A camel, as Winston Churchill used to say, is an animal designed by committee. The climate scare, like a camel, is an animal designed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Trying to ride a camel for the first time can be what Chinese adventurer Kai Lung would have called “a gravity-removing episode.” Under the rustling palm-trees by the balmy shore of the Gulf, I approached my first camel, Aziz, with that intrepid curiosity that built a great Empire.
My lovely wife says animals and children are attracted to me because I have never grown up. I addressed Aziz with an elegant quatrain from Fitzgerald’s perfect translation of the world’s most charming drinking-song, the Rubaiyyat of Umar Khayyam:
Awake! for Morning in the bowl of Night
Has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight –
And lo, the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan’s turret in a noose of light.
Aziz listened politely, nuzzled me in a friendly way, sniffed my hand thoughtfully, slobbered over it liberally, and then directed a long nostril at my face to get better acquainted. I stroked his neck, wiping the slobber off on it, and he burbled contentedly.
Or so I thought. His handler, with a rapid “chk-chk-chk,” brought him down to his knees and told me to climb on quick.
Not quick enough. Before I was halfway into the cloth-covered saddle, Aziz lurched to his feet, flinging me into an elegant and spectacular parabolic trajectory. Upon re-entry, I achieved terminal velocity and crashed firmly into a convenient sand dune, executing a well-judged judo fall of which my Staff Sergeant would have been proud. I remembered to go completely limp at the last instant. Sand sprayed in all directions and a new peninsula was created on the Gulf shore.
#more#As I tottered to my feet, dented but unbowed, the two camel-handlers and my three friends were in such fits of unbecoming laughter that I forgot to emulate William the Conqueror by grabbing a fistful of sand and saying, “See, I hold all Araby in my hand” (or at least that part of it that had not been flung into the Gulf by my impact.
Aziz was chk-chked back on to his knees and, this time, I was quicker, leaping into the saddle before we headed skyward.
The object of the exercise was to obtain four camels, affix to their flanks bold placards bearing the words “STOP” “CLIMATE” “HYPE” and the “CFACT” logo of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, which does not believe warmer weather is a bad thing or that humans are somehow causing climate cataclysms. The idea was to get a suitably atmospheric photograph of our simple message against the backdrop of the verdant palms, the golden sands, the azure sea, and the cerulean sky.
This, too, was a gravity-removing exercise, with which my Staff Sergeant would not have been at all impressed. “Your job in the field is to take charge,” he would holler. “If you don’t, somebody else will. Or, worse, nobody else will.”
Among the dunes and the flies, nobody took charge. First we got all four camels onto their knees and stuck the placards on. Then we realized that some placards were on the wrong flank of some of the camels. Then, when we’d gotten all of the placards on the same flank, the message read: “HYPE CLIMATE: STOP CFACT,” which was not at all what we were trying to say.
Meanwhile, back at the Doha conference centre, the climate camels were lumbering uncomfortably in all directions and getting nowhere. The usual five alarm warmist factions were manoeuvring:
• The European tyranny-by-clerk, which needs global warming to be a problem because it can then arrogate yet more centralizing powers to itself, yea, even unto the last fluorescent light bulb. The EU will sign anything, because the unelected Kommissars, who have the sole right to propose Europe’s laws, do not have to care what the people think, and they want more central power in their hands. They are also advising the envious U.N. on how to grab all political power by stealth — a treaty here, a treaty there, until suddenly democracy has been stolen away forever.
• The BRICS bloc — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — which is not really a bloc at all. None of these emerging nations can afford to allow the vicious policies of the anti-development Greens to interfere with their most vital mission: which is to expand the use of fossil fuels to give their people affordable electricity, lift them out of poverty, reduce malnutrition and disease, benefit the environment by stabilizing their populations, and end the cutting down of trees and wildlife habitats to provide fuel for open fires that heat homes, cook food, and cause tuberculosis. They will sign any treaty that does not bind them to limit their emissions.
• The fly-specks: The small island states and other economically tiny nations in the undeveloped world. Their ambition is to extract as much money from the wealthy West as they can get, based on claims that industrialized nations are causing global warming that is sinking their islands.
• The unfooled: Canada, Japan, and New Zealand, who have stayed clear of the now-defunct Kyoto Protocol, which will unavoidably expire December 31 because there was no agreement to extend it by October 3, as its own terms require.
• The fools: In this category, Australia stands alone. Its absurd carbon dioxide tax is almost 50 times more expensive than letting global warming happen and adapting in a focused way to its consequences.
• The United States: Also in a category of its own, Obama’s U.S. is a house deeply divided. The “Democrats” — more like Communists these days — will do whatever it takes to destroy all (such as fossil-fuel corporations) who fund their Republican opponents. Also, they will sign any treaty calculated to wreck the economy of the West. The Republicans, however, will not. No climate treaty will be agreed to by the U.S. Senate, where Senators Inhofe, Coburn, Hatch, Vitter, and others have spoken out clearly and consistently against climate-extremism.
Today, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, Emir of Qatar, addressed the conference. He announced that Qatar now aims to generate one-sixth of its electrical power by solar power, reducing its dependency upon the oil that makes it — per capita — one of the wealthiest nations on Earth, and the single highest carbon dioxide emitter on the planet.
The real reason for the Emir’s switch to solar power is economic, not climatological. He provides free electricity to his nation, and every gallon of costly oil that he burns for his people is a gallon he cannot sell. Since he has hundreds of thousands of acres of empty sand available, soaked in sunshine more than 300 days a year, solar power, though more expensive than oil in the short term, may one day prove cheaper than oil for this country.
The Emir also confirmed the hopes expressed by the president of the conference, Abdullah bin Hamad al Attiyah, that a real deal would be struck here in Qatar.
However, the climate camels are all heading in opposite directions, and bucking off their riders. Will there be a deal? Yes, of course there will. There always is. The triumphant announcement of success after the talks go into an extra day is now a routine element in the choreography of these stage-managed farces.
If they really want to make the world laugh, all they have to do is film Monckton of Arabia trying to ride a camel.
Back in the desert, we were still trying to get the camels to behave. We told the handlers to rearrange the camels in the right order, but their English was no better than our Arabic, and anyway we were all shouting conflicting orders at them, and the camels had their own ideas of where they wanted to go. The Three Stooges would have done things better than us.
This pantomime went on for half an hour, until I took a command decision to arrange the camels in single file, sit them down, and then affix the placards to their flanks with duct tape, reading from left to right.
“Never go into the field without duct tape,” Staff would holler. “If it moves, salute it. If it doesn’t move, paint it. If it wobbles, fix it with duct tape.”
The Arabs, however, read from right to left, and one of my friends — a photographer — thought the photo would look more artistic that way around.
Later that millennium, we got the camels and the placards in the right places: “STOP CLIMATE HYPE — CFACT.” We gave them our money, shot our photographs, and it is now safely on the record for all time:
The moving finger writes and, having writ,
Moves on, nor all thy piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.
Satisfied, we went for an uncomfortable but triumphant ride on the camels in the kindly breeze, with Aziz tossing his head upward from time to time to snatch a mouthful of leaves from a passing palm-tree. But not before I had briefly become one of the first Brits in space.