The conservative war on Christmas

We all know about the War on Hanukkah. And last year I discussed the War on White Christmas. But it is increasingly clear that the assault on the Christmas tradition by those who oppose action on global warming goes far beyond the inevitable reduction in late December snowfall we will face when the country is 10°F warmer (or more) by century’s end.

The question of the season is — What will happen to Santa Claus when the Arctic is ice free?

On our current path, this could happen as early as 2013 according to researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School and no doubt will happen before 2030.

Where will we tell kids that Santa lives? Some sort of North Pole Atlantis? But he can’t live under the water, since much of the Arctic will still ice over by December, though a few feet of ice can’t support a huge house and a factory and an elf-dormitory. Kids are smarter than that. If only adults were smarter….

Probably the best choice is to ship him off to the South Pole (with Superman’s Fortress of Solitude). Indeed the fact that Santa lives in the North Pole is no doubt a residue of our general Northern-hemisphere-centric worldview. How ironic would it be to outsource Santa to the Southern hemisphere. Not the Antarctic Peninsula or West Antarctic ice sheet, of course, since those may not last the century — we don’t want to keep moving him! — but much of the East Antarctic ice sheet will probably hopefully be around for centuries, and, in any case, Antarctica is a real continent, so even when the ice is gone, Santa can still have his whole operation above water.

Of course, if we ruin the Christmas tradition with our short-sighted inability to develop sane greenhouse gas policies, Santa may just decide all of us are too “naughty” to deserve his largess.

I also wonder what future generations will think about all those old Christmas movies with Santa based at the North Pole. Probably the same thing they think about all those epic stories of brave explorers struggling to get to the North Pole. More tall tales from adults, no doubt — at least until they are old enough to understand the sad truth.

If we don’t change course soon, we won’t just transform the climate — we will transform our culture, from one of abundance to one of scarcity — and that has profound implications for all of humanity, including our native optimism and our generous, gift-giving nature. ’Tis the season to say: ’Tis time to act!