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Don't scream, it's over

SUNDAY JULY 01, 2012

You may be wondering where all the hype went about global warming. Half a decade ago every page on every newspaper in just about every country was screaming about the crisis that was almost upon us.


The "almost" lasted a good two decades, as UN climate spokespeople and in particular Al Gore, the failed US ex-vice-president who made billions selling carbon credits to governments, went travelling the globe first class in polluting planes making the rest of us count carbon footprints and food miles.


We were suffocated by warnings of polluting smoke from open fires and fumes from engines, and predictions that sea-levels would rise by 65metres in our lifetimes, such that we would be soon extinct as a species.


NZ went sheep-like along with the illusion and every schoolchild was issued with a pamphlet explaining their generation would lose the beaches, be struck down by dengue fever and could expect floods, droughts, more cyclones, and incredible heat that would make the planet uninhabitable.


They were discouraged leaving heaters or lights on when they left rooms and warned of dire consequences if Man kept cutting down trees and using plastic bags. At the height of her reign Helen Clark proclaimed global warming was a bigger problem than global terrorism. She would have preferred a bunch of snipers running amok on her roof to a storm or a warmer evening.

Meanwhile oil was apparently running out quicker than you could say SUV. We were told to walk, cycle or use public transport or expect penalty legislation. Apparently buses and trains use a good kind fuel but our cars run on bad nasty stuff, and the planet knows the difference.


As the tipping point approached there would be mass migration of peoples searching for better climates, creating border wars and airport confusion. As the whole planet was getting ready to be burnt to a cinder it was hard to know where these climate refugees would all buy tickets for. With all the fields growing corn for fuel, no room was going to be left for food wherever they went.


Then all of a sudden the tipping point was gone. It evaporated. Gone is the incessant shrill from the newspapers.


Against all odds our species is wonderfully still here. Oddly, so are most animals, birds, insects and other critters that were here before, including things like blowflies and viruses like flu and aids that we wished might have made the extinction cut. Also the sea-level hasn’t risen one iota anywhere, with the sole exception of Tuvalu.


What happened? One minute all polar bears are dying, Maui dolphins are down to two, all ice at the poles is vanishing and rain forests have all but disappeared. The next minute everything has sprung back to normal and the media are only wondering what Kate was going to wear for her wedding to William.


It all waffed away with the ill wind it blew in on. Scientists and politicians couldn't convince anyone that cows' farts were evil, or that laughing and jogging and fizzy drinks were bad for the planet. Newspapers found that there is only so many trillions of times one can say global warming or climate change and expect people to maintain interest. 


Mainly, carbon finance didn't fire. Even in NZ the unpopular anti-agriculture ETS is now being ushered out a back door. The Big Lie has been exposed by ClimateGate, Copenhagen and old-fashioned practicality. Coastal developers realise the seaside is valuable again, and wind-blown cyclists have grown weary of motorists breezing past in fast air conditioned comfort. We have listened to the green spin doctors, in colder winters than ever before, as we now warm our hands beside re-opened fireplaces.


Good Sense has finally replaced Greed, as the real people knew it would, and we have left the exaggerators and gross liars well behind. If no one listens control freaks find other fools.


But it took a Recession, helped by the bankruptcy of countries that tried desperately to go green but found that the dreamed of sustainable energy was too inefficient to run a modern economy.


In the 1970s you were called a crazy nutter if you carried a sign in the street saying The End is Nigh. Thirty years later if you didn't wring your hands in despair about the demise of the planet, Mayan calendar, tipping point or Armaggeddon they called you insane.


So the worm has turned again. All that is left are weak protestations from elderly greens who still don’t get the moral of the Chicken Licken and Emperors Clothes stories.

The rest have moved on.

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