Using his best Chuck Schumer imitation, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon jumped in front of some cameras at Copenhagen and assured us that his cause was noble.
His demeanor was serious. Contemplative.
He searched his vocabulary for the precise phrase to convey his deepest conviction … and you could see his eyes sparkle when he hit upon the shim-sham-inducing word, accelerating, to describe what was happening to global warming.
Good Lord! I thought to myself. This is bad! If global warming is accelerating, if it is worse than we have predicted — happening three times faster than any scientist ever feared in his worst nightmare — then, by golly, we sure ought to do something!
But as I was jumping up to write a check to the Sierra Club, I remembered. Hadn’t I heard Ban Ki-moon’s phrase somewhere else before?
I had. And often.
I turned to my trusty archives, and discovered something. At least since the late 1990s, and probably before, journalists, “activists,” and even politicians have been claiming: “It’s worse than we thought.”
Only two things can account for the constant use of these words:
(1) It really is, each and every time we turn around, getting hotter by amounts greater than we had predicted.
While this is logically possible, if this rhetoric were consistently true then by now the Earth’s fish would be swimming in water as hot as Tiger Woods is in.
(2) The politicians, etc., have forgotten the definition of accelerating.
This is plausible. It is, after all, a physical term, and most non-scientist global warming activists are demonstrably not well versed in their physics.
There is a third possibility, but knowing how earnest the Copenhagen crowd is, we can scarcely give it any weight.
It is — I hesitate when I write this — that the activists are exaggerating, even (gulp) fibbing.
For our own good, of course. To convince reluctant people to act. Let us hope this third scenario exists only in my fevered imagination.