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Here's Europe's solution to global warming

Siesta!

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Summary of the opening speech by Janez POTOČNIK, European Commissioner for Science and Research, at the International Symposium on Climate Change, Brussels, 2 February:

There's no ignoring it. There's less ice, more disasters and more dead people. It's our fault for polluting the environ and we had better watch it because it's going to come back and bite us on the proverbial ass.

But what do we care? What the hell do we know, anyway? The weather's hotter than it's ever been and angrier too. Yet people are saying, how did this happen? Wasn't me! Show me some proof.

We'll get used to it though because it's going to get so hot that the whole of Europe will be on one great siesta for three hours every afternoon. Our economies might collapse, but who gives a shit when the sun is shining?

Of course, we must be responsible. It's expected of us. We will at least try and give the appearance that rather than spending all those extra ours in the sack we are giving genuine thought to that little problem about the end of the world.

Science will come to the rescue. Like a cunning crime fighter, it always manages to get us out of the frying pan in the last minute before the oil gets too hot.

Just to put you at ease, I'll tell you about some of our great scientific hopes. One project we have funded involves watching the ice-caps melt. Just in case anyone else needs any more proof. But also because there's a close correlation between the way we do our scientific research in Europe and the way we formulate our policy.

And we are taking a genuine interest in Africa for a change because they might be able to teach us a thing or two about coping with drought and famine. Heck, we may even kill two birds with one stone.

So we've got some talking shops and toothless international agreements to do something about this as well. But don't rest on your laurels, because it's all too late. Climate change is coming ready or not.

So we're going to fund some more scientific research because that's what George says is the only way we can deal with climate change: keep guzzlin' so the oil companies have money to spend on scientific research.

Our next round of research funding is going to find even more innovative ways to monitor the earth's decline. When the funding round is complete in 2010, the scientists have finished their research, the findings have been verified by peer review, and the breakthroughs have been turned into usable technologies, we will be able to tell you to within half a metre just how deep the water is under your houseboat.

Enjoy the conference! ®

The speech in full can be found here.

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