Wolf Milder stood looking out at the vastness of the ocean spread before him. There it was, the same old ocean that he remembered gazing out at in wonder as a child. Nothing seemed to have changed. Questions buzzed around his mind like bees swarming around their hive. Why hadn’t it happened? Why did it appear to be just the same as it had all those years ago? Why couldn’t he get to the bottom of it – the mystery that is, not the ocean?
“Thought I’d find you here,” said the female voice from behind him.
Milder didn’t move an inch. He knew who it was – Lana Scoffy, the beautiful but sceptical agent who had been assigned to work alongside him.
“What are you doing here Milder?” she said. “You’ve been coming here every year for the last twenty years now and nothing’s changed.”
“Exactly,” he replied still fixing his stare on the ocean. “Nothing’s changed and I want to know why.”
Scoffy sighed and walked around him until she came between Milder and the sea.
“Why don’t you just give it up?” she asked. “Get over it and move on to something new.”
“I can’t give it up,” he said angrily. “Just look at it Scoffy, look at it.”
She turned her head to look at what he was pointing to. On the sea wall which had been built to stop the local area from flooding, there were two sets of markings. The first was just a set of normal measurements showing the height of the sea at various times of tide flow: 1 yard, 2 yards, 3 yards, 4 yards and 5 yards. To the left of this there were a series of markings with years written next to them: 2010, 2020, 2030, 2040 & 2050.
“Look at it, Scoffy,” he said. “It’s 4:32 pm. Low tide. Tell me, which marking does the sea come up to?”
Scoffy looked at the first set of markings. The water lapped up to about half way between the sea bed and the first marking.
“I guess it must be about a foot and a half.”
“That’s right,” replied Milder, “and what about the other markings?”
Scoffy moved her eyes to the right to the second set. The water lapped up to the marking which read 2010.
“It comes up to 2010,” she said.
“2010,” he repeated. “Scoffy, tell me what year it is.”
“It’s 2030, Milder. What of it?”
“What of it?” cried Wolf Milder. “Don’t you get it Scoffy? Here we are in the year 2030 and the sea level at low tide is exactly the same as it was back in 2010. It should be two yards higher, Scoffy. What happened? Why hasn’t it risen?”
Milder reached down to the floor and picked up a pebble. Raising his arm over his head and drawing it back as far as it would go, he slung the stone angrily into the depths. Scoffy tried to think of something to say to calm him down. She knew how important this was to Milder and she knew that he would get no peace until he found out the answers. Yet there was nothing that she could really say.
“Milder, I don’t know why,” she said after a long pause. “Come, let me buy you a coffee.”
“You know Scoffy,” said Milder ignoring her suggestion. “There are only three explanations. One is that it is happening, but we are still going through a hiatus period. The second is that the measures taken back in the early part of this century to reduce carbon emissions were so successful that they stopped the world from frying, the glaciers from melting and so the oceans stayed put. And the third…”
Here he tailed off as if not even daring to bring himself to say it.
“The third?” echoed Scoffy. “Oh Milder, you don’t mean to say the whole thing was just not true, do you?”
Milder looked at her in surprise. Had she really suggested this as an explanation? That wasn’t at all what he had been getting at.
“Not true?” he said indignantly. “How in the world could it not be true? Can all those scientists out there really have been wrong? No I don’t mean that. I mean…”
But before he could get the words out of his mouth Scoffy interrupted him. “Oh no Milder. Not aliens again,” she said with a long and exasperated sigh. “It’s always aliens.”
“Yes aliens,” he said firmly. Then pointing up into the sky he said, “Maybe the explanation lies out there. Maybe they control our whole lives and maybe they did something with all the carbon emissions like vacuuming them up somehow. I don’t know, but there is one thing I am sure about. He knows something.”
“He?” said a puzzled Scoffy. “You mean God?”
“God?” answered Milder taken aback. “No, I don’t mean God. I mean Pipe Man.”
Before Scoffy could press him, they both heard a noise behind them and turned around sharply to see Pipe Man standing striking a match.
“You think I know something?” said the shadowy figure who seemed to have appeared from nowhere. “Maybe more than you think, Milder.”
He lit his pipe and set it in his mouth, drawing long and hard on it to get it properly lit.
“What are you doing here?” said Milder.
