Europe’s holiday spirit, shopping disrupted by global warming

In the worst consequence of global warming yet, European retailers are fretting that consumers may be too warm to do their holiday shopping. “Christmas business lacks impetus as there is no Christmas spirit in warmer weather,” laments Hubertus Pellengahr, a German retail association spokesperson. “Retail sales are far more weather-related than one might assume.” Following an autumn that many believe was the warmest in 500 years, Europe is experiencing a record mild winter, leading to artificial snow at ski resorts and sightings of daisies and butterflies. German asthmatics are complaining of pollen; Swedes have experienced rare flooding. Among the few reveling in the new holiday spirit are golfers and builders, whose pursuits are usually set back by cold weather. “If you look at trends, then you can say that [the 2006 record] is a signal of global warming,” said Dutch atmospheric researcher Rob van Dorland, who added that his hopes for a Red Ryder, carbine-action BB gun are swiftly melting.