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A Man of a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

Global Warming

The night was dark, and deep snow covered the road. I drove into the compound of the National Institute for the Monitoring of Global Warming. Massive floodlights illuminated the car park as if it were day, whilst electrical heating beneath the tarmac melted the snow and maintained the air above at room temperature. I parked by rows of huge, gas-guzzling, staff owned four by fours and walked to reception.

‘It’s hot in here,’ I said to the receptionist as I removed my jacket.

‘I’ll open a few windows to let some heat out,’ she responded as she phoned Professor John Greenhouse to announce my arrival.

I had known John since joining the Department for the Environment. The research by the NIMGW had long been the cornerstone of the government environmental policy that it was my role to draft.

‘I’m very interested in your new research,’ I said to John as I sat down in his office. ‘I must admit, however, I’m puzzled.’

He passed me a scotch. ‘What about?’

‘This place.’ I gestured around me. ‘It’s the most energy inefficient establishment I’ve ever visited – and yet you’re monitoring global warming.’

‘Yes,’ he laughed, ‘our carbon footprint is enormous.’ He pointed from the window to a distant glow. ‘We’re burning fossil fuels over there, just for the fun of it.’

‘Why?' I asked.

John handed me a copy of the report I had come to collect. ‘Read it,’ he said. ‘We’ve analysed all the data on global warming and run the most sophisticated simulations in the world.’ He poured himself a drink and sat down. ‘We’ve confirmed the situation is hopeless.’

‘What?’ I replied.

‘The current gradual warming will continue for another two years, at most,’ he explained, ‘then catastrophic climate change will end all life on Earth. There’s nothing we can do about it, now. A few energy saving light bulbs and a bit of extra fuel tax won’t have any effect – its too late.’ He pointed to the report. ‘Hence our recommendations.’

I glanced at the report. ‘What are your recommendations?’

‘To stop worrying and have a bloody good time,’ John clarified. ‘We might as well burn as much fuel as we like to go where we want, start eating the most delicious of the endangered species and have sex with who we fancy, when we like – the apocalypse will get us now long before AIDS can.’ He offered me a cigarette. ‘I’ve started smoking again, would you like one – or perhaps some crack cocaine?’

‘That can’t be government policy,' I gasped, ‘there’d be anarchy.’

‘Oh God, yes,’ he agreed. ‘You can’t tell the public. The poor buggers must keep recycling and bolting solar panels and wind turbines to their roofs – keep ‘em busy and give ‘em hope. Critically, we don’t want the fundamentalist Christians finding out.’

‘Why them in particular?' I queried.

‘Well, as the world is really going to end, I, for one, don’t want to hear the sanctimonious bastards keep saying: ‘We told you so!’’

I left the NIMGW deep in thought. So many women to seduce, so many irritating colleagues and acquaintances to murder – and so little time.