Meanwhile, some of the climate change lobby’s woefully trite vernacular is enough to make one want to sponsor an
Amazonian logger this Christmas. ‘Save the planet’ is surely the most fatuous blob of aphoristic syrup ever to be
dribbled down the chins of the semi-informed in pursuit of self-absolution. The planet does not need saving. The
great orb of plenty we call home got by for 4.6 billion years without us, and will live on in rude health until
Supernova Sunday, just as long as it can shake off its current bout of anthropus-itis.
Then there’s the green camp’s woeful choice of messengers. I’ll take finger-wagging, CO2-reducing advice from a man
who was cheated out of the U.S. presidency on the chin, but being lectured by any private-jetted celeb with a carbon
footprint the size of a charred yeti is another matter. If there’s one thing likely to repress, rather than raise,
my environmental awareness, it’s a stadium event that prompts the mass transit of thousands of burger-munching,
soda-swilling humans. (Remember Live Earth in 2008? Sponsored by Chevrolet, its carbon footprint was around 74,500
"Remember Live Earth in 2008? Sponsored by Chevrolet, its carbon footprint was around 74,500 tonnes."
It seems increasingly likely that climate change is inevitable — something Benjamin Franklin would have added to his
‘death and taxes’ quip, were the great American polymath alive in 2016. The flimsy pledges, grandstand posturing and
petty, conscience- salving attempts to reverse it feel like the equivalent of urinating at a towering inferno. By
definition, anthropogenic climate change has been accelerated by human population growth, and there aren’t going to
be fewer of us any time soon. It took about 200 millennia, up to 1804, for there to be a billion humans, but just 40
years after 1950 for us to double our numbers from 2.5 billion to five billion. We now number 7.4 billion, and the
United Nations reckons we’re looking at 9.6 billion by the middle of the century. Why Catholics who continue to
admonish contraception aren’t getting a kick up the cassock from the green lobby for stretching long-redundant
nuggets of scripture (like they were cheap prophylactics) into the modern age is anyone’s guess — ‘No,
yougo forth and multiply’ — but that’s another matter.
As humans proliferate, and greater reaches of the world become industrialised (enriching human lives in the process,
it must be pointed out), it becomes more clear that even decelerating climate change would mean slamming the brakes
on economic growth (and therefore personal freedoms) so sharply that no developed nation’s government will ever
sanction it beyond mealy mouthed pronouncements and token gestures. And what about developing nations? Why in the
name of Bono’s balls should they rein in their behaviour? How can we possibly deny developing nations the spoils of
growth that will bring masses of people out of penury? ‘Hey, welcome to the shindig, Brazil, China and India — but
the D.J.’s wrapping up and the free bar’s closed.’ Even the most fervent ecological warrior cannot deny that climate
change is synonymous with human progress, and therefore provision.
The debate is becoming unseemly, as typified by the derisory epithets each camp has come up with for the other
(‘alarmists’ versus ‘deniers’). So isn’t it time we stop bleating, bitching, halo-rubbing, finger-wagging, denying,
defying and palm-greasing, and accept what’s coming to us? Should we not devote our efforts and energies, instead,
to tackling the problems climate change will cause? It’s churlish, surely, to at least not acknowledge the benefits
of the consumption that nudges the mercury northward. With the information revolution still moving up the gears, and
looking set to dwarf the industrial revolution in terms of impact on human progress, we’re entering a new age of
human ingenuity. Within a couple of decades, the fact that we still have humans piloting passenger jets will seem
quaintly anachronistic. Elon Musk can now talk to rooms full of elbow-patched geophysicists about human settlement
on Mars and draw applause rather than be apprehended by security. Vast strides in Artificial Intelligence, open data
and real-time analytics are set to offer plausible answers to the question of how to transport, feed, house and
provide energy infrastructures for the world’s burgeoning population. Should we not devote this incredible guile to
tackling consequences such as rising seas, extreme weather events, natural disasters, violence over resources and
the depletion of species?
Or, of course, we could just let these horrific global events become a huge blot on the collective human conscience
while we’re busy bickering. That said, if the collective will to implement the above just isn’t there, and if my
presence on this planet nudges us a nanosecond nearer to all-out Armageddon and a new dawn for Planet Earth —
including, perhaps, an explosion of biodiversity in a few millennia’s time that enables it to be governed by less
destructive and perhaps sexier, better dressed inhabitants than the current leaseholders — well, I’m afraid I can
live with that.