The last time I interviewed climate expert, Professor Felix Knutta, he had moved to the plush Mayfair offices of the Climate Austerity Coalition. When I entered his office, Professor Knutta was as welcoming as ever, immediately offering me a cup of his favourite Monsoon Malabar coffee.
“Global warming schedule has slipped and as for climate change, the climate is hardly changing at all,” the Professor announced as soon as we were comfortably seated at his solid mahogany brain-storm table as he calls it.
“We need a new term to reflect the fact that the climate has become seriously confused,” he added.
“Confused?” I asked, sipping my perfectly brewed coffee.
“Certainly. The climate is failing to obey scientific laws. Simple logic tells us it must be confused. Obviously we can’t prosecute the climate for breaking scientific laws with such impunity, but surely we have a solemn duty to cure it of such behaviour.”
“Cure the climate – is that the new name for your latest findings, Professor?”
“Actually it isn’t, although it conveys what we are trying to do well enough. The name climate confusion has also been suggested, but I opted for climate dementia. It conveys the right message I think.”
“So the climate is effectively suffering from dementia?” I asked. “It has forgotten to keep warm. As old people do when they think about their winter fuel bills.”
“Exactly. I intend to launch my climate dementia programme by promoting what I call Breathless Earth Day. On this day, everyone should stop breathing for as long as possible. Just imagine! The beauty of it! For a single precious moment the whole human race refrains voluntarily from breathing out a single molecule of CO2.”
“Is that really practical, Professor?” I asked.
“Of course it is. I have been demonstrating the idea on the London streets by holding my breath in public for as long as physically possible. It attracts quite a crowd, so there is plenty of interest in climate dementia.”
“I’m sure there is. What usually happens when you hold your breath for as long as physically possible?” I asked.
“I’m totally, totally committed, so I always fall over. Many people take photos of me with their mobiles as I lie there on the pavement, writhing around gasping for breath. So I know my crucial message is going global on TwitterFace and so forth.”
“Isn’t it dangerous to hold your breath until you fall over?” I asked, wondering if it was time to bring the interview to a close.
“Isn’t it far more dangerous to allow the climate to go on breaking scientific laws?” The Professor beamed. “Allow me to demonstrate.” He grasped his neck with both hands and squeezed, apparently trying to strangle himself.
“All we have to do is control our emissions… glurk… and by doing so… ghaaa…” the Professor gurgled. His knuckles turned white as his face began to turn red.
I legged it. There was a loud crash but by then I was through the door and off down the corridor.