Cope Notes #3: Welcome Back to the Middle Ages
On the last day of COP 15, staring at a Jumbotron where Hugo Chavez was addressing the conference, something was nagging at me besides the obvious (that half the audience was enthusiastically applauding a maniac). I was trying to figure out what it was about the conference that so perplexed and disturbed. And then, before the Caudillo had concluded his tedious remarks and long before the "meaningful deal" between the world leaders was announced, I realized what it was. We had returned to the Middle Ages.
A high tech Middle Ages, of course, but still the Middle Ages. Forget the Renaissance, forget the Enlightenment, forget Spinoza, Locke, Galileo and everybody else, we had returned to our roots as gullible and idiotic human beings, as willing to believe in the primacy of anthropogenic global warming as we would in the sighting of the Madonna at a river crossing twelve kilometers south of Sienna in 1340.
And this even after the revelation of the Climategate emails and documents, not to mention the further revelations about the manipulation of Russian climate data with NOAA and NASA themselves complicit. No, the show must go on. The UN Pope had convened the College of Cardinals in Copenhagen. Everyone must attend, including the Princes of Macedonia and the President of Tuvalu.
Not that anyone believed it.
Except perhaps the earnest young woman from Mother Jones, I watched question, in a style reminiscent of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, some Republican House Members at a press conference, demanding to know if they believed in man-made global warming.
I had had my own, perhaps more humorous, Close Encounter of a Congressional Global Warming Kind only a couple of hours before. I was at the Marriott to interview Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WISC), when, on my way out, who do I spy in the gift shop (where else?) but Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). I knew instantly why God had invented the Kodak Zi8 flip cam I had in my pocket.
I sashayed up to Rangel and, putting on my most sycophantic smile, asked for an interview. Question one was the softball. How do you feel about the conference, sir? (He thought it was a good thing.) Question two was a little more troubling. But what about all these Climategate revelations? The Ways and Means Chair grew rigid. This was settled science, he assured me, and hurried off, no doubt to a closed door meeting of the House Ethics Committee. (Everyone else was in Copenhagen. Why not them?)
Well, not everyone. Like a good medieval pilgrim, I'm leaving tomorrow. It's pretty cold here in warming land and I'll be glad to get back to sunny LA. But I did have a very good meal at a place called Det Lille Apotek. As for everything else, I'm not so sure. I'll have a lot more to say about it probably. It's long plane ride back and I've got a spare battery for my laptop. Video of my Close Encounter with Rep. Rangel should be up on PJTV shortly. Rep. Sensenbrenner - a bit longer and quite a bit more serious - should be up next week. Oh, and in case you're interested, I never did get to that special event with Chavez, Morales, Raul Castro and Zelaya referred to in the post below. Turned out it was an hour out of Copenhagen in blizzard conditions. I don't know if anybody went... or if Zelaya really was there... but certainly not me. Next time I promise to take one for the team, be aware that's not true in conditions of extreme global cooling.
(Scroll down Copehagen notes 1 and 2)