No, Coronavirus Is Not a Climate-Change Preview

Emergency Medical Technicians move a patient outside of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, N.Y., April 20, 2020. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
This pandemic has simply highlighted the human propensity to map new circumstances onto our existing heuristics, whether they fit or not.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he coronavirus pandemic has seduced policy analysts into drawing parallels between the current state of the world and a crisis they envision unfolding due to global warming. For Yale’s climate-change center, the Society of Environmental Journalists, and Vox, among others, this analogy has proven tempting. Even NYU professor and renowned climate economist Gernot Wagner has drawn the parallel, writing at Project Syndicate that “a good way to think about the coronavirus pandemic is that it is like climate change at warp speed.”

But the coronavirus-climate analogy is too clever by half. Eager to draw attention to their fields of interest, these

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