A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The little boy in the crowd.....

With Emperor Blair in Washington, strutting his inexorable parade to the Gleneagles G8 Summit, the crowds along the roadside cry out loudly: "The Emperor must do something about climate change!" The cacophony grows more raucous by the hour - here, and over there, and over here, and even here.

Yet, I remain the little boy in the crowd. Is climate changing? Yes, of course it is. That is what climate does. I learned that at school. Do humans influence climate change? Yes, of course they do, but in many different ways, most little understood, and only as one small factor out of the millions of other factors involved. I learned that at big school. Can we humans manage climate predictably by fiddling at the margins with just one selected human factor out of the many human factors involved - not to mention, of course, the millions of non-human factors?

'NON', 'NEE', 'NO'. I learned that by common sense and from basic primary school science. And so:
"'... the Emperor has nothing at all on!' said a little child.

'Listen to the voice of innocence!' exclaimed his father; and what the child had said was whispered from one to another.

'But he has nothing at all on!' at last cried out all the people. The Emperor was vexed, for he knew that the people were right; but he thought the procession must go on now! And the lords of the bedchamber took greater pains than ever to appear holding up a train, although, in reality, there was no train to hold."

Shhh! Pass on the whisper as swiftly as possible:

"The Emperor cannot manage climate whatever he does. He has no clothes!"

[And your chance to vote on Emperor Blair's mighty powers is right opposite, with EnviroSpin's NEW Mini Poll: 'Can Mr. Blair control climate change predictably?' Do vote now. Thanks.]

Philip - And that, folks, is the butt-naked truth. One long-known by Old King Cnut (for it is he). Even if Emperor Blair were to close every factory, ground every aircraft, shut down every power plant, crush every vehicle, and plunge 4 billion people worldwide into poverty, climate would still change, and often dramatically. Shhhh! 'He has nothing at all on!' And we all know those toadying lords of the bedchamber.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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