Written by Julian Flood
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[Note on the author: Julian Flood was a Vulcan Captain at 24. It’s all been rather downhill since then.]
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Let’s start with a warning: O level maths was a very long time ago, so it will pay while reading this to be sceptical of the sums which are approximations. Anyone who wishes to demonstrate a more accurate take on the figures should join in with a comment. The facts are right as far as any facts about climate change are right which is ‘not very’ –only a very corrupted science would openly admit that it permits the deletion of data*) that contradicts the official narrative that we are all doomed – but I ran out of fingers working out how to apportion the blame for the worldwide climate Armageddon which is apparently all our fault.
It’s not all our fault. We produce about 1% of the world’s anthropogenic CO2, so only about 1% of the apocalypse can be laid at the UK’s draughty front door. That 1% is a fact that people argue about as we are accused of offshoring much of the CO2 used to make the things we buy, but 1% is what we’ll use, not least because it makes the sums easier.
As you go up the temperature drops, which is why mountains have snow on the top and why there’s ice at the North Pole. Humanity lives in the troposphere where it cools by 3 deg C per thousand feet, or, in the jargon, the lapse rate is 3 deg/1000ft. There’s an official standard for this called the ICAO standard atmosphere, so that’s unequivocal, laid down by statute. 3 deg/1000ft it is.
The next number is not exactly a fact, it’s more an aspiration. By 2080 we hope/intend/will compel the global temperature to rise by only 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels (let’s ignore the fact that “pre-industrial levels” covers the Minoan, Roman and Mediaeval warm periods which were all warmer than we are today). That’s why our rulers will force us to drive ruinously expensive short range dodgem cars when we’re not walking, cycling or running to our next appointment, and will make us shiver in our inadequately heated homes as the electricity Grid creaks, groans and fails trying to drive inadequate heat pump technology while charging all those electric cars. Let’s assume that the world manages to achieve that figure for the sake of the calculation – to be honest I don’t think anything we do will change the rate of climate change one iota, but we have to have some basis to calculate from.
We’ve already warmed by 1 deg C, so we’re allowed 0.5 deg C more. 1.5 deg C by 2080, here we come. Right, deep breath, sums!
[Note to editor. I’m going mad with the numbers. Sometimes they look right, sometimes they look wrong. [Ed: relax, they’re all fine!]]
By 2080 the UK’s global warming contribution would be 0.015 deg C if the climate models were right, which they aren’t, but no-one knows why, but if it’s good enough for Mrs Carrie Johnson with her degree in the history of theatre, the PM with his degree in Classics, ancient literature and classical philosophy, and for the Right Honourable Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change (who knows all about chartered accountancy) then it surely must be good enough for us peasants. That’s what the UK will have contributed to global warming since pre-industrial times all the way up to 2080. 0.015 deg C.
If we could raise the whole world up to compensate for that temperature rise we’d need to elevate everyone by 1000*0.015/3 ft. Five feet. Five feet for 200 years worth of UK’s contribution – that’s roughly an inch every three years. It doesn’t seem like much of a challenge when taken in the round, but some people put on more girth than that during a single holiday on the Costa del Sol, and I know at least one grandson who has in the last year put on nearly three inches of vertical growth, well out-accelerating the UK’s contribution to global warming.
We could build five foot mounds for individuals, families or tribes but let’s face it, doing that is not practical. So how can we expiate our guilt for what we in the UK, a wealthy group of nations and dependencies, are doing to the climate? What can we do that’s actually achievable as an acknowledgement of our carbon dioxide sins? It’s going to take us years to recover from Covid so it can only be something modest, but it must be striking, an earnest of our good intentions and our regret. Just a symbol, but symbols are important. Here’s the answer.
Let’s do an Elton John.
No, not the portly singer, no need to sing Crocodile Rock***) to celebrate the Thames transmogrifying into a foetid swamp. His footwear.
While we research and fund development of small modular reactors (they’ll give us zero carbon dioxide energy and are the only practical solution to the problem if it turns out to be real) we can at the same time supply the entire population of the world with Elton John four inch stack heeled boots: wearing those super-cool accoutrements everyone will be lifted into the cooler climes of 12 years before. These are not boots! They are climate time machines!****)
There are about 7,500,000,000 people on the planet, and allowing for those who are still learning to walk, have lost mobility etc they’ll need 6,000,000,000 pairs of boots. Even fairly extreme versions sell for less than 50 dollars, so by shopping around we could expect to drive the price right down to, say, £20. That’s a mere £120 billion to fit out the entire world, and for that price we might even get up to six inches of elevation. The whole world saved from UK-caused global warming right up to 2038! If we cancelled HS2 we could easily afford that.
The propaganda value of my proposed solution would be immense. The biggest contributor to AGW, China, produces about 30% of the world’s greenhouse gases (USA is 14%, India 7%) and will be unable to match us in our token apology. China would have to lift everyone up by 30 times more than we do, which is obviously totally impractical and ridiculous: 120 inch boots would be really difficult to walk in. There’s only one solution.
China will have to stop building all those coal-fired power stations. While we wait for that – don’t hold your breath – our leaders can reflect on how insignificant is our contribution to AGW. Perhaps then they’ll stop grandstanding on the world stage at our expense.
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*) See Steve McIntyre’s blog about how the latest AR6 report manages to produce an alarming graph of 20th/21st century temperatures by throwing away any contradictory evidence from tree ring studies. It’s a long and complex read but it takes you to the heart of the scientific scandal that is the climate scam. Take a lot of data. Throw away all the data that doesn’t agree with your global warming hypothesis. Put all the data that’s left in a heap and point out that it agrees with your hypothesis. This is not a joke, this is what IPCC scientists are doing.
**) This is a joke. Go up, you know, up the map to the north? No? Suit yourself.
***) OK, if you must you can sing “Who Wears These Shoes?” – Elton John 1984.
****) Supercool! Geddit?
Photo by worldwind0