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  1. Wealth
March 16, 2009

Climate change? Hot air!

By Spear's

Richard Branson, stop fiddling around trying to make your aeroplanes fly on salad oil, we much prefer good old kerosene.

The emergency Climate Summit meeting at Copenhagen ended with 2,500 academics issuing a dire warning to the world’s politicians: ‘dangerous climatic change is imminent’; ‘drastic action must be taken soon’; failure to do so would result in the ‘significant risk of irreversible climatic shifts’.

As if to ram home the message, Prince Charles let his eco-audience in Rio de Janeiro have it with both barrels: ‘We have less than one hundred months to alter our behaviour before we risk catastrophic climate change’.

That means we’ve only got to August 2018 – when he’ll be blasting away on the Grouse moors – to pull our eco-socks up. So there you are, you’d better all get cracking, but doing what, exactly?

If you don’t get on with it now, the scientists warned, the consequences will be calamitous: ‘Scientists: act now or face climate catastrophe’ screamed the headlines of that normally lucid and intelligent organ The Daily Telegraph, but it was Friday the 13thof March.

Lord Stern, formerly Chief Economist at the World Bank whose report on global warming greased the wheels under this debate two years ago, issued his stern warning: ‘Much of southern Europe would look like the Sahara. Many of the major rivers of the world, serving billions of people, would dry up in the dry seasons or reroute. What would be the implication? Hundreds of millions of people would have to move, probably billions. What would be the implication of that? Extended conflict, social disruption, war essentially, over much of the world for several decades.’

Phew, it feels hotter already! The incredible twist in this debate is that the good Lord Stern is absolutely right in his predictions, but for all the wrong reasons. The scientific facts are that 94.5% of all greenhouse gases are simply vapour; man’s contribution to greenhouse gases is just 0.3%.

So there, you academics, stop polluting the atmosphere with all your hot air and your conference-sized carbon footprints. And, Sir Richard Branson, please stop fiddling around trying to make your aeroplanes fly on salad oil, we much prefer good old kerosene to get us safely to our destinations.

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Why the good Lord’s predictions are spot on is that nature herself works in cycles and is now setting the agenda for climate change, and it’s not pretty. The eternal interaction of tidal and volcanic and ocean oscillations is making unfamiliar patterns, which are in fact predictable, give or take a few score years.

(The daft notion of ‘irreversible climatic shifts’ is just so much Canute-like nonsense; the warmth of the early part of the thirteenth century gave way to a cool period one hundred years later.)

These oscillations are making the Atlantic warmer and the Pacific cooler, at a time when the sun’s output is the highest for 10,000 years – I’ll spare you the details of sunspots and so on. These phenomena are causing the Tropics to expand by five degrees, taking their effects some 300 miles to the north and south of their customary spheres.

If you spin a globe or consult an atlas, you will see that the Sahara-type conditions are beginning to encroach upon countries like Argentina, and states like Texas, Georgia and southern California, and regions such as southern Europe, particularly Spain, and northern China. And this is why the rains that normally fall, for example, on Indonesia, are now beginning to fall on north-west Australia instead, and so on.

Of course, these trends will initiate all the dire consequences that Lord Stern so accurately predicts. For those who wish to delve lightly and easily into this fascinating debate, and become acquainted with a much deeper assessment of the truly dire consequences, I recommend Water: the Final Resource, by Houston and Griffiths, just published by Harriman House.

Now that really will cut your carbon imprint down to size, and with all deference to His Royal Highness, save you the costs of attending any more green conferences of those great unwashed earth-shoe people, with their halitosis-ridden calls to ‘Save the Planet’.

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