There’s a lot we don’t know at this point. How should we deal with that?
Knowledge about the coronavirus is limited but growing. In the meantime, how should we cope with this uncertainty? I can’t give you psychological advice, but I can say something about how to think about this uncertainty. How to make decisions under uncertainty is something we know a lot about from the environmental sphere. Uncertainty is …CONTINUE READING
Considering long-term climate needs in near-term crisis responses
As the covid-19 crisis threatens a global recession and sharply cuts travel demand, compounding the damage caused by the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, US and international oil prices are hitting historic lows, driving turmoil throughout the industry and threatening a rash of bankruptcies, stranded projects, and job losses. These recent developments …CONTINUE READING
Cuomo has asked for major disaster relief. But there’s a serious legal hurdle to that.
Yesterday, I wrote about presidential powers in a pandemic. I mentioned the possibility of declaring the pandemic a major disaster under the Stafford Act. Today, we learned that Gov. Cuomo of New York has made such a request. [Note: two days after this was written, FEMA granted the request.] What does the law have to …CONTINUE READING
The President does have considerable power, but there are serious limitations.
Now that Trump has belatedly declared a national emergency, what powers does he have to respond to the coronavirus pandemic? There has been a lot of talk about this on the Internet, some of it off-base. it’s important to get the law straight. For instance, there’s been talk about whether Trump should impose a national …CONTINUE READING
Q: From an economic perspective, what’s it worth spending to curb the pandemic? A: A lot.
At an extremely rough estimate, it would be worth spending about $4 trillion to cut the coronavirus death rate in half.CONTINUE READING
Florida’s Ron DeSantis doesn’t seem to think so.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shows that it’s possible to be a staunch conservative and still be honest about the risks of climate change and the coronavirus.CONTINUE READING
There are some basic rules about how to respond to emergencies. They were ignored.
An epidemic and a hurricane require different responses. But the organizational challenge of confronting an emergency is a constant. Here are some basic rules the Trump Administration failed to heed. Ensure in advance that sufficient supplies will be quickly available. When Hurricane Katrina hit, the government did have supplies, but they were located hundreds …CONTINUE READING
There’s a common theme: “nothing to worry about, folks.”
It’s interesting to see what conservative think tanks are saying about the coronavirus and compare it with their views on climate change. There are some common themes — both problems tend to get downplayed, along with any possible need for major government action. Like Trump himself, the conservative think tanks seem unable to process scientific …CONTINUE READING
What do we actually know at this point about the dangers?
Like many environmental hazards such as toxic chemicals, the coronavirus is fundamentally a problem in risk management. And like issues such as climate change, the problem involves scientific data, modeling, and a good deal of uncertainty. With climate change, the key parameter is climate sensitivity. For diseases the key parameter is called R0, which measures …CONTINUE READING