"I didn't go," was the curt voice-mail message. It was from Henny-Penny, founder and Recording Secretary of The Holy Order of The Sky is Falling (THOOTSIF). I knew she was referring to the big two-week U.N. Climate Change conference in Cancun. Consumed with curiosity, I called her right away,.
ME: I thought you were packed and ready to go.
H-P: I was, but the more I heard about it, the more I was convinced it would be a waste of time and money.
ME: How so?
H-P: The true believers had high hopes that after the Copenhagen fiasco last year we would finally get an international treaty to put caps on carbon emissions, but it wasn't meant to be. The collapse of President Obama's cap-and-trade plan and signals from China and India that they would never sign such a treaty did it in.
ME: So what will come out of Cancun?
H-P: Substantively, nothing. For the 15,000 true believers, most of whom are on U.N. or national expense accounts, it will have been two weeks of sunbathing and mariachi music.
ME: Does this mean you think the sky is no longer falling?
H-P: Oh, it's still falling, but more slowly. The United Kingdom's Meteorological Office issued a report just before the conference saying that the rate of global warning over the past decade has been slower than it was in the 1980s and '90s. Still, the scientists predict that global temperatures will rise by 4 degrees Centigrade by 2060 which would wipe out much agricultural production.
ME: How can they predict that with certainty when a professional weather man or woman can't predict next week's weather with certainty?
H-P: I don't know, but I do know I am disheartened by the news that we haven't had a big hurricane in the U.S. in the last five years.
ME: You hoped for the death and destruction that big hurricanes bring?
H-P: Heavens no. I'm disheartened because it calls into question the infallibility of our Pontiff, Al Gore. He predicted devastating hurricanes every year and they didn't come. I've been a believer in Pontiff Infallibility. Now I'm beginning to doubt it.
ME: I've been telling you for years that your Pontiff's formidable knowledge consists mostly of hot air. For example, he tirelessly promoted that error-filled movie of his, "An Inconvenient Truth," so that many gullible school teachers showed it to their students without critiquing it.
H-P: I'm beginning to rethink our whole strategy on global warming. The emphasis until now has been on limiting carbon emissions. A new study released by the Wall Street Journal says what governments should do is recognize that no amount of wind-farm and solar-panel subsidies will get us more than a minor percentage of electrical power production over the next 50 years. It says that approach will result in us paying a lot more for energy. Instead, our government should reward private R&D that creates ways to lower the cost of producing clean energy from fossil fuels, then give away the intellectual property so other countries can us the new technology.
ME: Congratulations. You're beginning to sound rational, just like those scientists who have long doubted the global warming catastrophe theory of the your True Believer friends.
H-P: I want to see our government stop doing what doesn't work and find new ways to keep the sky from falling so that we have cleaner energy and air. Meanwhile, I'm going to do what I do best, which is to relax on my nest and lay eggs.