Andrew Jackson (â€@yodacomplex) reminded me of the screwy history of the thing that was Global Warming. The phrase has undergone many revisions, examples of which are:
- Climate Change,
- Climate Cataclysm,
- Climate Chaos,
- Climate Disruption.
Readers will have noticed the evident Anglo-Saxon preference for alliteration. If only the atmosphere would have cooperated with any of these terms, we’d at least have had a more interesting topic of conversation than The Consensus.
Consensus of what? Apparently that things are worse than we thought. I’ve pointed this out before, but if the same scientists, year after year, step to the microphone and announce “It’s worse than we thought” then the following two facts must hold: (1) these scientists are extraordinarily prone to error—can’t they ever get a prediction right?—and (2) therefore admitting membership in The Consensus is a political and not a scientific act.
Skip it. What’s true is that The Consensus was able to stir and heighten fear—even panic! even syndromes!—using the phrase “Global Warming.” Why no less than the very model of sober propriety, himself, Mr Al Gore, was made nervous enough to make a movie—and then make millions selling carbon indulgences.
Never mind. Familiarity bred its contempt and took the edge off Global Warming, but then so did the lack of global warming. So The Consensus switched to Climate Change. This was a winner in the limited sense that the climate always changes, so at least scientists wouldn’t be embarrassed by frequent flubbed forecasts. Fear rose.
But it never soared to the same heights as before. Hence quickly followed the other monikers. Yet honesty compels us to admit they were poor performers. The glory days of Global Warming are but a dim memory. People stopped caring.
This has had the effect of casting a pall over a once happy group of environmentalists. Before, Greenpeace operatives would chase you down the street, bean you over the head with their white three-ring binders, while cheerfully but adamantly delivering a “Do you have a minute to save the environment!” It was never a question, it was a mini-sermon. Whereas now they stand sullenly, offering only a weak grin and a view of their t-shirts, hoping this will be enough to enchant you into a conversation. Pathetic.
Think of all those who have devoted their lives to assuring us that the End Was Nigh! How sad, how bereft they must be! Christian charity, common human decency, requires us to take pity on these newly created intellectual vagabonds. It is our duty to cheer them, to show them hope is not lost. After all, we wouldn’t want them to all move to Belgium just so they could use that country’s generous disposal services.
Hence this New Contest to rename Global Warming. Let’s put the macabre back in meteorology! Let’s cause flesh to creep over climatology! Come on, gang: let’s get that sky falling again!
All entries must be made in the comment box below by 23:59:59 EDT 23 July 2014. One week, ladies and gentlemen.
I will be asking my pal Gav Schmidt (via Twitter) to be a judge. He might accept, too, since this contest is for his benefit. But upon his refusal or non-answer, I become the sole judge and jury.
Entries will judged on brevity, power to instill terror, memorability, and originality. The words of all entries must begin with capital letters (so I can find them).
Winners (there may be more than one) will be announced in a separate post and in this one. The winners, besides receiving the approbation due to them, will be invited to write a 300- to 400-word essay on What I Learned From Global Warming which will appear on this site. I will be in touch with the winners to arrange the details (so please use the right email when you register your entry).
My entry, probably unbeatable, especially if I am to be the judge:
Apoplectic Apocalyptic Anthropogenic Atmospheric Aneurysm
Update I don’t want to single anybody out, but don’t forget the spirit of this contest. We’re here to help our sad brothers and sisters. That means a name like (I’m making this up) “Climate Silliness”, accurate as it might be, isn’t going to instill fear and panic.