Invincible Summer |||

A sudden bonfire

Anyone who has aspired to write science fiction or fantasy might reasonably take heart from the popularity of writers such as Neil Gaiman, who is still exploring where his talent for writing the first half of books might take him. Do not be deceived. Excellent novels by British writers such as Roger Levy and Ronald Wright sink, it seems almost without trace. This from Wright’s A Scientific Romance.

A Scientific Romance

I remember Skef saying – as an aside in his prehistory lecures – that the ice would rumble south again one day and grind the spires of Cambridge into sand. But not to worry; we’d had a good long run since the glaciers stalled – a hundred centuries in which to tame our food and tame ourselves, and invent civilization in half a dozen fertile spots from China to Peru – and he saw no reason why the fair weather shouldn’t last. Now there’s this new evidence from glacial cores – evidence that such long calms are rare, and easily upset. Cycles have changed from ice to heat or vice versa not in millennia, but in decades. The boat starts rocking – hotter summers, colder winters, hurricanes, blizzards – and we can flip in forty years.

Not proven we capsized it, but the timing is certainly suspicious. A sudden bonfire of the planet’s coal and timber can hardly have been a good idea.

To the Prince Charles Cinema to see Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and hear his Climate Messenger Lance Simmens. The cinema was near empty and the questions demonstrated there is no shortage of work left for the Climate Messengers.

Gore’s message has four parts. Global warming is real, caused by us, serious and stoppable. The impression of controversy over the science is precisely that: an impression fostered by oil-industry spin and sustained by its PR budgets. The scientific consensus is solid.

We are looking here at what philosophers call “the tragedy of the commons”. Here is Thucydides.

[T]hey devote a very small fraction of time to the consideration of any public object, most of it to the prosecution of their own objects. Meanwhile each fancies that no harm will come to his neglect, that it is the business of somebody else to look after this or that for him; and so, by the same notion being entertained by all separately, the common cause imperceptibly decays.

More later on how and why we resist Gore’s message.

Towards midnight, to the Arcola Theatre in Dalston for the last of Kazum’s Orient Express club nights there; a late supper afterwards with Seb, Aysegül, Nurten, Alison, Handan and Mark in Dalston’s 24-hour Turkish restaurant; home at first light.

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