I don't know why the conversation at the church Lent lunch turned to Global Warming. Actually I do remember now - it was because just as I sat down, somebody warned me that my neighbours would try to recruit me into the eco-faction.
After that it was all downhill. I admitted to being a global warming sceptic, my neighbour insisted that he was a scientist and he knew all there was to know on the subject and there could not possibly be any doubt at all about the facts of AGW. My gentle reminders that there were bodies of evidence on both sides were met with rising hostility and anger. I asked my neighbour if he had actually read the Climategate e-mails. He looked cross and slightly red-faced and did not answer, but said that they had all been dismissed by the government enquiry. He then set out to defend Al Gore. How could nice Al be a profiteer when all he was doing was investing in green energy, thereby proving he believed what he said?
After having a quiet think about this, I responded by trying to point out that what made Al Gore rich was not investment in green energy, but in carbon emission permits. They are two very different things. Trading and speculating on carbon permits has made many people multi-millionaires without investing a penny in green energy and also without actually reducing the amount of CO2 emitted by anybody. But I was not not allowed to say this. My neighbour and his wife kept interrupting me, shouting me down and insisting that they knew all about it and could not possibly need to hear anything else. Finally they got so furious that they actually got up and moved seats.
There is nothing very surprising about this sort of bigotry. Greens are not famous for their willingness to listen to both sides of an argument. Suffice it to say that if Al Gore had invested in green energy (without government subsidy that is) he would still be a poor man today.
It's not just that I get a bit annoyed about those endless phone calls from a recorded voice telling me I have not yet claimed my free roof insulation (and as a matter of fact, I have but I've had two calls like that this week). I wonder at times about people's priorities. I bought a pair of jeans at Marks and Spencer's the other week. The label said "These jeans are made in an eco-factory, designed to cut carbon emissions and use renewable electricity. DOING THE RIGHT THING."
On the other side it says "Made in Sri Lanka". Hmmm. So no worries about doing business with a country where the government forces recently carried out huge and horrible massacres of Tamils, on a genocidal scale, and are resisting any attempts at a proper enquiry. No worries even about exporting British jobs, while we have severe unemployment here. So long as it's Green, it's doing the right thing!