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climate change

Okay, I may have been wrong about climate change although there was so much to dislike.

Growing older, I fear being unable to read under pretzel-shaped, 15-kilowatt light-bulbs that will be the only kind not banned by the state.

As a conservationist, I object to many kinds of Potemkin recycling that waste energy just to make “bunny-huggers” (Prince Philip’s phrase) feel good about themselves. Similarly, many of Britain’s Victorian iron-railings were cut down during the Second World War for alleged recycling but were immediately discarded on scrap-heaps as unusable: government, knowing that the metal was unsuitable, lied and ordered the architectural savagery just to make people unhappy and feel they were “doing their bit” for the war-effort. There, and with global-warming, lurk our masters thinking that needless suffering builds character.

One also regrets the “free and open” scientific debate; unequalled since Salem in 1692; where honest sceptics are denounced as “climate-change deniers” drawing an intentional parallel to the people who insist that Bergen-Belsen was a Jewish holiday spa.

Of course the mobs are fighting for big money here, which is another irritation: a scientist who says that the earth is growing cooler, or that our planet is warming but there’s bugger-all that humans can do about it, will neither get the headlines nor the lucrative, government-paid, research grants awarded to Chicken Little.

Then there are the climate-change alarmists themselves, who more often than not are pests, busy-bodies, Pecksniffs, Puritans, Uriah Heeps, Neo-Taliban and old biddies (male and female) perpetually purse-lipped into what a somewhat rough, Lancastrian chum calls “that ‘Who Farted?’ expression.” If they pitched up at my home with a bottle of 1919 Verdelho Madeira and cures for my many ailments, I’d probably still slam the door.

This is not to mention the flood of leaked emails from the cabal of so-called scientists trying to rig the debate, grab the loot, and destroy the careers of any competitor who dares to disagree with them.

Lastly, there seems to be strong evidence that the world is getting warmer but that a new Ice Age is upon us; and that there’s something that we must do about it but the weather is beyond our control. Anyone who looks at this conflicting mess of testimony, and concludes that we need to stop Indians from buying air-conditioners, may share the nature-worshipping, human-hating tendencies in Bishop Heber’s lyric, “Where every prospect pleases but only man is vile.’

My eco-Pauline conversion isn’t based on any scientific evidence: who could find a scintilla of truth among all the so-called experts squabbling over money and publicity? Rather it is aesthetic and driven by two thoughts.

Of lesser importance is the barrage of headlines across England, where “scientists” expect that “the next few decades will see some types of mammals, fish and birds and plants get even smaller – and evolve into miniature versions of what we know today.”

They say that warmer temperatures make animals need less body fat; that Soay sheep in the Scottish highlands shrank by five-percent from 1985 and 2007; and that polar bears will be among the first to downsize.

It is most unimpressive, of course. A sheep’s 5% weight-loss is not much, especially over 22 years: Oprah Winfrey has alternately doubled and halved her body-mass several times over that period.

Then again, if it is true, I am in favour of snake-shrinkage having watched my Pakistani manservant sweep baby cobras out of my bungalow: the two-inchers are a major improvement over the six-foot-long adults. Moreover, if global warming shrinks animals and then we get a new Ice Age afterwards, I rather fancy an English summer’s day, sipping a hot cocoa while looking through my triple-glazed windows at a family of miniature polar bears gambolling in my back garden. I’d put out tiny salmon to attract them.

I do not mean that I have converted to the belief that humankind can control the weather on a planetary scale, either by god-like acts of technology or by forgoing under-arm deodorants. I mean that we may find some enjoyment in the inevitable warming. Greenlanders can finally go swimming. Adam Smith fans, who are familiar with him explaining Comparative Advantage by saying how foolish it would be to make Scottish wine from greenhouses when the French and Italians do it easier and cheaper, can plant profitable vineyards in Aberdeenshire.

The stronger incentive comes from my former office-mate, the conservative writer and jazz-critic Ralph de Toledano, describing summers in Washington, DC, circa 1960 when the air-conditioners in cinemas and public buildings were still too costly for homes and offices. The legislature and the bureaucracy closed at midday, as everyone staggered home sweat-sodden to lay under ceiling fans on louvered, second-storey verandahs. It was a natural check on the growth of government, he explained.

As temperatures rise and the Global-Warming Gestapo ban air-conditioning, that will shrink the size and intrusiveness of the self-same government that gives them their annoying powers. The eco-actions for which they agitate will render themselves inconsequential. Once again, the balance will be preserved by dear, dependable, Mother Nature.

Global-warming may also restore Yellow Fever-bearing mosquitoes to the Potomac Basin, perhaps with a newly-developed immunity to vaccines. Then legislators, unable to pass more laws during the dangerously hot months, will be forced to summer among their equally un-air-conditioned constituents deprived of carbon-generating televisions, listen to their complaints, and recline on their front-porches beside slumbering dogs while sipping bourbon and reading De Tocqueville.

Climate change could save America.

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Published: Oct 17, 2011
Author
Stephen Masty
Stephen Masty (1954-2015) was a Senior Contributor to The Imaginative Conservative. He was a journalist, a development expert, and a speechwriter for three US presidents, British royalty and heads of government in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. He spent most of his adulthood working in South Asia including Afghanistan, and he was a writer, poet and artist in Kathmandu.
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4 replies to this post
  1. Well done. Since many more people die of cold than of heat each year, surely a little warming would save lives.

    The problem with your wonderful argument about sending Congress home is that it assumes that if Congress outlaws air conditioning for the rest of us, it won't keep it for itself. Federalist 57 notwithstanding, the Congress has a very bad habit of doing just that sort of thing.

    Your article does remind me of the fact that Sam Houston, father of Texas, was most proud of this provision of the Texas Constitution: The legislature would ONLY be allowed to meet for three months, and that only every OTHER year. For he reasoned that the lives, liberties, and properties of Texans are not safe when the legislature is in session. If there is any one reason why Texas government is less unreasonable than those in other states, keeping the legislature out of session is it.

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