Months had passed since we last talked with Ms. Henny-Penny, whose famous declaration -- "the sky is falling!" -- electrified the world. At the time, her barnyard colleagues quickly fell into line with her, save one, Chicken Little, who demurred. When last Ms. H-P and I talked, she scoffed at her former friend as a "denier."
So, the other day I called her to see how she was doing as the recording secretary of what was now the Holy Order of the Sky is Falling, the Hon. Al Gore, pontiff.
"I'm fine," she said, "but more importantly, Mr. Gore pontificated at a recent gathering in Washington and it was thrilling. He said we could switch all of the nation's electricity production to wind, solar and other carbon-free sources within 10 years." Does he have any experts to back up that assertion, I asked. "Oh yes," she said. "Just the other day Nancy Pelosi at a news conference said the very same thing."
"Hmm," I replied. "Solar power now provides one-tenth of one percent of our electricity, with wind not much more. How do you propose to accomplish this feat?" "That's easy," she said, "Everyone will follow our motto: a windmill on every automobile and a solar panel on every roof."
I reminded her that experts have estimated it would take about $100,000 to make the average house capable of getting 100 percent of its electricity from solar panels and that wind technology for automobiles was a gleam in her eye. How would she pay for all this?
"That's not so hard as it sounds," she said with a chuckle (or cluckle). "Once President Obama is in office, Pontiff Gore will simply ask him to increase the windfall profits tax on oil production, the corporation taxes, the Social Security taxes and the income tax rates beyond what he's already said he would do. As for wind-driven car, we'll just ask Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to pass bills requiring it. American ingenuity will do the rest."
I rolled my eyes at the telephone and asked her why she and Pontiff Gore were so obsessed with carbon emissions, which have declined in the last year or so. "Carbon will cause the oceans to rise, crops to fail, weather to wobble and catastrophe everywhere. In fact, it may cause the sky to finally make its final drop right on top of us," she argued.
I asked her if she was aware that human beings inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide. "Yes," she said, "and we are going to reduce the surplus population worldwide to reduce that problem. Abortion will help, but we may need a hand from starvation and disease. "
"You've got a big heart," I said. "Let me get this straight. Al Gore goes around in a carbon emissions-generating private jet; has his driver keep his auto running with the air conditioning on while he gives a speech and lives in a large carbon-spewing house. He then buys these so-called carbon credits to balance all of that and he buys it from a company of which he's part owner. So far as he's concerned, it's a case of do as I say, not as I do."
"Well, Mr. Smarty Pants, you'll be singing a different tune when your seaside house is underwater and filled with jellyfish and sharks," she huffed.
I reminded her that some 97 percent of carbon dioxide emissions come from nature, not humans; that ice core samples going back better than half-a-million years show that periodic temperature increases preceded changes in CO2 levels; and that gloom-and-doom scenarios offered by Al Gore and others were based on speculative computer models. "So, Ms. H-P, while you may think the sky is falling and the globe is warming, the facts are otherwise. What do you think of that?" I concluded.
Her reply was: "Cluck."