A cadre of Obama-era heavy hitters led by John Podesta fired up another effort Wednesday to put global warming at the forefront of the presidential campaign, this time by linking President Trump’s skepticism of a climate doomsday to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Mr. Podesta, the former Obama White House chief of staff who chaired Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 presidential bid, unveiled Climate Power 2020 with a blast at Mr. Trump’s “anti-science policies,” which he said have “fueled the pandemic.”
“President Trump must be held accountable for his rejection of science, facts, and reality. For both COVID-19 and the climate crisis, the anti-science policies from this administration are pushing our nation into crisis,” Mr. Podesta said in a written statement.
In addition to Mr. Podesta, the advisory board features San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer, the Democratic Party’s largest individual donor and a candidate for the party’s presidential nomination, as well as Obama administration figures including Secretary of State John F. Kerry, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and science adviser John Holdren.
“Today, it fueled a pandemic,” Mr. Podesta said. “Tomorrow, we will see the consequences in a world destabilized by climate change. Climate Power 2020 will change the politics of climate — pushing all candidates to aggressively campaign on climate action and holding science-denying campaigns accountable.”
Skeptics called the link between climate change and COVID-19 a stretch — given that the virus originated late last year in Wuhan, China, a signatory to the 2015 Paris climate agreement — while noting that this isn’t the first time Democratic power brokers have sought to push climate to the electoral forefront. […]
Has climate change fueled an increase in disease? A study released May 8 by the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation found the opposite. It reported dramatic reductions in climate-related mortality over the past 30 years, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose.
The report by science and policy analyst Indur M. Goklany, a U.S. delegate to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, found that “cumulative annual rates of deaths and disease from [climate-sensitive disease and events] are declining, and declining faster than the corresponding all-cause rates.”
“You see improvement across the board, but most notably there has been a wholesale rolling-back of the biggest killers like diarrhea and malaria,” said Mr. Goklany, who holds a doctoral degree in electrical engineering.
His report refutes the thrust of the 2019 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, which warned that a “changing climate has profound implications for human health, with more frequent heatwaves and extreme weather events, changing patterns of infectious disease, and the exacerbation of existing health challenges around the world.”
Mr. Goklany said that the U.N.-affiliated researchers “highlight comparatively rare conditions, like dengue, which have worsened, while ignoring the wider picture, which is almost all good news. It’s highly misleading.”
The pandemic-caused economic downturn may have hurt the prospects of climate policies such as the Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat. The proposal’s price tag has been estimated in the tens of trillions of dollars, said Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
“Almost all U.S. politicians who have tried to make climate change an election issue in the past have fared miserably, losing election after election,” said Mr. Peiser. “Repeating the same mistake and trying to sell the Green New Deal to voters in an unprecedented economic crisis and expecting different results borders on political delusion, if not insanity.”