Carry On Denying

BBC News has a predictably wishy-washy (sorry, “objective”) assessment of whether the weather here in the UK has been due to climate change or just random bad luck.

Pedantically speaking, it’s hard to deny that this sudden change in the climate is due to climate change. Duh! The real argument is whether this climate change has been influenced by humans or not. And it’s virtually impossible to find a sane, uncorrupted scientist left who will deny this.

Ostrich with head in sand

Still, Jim Dale (no relation to the twitchy Carry On star, we assume), a risk meteorologist at British Weather Services, says “it’s down to bad luck, not global warming.” He continues:

It’s a sexy subject and people like to stick labels on things. Global warming is the latest bandwagon going past so whenever we get a heatwave or floods they blame it on that.

Yeah, baby, sexy! Aren’t you getting hard already at the thought of millions dying?

And – bandwagon? It might be currently being chewed and digested by mainstream capitalism, absorbed into fashion and lifestyle. But that seems to be kind of what the market economy does, Jim. Leave your complaints on the grave of Milton Friedman.

Personally, I remember joining Greenpeace in the mid-’80s on the strength of documentaries I watched about the seriousness of the challenge faced by global warming. Well over 20 years is a long-running bandwagon.

On a brighter note, Chris Rapley, the incoming head of the Science Museum, has called for discussion of the obvious: cutting birthrates.

A manifestly simple and easy to follow idea – that less humans means less human-created environmental impact – is of course made immensely complex once inter-national pettiness and faith in unbridled growth (as long as we don’t call it cancer) are taken into account. But the debate, complex or not, is important and conspicuously absent from public life; Rapley deserves credit for braving the inevitable “What have you got against the Third World?” and “So you’re advocating genocide, then?” overreactions.

Either we manage our population and habits, quickly, or nature will manage them for us. You’re free to choose; but denying that these are the options is rapidly becoming the most popular way of choosing the latter.