For decades, scientists around the world have been puzzling over the source of recent anomalous warming of the planet otherwise known as anthropogenic global warming or AGW. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created to sort through the mountains of research and summarize it so that governments could plan to deal with the increase in temperatures, melting of glaciers, sea level rise and droughts.
However, in light of recent revelations about shenanigans at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) brought to light by hacked emails and all the "gates" linked to the IPCC, enough questions about the theory have been raised that an independent team of experts has begun its own investigation.
"We opened the science up to everyone who's interested in helping out," said Professor Lance Donnegal of the UK's Bureau of Skepticism (BS) as we walked across the verdant English countryside to a site near an old stone castle.
"Tons of tips and hints have been flooding in since we invited the public to contribute their ideas. I've been astonished at their insights into the causes of global warming."
As we talked, crowds of black-caped children milled around us and the camera crew, their cheeks apple-red in the chill February air. It was a picturesque winter afternoon in the English countryside.
"We came here after some particularly intriguing claims were made about the real cause of global warming. Believe me, what we found is a bombshell!"
I followed Professor Donnegal across the fields past a snow-dusted soccer pitch and towards a rather dismal looking forested area. Near its edge, we arrived at a cottage similar to any one might find in the tiny English hamlets around this area, but this one had particularly high ceilings and doors. I followed Professor Donnegal inside and to my surprise, was met by a rather large trollish fellow with a beard and ratty hair. He must have been twelve feet tall and over half a ton in weight.
"Go ahead, Hagrod," Professor Donnegal said, urging the large fellow on. "Tell the nice lady here about the source of global warming. You know, like you told me."
The huge man was quite a sight, twigs caught up in his beard, a frown on his brow, spider webs on his filthy cloak. He averted his eyes and twiddled his thumbs as if nervous around the cameras, but finally, he nodded.
"I'll get in a lot of trouble if this comes out," he said, his eyes large as teacups. "Professor Snope told me not to do it, but they get so tired of cages, and who was I to keep them inside such a cramped space?"
He looked at us with such a pleading in his eyes, I felt quite sorry for the oafish fellow, but a story is a story, and this was perhaps the biggest one of all.
"Well," Professor Donnegal said, gesturing with a hand. "Tell the lady what happened. She's come all the way from Canada just to learn the truth."
"It's the dragons," Hagrod said sheepishly. "They got loose and flew away. They mate like bunnies, they do. Before I could alert the authorities, they'd flown away, and set up a nest somewhere I couldn't find 'em. Since they escaped," he said, his cheeks burning a bright red. "I wager there were millions of the little beggars born, all of 'em breathing fire and smoke."
"How long has this been going on?" I asked, astonished.
"Been since around 1949 that they escaped," Hagrod said, shrugging. "We're doing a dragon cull now." He wiped a tear from his enormous cheek.
Millions of dragons all belching fire and steam into the atmosphere? I could scarcely believe my ears.
"How did this escape the notice of scientists? Millions of dragons flying around, warming the atmosphere?"
"They're magical. Can't see 'em unless they want you too," he said but then quickly added, "but I probably shouldn't have told you that."
After a moment, he continued. "They especially like the Arctic on account of it being cold and all," Hagrod said, blowing his nose into a handkerchief. "Lay their eggs under the snow, in the permafrost, and them little devils is hot, let me tell you! The last time they got loose from my aviary, they did the same thing. Hundreds of thousands of 'em born before we knew it, making everything hot."
"When was that?" I asked, leaning forward.
"Oh, let's see. It were about 800 -- maybe 810 AD or thereabouts. Took us a couple of centuries to catch them all back then, what with the lack of planes and suchlike. It were a lot hotter back then, but we caught this in time. It's what we magic folk called the Medieval Dragon Period."
Then, the trollish fellow grabbed a large tool resembling an oversized butterfly net and went to the door.
"When will it end -- this current dragon cull?" I asked.
"Oh, we started in 1999 and we're almost finished. Have been at it now for about eleven years. There's only a dozen left, and they're all little ones, so you should already be seeing cooler temperatures."
I thought back to my hellish week of snow and cold and nodded.
The large man ducked under the doorway and then turned back. "Well, I best be off. Professor Snope says I have to get at it, round the rest of 'em all up and before the end of the week or I'll be turned into a toad. I don't want that, I can tell you!"
Ladies and gentlemen, I don't have to say what a startling development this is. For years, I'd been a believer in man-made climate change, accepting what the scientists said about the cause of warming -- that it was due to human greenhouse gas emissions, but I suppose I should have known better. Those graphs were just too convenient. The science too rational, the theory just too logical, the data too perfect for it to be anything but a hoax.
I spoke with Climate Skeptic Steffan Maginter just a few moments ago and his first comments were, "So that's what Jones meant when he wrote "using Mike's Nature "trick" to hide the decline! Trick? Sounds like magic talk to me. I've called Mike a liar, a cheat, a fraud, a scoundrel, but I never thought about him and the Team being wizards. They knew it was dragons all along!"