This is really just the story of Sodom and Gomorrah repackaged with a scientific patina for the green agenda, no? An omnipotent super-being looks down upon mankind, is angry at what it sees, and resolves to smite the sinners. Can the angels at NASA find 50 righteous world leaders willing to strike a deal at Copenhagen II before it’s too late?

The bad news is, they might not find them. The good news is, the resulting alien invasion will inspire the Keynesian orgy of Paul Krugman’s wettest dreams.

It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim…

The authors warn that extraterrestrials may be wary of civilisations that expand very rapidly, as these may be prone to destroy other life as they grow, just as humans have pushed species to extinction on Earth. In the most extreme scenario, aliens might choose to destroy humanity to protect other civilisations.

“A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilisation may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilisational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions,” the report states.

“Green” aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. “These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets,” the authors write.

None shall be spared their wrath, except maybe the plucky diehard renegades of libertarian Waterworld. At the risk of remotely legitimizing a “study” this impossibly stupid and agenda-driven, let me ask two obvious questions. One: If E.T. is watching and worried about us conquering the galaxy or whatever, shouldn’t they have given us the Alderaan treatment at the start of the nuclear age? It’s inane to think they’d be more worried about climate change that we can’t control than catastrophic blasts of radioactive fire that we can. Two: There’s no good reason to think that an alien intelligence’s knowledge of human civilization would be limited to a metric as crude as changes in the atmosphere. If they’re capable of invading or destroying us from afar, they’re probably capable of close observation to detect whether we’ve made any advances that might threaten other planets. Even if they’re limited to atmospheric observations, why wouldn’t they have destroyed us at the start of the industrial revolution when greenhouse gases first started filling the air? See how arbitrary and idiotic this “reasoning” is? It’s one small notch below religious people trying to divine God’s will.

Exit question: Wouldn’t solving our climate-change problem freak out E.T. even more than the problem itself? If the atmosphere’s changing in a way that endangers human life, that suggests we either haven’t figured out how to fix it or are too divided to do so. That makes us weak. Good news for E.T.! But once we band together and figure out how to control our climate, that makes us much more of a threat. In which case, it’s Alderaan time. For the sake of the children, then, we’d better keep those emissions coming. See how fun and easy it is to import an agenda into dopey pie-in-the-sky hypotheticals?

Update (8/19): So goofy is this paper that we actually got an e-mail from a NASA spokesman this morning noting that it isn’t an official agency study. One of the authors is affiliated with NASA, but that’s it. Duly noted.