Monday, 16 May 2011

An ill wind

There is a great deal of covert scientific and legislative work going on in the EU at the moment. Most people won’t have heard of it because it is – ahem – somewhat embarrassing. It is to do with meeting EU climate emission targets in an extremely novel way. The science is simple, but the politics may be tricky.

Certain sulphur-containing gases are extremely powerful greenhouse gases, many millions of times more potent than CO2. So what? You may ask. Well the problem is that some of the most potent sulphur-containing gases are to be found in the gaseous products of human flatulence.

Once the laughter subsides, there is a serious issue at stake here. Let’s take the most potent human greenhouse emission, which happens to be, not CO2 as you would expect, but the gaseous sulphur compound euphartole, carefully pronounced youffa–tole.

You’ll be pleased to know that EU scientists, climate experts and specialist regulators have shown a touch of imagination in resolving this most delicate issue via the upcoming Euphartole Emissions Directive. Because of the extreme potency of human flatulence in climate change, particularly from euphartole, they have come up with a cunning plan. The idea is to levy enormous taxes on dried fruit, eggs and lager and reduce the permitted opening hours of curry houses. These measures will, so the scientists assure us, allow the EU to legitimately claim it has reduced the human impact on climate simply by moderating the global-warming effect of EU flatulence, saving several trillion euros into the bargain. Brilliant!

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