The Indonesian island of Bali is many, many miles away from the English county of Devon. But the repercussions of the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference — if not of climate change itself — have been felt in the actions of retired bus driver Maurice Fox. Mr Fox has been issued a notice by the authorities of a social club he has been haunting for the last 20 years for — you didn’t guess it — breaking wind far too often within the premises. In his defence, the senior citizen stated that he may be “a loud farter” but “there is no smell”. While the content of methane in his regular volleys of gaseous discharge may be relatively negligible, even Mr Fox acknowledges that the sound may have been a problem for the ladies. Which makes him a gentleman despite his sphincteral skills.
The connection between climate change and Mr Fox may seem far-fetched, but do recall that in the summer of 2003, the New Zealand government was considering a ‘flatulence tax’ to be levied on farmers with livestock. With four million people, 45 million sheep and around 10 million heads of cattle, New Zealand’s animals are reportedly responsible for more than 40 per cent of the total greenhouse gases produced in the country. It was only after farmers protested against the plan that the government pretended that the tax had been a lot of hot air.
Mr Fox has been told to step out of the club each time he feels the urge to let it rip. One hopes he is not too discomfited by this new demand. And here we thought they treat only smokers like that in England!