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Charles making a stink over climate.

Byline: CIARAN MCKEOWN The Piper of Peace

IT begins to look as if Prince Charles has given up completely on the notion of ever becoming king.

I mean, one does not refer to a section of one's subjects as "headless chickens".

Of course, His Royal Highness is not in the same league as his entertaining father when it comes to headline-grabbing phrases: one cannot imagine Charles referring to people as "slittyeyed", for instance.

But he might get there if Her Majesty should opt to skip a generation in the course of abdication: then her eldest son would be off the leash and could stir up debate to his heart's content.

The targets of his weekend abuse were those who are "climate change deniers" - and with parts of southern England under water for weeks, the weather is certainly topical and there is no shortage of opinions.

The painstaking science on the issue has to use complex maths and computer modelling before declaring 95% confidence that human behaviour is accelerating global warming.

But that leaves the field fairly open to enjoy a little speculation - without quite being headless chickens.

Just to be clear: the climate does change, always has and always will.

The real question is the extent of human influence on it. There is no doubt that pumping billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere is bound to have had an effect, trapping heat and acidifying the oceans to the detriment of many forms of life.

But His Royal Highness must also be aware that every cow lets fly with several hundred litres of methane gas every day.

A German farmer got a spectacular reminder of this last week: his cow shed blew up when a static spark detonated the accumulated gaseous excretions of his placidly munching herd.

If such methane were to be identified as a critical contributor to our greenhouse gas output, elected politicians might have to ban cattle farming.

There would a right royal dust-up with a farming pretender to the throne behaving like a headless chicken. There would be nowhere to place a crown.
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Title Annotation:Editorial; Opinion, Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Feb 3, 2014
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