Some of my favourite forms of fiction are those press items predicting that, thanks to global warming, various birds and butterflies will soon disappear. A prize example was a review by Max Hastings last week of Michael McCarthy’s excellent book Goodbye to the Cuckoo, on the tragic decline in our migrant birds. The prime cause, says Hastings, has been the “huge reality of climate change”.
If Hastings knew anything about birds (other than those that he likes shooting), he would know that bird numbers were declining long before temperatures started rising in the late 1970s. He might also wonder how the birds and butterflies survived those various periods in the past 10,000 years when the world was hotter than it is today.