If, like me, you suspect that Scottish (winter) rainfall is a useful marker for climate, then you might like this post’s title. Curiously, I actually agree with American conservatives and various other climate change ‘sceptics’ that we will have to adapt as well as doing whatever may be possible to limit at least the speed of change. But if anyone imagines we can thereby avoid ‘big government’, I reckon they might be in for a rude wakeup.

Adaptation basically means fitting yourself in (say to your ecological niche). Even before technowizards with flint cutters and fire came on the scene, there was nothing unusual about animals or plants altering their own environment and then having to adjust to the changes. The difference with humans and therefore technology is all about speed and organisation, including of the status quo and its territorial boundaries. Islands face a particular challenge. Already private ingenuity is playing a part with ideas like floating houses. But is it really credible to suppose we do the amount of adapting that climate change is likely to require without government at least pulling strings in the background (say with research funding and the like), if not in the foreground as well?

Bearing in mind the ever growing list of problems which the nation state cannot handle without at least international cooperation, the resulting big government promises to be bigger than any deregulation enthusiast imagined. Moreover, without any politician daring to tell people harsh truths about what their countries can’t do alone, there is no reason to suppose a global power would have to worry about democratic accountability. How about a global protection racket run by a multicultural coterie of criminal gangsters?

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