Today the newspapers report on a piece in ‘NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’ magazine in which eminent scientists have projected what would happen if all the ice on planet Earth – some five million cubic miles’ worth – had melted.
Normally, I’m not a fan of ‘What if?’ scenarios. As a parlour game, perhaps yes. But as a serious exercise, I fail to see the point. It is a bit like the time my father took my dementia-suffering mother to the doctor, who prescribed a new, experimental, drug. A month later, at their next appointment, the doctor opened by asking if there had been any improvement.
“Compared to what?” responded my father indignantly, on the logic that he had no means of knowing how my mother might have progressed if she hadn’t taken the pills.
I have lived in the metropolis for nearly forty years and, from time to time, have contemplated both buying a holiday home abroad and/or moving my main residence to the Isle of Wight, where a sea view can had for significantly less than a million pounds. Looking at the detail of the image of Great Britain, courtesy of ‘NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, as it would be if the sea level had risen by some 216 feet, I spent an hour and a half this morning considering where I might like to live once the ice had gone.
Having decided that I couldn’t face Reading, because it is a drab urban sprawl, and Slough because of David Brent/Ricky Gervais and ‘THE OFFICE’, I decided that the north side of Oxford might suit me very well – say somewhere like the delightfully traditional village of Woodstock, not far from Blenheim Palace. I was about to call a local estate agent to see if I could buy a couple of acres on a slope facing eastwards, on which to build a villa in the coastal style, bedecked in copious amounts of steel tubing and glass, when by chance I glanced across at my copy of the article in ‘THE GUARDIAN’.
There, in the very last paragraph, was the information that the research scientists had worked out that it would take at least 5,000 years for the Earth’s temperatures to rise sufficiently to completely melt its ice.
That’s another morning wasted.