Our green-skinned sage (he uses a green sunlamp) offers his usual sceptical take on “going green”
Now look here, pay attention at the back, this is directed at YOU. I said, pay attention or I’ll come and whack a ruler over your knuckles. We’ve all had to tighten our Hermès belts; even the Prince of Wailes has done so. Well, to a teeny marginal degree. Our mole in Clarence House squeaks that HRH will not be ordering his usual dozen cashmere tea cosies topped with the fashionable Prince of Wailes Pom-Poms for Mummy’s Christmas box. Furthermore, he – or more probably one of his agents – has sold on exclusive rights to sell his personal “Green, organic” Duchy Original biscuits, along with exclusive rights to HRH’s organic snacks, to Waitrose, a reasonably upmarket supermarket chain. Wailes has always been passionately green of course. He even talks to his plants. Don’t ask.
Being “Green” does not involve interminable recitations of Ezra Pounds’ boring piffle over the cheeseboard or a choreographed interpretation of Beckett by leotard-clad male luvvies with shaven heads.
2009 has been a toughie for aristos and farmers on the organic green front. Farmers, breaking their backs, hand-weeding their crops and carrying crates of produce to farmer’s markets have seen the rot set in on organic stuff as soon as the credit crunch began. Even well-heeled customers across Europe fled the organic isles for the discount aisles. Falling sales means falling prices. Organic lamb is now (outside of Switzerland, that is) so dirt cheap at the farm gate that the cost of moving sheep to organically certified slaughterhouses can simply not be justified.
But nil desperandum. The EU is here to bail everyone out. They have a giant conservation quango paying farmers (in the UK for example) £650 per hectare to convert to organic. Nice one? You bet. For many European farmers it’s the subsidies that count. Not much else. Baaah.
Back to HRH Wailes and his subsidies. I doubt that he played any hand in the extraordinary run up to Copenhagen’s summit in December, which is intended to supply the successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, according mandatory CO2 emission targets to all nations of the world. The realistic chances of a new deal are as dead in the water as an albatross caught in an oil slick. I’ll bet you a bag of doughnuts or Duchy Originals that no treaty will be agreed. Want a bet? E-mail me at email@example.com.
Saudi Arabia argues that a cutback in fossil fuels is “economic discrimination.” Oh yes? Here we have an arid desert nation rich enough to keep its people supplied with irrigation: this makes the point that it is not climate change that condemns so many Africans to early death but poverty. Poorer nations understand this only too well.
I remain unconvinced that radical action is required. The unelected British Prime Minister claims he has 50 days to “save the world.” It’s taken him 12 years to make a significant contribution to destroying both Britain and her banking system. I sometimes suspect that we are being held hostage by the suppurating Middle East kleptocrats – which puts me near the greens, I suppose.
But hope is on the horizon in the form of – are you sitting down? – shale gas. No, I’m not kidding. In a nutshell, it was technically possible but uneconomic – UNTIL new extraction technology changed everything. The price of shale gas has tumbled by two thirds to about US$ 4.50 per million thermal units. Amazing. Gloomy predictions about the end of energy resources and the end of the world are being rewritten. Our brothers in the Middle East, Venezuela and Nigeria might need to rethink their policies on petroleum pricing.
The often deranged poet Shelley, chum of mad Byron and Keats, who sometimes wore feathers in his hair, wrote that love withers under restraint. Its very essence is liberty. It’s neither compatible with obedience, jealousy or fear. Bravo Shelly. Same goes for the green movement in several respects.
Hoc anno ego pro certo benignius aliis me geram.
Dear Readers, Please ignore the last line. I’ve tried to stop him from showing off – but he won’t listen! He claims he’s making New Year’s resolutions to be nicer to people. Not before time, I should think.—Ed.