Nature Blog Network Future Earth: A Handel on Copenhagen

Sunday, 20 December 2009

A Handel on Copenhagen













Last night, as the Copenhagen summit was struggling to conclude a deal on tackling climate change, my brother, son and I struggled through the icy streets of Cambridge to Kings College Chapel. Handel's Messiah reverberating around those majestic walls on a snowy winter's night is the closest approach to a religious experience for one whose religion is music.

But my thoughts were wandering, considering the stone masons for whom it must have been a life's work to chisel away the interior decor of vaulting colums to create the chapel in the 15th Century. Then, almost inevitably to the corridors of Copenhagen, and finding myself helplessly raging against the leaders of nations unable to subsume short-term perspectives for the longer term health of our shared planet. The words to Handel's masterpiece (penned by Charles Jennens in the 18th Century) started to assume a strange shape, with "Climate Change" replacing mention of the Deity ......

"But who may abide the day of (irreversible, man-made climate change) coming? and who shall stand when (climate change) appeareth? For (climate change) is like a refiner's fire.....

Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.....
(Climate change) will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land; and (climate change) will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come...

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way. And (climate change) hath laid on (itself) the iniquity of us all.

Why do the nations so furiously rage together? The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together against (climate change), and against his anointed (the IPCC). Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped".


So, nothing new under the increasingly warming sun, then. Up to us now. Can we persuade our leaders to develop and enforce binding targets? Or will it end in tears and warfare? Will there be people listening to Handel in the Kings College chapel next Century? It might at least be a last refuge from the heat... those high ceilings and thick stone walls are as literally chilling to the body as the thought of "no deal" is to the mind.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

interesting article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you guys learn that some Iranian hacker had busted twitter yesterday.
[url=http://amazon.reviewazone.com/]Nicole[/url]

Martin said...

And I thought you were rivetted to the music!!

Great idea to adapt the Libretto. Maybe we need a climate change oratorio?

It would have to have a catastrophic ending though. Leaders might just take us to the water (if there is any left) but I fear not enough will drink.


XX your Bro
(hope that won't get me removed!)