HRH the Prince of Wales’s bestseller on climate doom, Climate Change: A Ladybird Expert Book is currently listed on Amazon as “#1 Best Seller in Chaos Theory”, but that’s probably just Amazon’s idea of what chaos theory is about. My idea of chaos is a world where the future Head of State of one of the world’s most powerful and respected nations writes a book for adults which pretends to be a book for eight-year-olds, and adults buy it.
The first customer review at Amazon gives it 5 stars but comments:
It is a rather odd book in that it’s target audience isn’t clear. It’s probably best of [sic] children aged 8-12.
The second 5 star reviewer, a certain Robert Ward of the LSE, says “Every household and business should own a copy.”
Hang on Bob. That’s 25 million copies you’re talking about. Do we really need so many? It’s not Mein Kampf you know…
While at Good Reads, the first of only three reviews by a certain Brendan O’Neill calls it:
A feudalistic finger wag, a groan of aristocratic angst, a haughty eco-edict packaged as a children’s book – because we’re all brainless imps in dire need of instruction from proper adults – from a prince still peeved about the Industrial Revolution and nostalgic for a time when people lived off the land (probably his land) and convinced Mother Nature is the sweetest lady alive because he has never once had to brave crop failure or hurricanes destroying his home or any of the other vagaries that come with being dirt poor and not living in a palace and yet having to listen to an insanely rich descendant of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha duchy saying there’s been too much economic growth. A future key exhibit in the British Republic’s museum about why we ditched the monarchy. 0/10.
Brendan is obviously a bit of a sceptic, and therefore almost certainly a conservative Trump supporter, possibly in the pay of Big Oil. Cue the entry of Britain’s foremost expert psychological profiler of climate sceptics, my old mate Dr Adam Corner of the University of Wales, Cardiff, who has just given Prince Charles’s twenty-odd page tome a glowing review at Climate Change News.
His sober assessment of this work by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, Chancellor of the University of Wales (Dr Corner’s employer) is headed: “Prince Charles’ Ladybird book is a climate communications masterpiece”. Dr Corner, like His Royal Highness’s co-author Tony Juniper, is an unsuccessful candidate for the Green Party, (as would be His Royal Highness himself, no doubt, if it weren’t for eight hundred years of turbulent constitutional history…)
Dr Corner goes on to reveal why this work authored by the Green Party’s Regimental Colonel is such a “climate communications masterpiece”:
As a social scientist whose work has focused on communicating climate change, the authors invited me to comment on an early draft…
So the reviewer helped write it. All 25 pages, or only some? We don’t know. We know Prince Charles didn’t write it on his own. He had the help of two of his subjects, Dr. Emily Shuckburgh and Tony Juniper, both of Cambridge University, or nearby.
Neither of these co-authors is unknown. Emily is research group head at the British Antarctic Survey, and her photo at the BAS site is pure Ladybird, showing a mad dog of an Englishwoman out in the near-horizontal noonday sun shining through a Union Jack. [note to commenters: all other jokes about where the sun does or doesn’t shine out of will be severely censored. Only I’m allowed to make those gags.]
Shuckburgh has form. She recently co-authored an article at the Conversation along with a couple of professors of astrophysics and climate at UCL and a professor of oceanography and another of international relations at San Diego suggesting that it was time to drop the emphasis on global surface temperature and talk about other “vital signs” of the health of the planet. Comments to the article revealed that the article was largely a rewrite of an article written two years ago by the professor of international relations as a reaction to the current pause in global warming. Dr Shuckburgh did not defend her co-authorhip of this article.
His Highness’s other co-author, Tony Juniper is a big fish in the environmental kettle. As Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International from 2000–2008, he “oversaw the campaign that ensured the inclusion of a Climate Change Bill in the Queen’s Speech of 15 November 2006.” (That’s the bill that 99% of M.P.s voted for that ensures that British economic policy will be dictated by insane unelected idiots like Lord Deben and Lord Krebs until 2050 or until the masses rise up and exile the bastards to St Helena or some other ecologically sustainable paradise.)
Juniper’s big claim to fame, according to his Wiki article, is his support for parrot conservation. His book “Spix’s Macaw: The Race to Save the World’s Rarest Bird” is by far his most imposing work. At 500+ pages, this is Juniper’s Moby Dick. Spix‘s Macaw was thought to be extinct in the wild until a specimen was spotted in 1990, though this identification has been contested.
Those who fear that biodiversity is being lined up as the next subject for environmental hysteria, as well as those (like me) who think that wildlife conservation, like the preservation of works of art and historical monuments, is a sign of a civilised society, should have a look at the Wiki article on Spix’s Macaw.
Like that other endangered species, European Royalty, Spix’s Macaw is fussy about its habitat and its breeding habits. Any idea that climate change or other horrid modern activities might be responsible for the bird’s rarety is dispelled by Wiki, which notes that:
The bird was already rare by the time of Spix’s discovery of it in 1819 following 100 years of intensive burning, logging and grazing of the caatinga. Centuries of deforestation, human encroachment and agricultural development along the Rio Sao Francisco corridor following European colonization of eastern Brazil preceded its precipitous decline in the latter part of the 20th century.
This macaw lived in the hottest and driest part of the “Caatinga” or Caribbean trumpet tree woodland galleries. The Caraibeira constitutes a microclimate within the Caatinga. The existing galleries are fringes of unique woodland extending a maximum of 18 metres to either side along a series of seasonal waterways at least 8 m wide in the Rio São Francisco drainage basin. Large mature trees of this species (and apparently no other) provided the nesting hollows of Spix’s macaws, as well as shelter and their seedpods, food for the species.
A bird that insists on nesting in one tree existing in a 36 metre-wide habitat is asking for trouble. But Brazil is a civilised country, determined to preserve its wildlife. With the help of the bird fanciers who contributed to its extinction in the wild in the first place, the country is actively campaigning to reintroduce the bird into the wild, apparently successfully.
Which is nice, but doesn’t answer the question: Why does our future Head of State appoint as his chief advisor on environmental matters (or Astrologer Royal) a chap whose main claim to fame is a five hundred page book about a dead parrot?
But back to His Highness’s book. I must admit I haven’t read it. Amazon’s peek inside only allows you to read the list of 24 chapter headings and the intro by someone whose signature looks like Chav III. Google gives you Chapter one, all one page of it.
According to the Times Besteseller List linked in Corner’s article, HRH‘s book is now number 3 in the list of top 5 hardbacks. Number one is “Five on Brexit Island.” There are three Ladybirds in the top 5. What this shows is:
– most book buyers are old age pensioners nostalgic for the books they read sixty years ago, when colour printing was a luxury reserved for children. (See Woman’s Own or Film Fun for the same period, strictly bichrome.)
– most books are bought at WH Smiths, and Ladybirds are the only hardbacks they stock.
– educating yourself by reading books is something the British don’t do much. When we buy a book, it’s for a Christmas present, or a giggle. “Five on Brexit Island” is a good giggle.
Amazon is currently offering 6 used copies of HRH’s 25 page tome from £3, or 39 new copies from £2.
Hurry, hurry while stocks last. Bob Ward is counting on you.