If climate change doesn’t bother you, why does Ebola?

Within a week or so, the Ebola “crisis” may be over before it ever started here.

It’s been almost two weeks since Thomas Duncan died and the only two people to have contracted the disease in the United States were two nurses who treated him and both are reportedly on the way to recovery. Over the weekend, a nurse in Spain, who also cared for an Ebola victim, was tested and declared Ebola free. Another aid worker, the one who went through it without publicity, was quietly released — Ebola free — from Emory University Hospital over the weekend.

If you’re keeping score, that’s two people out of 319 million residents of the United States.

The face of Ebola today might as well be Peter Pattakos, a Cleveland attorney who didn’t get it.

He spent 20 minutes in a bridal shop getting fitted with a tux the other day, the same bridal shop visited by Amber Joy Vinson, the nurse who took a flight to Cleveland from Dallas when she apparently showed Ebola symptoms.

“I thought, ‘Oh, that’s interesting,'” Pattakos tells the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And there any fear stopped.

“I didn’t exchange any bodily fluids with anyone, so I’m not worried about it,” he said. “I’m much more likely to be mistakenly killed by a police officer in this country than to be killed by Ebola, even if you were in the same bridal shop.”

“I wish people would freak out this much about climate change,” he said. “It’s one of those problems that’s real easy for the media to cover, rather than some of those other problems that people should be more concerned with.”

Did someone say climate change?

2014 is on track to be the warmest year recorded on earth, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. September’s average global temperature was 1.3 degrees above the 20th century average.

  • Robert Moffitt
  • TheMagicRat

    This year America has had four people die of Mad Cow Disease. When is Obama going to appoint a Mad Cow Czar?!

  • Gary F
    • Robert Moffitt

      This is why you check out the media request before you agree to an interview.

      • PJTV. Heh. Reminds me of this weekend “interview.”


        • Robert Moffitt

          They took their name from a quote by Dan Rathers
          “You couldn’t have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances at ’60 Minutes’ and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas.”

          • Dan Rather is a GREAT example of media malpractice.

  • Dave

    Don’t freak out over Ebola, but comparing fear of Ebola with fear of climate change is silly. I am not going to suffer viral hemorrhagic fever at the hands of climate change.

    • brian

      Well, technically you could if it gets warm enough here to allow the right kind of mosquitos.

      • jon

        Technically the west Nile virus already falls into the family of viral hemorrhagic fevers… And it’s already flying around on mosquitoes in the states.

        I don’t know if West Nile is here because of climate change or not.

        People have already speculated that this particular outbreak of ebola is caused by global warming (climate change has attributed to more floods and more droughts, the shift between the two has been linked to Ebola outbreaks).

        • Dave

          Interesting. I read a 1977 report on the first Ebola outbreak in Sudan and Zaire. It associated that outbreak (and other outbreaks of these rare and severe viruses in Africa and South America) with human encroachment on previously remote, undeveloped areas.

  • MikeB

    Those who dispute climate change and freak out over Ebola are being consistent when assessing the evidence

    • Gary F
      • Ah, the “Powerline” blog. How quaint.

        • Gary F

          Shoot the messenger when you can’t defend your argument.

          What do they say is wrong?

          • Are you a “climate change” denier?

            I’m trying to figure it out because you just posted a link to a blog post written 18 months ago without any sort of comment.

            A link to a blog post whose author apparently didn’t quite understand what his original source material actually said (The Economist article linked in the blog post) even though it was spelled out right in the headline of said source material:
            The climate may be heating up less in response to greenhouse-gas emissions than was once thought. But that does not mean the problem is going away.

            The basic premise of the Powerline blog post seems to ask the question: “Is global warming coming to a halt?” (although it tries to tiptoe around the issue by attempting to tie in a “greenhouse gas sensitivity” issue).

            “According to Norman Loeb, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and the principal investigator of a space-borne sensor called the Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System, or CERES, the answer is almost certainly no.

            Heating is still going on, he said. It’s just not in terms of the surface air temperature.


            Of course the fact that we are on track to have the warmest year on record seems to put the “climate hiatus” talk on the back burner (no pun intended.)

  • tboom

    Thank you for this post. Peter Pattakos seems like the type of attorney I’d like to meet.

    Pithy, Trenchant and Germane – since 1953.

  • Tom

    How many folks die from the flu every year in the US? Thousands, is the answer. That is a greater number (thousands) than is the number 1 (Mr. Duncan). Anyone who doesn’t call this all exactly what it is, blatant fear mongering, is just simply out of touch with reality.

    • What percentage of people who contract the flu die? Small. What percentage of those who contract Ebola die? 50-90%. Yep, I am afraid because I am sane.

