Another claim here that the way to climb out of coronavirus is to do whatever it is the claimers first thought of. Nick Stern is going to call for more renewables and less fossil fuels at the rising of the Sun and at its lowering. He’s not going to change that just because of a pandemic – but he is willing to claim that the pandemic makes it all more important.
So too of anyone whingeing about inequality. Today’s events mean we must tackle this problem. Just as yesterday’s did and so too tomorrow’s will. There is actually no connection whatever between these things but if you’re a propagandist then, well, propaganda, right?
Global leaders must heed the lessons of the financial crisis of 2008 when they look to repair the damage from the coronavirus pandemic, leading experts have warned, to avoid entrenching disastrous social, health and environmental inequalities and hastening climate breakdown.
The 2008 global financial crisis and recession marked the last time the world experienced a convulsion comparable in scale to the coronavirus crisis, though starkly different in its nature. Governments responded first with economic rescue and stimulus packages worth trillions in taxpayer cash, followed in many cases by austerity programmes to cut back public spending.
But the past decade has produced far greater levels of inequality than has been seen since before the second world war, producing starker contrasts between the extremely rich and the rest in health, job security, education and other measures, with poorer people suffering worst and the middle classes squeezed while the income of the top 1% soared.
All of that is simply nonsense. The UK Gini Index – the usual measure of inequality – is lower now than it was in 2008. Because that’s what recession do, reduce inequality. This is before we even begin to measure the effects of the last few months. The 2019 Gini was below the 2008. We have less inequality now than we did under the Brown Terror.
Greenhouse gas emissions have also risen, despite warnings from scientists and the Paris agreement of 2015, threatening an even worse crisis if governments do not rapidly change tack.
UK emissions are also lower. We’re actually already doing all of these things.
To avoid a similar outcome this time, leaders must ensure their response to the Covid-19 crisis looks to the good of the whole of society, rather than just the economy, and addresses the climate emergency as well, said Sir Michael Marmot, who led the landmark UK review of public health that found life expectancy fell following austerity.
“The scale of what is happening in the economy now is hugely greater than in 2008,” he told the Guardian. “We need to bring the climate agenda and the health agenda together. If we are not careful, the steps we take now will increase inequalities further. Enough people are saying now that austerity is not an experiment we want to repeat.”
Marmot is one of the leading voices calling for a “green recovery” that would direct any economic stimulus towards measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as generating jobs and repairing the economy.
Marmot has zero knowledge of economics. Something we can prove just by looking at his statement there. He’s insisting that we have more green stuff because it produces more jobs. That means – because we’re using more labour to do the things – that we’re poorer. Becoming poorer is not known as a manner of repairing the economy. That is, Marmot hasn’t grasped the very first thing about economics – jobs are a cost, not a benefit.
The economic stimulus in the years after 2008 did produce some environmental improvements such as investments in renewable energy, which have cut the cost of solar and wind power. But the push to cut emissions was stymied by factors such as the sharp fall in the carbon price under the EU’s emissions trading scheme, and China’s construction push.
This time can be different, argues Lord Nicholas Stern, one of the world’s leading climate economists and author of the landmark 2006 review of the costs of climate change. “Technology is completely different now. We have seen the costs of key technologies such as renewable energy come right down. We have altogether superior electric vehicle technology.
These people are insane. The claim is that we didn’t do anything last time around. The second claim is that the necessary technologies are much cheaper now. So, how is developing the much cheaper necessary technologies not doing something?
Take these claims from experts for being what they are, propaganda, not an actual analysis of the world the rest of us live in.