There is a whiff of incense in the air, sweet and heavy as tree sap. The theme is “Spiritual and Religious Perspectives on the Climate Emergency,” and Calder Tsuyuki-Tomlinson is conducting a tea ceremony — “sitting with the future, sipping the present” — and thereby illuminating the “intrinsic ephemerality of things.” I enjoy the smell of the incense, but here at COP26, the annual United Nations climate-change convention, we are all about the Science!, and the Science! doesn’t think much of burning incense indoors: particulate matter, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, etc. Burning wood may be carbon-neutral, according to …
This article appears as “Myths of the 21st Century” in the December 20, 2021, print edition of National Review.
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