What I'm about to write could seem anything from unlikely, through impossible, to downright misguided depending on your point of view, but there's a chance that the whole global warming crisis - the one about the threat that will end the world as we know it - could be over by the end of the year. And why am I suddenly aware of this possibility? Because of a letter that appeared in The Times last week.
The author was Piers Corbyn, a man who runs a weather forecasting company called Weather Action. Corbyn, an ex-Marxist activist and holder of two impressive degrees, uses what’s called the ‘Solar Weather Technique’ to predict future weather patterns.
"The recent end-of-October rain, local floods and severe gales in the North of the UK were forecast by the same method, as were more seriously damaging storms which will hit much of Britain and Scandinavia - and have echoes across the world - around Nov 8-13 and Nov 24-28," he wrote. "Safety preparations should be made now, and not just against the anti-scientific brainwashing which will follow."
In short, Corbyn thinks that the Sun’s activity has a huge influence on our weather and is what's caused our increasing planetary temperatures, although this against a backdrop of a climate that has been cooling since the Medieval warm period. His website says "the technique uses predictable aspects of solar activity - particle and magnetic effects from the Sun - as the basis for forecasting weather many months ... and even years ... in advance."
In a different letter, to The Independent newspaper, Corbyn claimed "temperature and climate change in our epoch is driven by... solar particle and magnetic effects.
So can action against climate change make a difference? Even if temperature trends can be changed - and controlling the Sun is a tall order, even for a Bush/Blair legacy - there is no evidence of connected change in weather extremes or useful outcomes.
Let's save the planet from real chemical pollutants, but CO2 is not one of them. Wouldn't it be better to work to predict our climate than to make vain attempts to change it?"
So, most controversially, Corbyn insists CO2 has nothing to do with rising temperatures and changing weather patterns. The theory runs that the Sun is the culprit; it's leaving a period of high activity and is now entering one its cooler phases, and so global temperatures should stay highish for another five years or so, before gently falling again.
So if you wake up one night in November to find your chimney stack has been blown off one of the gales predicted by Corbyn, it seems you can justifiably go out and buy a Porsche Cayenne, safe in the knowledge that our weather is being influenced by the Sun, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Just don’t expect the rest of the world – save perhaps David Bellamy – to agree with you. Reduction of CO2 output – no matter how barmy the approach – is a done global deal. We’ll just have to sit it out for the next few years to see what happens to global temperatures.
Even if Corbyn is right, by the time the evidence starts to pile up the car industry will have hybridized, electrified and lowered its collective resistance. The climate change argument has already locked in major changes to the car industry and automotive engineering. The big question now could be, will it all prove to be a waste of time, money and effort?