In his year-ending Sun Media editorial, Lorrie Goldstein asks whether global warming has stopped.
Without a standard advent, or indeed a comprehensive and observable meaning, it is impossible to answer if or when global warming as a physical phenomenon will ever have ended, but the question does lead to the more relevant problem of whether global warming as a political and rhetorical implement has a perceptible best-before date. How many years of ordinary survival and non-cataclysm, for example, would it take before politicians and activists might possibly abandon years of countless trade restrictions, caps and bans, artificial market schemes, conferences, advertising and general alarms as just so much fruitless agony and opportunism, not to mention untold billions of dollars of wasted wealth. Or is climate anxiety to be a permanent imposition?
It would be too much to expect any admissions in the event that global warming as a device should fail, but a little learned prudence and hesitation would be a minimal compensation. Of course, the market in presumptive righteousness and authority is likely to remain at its record levels for that to happen. We would ordinarily like to wish everyone a warm and comfortable new year in 2008, but under the circumstances it might be better to pay the price of warmth and comfort for a little peace.