Life in parallel universes

April may be the cruellest month, but December is the most bizarre. December 2009, anyway.

Some time during the night – I will not say which night – the Earth has split and is now inhabiting two parallel universes.

In one, a summit meeting is going on, the purpose of which is to control the Earth’s climate. Not so long ago, such an idea would be confined to the world of science fiction, but now it seems perfectly reasonable to governments, scientists and the media that we can alter the climate simply by reducing emissions of a particular gas.

In the other, slightly different universe, this idea seems not only arrogant but seriously misguided, in that the gas is not the problem anyway – or at least not a major part of the problem.

You would think, in a sensible reality, that these two universes would merge and sort out their differences. But no, each of them proceeds on its way.

So in one universe we continue to be surrounded by media assurances that we are on the brink of disaster if we do not reach an agreement on controlling the climate. And in the other we are inundated with accusations that the climate control world has falsified parts of its data and hidden other parts, as well as – through undue influence – preventing publication of work by scientists with different views.

The people with power to influence our real lives reside in the climate control world, and maybe they believe that all they have to do to succeed is ignore the existence of the other universe. This policy has been in force for a long time.

Recently, however, the cloak of invisibility has been breached. Ordinary people living in the climate control world know there is another world out there, very close by.

Can the climate controllers hold out? Will the barrage of insults which turns out to be their main defence continue to pour across the parallel gap? Or can they in fact, against the odds, control the climate as well as they have controlled the principalities and powers of their own world? That would be a neat trick.

Watch out: it’s high up there

I see that climbers and walkers in Scotland are being urged by the country’s Public Health and Sport Minister, Shona Robinson, to take precautions to help them stay safe while out in the hills.

It’s nice to see a Minister doing something useful at last. So mountains can be dangerous, can they? Thanks for mentioning it.

I knew they were big tall, pointy things with rough, steep bits miles from anywhere, and with practically no public conveniences, but dangerous? How could I have missed that?

I understand that talks are under way to introduce speed cameras on the slopes of Ben Nevis. There are already plenty of humps.