      • jon

        Your exaggerating the facts, probably because your afraid…

        And your odds of dying from the flu in the US are ~5,000 out of 300 billion, where your odds of even catching Ebola in the US are currently 2 out of 300 billion… You have better odds of winning the power ball that being killed by Ebola..
        (some other fun odds, 400 out of 300 billion people die from falling down stairs… so better avoid them, at least if you are by your definition sane.)

        • “Billion?”

  • RF Jim

    When one person dies, it’s a tragedy. When thousands die, it’s a statistic.

  • mememine

    Climate Blame “believers” are fear mongers and Humanity haters.Prove me wrong;

    Is science only 99.9% sure the planet isn’t flat as well as being only 99.9% sure Human CO2 “could” flatten it?
    If science can’t say “100% certain” or “proven” because of the “scientific method” then prove any climate scientist ever said it. Only science can condemn our children not neocon hating eager “believers”.
    Not one IPCC warning says; “proven” or WILL be a crisis so what are you eager “believers” telling our kids to “believe”? That science is 100% sure the planet is doomed? Prove with 100% certainty science “believes” as much as you determined “believers” do.
    Climate change “believers” don’t love the planet as much as they hate conservatives by exaggerating science’s consensus of “could be” the end of days.

    Who’s the fear mongering neocon again here?

    • jon

      We have direct measure that show climate change is happening… check out the updraft blog, 2014 hottest year (globally) on record.

      I know that won’t convince you, because you’ve changed “proof” into meaning something that you’ve typed to “belief” which is tied to “faith” which means reality doesn’t have to have any bearing on your “facts”

      My advice, Take a statistics class, and stop playing the lottery.

  • Mr. Pattakos is mistaken if he did not think that he was in danger. Let’s say that Vinson was contagious during her visit > had coughed > the sputum had landed on a counter > he touched the sputum > he touched his eye or his lip. That is enough to transmit this virus.


    • Bruce

      That’s only true if he had visited the shop within a few hours of her visit. Since his visit was presumably several days later, there was no risk.

  • Gary F

    There are lots of people that have died of Ebola in the world, I don’t know of any that have “Global Warming or Climate Change or whatever its called this week” written on their death certificate?

    • jon

      By that logic, car accidents don’t kill people “Blunt force trauma” does.

      Guns don’t kill people, “loss of blood from bullet wounds” does.
      No one dies from strangulation, they all died from asphyxiation.
      It wasn’t the hands around the neck that killed them it was the lack of oxygen in their lungs.

  • davehoug

    If climate change is real per science, why are GMO crops still feared? Organic food paid for with a premium? Science also says GMO food is perfectly fine and organic food offers no nutritional advantage.

    BECAUSE we all pay more attention to what fits our view than to what conflicts with our view. It has amazed me the political parties stay soooo evenly split over the years. One party just can not convince the other of it holding the correct views 🙂

    • brian

      I would say that fear of GMO crops and dismissal of climate change are both good examples of ignoring the science. I don’t think the fact that people ignore science on both the left and the right is an argument against the validitiy of said science.
      That said, the fact that I think there is more evidence for human driven climate change than GMO safety (without really knowing) does make your point about our hidden biases.
      On the subject of organic food: There are a lot of organic “moderates” out there. I don’t buy organic everything but I do buy some. I don’t buy because I think they have better nutrition, I mostly think it is a better way of farming and want to support it. It also often tastes better/lasts longer, but that might be more to do with freshness, I don’t know.

    • tboom

      GMO corps enable agriculture to be practiced as monoculture. Monoculture is becoming so extensively practiced, it is a factor in making our natural environment unsustainable (examples; bees, monarchs, etc.). So while I do not fear eating GMO foods, I do fear what GMO crops are doing to our environment. Therefore, I choose to avoid GMO’s as much as possible.

      Regarding the cost of organics, most truly organic foods just plain taste better than foods produced by our industrial agricultural system.

  • CHS

    Sadly, to me it makes perfect sense considering the current social environment we find ourselves in. There is a large group of people who identify themselves as being distrustful and skeptical of the government (ie the President), and by extension of anything that the government is saying or supporting. We are in an election cycle (aren’t we always now), so this has a megaphone put to it. A certain segment of the “conservative” populace disregard climate change because it is viewed through the lens of being a liberal scheme to raise taxes and transfer wealth. Facts and statistics are turned into conspiracy theories and evidence is disregarded. Exactly the same for ebola. The same group looks at what the ‘liberal’ government is saying, how there is no risk and everything is fine, and assumes that everything is not fine, and they are covering up the real risk so as to not damage their agenda. Both sides of the spectrum are very guilty of this, it just turns out that the fringe conservative side of things choose issues that are rooted in science, making them seem far more ‘out there’ in their thinking.