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Climate Change IV – Diverse Thought, Anyone?

By August 21, 2017November 6th, 2021Energy Rant

Last week, we discussed themes of the 2017 International Energy Program Evaluation Conference, known as IEPEC for short. One of the positive themes included how the industry is beginning to have a constructive approach to fixing climate change, the subject of this post.

Liberals have softened their rhetoric on climate change and are moving toward a truce with conservatives, with figurehead Bob Inglis and his founded organization, RepublicEn, making the first move.

Free Expression of Thought?

Dr. David Barker with American University, stated in the closing plenary that liberals are less tolerant and more hostile toward views of the other side, than are conservatives. Reference UC Berkeley, where Anne Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos were physically threatened out of their speaking engagements. Winning in the battle of ideas requires an understanding of how the opposition thinks.

Lastly, to demonstrate the failed state of political discourse in this country, consider the kerfuffles over Confederate war hero statues. That which happened is not the controversy anymore. It’s how the political class respond. As a political advisor, I would tell my client to not say anything. No comment. But that would be condemned. And anything you do say will be condemned in harsher terms.

The Wall Street Journal reminds us that after the war, Robert E. Lee became the president of Washington and Lee University to heal the wounds of a torn country; and that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slave holders. What’s next? The Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial coming down? Does dismantling symbols of the past make events go away? They are teaching opportunities.

One of my sources for this post, Nature, posted a great commentary tying what I describe above to science – climate change. Check it out.

Hard Realities of Climate Change


I don’t get the “consensus” argument, but consider the aforementioned Nature commentary. One of the notes I took from the IEPEC closing plenary is we have to let it all in. That is, all information, whether it conforms with our beliefs and prejudices, or not.

Back to the consensus argument, which I said I don’t understand – do we have scientific consensus that the law of gravity is real, or is this Newton’s crazy hypothesis? How about the first and second laws of thermodynamics? Here’s the thing – we can test these laws over and over and over in the laboratory.

In an earlier IEPEC conference, back when the keynote speakers merely threw red meat, er, tofurkey at the crowd, I remember one comparison of climate change to smoking. Back in the day, tobacco companies apparently buried the claim that smoking was harmful. Now, the climate deniers, big oil and big coal, are doing the same thing.

Nice try. There were millions of smokers and millions of non-smokers. We can easily conduct studies and come to clear conclusions. We only have one planet. It’s pretty hard to run A-B testing with only A.

This is certain: CO2 is a greenhouse gas as I learned myself while researching this blog earlier this year, in Climate Change 1, Things Untold. But, [the rest of this sentence is intentionally blank]


While CO2 is a greenhouse gas spewed into the atmosphere to the tune of 36 billion tons per year (!), no one knows what the impact will be. Will it be warmer, all else equal? Yes. How much warmer will it be? No one knows. What impact will two or four degrees average increased worldwide temperature have? No one knows. Dr. Jon Koliner (Illume Advising) sitting on the closing panel of IEPEC seemed to point this out.


For all the huffing and puffing about the US dropping out of the Paris deal, not a single country is on track to meet its emissions targets, reports Nature. I reported in Paris and The Abominable Snowman that the deal has no teeth, Rex Tillerson supports it, and natural gas is on the move. It didn’t take me long after that post to connect the dots. Just as Warren Buffett favors the production tax credits for his wind farms, Rex Tillerson favors policy that favors his natural gas (over 40% of Exxon’s production is natural gas) over coal. Surprise!

Middle America Holds the Cards

As we witnessed in November, people in middle America despise being talked down to or told how to live. The “basket of deplorables” line was worth more than all the ads money could buy.

I suppose it is the sentiment expressed by William McGurn from The Wall Street Journal that makes me think, when buried in your own hole, put down the shovel and consider a different way to get out of the hole.

Conclusion: The Rant is about changing from within, rather than pounding the obstinate with a crutch. If we want to change minds, we embrace and engage diverse thought and different opinions.

Jeff Ihnen

Author Jeff Ihnen

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