Global warming and the debate over whether man-made carbon gas emissions are having a detrimental influence on climate change has been ranked as the most boring topic of conversation on earth, according to a new report.
The issue of global warming far out-performed other contenders for the title, such as the production of goat cheese, the musical genius of the artist formerly known as P Diddy and media speculation over the likely outcome of the upcoming federal election.
These topics still tracked strongly, according to the report, but global warming was identified as the topic most likely to prompt people into feigning heart attacks so as to avoid hearing the phrases "procrastination penalty", "precautionary principle" and "peer-reviewed analysis" ever again.
The study, conducted by a non-partisan think tank located somewhere between the small township of Tibooburra and the NSW border, identified global warming as the current topic of choice for people who want their dinner party to finish early.
According to the parents in the survey, global warming has now replaced the traditional bedtime story when it comes to putting children to sleep. The study found the topic was also being used instead of water cannon by riot police around the world to disperse crowds.
I am one of those who worries about global warming, but I am not a scientist. In fact, many of those who worry about global warming are not scientists. And those scientists who often worry most about global warming are not really scientists either - they are in something called "environmental studies" or the like. (No, I am not going to rehearse the Woody Allen joke abut teaching gym.)
So I am one of those who tend to worry less about global warming when someone like, say, Al Gore tells me I should worry more about it. I want to hear from people who spent their lives in the lab, not people who spent their lives on campaign buses. Today we are hearing a bit more from the former. Apparently quite a number of them don't think much of the views expressed by the ex-veep in his movie. I don't plan on seeing the film. If I want to learn more about global warming I prefer to read scientific essays, rough going though they may be. Here's just one of the scientists:
Appearing before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year, Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, "There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years." Patterson asked the committee, "On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century's modest warming?"
Patterson concluded his testimony by explaining what his research and "hundreds of other studies" reveal: on all time scales, there is very good correlation between Earth's temperature and natural celestial phenomena such changes in the brightness of the Sun.
Do I know the truth of this? Absolutely not. Does Al Gore? Don't make me laugh. (And, yes, I still think we should conserve energy and look for alternative sources for two reasons - to stop being hostage to the Saudis, etc. and... just in case.)