- From: The Daily Telegraph
- April 21, 2014
Key word: ‘‘usually’’. A few weeks ago McKibben made up for decades of humour deficiency by devising a joke so brilliant that it verges on genius.
The Harvard graduate actually proposed … a climate scientist strike.
“At this point it’s absurd to keep asking the scientific community to churn out more reports,” McKibben wrote. “In fact, it might almost be more useful if they went on strike: until you pay attention to what we’ve already told you, we won’t be telling you more.”
For all I know, the climate science community is running with McKibben’s idea. They do seem a little quieter than usual. Picture all the climate scientists dutifully withholding the latest tree ring data or Antarctic ice core measurements. Some of them might even have stopped filing grant applications.
An anxious world awaits news of the strike’s end. Meanwhile, nonscientist members of the climate panic movement — McKibben himself is a mere arts graduate — aren’t maintaining solidarity with their lab-coat comrades. Lately they’ve become louder and crazier than ever, presumably out of panic as the whole global warming issue continues to cool.
Clive James once wrote that hyper-excited Formula One commentator Murray Walker “sounds like a blindfolded man riding a unicycle on the rim of the pit of doom.” But dear old Murray has nothing on Greens senator Scott Ludlam, who last week announced: “This country is going to cook and people are going to die.”
You used to hear that sort of thing from fire-and-brimstone preachers whose remedy to our ills was prayer. The Greens instead believe in the healing power of the carbon tax, among other devotional offerings.
“The weather is turning violent on us because we have left this for decades,” preacherman Ludlam continued, conjuring the standard Greens scenario of a vengeful Gaia gone wild.
Frankly, I don’t think the old girl has got it in her. Come and have a go, Gaia, if you think you’re hard enough. But she sure has put the frighteners on former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley. “I don’t think I can be silent,” the paediatrician told the ABC last week. On that point, for once a climate alarmist prediction turned out to be 100 per cent accurate.
Declaring herself to be “anxious and angry”, Stanley railed against science deniers and the denigration of scientists. She claimed that climate change would cause an increase in malnutrition among children and a rise in infectious diseases.
“But where are the departments of climate change, health effects of climate change, in Australia?” Stanley asked. “Where are they?” Well, the last I heard they were on strike. Do try to keep up, Fiona. Senator Ludlam’s Greens colleague Adam Bandt evidently felt left out of all last week’s excitement, so late in the piece he made his own run for the headlines. “Coal is the next asbestos or tobacco,” he announced, which is bad news for anyone planning on smoking it or using it to insulate their homes.
University of Canberra journalism lecturer Crispin Hull devoted his entire Friday newspaper column to the asbestos-coal concept. “Asbestos was toxic. Ultimately it was more economically beneficial to leave it in the ground than use it, aside from the human cost,” he wrote.
“We should now be saying similar things about coal and natural gas.” Hull went on to shriek that in 30 years environment minister Greg Hunt “will look like an asbestos miner so concerned about profits and economic benefits that he is blind to the looming catastrophe’’.
It’s been looming for decades, this glorious catastrophe. Long may it loom over us. Trouble is, once you subtract the looming, there isn’t much left. No bodies piling up. No coastlines falling into the sea. No mass extinctions. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Over the weekend it was announced that Peter Kerr, a scientist in California, had discovered a brand new species of gnat.
He has named the little guy Megophthalmidia mckibbeni, in honour of Bill McKibben.