“Just what I always do,” he said with a sinister half-sneering grin. “Checking up to see what the great Wolf Milder is getting up to. Well, well, well! Climate, oceans and aliens is it? Maybe you’re swimming out of your depth, Milder. Maybe you ought to splash about in shallower waters. Why don’t you just give it up and let Scoffy buy you that coffee?”
Coffee? Scoffy had suggested that a few minutes before. How long had he been listening in on their conversation? Had he heard everything? How much did he know? Where did he buy such soft-soled shoes that allowed him to sidle up to people without making any noise?
“I won’t give it up,” replied Milder angrily. “I have a bunch of questions that I need answering and I know that there are answers out there. You know something, that’s for sure. Why don’t you tell me what you know?”
“Not so fast, Milder,” said the man drawing on his pipe. “Maybe you should listen to Scoffy and give her a bit more credit than you have.”
“What are you saying?” cried Milder. “Are you saying that the whole thing isn’t true? Are you saying that the rise in carbon emissions throughout the world doesn’t necessarily lead to global catastrophe?”
The man drew on his pipe once more and walked towards them.
“That is what the scientists said, is it not?” said Pipe Man. “Yet we’re still here, aren’t we? The sea is still in the same place and we haven’t all drowned or fried. Why? Nobody knows for sure. It’s not like we have another ten Earths that we can go and do tests on to confirm what happens when you pump more or less carbon into the atmosphere is it? But as for one of the most probable answers, you’ve been looking at it for the last hour.”
For a moment or two, both Milder and Scoffy looked confused. Then they realised what he was talking about.
“Are you saying that the ocean is the key to all this?” said Scoffy.
“Maybe, maybe not,” replied Pipe Man with a smirk. “It would be ironic if it was, wouldn’t it? But it has been known – by climate-change believing scientists that is – as far back as the early 2010’s that much of the solar energy making it through to planet Earth did not get trapped as they previously said it would, but was absorbed by the hidden depths of the oceans.1 Of course they didn’t make a big thing about it in the media. As far as the public were concerned, global warming was still a real threat, only there had been a “pause” or “hiatus” for a while until it began again.2 A hiatus that continues to this day.”
“And you’re asking us to believe that this is the explanation?” sneered Milder.
“I’m not asking you to believe anything,” replied the man. “I don’t know if this is the right answer. All I know is that the Earth is clearly far more complex and intricate than any of the scientists back then understood it to be. They assumed that humans were capable of destroying the world with carbon emissions, but they failed to take into account the amazing capabilities of the Earth to deal with such things. I suppose if I believed in God, I might even start to think that he designed it this way.”
“Then why has the whole thing continued to be propagated?” cried Milder. “Why have billions of dollars been spent on campaigning against something that is not even a problem? Why waste hundreds of thousands of man-hours holding summits to tackle a non-existent issue? Why regulate the economy with reams of legislation aimed at reversing something that didn’t need to be reversed?”
“Simple,” replied Pipe Man. “Governments like to be in control. Government’s like to pose as the savior of the people. Governments like to divert people’s attention and get them to focus on bogus problems taking the people’s attention away from the evil that they do, and at the same time they take people’s attention away from their own sins.”
“Like what?” said Milder.
“Imagine what would happen if people didn’t have things like climate change to fret over. People have to feel guilty about something, Milder. If we don’t make them feel guilty about driving their cars or burning coal, they might actually start to feel guilty about things like adultery, homosexuality, blasphemy, drunkenness and a host of other things. And then where would we be? Once people stop repenting of fake sins and start repenting of actual ones, the game is up Milder. The need for big, controlling government would disappear and people might actually experience liberty before their God.”
Milder weighed these words heavily in his mind. Was this really the answer? Could the lack of global warming not be explained away as a pause or hiatus which had begun decades ago and still continued? Could government really not get any credit for averting catastrophe by the measures they took back in the early part of the century? Was there really no room for aliens in the explanation? Was it really the case that the Earth had been designed to be able to handle humanity’s carbon emissions?
And what of its continued propagation? Was it really the case that governments need to perpetuate threats “out there” in order to maintain control over the people? Was it really the case that if people stopped feeling guilty about sins that the government had invented, they might begin to see the need to repent of sins they had actually committed? And would such repentance really be the catalyst to true liberty? Perhaps these were more important questions than why “global warming” had failed to raise sea levels.
“You know, Scoffy,” he said turning away from the ocean. “Maybe I’ll have that coffee after all. Care to join us, Pipe Man?”