Thursday, January 11, 2007

“If You Can’t Stand The Heat ...”

“It was hotter than Hooker in Heater today, and hotter than Heater in Hellmouth, where the high was a hundred and thirty-three degrees.”

You, what?

The above comes from a weather-report spoof on the long-ago album “Everything You Know Is Wrong” by the American comedy troupe The Firesign Theatre. It just came to mind as I mulled over the prospects of Skegness becoming the new Magaluf and the Med becoming too hot for tourism.

More dire environmental prophesying.

Back in early November (entries of 2 and 6 November to be precise), I picked up on the Stern Report and its warnings regarding climate change. I spoke of the dangers of rising sea levels affecting unprotected coastlines here, such as in Playa de Muro. Now we have another warning - this one from the European Commission. This latest report predicts that - during this century - the Med will become “unbearably hot”, so much so that people will no longer flock to the beaches, as they will be able to enjoy Mediterranean conditions in ... well, Skeggy.

It’s long been said that an impact of global warming will be to make Britain and northern Europe that much warmer. The question no longer seems to be if but when. The problem with climate-change predictions is that their actualisations are too far off. “Oh, it’ll be all right, something’s bound to turn up.” That seems to be the reaction of many. But what if nothing does turn up? What if this warming kicks in that much earlier? What if, say, in ten, twenty years time, Mallorca is regularly notching up 40+ degrees in summer, the point at which the heat not only becomes intolerable, it becomes downright dangerous?

What is that about a goose and golden eggs? The airline industry and its partners the tour operators will have helped to have created an irreversible change (not that they are the only ones who should carry the can). But they will have contributed - largely unwittingly until relatively recently - and then they will find that there is no demand for Mediterranean holidays. Too damned hot. They will leave behind wastelands - decaying hotels, derelict bars, destroyed economies, deserted villas.

Whither Mallorca in such a scenario?

The seas will come again and reclaim the coastal plains, rendering what land remains worthless, subject as it will be to ever more encroachment and erosion; as worthless as it was considered until only the last sixty years or so. All the greed and prosperity will be washed away. People will return to the hinterland to pick over what is left of a shattered economic model that saw tourism as its wealth-creator, its greed-creator and finally its destroyer.

Have a nice holiday this year.

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