaginable things, as evidenced by the greater increase in gun sales.

Trump threw out Obama’s pandemic-response plan, shuttering the pandemic warning office in the National Security Council. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pulled our virus-watchers from China just months before the pandemic began, and he dismantled the stockpile of protective equipment. He did all these things to redirect some money back into the economy. While claiming a grand economy, we have borrowed at high rates and have also been selling our environmental treasures at bargain rates to keep his stock market looking good.

Trump knows nothing about the economy of a society, only how a business can take money FROM society. Deutsche Bank is not even sure about that. That bad news he was shielding us from is out, businesses are going bankrupt, and the stock market is doing great anyway. Why? With no interest, the rich have nowhere else to put their money. You, the aristocracy, may be having trouble paying your rent, but he has made sure that the common rich folks are still rich.

Taiwan’s first case was the day after ours. They immediately implemented a pandemic plan that worked. They never had to shut down their economy and they have 0.3 deaths per million population, 1/20th of 1% of our 565 deaths per million. South Korea was less successful at the same thing; they had a full 1% of our death rate but they also no economic shutdown. Meanwhile our economy has crashed and remains crashed because of our leadership vacuum. If Trump had led us as well as the leaders of Taiwan and Korea, the economy would still be prospering.

Speaking of the economy, Trump is also riding on the myth that Republicans know about the economy because Americans have very short memories. Bill Clinton left office with NO deficit, ready to start paying down the debt. George W left the economy spiraling towards another Great Depression. Obama pulled us out of that and left with a healthy and nicely growing economy. Trump has continued that but at a high borrowing rate including borrowing the environment riches of future generations. And now, even with great stock-market numbers, the real economy is tanking and we need to borrow at emergency rates.

The pandemic is a quick model of global warming. Most Americans don’t remember “An Inconvenient Truth” and how well it predicted the ecological, humanitarian and economic havoc we are seeing today. Climate change is a disaster far greater than the pandemic but it is unfolding so slowly that we don’t notice unless we are paying attention. Today wind and solar have become even cheaper than the old energies but we are still investing in pipelines for the fossil fuel business as if we want more global warming. The fires of the North West, hurricane-force winds on the Great Plains, tornadoes in the Blue Ridge, bigger, stronger, and more frequent tropical storms are not being counted as part of the Trump economy. But they are part of the real economy as well as humanitarian crises and by ignoring them, they become an ever greater part of our future.

Peckman is a retired physicist and engineer. He lives in Roanoke.

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