As soon as I caught wind of global climate czar Pofessor Felix Knutta's interest in SETI, the search for extraterrestrial life, I immediately phoned for an interview.
After a few false starts I finally managed to track him down in a greasy spoon not far from his observatory. While munching his way through a Big Trukka all-day breakfast he expounded on his latest climate theory – the Cosmic Climate Catastrophe.
‘As you must know,’ Professor Knutta began as he gulped down a huge mug of trucker’s tea, ‘there has been no success in contacting alien life on other planets. None at all – a total zero - zilch.’
‘Yes I heard that,’ I replied impatiently, keen to unearth the Professor’s angle on SETI.
‘Originally I thought of transmitting the story of climate change to the rest of the universe. We could inform the whole cosmos about the science being settled - make sure they don't listen to deniers. Other carbon life-forms might welcome the information but there’s a snag.’
‘No interested aliens out there?’ I hazarded.
‘Exactly - and don’t you find it a little odd?’ The Professor’s gaze wandered furtively around the cafe as if on the lookout for denier spies among a thin scattering of truckers.
‘Yes... very odd indeed... unless...’
‘Well consider this,’ the Professor mumbled through a mouthful of Jumbo sausage. ‘We agree that the hunt for intelligent aliens has been a big fat zero after decades of searching. So what does that tell us with unprecedented certainty?’
‘I’ve no idea.’
‘It tells us that there are no advanced aliens out there sending messages to us. None at all. The universe is empty of energy-consuming intelligent life... apart from humans of course - for the time being.’
‘No, because climate change wiped them out as soon as they began burning fossil fuels. That’s my new theory of the Cosmic Carbon Footprint... or clawprint or whatever’
‘Is that the inevitable conclusion though Professor?’ I asked. ‘Surely some alien intelligences would have moved over to sustainable energy to survive the catastrophe.’
‘Ah – but sustainable energy is a total crock isn’t it?’ Professor Knutta replied, a triumphant gleam in his eyes clearly visible behind spots of congealed bacon fat on his academic spectacles.
‘You mean aliens who try to adapt to global warming by building wind turbines and suchlike -’
‘Are totally and utterly stuffed,’ laughed the Professor. ‘That’s why we may be accidentally correct to call them little green men. Having to rely on sustainable energy means they don’t have enough energy to cook a proper breakfast, let alone piss about transmitting radio signals to other planets. That’s why they are little you see – cold and undernourished. Little green runts we should call them.’
‘Ah... So the lack of contact...’
‘Proves conclusively that climate change affects the whole universe, not just human beings here on Earth,’ the Professor replied, mopping his plate with a thick piece of bread.
‘What about nuclear power?’ I asked.
‘Eh?’ The Professor dropped a sausage on the floor, absently picked it up and wiped it on his sleeve.
‘What about nuclear power?’ I asked again.
‘Oh shit... You mean the little green bastards might be a ghastly bunch of smartarse atom-heads? I didn’t think of that.’