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Offbeat 18 December 2015

For the last few years I have asked Santa for weather-driven phenomena for Christmas. This year it looks like the old sod may just deliver. According to my weather porn site, there is a fair chance of rain on Christmas. Thank you, and please make it happen. If need be I will tempt fate by lighting up a braai.
The problem with weather forecasting is that it works in the short and longer term but it is difficult in the medium term. In other words, if you look out the window and see huge black clouds and feel the rain wind, there is a fair chance in the short term that it will start raining. The same is true in the long term. It normally rains in January, so there is a decent chance of rain every January.
The medium term forecasts are swinish. As far as my weather porn site can tell me, either it will or won’t rain. The forecast that I am looking at said bright blue skies on Christmas day, yesterday, but today it says rain. I have watched the forecast for the day for about a month now, and that has been the pattern.
Christmas days are days of hope and anticipation. Kids get weird about toys they want. I get weird about thunderstorms and rain, and have done so ever since I fell in love as an adolescent and sat through a thunderstorm, completely moonstruck. This Christmas I want the gift of a series of thunderstorms, lots of rain and breathable, non-sweaty air. Unfortunately the thing that blows air at me just doesn’t have the same effect. My plants will welcome it as well.
Santa delivered an early gift in the form of the COP21 consensus. At the moment it is apparently an ambition, sort of like a child’s anticipation of wonderful things yet to come. The gift wrapping is bright and glittery, but we don’t know what it holds. It’s down to the translation of ambition into action through a series of meaningful activities that mitigate and perhaps, in the very, very, very long term, reduce climate change.
I’ll stay away from the reality of chaos maths and the possibility that it is too late already, as Christmas is supposed to be a time of hope, not just a day to celebrate the spirit of getting stuff.
This year I am asking Santa for more than just a cold rain wind and a thunderstorm or three on the day. I also want a series of legally binding and actionable goodies to reduce causes of climate change, preferably including incredibly punitive trade tariffs and trade boycotts, for nations that don’t reduce their emissions.
I am also going to add to my Christmas list, emission-reduced cattle. Apparently cattle breaking wind is a major cause of harmful methane emissions. No, I am not joking, and you can google that to see for yourself.
As far as Santa goes, I suspect he will no longer be delivering coal to naughty girls and boys, but will expand the category of unwelcome gifts to include oil and methane, in other words, fossil fuels. No doubt environmentally aware parents will be in panic mode to ensure that their kids are well-behaved. I can imagine that a stocking full of crude oil will be a particularly horrifying prospect. If you have ever walked through an oil slick on a beach you will know that it is almost impossible to clean up. It’s also not particularly valuable anymore.
Within my Facebook circles, dominated as they are by horror fans, there is a drive every Christmas to find the dark side of the festivities.
This year there has been an uptick of interest in the Krampus, a traditional Bavarian monster that removes bad kids in a sack and disposes of them in ways that make a stocking full of oil look merciful.
Perhaps, given the COP21 consensus, the Krampus can also begin ‘disappearing’ climate deniers, including the entire small US town that objects to solar power because, they believe, it absorbs too much sunlight.
For the rest of everyone, I wish you lots of rain. Luck is not a lady, so go ahead and tempt fate. Plan braais, and be elaborate in decorations for outdoor tables. It may just work out in the best possible way.

About The Author


Today the Typesetter is a position at a newspaper that is mostly outdated since lead typesetting disappeared about fifty years ago. It is however a convenient term to indicate a person that is responsible for the technical refinement of publishing including web publishing. The Typesetter does not contribute to editorial content but makes sure that all elements are where they belong. - Ed.