Today's Wall Street Journal likens the leaders of the G-8 to King Canute who famously commanded the tides to stop. Do I need to add "unsuccessfully?"
Canute's spirit was back in business this week at the G-8 summit in Italy, where the assembled leaders declared that the world's temperature shall not rise: "We recognize the scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees [Celsius]," or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, said the summit declaration.
So let it be written, so let it be done.
As for how they will achieve this climate-defying feat, well, the leaders were somewhat less definitive: "we will work . . . to identify a global goal for substantially reducing global emissions by 2050."
Heads of State (from left) Stephen Harper of Canada, Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy gather for a group photo prior to the G8 Summit in L'Aquila, Italy, July 8, 2009.
Translation: Since the heads of the world's leading economies couldn't agree on an actual policy on climate change, they opted instead to command the clouds, the seas and all of the Earth to cool. Or maybe they were finally admitting that this whole climate business is getting too expensive, so let's just throw out a goal that everyone knows is beyond the reach of kings, much less democratic leaders.
Yeah, that'll work.
On a good news front is this article on Australian geologist Ian Pilmer.
So go on then, Prof. What makes you sure that you’re right and all those scientists out there saying the opposite are wrong? ‘I’m a geologist. We geologists have always recognised that climate changes over time. Where we differ from a lot of people pushing AGW is in our understanding of scale. They’re only interested in the last 150 years. Our time frame is 4,567 million years. So what they’re doing is the equivalent of trying to extrapolate the plot of Casablanca from one tiny bit of the love scene. And you can’t. It doesn’t work.’
What Heaven And Earth sets out to do is restore a sense of scientific perspective to a debate which has been hijacked by ‘politicians, environmental activists and opportunists’. It points out, for example, that polar ice has been present on earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time; that extinctions of life are normal; that climate changes are cyclical and random; that the CO2 in the atmosphere — to which human activity contributes the tiniest fraction — is only 0.001 per cent of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life; that CO2 is not a pollutant but a plant food; that the earth’s warmer periods — such as when the Romans grew grapes and citrus trees as far north as Hadrian’s Wall — were times of wealth and plenty.
All this is scientific fact — which is more than you can say for any of the computer models turning out doomsday scenarios about inexorably rising temperatures, sinking islands and collapsing ice shelves. Plimer doesn’t trust them because they seem to have little if any basis in observed reality.
‘I’m a natural scientist. I’m out there every day, buried up to my neck in sh**, collecting raw data. And that’s why I’m so sceptical of these models, which have nothing to do with science or empiricism but are about torturing the data till it finally confesses. None of them predicted this current period we’re in of global cooling. There is no problem with global warming. It stopped in 1998. The last two years of global cooling have erased nearly 30 years of temperature increase.’
Plimer’s uncompromising position has not made him popular. ‘They say I rape cows, eat babies, that I know nothing about anything. My favourite letter was the one that said: “Dear sir, drop dead”. I’ve also had a demo in Sydney outside one of my book launches, and I’ve had mothers coming up to me with two-year-old children in their arms saying: “Don’t you have any kind of morality? This child’s future is being destroyed.’’’ Plimer’s response to the last one is typically robust. ‘If you’re so concerned, why did you breed?’
Read the whole thing.
Finally, we have unimpeachable evidence that all that inbreeding among European royals has finally hit the fan. Americans thought King George III was bad, get a load of Prince Charles.
Capitalism and consumerism have brought the world to the brink of economic and environmental collapse, the Prince of Wales has warned in a grandstand speech which set out his concerns for the future of the planet.
The heir to the throne told an audience of industrialists and environmentalists at St James's Palace last night that he had calculated that we have just 96 months left to save the world.
And in a searing indictment on capitalist society, Charles said we can no longer afford consumerism and that the "age of convenience" was over.
To which I can only respond: God Save the Queen.