Sunday, 29 June 2008
Since it is Sunday, here's a word you don't often hear these days - supererogation. It sprang back into my mind, after a long and unremarked absence, as I listened to a radio report on the deliberations of the House of Commons committee on climate change. This committe is pondering the government's Climate Change Bill, which proposes - nay, pledges - a 60 per cent reduction in the UK's carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. You might well think this was quite unrealistic and ludicrous enough to be going on with - but no, not for those fine virtuous MPs assembled in the select committee. Nothing would do but they must raise the figure to an altogether fantastical 80 per cent. What is this if it is not an exercise in competitive virtue, in supererogation? More proof, if any were needed, that belief in climate change has left science - and indeed reason - way behind and is now a matter of quasi/pseudo-religious faith.