invents new way of controlling weather, and uses it to advance his politcal cause. Carbon Is Forever Article Comments (5) more in Opinion »Email Printer Friendly Share: facebook ↓ More StumbleUpon Digg Twitter Yahoo! Buzz Fark Reddit LinkedIn del.icio.us MySpace Save This ↓ More Text By ERIC FELTEN James Bond took a long pull at the cold, hard drink. He sat back in the deep-red leather chair and reached for the cigarette case in the pocket of his houndstooth suit. He scanned the late evening crowd for signs of the enemy; his eyes came to rest on a raven-haired woman with porcelain skin. Bond took a Morland cigarette (the one with a triple gold band) from the flat, light gunmetal case and wondered how dangerous the mission would be. It had hardly been six hours since he was at the dismal book party for the new, authorized history of MI5 written by a Cambridge don. Why an intelligence service would even think to publish its secrets was a mystery he could never untangle. But it was there at the party, drinking some tepid excuse for champagne, when Bond got the puzzling message from his old friend Felix Leiter, the CIA agent who had his back on so many dangerous cases. Bond didn't know what to make of it. "James. Need your help," read the text. "How many feet over high tide for Thames River to flood London?" What could it mean? Did SPECTRE have some sinister plan to drown the city? Was SMERSH back at it? He didn't waste time trying to sort it out. Leiter needed help and that's all Bond needed to know. He was on the next jet and now found himself in a Washington hotel bar, waiting for Leiter. "How many feet over high tide for Thames River to flood London?" Bond read the note one more time and tried to imagine what villainy could be behind such a scenario. He slipped the smart-phone into a pocket and fished out his oxidized Ronson lighter. In a single swift gesture, he flipped open the lid, glancingly struck the flint-wheel and brought the flame to the cigarette in his mouth. "I'm sorry sir. No smoking." The waiter beat a quick retreat from Bond's cruel scowl. In his haste, the waiter nearly knocked over a wiry man with a straw-colored mop of hair. "Ah, 007," said the man in a raw Texas twang, "you may have a license to kill, but not with second-hand smoke." "Felix Leiter, you old rascal," Bond said. "Get yourself a drink before that's verboten too." The CIA man ordered a Haig Dimple Pinch Scotch on the rocks, sat down and leaned in on the table, eager and conspiratorial. "So, James, what are you doing here? Something big, I hope. I could use some excitement." "What do you mean, Felix? I'm here because you sent a message that you needed help. What's with this flooding business? Who's behind it? Blofeld? Largo?" Bond looked anxiously at the big luminous numerals on his heavy Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch. "How much time do we have to stop it?" "Thirty, forty years," Leiter said. "Maybe a century or two." "Quit the kidding, Felix. How long?" "Well, if you listen to Al Gore, I guess it could be any minute." "Nobody listens to Al Gore. What are you talking about?" "Global warming, James. You know, rising sea levels, the whole catastrophe. That's what I needed your help with. I need to know how many feet the Thames has to rise for London to be flooded. I have to give my boss an analysis of the long-term risk that climate change poses for every city. It's a bit of a hassle. I thought you might be able to tell me off the top of your head. That's why . . ." "Pull the other one." "I'm serious. CIA Director Leon Panetta launched a Center on Climate Change and National Security last month. You may have seen the news reports. Director Panetta announced, 'Decision makers need information and analysis on the effects climate change can have on security.' That's my new assignment." "Climate change? You mean there's something going on with all that unseasonable snowfall? Is some megalomaniac controlling the weather? I've heard that one can cause global cooling by shooting missiles to disperse particulates into the stratosphere. Who could be so fiendishly diabolical—is it Hugo Drax we're after? Maybe it's the work of Dr. No." "I wish," said Leiter. "Nothing quite that sexy. Just gathering data . . ." "I get it," Bond said with a sly smile. "You've discovered that the U.N. climatologists are out to destroy the economies of the West, something even the Reds couldn't pull off. Your job is to subvert them. Brilliant." "No, no. We're not allowed to question the science, James. There's no room for skepticism in intelligence." "I'm all in favor of science," Bond said. He signaled the waiter for another medium dry Martini, shaken. "You can't very well give Fidel a poisoned scuba get-up if you don't know how to make a properly powdered preparation of Madura foot fungus to dust the inside of a wetsuit with. But climate change? Wouldn't you be better off putting that manpower into more immediate threats—say, Iranian nukes?" "It's interesting you should bring that up," said Leiter, brightening. "If Iran goes nuclear it might cut its carbon footprint, which would really be great. That's why we're recommending to the president . . ." "You're barmy." Bond slapped a few bills on the table and stood to go. "Call me when you've got some real work to do." "James, you have to understand," Leiter said, chasing after him. "It's not really the CIA anymore, it's the CYA. At least no one gets prosecuted for doing his job at the Center on Climate Change and National Security." Out on the sidewalk, Bond lit a Morland and stood smoking in quiet dismay. "Can I drive you to the airport?" Leiter offered sheepishly. "Where's that hopped-up Studebaker of yours with the big Cadillac engine?" "Had to trade it in. Cash for clunkers. This is mine here." Leiter folded his lanky frame into a Toyota Prius. Bond sighed and walked on. (With apologies to Ian Fleming.) —Write to felten@wsjtaste.com. Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit www.djreprints.com More In Opinion Email Printer Friendly Order Reprints Share: facebook StumbleUpon Digg Twitter Yahoo! Buzz Fark Reddit LinkedIn del.icio.us MySpace

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