Response to pandemic and global warming

Imagine the outcome had science and scientists met the same opposition to public health measures that greeted warnings about smoking and global warming. Why have denial and crackpot views of the Covid-19 pandemic failed to take hold?

First, television showed the army in Italy carting away corpses, to be stored in refrigerated containers. Odd and strikingly immediate, but so are severe and widespread storms, floods, droughts and fires. So where’s the urgency to act?

The explanation is vested interests. The oil companies used the tobacco industry playbook: lie and confuse the public. With Covid, science and pharmaceutical companies were on the same side.

Christopher Luxon has promised to build more motorways, protect farmers and maintain high cow numbers. Like the man in Soho, who put the handle back on the water pump that was spreading cholera, he believes the old ways are best.

Dennis Horne