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Global heating

I’ma chill you

“Global warming”, “climate change”, “climate chaos”, “climate meltdown” or what? I was unaware until this week that James Lovelock prefers yet another formulation: global heating. I’m undecided about this: on the one hand, it seems that “heating” has a more exclusively transitive application than “warming”: an Earth that is “warming” could be just warming up by itself, but if there is “heating”, then someone has to be doing the heating. So “global heating” stresses the A-for-anthropogenic of AGW. On the other hand, it does call to mind cosy things like central heating and underfloor heating. Wouldn’t we like the whole world to have central heating?

Lovelock goes on to conduct an interesting survey of geoengineering wheezes, but as the UN meets in New York this week, I would like to draw attention to another strategy for combating global underfloor heating the climatocalypse. As with most of my best thoughts, I had it while reading the words of 12-year-old British foreign secretary David Miliband:

This week, Barack Obama will chair a summit of the UN security council to discuss nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. This is one of the most critical issues we face. Get it right, and we will increase global security, pave the way for a world without nuclear weapons and improve access to affordable, safe and dependable energy – vital to tackle climate change. Get it wrong, and we face the spread of nuclear weapons and the chilling prospect of nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists.

That is a chilling prospect, isn’t it? Come to think of it, when was the last time any public figure mentioned a “prospect” that was not “chilling”? I think now, readers, you can see what I’m getting at. If politicians the world over made a concerted effort to mention all the hypothetical “chilling prospects” they could think of, every day, the combined global chilling effect might be enough to head off the worst of the climageddon.

What do you find a chilling prospect, readers?

  1. 1  dsquared  September 23, 2009, 9:41 am 

    Whenever I hear the word “Prospect”, it brings to mind a magazine that chillingly costs the best part of five quid despite always being the same four ounces of soft-left waffle interspersed with adverts for holiday cottages.

  2. 2  Torquil Macneil  September 23, 2009, 11:21 am 

    You are too quick to assume that he means ‘chilling’ in the sense of ‘terrifying’. I am led to understand that youngsters like Mr Milliband these days often use ‘chill’ to denote a desirable condition of relaxed tolerance. It might well be that our Home Secretary was expressing the view that nukes in the hand of terrorists would be, like, way cool.

  3. 3  richard  September 23, 2009, 1:45 pm 

    I fear conservation of energy is against this one: every chilling prospect requires at least the same amount of hot air.

  4. 4  Alex  September 23, 2009, 2:53 pm 

    Yeah, once Osama gets his hands on a nuke he’ll have a deterrent and be able to just chill with it. Safe.

  5. 5  ejh  September 23, 2009, 4:47 pm 

    Re: #2, I have a vivid memory of turning on BBC2 many years ago to find somebody called “Normski” pointing at his bed and declaring “this is where I do my chillin'”.

    I also have a vivid memory of turning off.

  6. 6  Guano  September 28, 2009, 9:11 am 

    Indeed, the arguments of young Mr Milliband leave me completely cold.

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