What do Manneken Pis and Johann Strauss II have in common? (No, since you ask, Strauss played the violin.) According to the BBC they will both, together with other statues around Europe, be dressed in t-shirts with the following message:
Showing the Earth in the universe, with a thermostat attached to it measuring its rising temperature, it includes the message: "You control climate change. Turn down. Switch off. Recycle. Walk".Yes, it's another wizard idea from the Commission and its oleaginous president Barroso, who managed to get out of his expensive limo before he went into his expenisvely run office in order to give Europeans the message. (Now, that I think of it, the message may have been given actually inside one of those luxuriously appointed offices.)
The message is that we can all stop climate change. The mere fact that this has never happened before since the earth has existed does not deter our gallant Commissars. It stands to reason that people could not stop the mini-ice age, which started in the fourteenth century or prevent its cyclical end with the gradual warming up from the beginning of the nineteenth. They did not have the ultimate weapon – the European Union with its Commission.
Of course, both those statues are quite small. Will there be t-shirts for the bulldog-like Churchill in Parliament Square or General Napier in Trafalgar Square? In any case, don't know about the Manneken but I can't see Johann Strauss II being too pleased with the whole idea.
Inevitably, there is a website, whose purpose it is to educate people on climate change and what they can do about it. As it happens, education is the last thing the Commission and whoever thought of this latest whizz have in mind. If they did they would publish a great deal more about the scientific debates that are raging all over the world.
They would, for example, refer to a recent article in the Washington Times, which followed the arguments of several highly respected hurricane scientists, who cannot agree whether the severe weather of 2004 and 2005 around the southern coast of the United States is cyclical or the result of temperature change in the Indian Ocean.
Well, scientists may disagree, but Al Gore in his private plane and Commission President Barroso in his limousine know it for a fact: climate change means global warming, caused enirely by people using electric bulbs that are too bright, overfilling their kettles and not switching off the heating when they go out.
Oddly enough, the website does not mention the letter 60 Canadian scientists sent to the Prime Minister, in which they explained that Kyoto and all that went with it was not a sensible way of dealing with environmental problems.
No mention of the highly respected New Zealand scientists who cast doubt on the whole idea that it is human activity that is causing climate change, which does not happen to be any more dramatic than past experience.
No mention of the recent findings that the average temperature of the earth went up by no more than 0.7°C in the last 150 years and has, it appears, stopped rising in the last few years altogether.
Instead of which we get the following tendentious and scaremongering introduction:
Even if it were true, switching light bulbs off is not going to make any difference. It is, after all, a truism that the richer a country is economically, the better its environment is and the readier it is to deal with the inevitable climatic disasters.
The Earth is rapidly getting warmer. This change in the climate threatens serious and even catastrophic disruption to our economies, societies and to our natural environment. The warming is being mainly caused by 'greenhouse gases' that are released by human activities, in particular the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. In the atmosphere, these gases trap the sun's heat in the same way as a greenhouse.
Compare and contrast the effect Katrina and the other hurricanes had on the United States last year to the effect their weaker brethren had had on the same area at the beginning of the twentieth century. The same hurricanes that cause the odd problem in Florida, reasonably quickly dealt with, devastate a place like Haiti, killing thousands of people and destroying what there is of an economy.
Since climatic changes are unpredictable and cannot be explained by one factor alone, the sensible thing would be to allow economic growth to continue in the West and to encourage it in other countries, so we can all deal with whatever the weather might throw at us. But to acknowledge that would be to deny the whole basis of "thinking" as shown by the Commission, and the scaremongering "environmentalists".
Entertainingly enough, the press release that tells us about this new and, no doubt, extremely expensive project, says this:
"You control climate change" is the title of an awareness raising campaign that European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will launch today in Brussels The campaign challenges individuals to make small changes to their daily routine in order to achieve significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.Fascinating. The Commission is the organization that has been lambasted repeatedly by the Court of Auditors for, among other things, having a culture of no responsibility. Nobody can be found who will take responsibility for anything.
It offers a wealth of practical and easy-to-do tips while aiming to give people a sense of personal responsibility and empowerment and help them contribute to the fight against climate change. Households in the EU are responsible for some 16% of the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions, most of which comes from the production and use of energy. EU Member States will be launching the campaign at national level over the next few days.
Slightly more worryingly
The campaign also targets secondary school pupils. The Europa Diary distributed in more than 1.1 million copies at the beginning of each school year will include a section on climate change in September 2006. It will encourage students to sign a pledge to reduce their CO2 emissions, providing them with a form to track their efforts. This material will also be available on the website.While, for the most part, school children pay little attention to what they are told at school, they are vulnerable to seemingly idealistic views and have no real understanding that these are not based on any real scientific proof.
What is so puzzling about the whole venture is the timing. Why now? Why go into overdrive about climate change, global warming, saving of energy just as scientists who have found it difficult to get a hearing in the past for their non-consensus views, are making ever louder noises debating, even denying the that consensus?
Not only is the Commission getting into a real tizz. Over on Daily Ablution, Scott Burgess has been following the saga of Johann Hari's near libellous comments about Björn Lomborg and the Independent's refusal even to acknowledge the latter's attempts to publish the truth.
Hizonner the Mayor of London is threatening to introduce "statutory carbon emission targets" even though he has no very clear idea of what that is or how such targets can be enforced.
Above all, we have the hysteria exhibited by the stars, moguls, critics and other hangers on at Cannes, most of whom have flown there by private planes and whose yachts guzzle up quite a large proportion of the earth's fuels, going into raptures over that old phony, Al Gore, whose own "humvee days" have long ago turned into decades. Think how much energy we could save if we did not have Al Gore.
As for the scientific debates, they are getting nastier with various media personalities weighing in and accusing the "heretics" of all kinds of sins instead of answering their points.
My own guess is that it is precisely because the so-called consensus is falling apart that its promoters are getting hysterical.
Kyoto is chuntering to its end with no visible effect. The most polluting countries (with Russia's exception) have not even bothered to sign up; those who have signed up have not reduced their emissions and, in some cases, have increased them; the only country whose emissions have gone down is the wicked United States; and new ideas of how to deal with climatic problems, based on developing technology, are gaining ground.
If you add to that the ever louder grumbling in the ranks of international scientists, you can quite understand why the Commission wants to make a last stand for global warming and personal accountability (though not, of course, their own).