2020-03-26

Coronavirus days: and global warming?

90797873_10157993526827350_1355840889523535872_o ES makes two predictions:
1) Things are going to be okay if we follow the advice of actual experts and stay home for several weeks or more.
2) If things actually do turn out okay (because we stayed home), 1/2 the country will say this shows the experts were unnecessarily "alarmist".
Both of those sound reasonable, though 1 might be a touch optimistic. But suppose (1) is not only true but, to our joy, things are even more OK than we dare hope now. Then people connecting CV and GW, and saying things like planning for low probability, high impact, worst case scenarios1 is looking pretty smart right now are going to get the Dork Side saying "See! You told us to trust science, and we did, and we got all this lock down and economic damage for nothing; you think we'll ever trust you on GW? Ha!"2.

That happy event is unlikely, though.

In other news, I bought some US, on the grounds that the SP500 seems to have bottomed out. That doesn't mean things are getting better yet, just that the bad stuff has likely been (over)priced in. I could be wrong about that, too.

My photo shows the beginning of another day of hell in the office. See how green my lawn is; though not quite as smooth as it should be.

Update: Jem Bendell is an idiot


I don't think this is worth promoting to a full post, but his name comes up sometimes so I need Google to find what I've said about him. Up to now, nothing, for he is, after all, an idiot.

Here's some useless nonsense: Professor Sees Climate Mayhem Lurking Behind Covid-19 Outbreak
By Saijel Kishan at Bloomberg. Oreskes, also an idiot, Twats a mirror of it, because she is too dumb to link to the original. There's also This Is Not a Drill review – an Extinction Rebellion handbook from the ever-gullible Graun.

He has all the customary signs of idiocy, including puffing his CV: Bendell is a former consultant to the United Nations, has presented papers to the European Commission, co-authored reports for the World Economic Forum and advised Britain’s Labour Party.

Happily the Light Side is onto him: Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University, said that Bendell “gets the science wrong on just about everything.” I think that'll do.

Notes


1. also now I come to re-read it, it's a slightly odd comment. We should indeed factor low-prob hi-impact scenarios into our calculation, but not really plan for them; the problem seems to be getting people to plan for the hi-prob cases.

2. Perhaps Delay is deadly: what Covid-19 tells us about tackling the climate crisis by Jonathan Watts in the Graun would be a fairer target.

Refs


Fitting the COVID-19 SEIR model to data, part 2 - JEB
Protect The NHS - Timmy

9 comments:

Phil said...

The USA isn't following the advise of experts. Some states are, some cities are, most of the Republican states are not.

This might be a learning experience. But I doubt it.

David B. Benson said...

William, your lawn is monoculture. At least plant some dandelions.

Sam said...

I suspect 2 might not be true, as there may well be some counterfactuals (USA, maybe Japan?, half of Africa and the middle east) where things go terribly, and we can point at them.

William M. Connolley said...

My lawn looks good from that angle which is why I'm showing it to you... It gets rather more various further back.

Brian Schmidt said...

I've got a fair amount of cash in my retirement account and have been buying weekly for the last four weeks rather than trying to time it for the bottom. In five or six more weeks I'll use up the cash.

I would love to invest in a socially responsible index fund of small cap stocks but am not aware of any such. Also an index fund of green bonds which is even less likely to exist, although now may not be a good time to invest in bonds.

William M. Connolley said...

Once a week is about right; I'm not sure I'd care to use up all my cash just now though, there could always be more bad news.

David B. Benson said...

Still think that you should plant dandelions.

William M. Connolley said...

Ain't got no dandelions but I can do you cowslips

Mal Adapted said...

Cowslips are nice, but you can do even better just by not mowing your lawn. As a passionate ecological restorationist, I exhort you to go further and rewild your garden, making it a haven for dwindling British native plants, pollinators and birds, and a carbon sink to boot! The famed seat of global botanical authority, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, can advise you on how to do it and give (small quantities) or sell you native seeds. It's a thing - don't you want to keep up with all the the things?

To be sure, one man's weed is another's wildflower. Multiple British meadow natives, for example, introduced to North America by the Columbian exchange (in which RBGK played a major role, ironically), are troublesome weeds on my small plot of relict Oregon oak savanna. My restoration project isn't about ethnic cleansing, however, but about putting a specific patch of local ground closer to the way it was before the global economy rolled over it, as a potential refugium in the ongoing (take it from The Graun) sixth mass extinction in Earth's history. Only you can decide how much that's worth to you, on your patch.