Weather wise

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WE HAVE all been most unfair to the Americans on the topic of global warming, for it seems to me that there is one neglected aspect of the problem in which they have been making a small but consistently improving contribution. I refer to obesity.

If I understand the global warming debate correctly, one of the major greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide. Human beings lessen the problem by merely existing. Every person stabilises a small amount of carbon (only enough, they say, to make two lead pencils, but every little bit counts) that might otherwise turn into carbon dioxide. On the other hand, we all make a positive contribution to the amount of carbon dioxide in the air every time we exhale.

There must come a point when an individual has breathed out more carbon dioxide than he or she has stabilised. From that moment on, that person becomes a net contributor to global warming. And world-wide, as the human life span increases, our exhalations become more and more of a potential problem.

There are two ways out of this dilemma: the Eastern solution is Yoga, which can teach us all to breathe more slowly; the Western answer is obesity. Statistics show that Americans are fat and getting fatter. I may be wrong about this, but it seems to me that, perhaps subconsciously, they are doing this not out of gluttony or a love of junk food, but through a deep- rooted sense of ecological responsibility. Get fat; stabilise more carbon; and you can go on breathing out with a clear conscience.