James Rus­sell

El­e­ment ed­i­tor

Element - - Contents -

Dear Rod­ney Hide, If a tree falls in the for­est and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? I’m guess­ing you’d say ‘no’. At least that was my con­clu­sion from read­ing your re­cent col­umn ‘A Very Long List of Last Chances’ on the Paris Cli­mate Sum­mit, which starts to­day.

“A UN meet­ing? To save the planet? Last chance for Earth? Yawn,” you con­cluded, as you once again dis­missed the work of a dev­as­tat­ing ma­jor­ity of cli­mate sci­en­tists in favour of your own opin­ion.

Mean­while, at about the same time you were scrib­bling your epis­tle, Pa­cific lead­ers were in Fiji, discussing what you would prob­a­bly de­scribe as the imag­i­nary ris­ing of the sea around their homes, caus­ing, among other things, a mas­sive resur­gence in cli­mate-in­flu­enced diseases such as ty­phoid, lep­tospiro­sis and dengue fever, of which there were 20,000 cases in Fiji alone last year.

Per­haps you and Bill English could in­form the res­i­dents of Kiri­bati that the salt wa­ter in­vad­ing their pre­cious fresh wa­ter catch­ments is all in their imag­i­na­tion and purely ‘spec­u­la­tive’?

Why do you lis­ten to the ad­vice of the sci­en­tist who says you should take io­dine in your salt? Who advises the use of sun­screen? Who fore­casts the weather? Yet cli­mate sci­en­tists are sim­ply making it up?

Per­haps it’s time to de­scend from the ivory tower, chaps, and re­alise that the things that you say will never hap­pen al­ready are.

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