Some Much-Needed Humour

Am I the only one out there who feels a little depressed about climate change?

A little depressed that, whether or not we have the technological capability to replace fossil fuels and lower carbon emissions, our society is so lacking in political will that the actions will never get off the ground?

A little depressed that, no matter how informed our government is, the people – whom the government can’t do anything without the support of – are still, after all these years, confused about whether or not climate change is even happening?

I have a picture in my mind of climate change rolling towards us like a huge boulder, but we’re not getting out of its path. We’re actively walking towards it.

I thought it would be a good time to write something happy on this blog.

You know you’re really interested in a topic when you start laughing at jokes about it. I’m quite well-phrased in chemistry jokes. But recently I’ve picked up a bit of climatology humour as well.

For example, not long ago, someone actually sent me a comment saying that 2005 and 1998 were not the warmest years on record after all; that the Y2K bug messed up NASA’s computers and the warmest year on record was actually 1938.

For those of you who like satire, I also have two great April Fool’s articles. The first is from the Christian Science Monitor.

“In an unprecedented move Wednesday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee rescinded the Peace Prize it awarded in 2007 to former US vice president Al Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, amid overwhelming evidence that global warming is an elaborate hoax cooked up by Mr. Gore.

A press release from the committee quotes a chagrined Rajendra Pachauri, the UN climate panel’s chair, who claims that he was the victim of a “cunning deception spanning decades”:

“I am deeply ashamed for having unwittingly perpetuated such a massive fraud on the governments of the world,” said Mr. Pachauri.

“It turns out that all that data from satellites and radiosondes, surface temperature readings, borehole analysis, measurements of rising sea levels, melting glaciers and permafrost, phenological data, and proxy reconstructions of paleoclimatic conditions were all fabricated out of thin air by my former friend, Al Gore. Now that I think about it, I suppose that we should have instituted some sort of peer-review process before publishing such alarming conclusions. Once again, I’m very sorry.”

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The second is from RealClimate, and discusses the theory that global warming is caused by sheep.

“The hypothesis begins with the simple observation that most sheep are white, and therefore have a higher albedo than the land on which they typically graze. This effect is confirmed by the recent Sheep Radiation Budget Experiment. The next step in the chain of logic is to note that the sheep population of New Zealand has plummeted in recent years. The resulting decrease in albedo leads to an increase in absorbed Solar radiation, thus warming the planet. The Sheep Albedo hypothesis draws some inspiration from the earlier work of Squeak and Diddlesworth [2] on the effect of the ptarmigan population on the energy balance of the Laurentide ice sheet. Noh-Watt hastens to emphasize that the two hypotheses are quite distinct, since the species of ptarmigan involved in the Squeak-Diddlesworth effect is now extinct.”

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I hope you all enjoyed this.

In desperate times, our species knows how to make the best of a situation. Even if it involves nerdy jokes.


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