Wednesday, July 19, 2006

With Global Warming, The End Of The World Is Nigh, But That Is No Reason To Go Shopping In Your Unmentionables, Sir

These days, barely a day goes by without a warning about global warming, and its dire effects. As a matter of temperament, I am rather in favour of this: the end, if not exactly nigh, is undoubtedly lurking around the corner with a baseball bat. But I do wonder why - if catastrophe is so obviously imminent - we do nothing about it. There is no moratorium on sales of motor cars, cheap air travel is promoted and airports extended, supermarket food is transported around the planet in refrigerated containers, air-conditioning in the summer is followed by outdoor heaters in the autumn, central heating is the norm, and shop windows and public buildings are illuminated at night, as if to mock the shortage of energy which has left the western world indebted to the Middle East, thus necessitating American intervention in areas of politics about which it knows nothing and cares less.
But, like Ronnie Corbett after an unsucessful experiment with gestalt therapy, I digress. My point is temperatures: like hemlines, they are creeping up. Am I the only person to have noticed that this has happened since our weatherpersons started using Celsius, which I still prefer to call Centigrade, if only because the word sounds like a brand of refrigerator coolant?
I am old enough to remember the effects of decimalisation. In the days of pounds, shillings and pence, things were cheaper, and the population was required to have a working grasp of arithmetic. Decimalisation, and the subsequent introduction of pocket calculators, ended all that. Prices were rounded up, and the British housewife - so used to weighing apples and pears in multiples of twelve - found herself weighed down with halfpenny pieces which were useful only for fraying the pockets of her husband's moleskins. Rampant inflation followed, like children after the gala day pipe band.
The same had happened with temperatures. Centigrade has been with us for 30 years, but most of still like to hear heat expressed in the old money, Fahrenheit. Yesterday, parts of Britain were so hot that there was a shortage of electricity, presumably because of the energy required to refrigerate the nation's beer. The roads in some areas were salted, to stop them melting. Today is hotter yet.
Certainly, this is worrying, but it is not the end of the planet which perturbs me most. In some parts of Midlothian - Dalkeith - the men already wear little more than their underpants during the summer months. I do not care to imagine what will happen if the mercury keeps rising.

4 comments:

Arthur said...

I think the 'midlothian question' which you identify concerning as you say possibly the direst result of global warming, that of the british adopting the dress habits of an amazon tribe, could yet engender more debate than the west lothian one. I would take time to wonder why this particular location so encapsulates the great issues of the day but as the road out of my town was melting this morning when here in yorkshire we are unaccustomed to ice cream melting outdoors dwelling on this frightening future only adds to my distress. I may have to undo my top button if this goes on much longer.

HW said...

An unwarranted slur on Dalkeith. What about Gorebridge? Or worse, the den of iniquity that is Eskbank?

Jackson said...

Dalkeith deserving of the title of heartland of Midlothian's BareChested Masters. For it is there they strut, pose, belch and scare passing motorists. Why, 30 years ago, as a nipper, it was while driving through Dalkeith (I was a tiny backseat passenger in my father's Mini) that I first saw the "invisible cable across the road" trick performed by two such Bare-Chested Masters, one a side, pulling as if holding a cable in the path of cars. The trick was all the more effective because one suspected they might indeed have been dim enough to have tried to stop a truck (or indeed Mini) by sheer dint of pulling on either end of a piece of string.

Pat the Chooks said...

What is confusing me is that the BBC weather forecasts are now predicting electrical charge (coulomb, C) and capacitance (farad, F) where they used to predict temperatures in degrees Celsius or Farenheit ...