So it was a fun but quick one-day visit back to Boulder, Colorado, yesterday, for a panel discussion on “Climate Change After Paris.” (Short answer: Same as before Paris.) It was a typical academic panel: five people with more or less conventional views on climate change, and—me. That’s what’s known in academia as “balanced panel.” Actually, I felt like it was barely a fair fight. For them.
I won’t repeat all of my main points here, but the highlight was my analogy that if you think of the Kyoto Protocol as the climate diplomacy equivalent of the 1921 Washington Naval Agreement, which had real numerical limits on major navies yet did nothing to prevent the expansion of armaments and the coming of World War II, then the recent Paris climate accord is the Kellogg-Briand Pact of climate change. You remember the Kellogg-Briand Pact? The one that said major nations would never wage aggressive war again? That really worked splendidly. (Still can’t understand why Calvin Coolidge was for that treaty, which would have even embarrassed Immanuel Kant.)
From there I proceeded to talk about the unreality of the whole clean energy scene, along with my favorite provocation of the moment: the more serious you think climate change will be, the less plausible are the remedies environmentalists have been pushing on us for the last 25 years. Shorter version: Environmentalists are the last people who can deal with this problem. I refrained from using the harshest term: they are “energy reality deniers.” It’s not an argument they’re used to hearing.
Now the funny part of the evening came during the question period, and there were so many Power Line readers in the audience that nearly all of the questions were hostile questions at the conventional environmentalists on the panel—some of them sharply hostile. I only got one critical question, and some parts of it were actually pretty good (I say “parts” because no one seems to ask a question or make a statement these days that doesn’t come in several parts from all over the place, though I did note to this questioner that he left out of his kitchen sink question the obligatory attack on Citizens United).
As this virtual inquisition continued to build I regretted that I had forgotten to bring popcorn, and couldn’t help but have some sympathy for the other folks on the panel who must have surely been thinking—”What the hell is happening here? I thought this was Boulder?? Where are the liberals? What brought on this perverse parallel universe?”
Well, Power Line brought it on, and thanks to all of you who braved a snowy night to show up. Made my job easy. But now I’m worried they’re never going to invite me back again.