About a year ago, almost to the day, in this column, you may recall a bold prediction, fearlessly made. But lest you don't, which is highly likely, since most of us wouldn't remember a Higgs bison if we saw one in a game park, here it is again, much as it appeared 12 months ago:
If you're worried about all the things you have to worry about, cheer up. Here's one thing you won't have to worry about any more. Global warming (remember, this was a prediction) will be the Great Disappearing Act of 2011. It will sink like a stone, exit stage left and generally melt away. Whoopee!
Inspired by the sneaky leaking of all those dodgy East Anglian emails - proof positive of scientific fraud, collusion and deceit - the prediction relied on one basic assumption.
Journalists never admit they're wrong (see phone hacking). They just stop being wrong. When caught with their sceptical pants down and the spotty globes of their credulity exposed, they simply drop the story and move to something else.
Which is precisely what's happened. Global warming has left the building. Where once there were hundreds of horror stories, a daily dose of frightening features, a nightly stack of belching chimneys on the telly (mainly belching steam, in truth, but they still looked really scary) we've now got, well, (nervous cough, awkward shuffle) ummm, sweet Fanny Adams, to be frank. There has been a trickle of terror but, by and large, the whole calamitous narrative is a goneburger.
The end isn't nigh (or nowhere near as nigh as it was). Doomsday's stuck in the waiting room, reading an old copy of National Geographic and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are back in the barracks.
Granted, there have been a few blips on the radar. The spectre of irreversible disaster has occasionally returned to flop like a stranded fish on the distant shores of our attention but, basically, we've moved on. We're not fizzing at the bung any more - or not about this, anyway. We've got other frights to fry. GW is off our A-list.
Even a bunch of worthies racking up huge carbon footprints to get to Durban and do what they're paid to do, ie, put on the sackcloth and ashes and scare the living daylights out of us, can't revive the ghost of this particular cataclysmas past.
Not least because the well-paid worthies can't work out what to do about the worst thing ever to happen. No matter how many carbon-free morning teas they scoffed or how many zero emission papers they perused, no matter how many sleepless nights they endured, all they could agree to do was keep on talking for another four years to see if they could agree to do something, maybe, perhaps, by 2020, that may or may not be legally binding.
Gosh! Wow! Relax, Mildred. We're saved. Or will be. Possibly. Nine years from now. By which time we'll all be under water in the middle of a dustbowl, battered by hurricanes, savaged by storms, inhaling CO2 and generally doing a splendid impersonation of dinosaurs extincting (which is much like expiring although more universal).
Meanwhile, Canada's ditched the Kyoto Protocol as casually as Kim Kardashian dumps hubbies and, despite having 14 members of Parliament, our Greens are more intent on getting stuck into Peter Dunne about asset sales than they are about the end of life as we know it.
Face it, folks, if the crisis is as dire as the climate crusaders would have it, then the Durban Accord (or whatever it's called) is a classic case of putting the brakes on after the accident.
Heck, the Merkozy Twins haven't been this tardy attending to the Eurozone. And when Lehmann Bros went broke, the world's leaders didn't say, "Gee! That's a worry. Maybe we should fix it. Some time. How's your diary next September, Barack, old chap? Could we have a chat then? Provided the Chinese are free, of course."
The conclusion's inescapable. Either we (literally) cooked our goose a long time ago or global warming's always been more chimera than catastrophe. Quids in, it's the latter. This is a crisis of faith, not a crisis of fact.
Three hundred years ago, Newton et al made Reason the new religion and scientists its priests, as devoted to Truth as their predecessors were to God.
But no priesthood is immune to vanity, ambition, mendacity or love of Mammon. And no bureaucracy can resist the temptation to draft new rules. Rules are, after all, what the factory of government manufactures.
So if a few scientists still glean some cred from alarmism and some of our kids are employed for the next 48 months hammering out an agreement that won't matter a toss, good luck to them. Nice work if you can get it, guys.
We just don't need to worry about it any more. That's all. The prediction holds. Global warming has disappeared.By Jim Hopkins Email Jim