The Guardian's science editor, Robin McKie, has been to the theatre. He went to see Ten Billion, a one-man show by computer scientist Stephen Emmott. This is slightly odd. The Guardian is losing tens of millions of pounds every year and yet this is their second review of the show. I wonder why they would be plugging it so much?
The answer, of course, is that it's a show about man's impact on the planet - it is in essence a lecture by a somewhat millenarian academic with no particular expertise in the area.
McKie seems very taken with the show, and you can tell that Emmott's work presses all the right buttons on a Guardian journalist:
We face a future in which billions will starve, he states. Britain, which could come off relatively lightly when 6C rises in global temperature take effect, will be turned into a military outpost dedicated to preventing waves of immigrants reaching our shores.
It's interesting to see Emmott still pushing 6 degrees as a plausible outcome. Even Mark Lynas - author of a bestselling book of that title - seems to have backtracked a bit, a sensible course of action given that any model prediction of 6 degrees of warming is now deep in falsification territory.
I was also struck my this remark by McKie:
[P]revious theatrical attempts to tackle the issues of global warming, rising sea levels and the ecological mayhem we face have been confused and tame. The National Theatre's Greenland, staged last year, was chaotic and unfocused, for example, while the Bush's The Contingency Plan, a double bill by Steve Waters, although highly enjoyable and intelligently written, only touched on the depth of the crisis we face.
It's funny, but I seem to recall that the Evening Standard award for best show last year went (jointly) to a play about global warming. It was called The Heretic. How odd that McKie should have forgotten about it.
Incidentally, don't get the impression that Emmott is a bad guy. According to Richard Drake, he has been trying to replicate a GCM:
Stephen Emmott, the Microsoft open science guy who spoke at the previous RS do at the Festival Hall, with Nurse and Boulton presiding, sure agreed that it wasn't trivial - in that he couldn't get the general circulation model (GCM) he'd chosen to study to work at all, due to bugs, despite the code being 'open'.
So long as someone is still asking questions, they're OK with me.