Cool It: how our plans for global warming might be killing us

Of the many horrors inflicted on me in my childhood, that cheese substitute made from Brazil nuts ranks up there with pleather shoes in the list of things I’d rather forget. I still remember being surprised that Daz really does get your whites clean, because over a decade of useless “environmentally friendly” detergents had convinced me that the point of washing your clothes was to spin them around and get them a bit wet. That’s the thing about “green” issues: once you get your head out of the clouds, you realise it’s all a load of b*llocks.

Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist was almost single-handedly responsible for breaking a lifetime of conditioning, with its assertion that the biggest problem with “Climate Change” is that the climate has never been the same. The earth warms and cools, sea levels rise and fall, and it would continue to happen even if the human race was magically zapped off the planet tomorrow. In our desperation to “stop climate change”, we are wasting billions of dollars that should be used here and now to deal with its effects. Lomborg believes that the full cost of implementing the Kyoto Treaty would have run to five trillion dollars to delay global warming by just five years. In The Skeptical Environmentalist, he points to the people in the poorest areas of Bangladesh and asks whether they would thank us “for postponing the flooding of their graves.” In the documentary Cool It, he takes the expenditure of $250 billion per year and works out how he would spend it – taking in the latest developments in renewable energy, technology to prevent flooding damage and even geo-engineering.

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British Isles – A Natural History

I caught a marathon of British Isles – A Natural History while channel-hopping, and I guess I must just have been in the mood for an unfussy, really well made documentary, because I watched the entire thing in one sitting. I love that sort of thing – tectonic plates, fossils, dinosaurs, glaciers and cavemen. It takes me back to the huge science encyclopaedia I had as a kid.

British Isles – A Natural History is an eight-part series presented by Alan Titchmarsh. The BBC originally screened it in 2004, but it was picked up by Yesterday and shown, uh, yesterday. The programme spans from 3 billion years ago to the present day, showing how Britain was once on the equator during the Pangea days, and the resultant desert made the earth rich in iron, which manifests today in the exceptionally lush grass in the West Country.  Continue reading