At Large

Bali Highs

Ms. Henny-Penny reports from her two-weeks at a global warming getaway.

By 1.1.08

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More than a week after the big U.N. Climate Change Conference wrapped up in Bali last month, Ms. Henny-Penny, founder and now Recording Secretary of The Holy Order of The Sky is Falling, is finally back from that fabled isle herself. "I was so exhausted from that wonderful conference, I just had to rest for several days," she told us when we caught up with her this morning.

For two weeks delegates from 180 countries talked endlessly, congratulating one another on their perspicacity for discovering that if they cranked down industrial society to a crawl they might reduce carbon emissions enough for the sky to begin ascending again.

"The speeches were thrilling," said Ms. H-P. "Toward the end, our Pontiff, Al Gore, brought the audience to a standing ovation when he denounced the United States for dragging its feet on global warming."

What did the conference accomplish? we asked. She replied, "This was the 13th conference of the countries that signed the U.N. Convention on Climate Change. The conferees agreed on the Bali Roadmap. The official report says this will 'chart a course for a new negotiation process to be concluded by 2009 that will ultimately lead to a post-2012 international agreement on climate change.'"

"You mean they have met 13 times and this time, after two weeks of talk, their great accomplishment was to agree to talk for two more years so that -- perhaps -- they can come up with something to replace the flawed Kyoto Accord," we replied. No wonder the U.S. Senate opposed "Kyoto" by 95-0 when it was first brought up.

"Well," she sniffed, "As the Pontiff says, the polar ice will melt, coastal plains and cities will be flooded and the temperatures will zoom if we don't do something." When we said the Bali Roadmap sounded like a good excuse for more two-week paid vacations in tropical resorts, she mumbled something about "skeptics."

We reminded Ms. H-P that during the conference 100 prominent scientists released a letter they all had signed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. It began, "It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has altered humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation."

About all the alarm over carbon emissions, the letter stated, "While we understand the evidence that has led them [the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity."

"It's all nonsense," Ms. H-P said. "The Pontiff has pontificated on this subject many times. He says that it is settled science that we must reduce carbon emissions and he is, after all, infallible."

"So you dismiss these scientists?" we asked. "I certainly do," she said emphatically. "When I founded THOOTSIF in the barnyard years ago, there were skeptics, especially Chicken Little, but we refused to listen to them and here we are with the sky still falling."

We changed the subject. After the delegates had endured hardship duty for two weeks and left Bali to her, how did she enjoy the beaches, we asked. "They were lovely," she said, "and one of the delegates lent me his private jet to fly home."

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About the Author
Peter Hannaford was closely associated with the late President Reagan for a number of years. He is a member of the board of the Committee on the Present Danger. His latest book is “Presidential Retreats.”