Articles to 2020-05-24

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First the link to this week's complete list as HTML and as PDF.


Kissler et al. is a new an detailed modelling for Covid 19. Their results do not substantially differ from my rough estimates through primary school mathematics. Their most important main point is, that they too do not see an end of the epidemic before herd immunity is achieved. In the long term, once we have reached herd immunity and only need to maintain it, we need on average about two thirds as many new infections every day as we have births and deaths. With the current suppression regime we see about a tenth of that. This achieves nothing, even if sustained indefinitely.

Instead we already were well along the way towards total suppression like we had for SARS-1 and, at least in Europe, for MERS. This has willfully been thrown away and we're kept languishing in the no man's land of permanently keeping up a constant rate of infections. Just this, the highly detrimental effect of too strong mitigation in lieu of true suppression, is Kissler et al.'s main result.


On the one hand Walker et al. is a triviality, not even first semester stuff but general knowledge for anyone, who ever thought about change, equilibria, or homoeostasis, and has no place in a high grade journal. On the other hand one finds so many climatologists, doctors and many others to be inexplicably unaware of it, that proving and stating it explicitly seems necessary after all.


Years ago, when the fine particulate discussion began, I learnt a rough rule of thumb that, as far as I'm aware, is as valid now as it was then: About a quarter of fine particulate pollution in cities is caused by traffic and about a quarter of that originates from the exhaust. Thus traffic and vehicle regulation was not and is not the way to clean up that particular form of pollution. Lapere et al. is just one more confirmation and case in point.


Sullivan et al.'s results may well be correct and heat may be detrimental to forest resilience. But even then their effect is much smaller than the losses of the current rate of logging and deforestation. As long as high-flying decarbonization plans go along with state subsidies for wood-burning heating, the effect on the remaining forests is far more detrimental than any good they might possibly do. Anthropogenic climate and ecosystem damage is a reality and ignoring all of it by only focusing on carbon dioxide emission and nothing else is just about the worst we can do.

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