God's sense of humour

By Sonya Jay Porter  September 2012

In Rio de Janeiro this summer, the city's 130 ft statue of 'Christ the Redeemer' was bathed in green light for the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, the latest international get-together to discuss Global Warming and Saving the Planet. But this UN publicity stunt, perhaps a childish message to show that the environmental religion was now replacing Christianity, backfired badly. Not only were many delegates, Christians and others, horrified but also God showed his displeasure or perhaps his sense of humour. For the three days of the Conference, the statue, on its mountain top, was concealed under thick fog, heavy clouds and pouring rain.


And this has happened many times during solemn discussions on climate change, on how man is destroying the planet and only man can save it.


Since the New Age 1960s, ecological problems of various kinds have concerned many people, but in the late 1980s the latest and greatest scare became what was called Global Warming. It was feared that 'greenhouse gases' including Carbon Dioxide (CO2), which keep the planet from freezing, were increasing rapidly due to man's use of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution and especially since the Second World War. It was foreseen that if these emissions from coal, oil, gas, etc. were not soon reduced, the earth would heat rapidly and might become uninhabitable.


Many international conferences were convened, leading to the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and nicknamed the 'Earth Summit'.  This was attended by Al Gore, the US Vice President under President Clinton from 1993 to 2001 who has become one of the world's foremost environmental activists.


In 2006 he produced a documentary film 'An Inconvenient Truth' designed to raise the world's awareness of global warming which, he warned, if unchecked would create every-higher temperatures leading to melting polar ice and glaciers, droughts, famines and possible extinction of all life. He had no doubt that this problem could be solved by people coming together and using renewable fuel sources such as wind power instead of fossil fuels. The film was a world-wide success and the world’s environmentalists panicked. Warnings appeared across the media with ever-increasing intensity.


However, for several years now, global warming sceptics, those not entirely convinced by the latest scare, have noted with amusement a phenomenon known as 'The Gore Effect'. It seemed that whenever Al Gore made a global warming speech, or even if a global warming event took place in his absence, it was accompanied by unseasonably low temperatures.


The Gore Effect began even before the first showing of his film. In January 2004, Al Gore spoke in New York and Boston when both cities were hit by the coldest temperatures in almost fifty years. However, he shrugged off this phenomenon, ascribing it to the result of global warming or climate change, as it was also becoming known.


Gore visited Australasia with his film in October 2006, late spring in that region. New Zealand newspapers reported an unusually cold October that left Southland dairy farmers struggling. When he moved on to Australia a month later the Gore Effect struck again. It snowed in Queensland in November for the first time in at least 65 years.


And on October 22, 2008 Al Gore's global warming speech at Harvard University coincided with near 125-year record-breaking low temperatures.


In December 2008 he visited Milan in Italy to give his usual speech on global warming. Outside the building it was snowing hard, a very rare event there in early winter. It was also snowing in Rome and Naples and Palermo — and Sicily, at more or less Florida’s latitude — was under slight snow/freezing rain. On the Alps snow had already reached record heights, unparalleled in the last decades.


And when Gore testified about global warming before the US Senate committee in January 2009 the local schools were closed due to heavy snowfalls.


But Al Gore proved that he could produce record cold temperatures anywhere on the globe, just by speaking about global warming. In December 2007 he attended a Global Warming Conference in Bali, where of course it never snows. But back in the US, there were record ice storms in the Midwest, up to 18 inches of snow in the Northeast and Maine tied a 117-year record for snow.


Later, it appeared that just the idea of anything to do with global warming was enough to cause a lowering of temperatures.


Al Gore was nowhere near London when, on 29th October 2008, the House of Commons was receiving its third reading of the Climate Change Bill which committed Britain to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. Yet, outside in London for the first time since 1922, snow was falling.


Nor did he attend the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change in December 2009 but that didn't matter -- the snow still fell, which was most embarrassing. In the October, Prime Minister Gordon Brown had said gravely that we had 'only 50 days to save the world', although at least Prince Charles who spoke at the Conference gave us 'seven years before we lose the levers of control'. Nevertheless world leaders, including President Obama, flew into Copenhagen to face freezing weather as a blizzard dumped 4 inches of snow on the Danish capital. Back across the Atlantic, a major storm hit the US forcing President Obama to leave the conference early. He returned home to land in thick snow.


Perhaps Al Gore had been banned from attending the Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, in November 2010, but God still put the Gore Effect into action. While inside the building the delegates solemnly discussed how to prevent the planet's temperatures from rising, the temperature outside plunged to a 100 year record low of 54F.


And as mentioned, the weather for the Rio+20 Conference in June was no better: three days of pouring rain.


The next Climate Change Conference to be held will be the importantly-named '18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol' and will take place from 26 November to 7 December 2012 at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar.


Will God produce his Gore Effect again? Will he once more dent our self-belief that only man can change the climate or save the planet?


Perhaps he is laughing at us already.