Capitol Hill comes to a climate conference


By Duggan Flanakin 

The 15th International Conference on Climate Change had as a major focus how the climate catastrophists used the COVID pandemic as a template for ratcheting up the so-called “great reset” to grow the role of government.

Key speakers included Climate Depot founder Marc Morano and Fossil Future author Alex Epstein on Friday and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) on Saturday (more on the Saturday messages in a follow-up article).

The conference also included numerous breakout sessions on topics ranging from global temperature to the green assault on agriculture to government overreach to the green agenda’s impact on people.

All plenary and breakout sessions can be found at

Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore spoke of his early work to stop hydrogen bomb testing, ending the clubbing of baby seals, and combating whaling. Today, he campaigns against the killing of humpback and right whales by their new enemy – offshore wind. Each turbine must be seated in concrete that requires drilling massive holes in the ocean floor. These excavations muddy the waters in the heart of whales’ migratory and feeding routes.

Installing the 1,500 giant turbines also interferes with whales’ sonar-based eco-location and communication. Whales are acoustic animals that do most of their eco-location by sound. The penetrating noise from sonar and drilling, and the noise of the turbines themselves, interfere with their ability to navigate. As a result, these endangered animals die from collisions with ships.

Morano declared that John Kerry was correct in comparing the COVID and climate agendas of the Left. Dissenting scientists have been smeared and canceled, even called racists, for speaking against both the COVID and climate mantras. COVID and climate are merged into a single assault on human freedom.

Both “crises” include attacks on democracy and championing of dictatorial powers in the name of “following the science.” Both relied on “consensus” that suppressed dissent yet was constantly changing as new truths discredited the prior “consensus.”

Both movements fawn over China’s one-party rule while ignoring their human rights abuses. Both movements benefitted China, whose auto industry grew as the West shut down auto plants. Climate fear also benefits China, which controls the entire electric vehicle industry.

Both promote rationing, planned recessions, and de-growth. Both call for travel restrictions and thus less interpersonal communication. Both insist that government is the single source of truth and that crisis is permanent, so governments can seize assets of “offenders.”

Morano later elaborated on his book, The Great Reset, revealing the multipronged attack against capitalism led by wealthy elites. Every error in history, he said, is due to ruling elites demanding conformity to their often-disastrous policies. They see people as pawns to be sacrificed for the kings and queens. The elites of the once-free West, he added, copy China’s oppressive one-party rule that suppresses dissent.

Lockdowns were valuable tools in suppressing dissent, forcing dependence on government, and destroying independent small businesses while enriching corporations favored by the totalitarian state. Science must conform to the political diktats.

Australian geologist Ian Plimer, whose newest book is Green Murder: A Life Sentence of Net Zero with No Parole, opened his talk stating that “you can count on a sawmiller’s hand the number of geologists who think that human activity drives global climate change.”

Plimer gave a primer on the geologic history of the Earth to show that we cannot understand teal climate change without looking at the evolution of the atmosphere, the rocks, the oceans, and life itself. Today’s climate catastrophists wrongly look only at human impacts and fail to consider, for example, oceanic volcanoes that drive ice melting in Greenland and Antarctica.

Even there, they err. Barely 3 percent of global carbon dioxide is caused by human activity. It is ridiculous, Plimer argued, to believe that the 97 percent that comes from natural sources have no impact on global climate. Every single ice age occurred with CO2 levels far higher than those today. Humanity, he added, has thrived in warmer periods and suffered in cooler times.

Epstein noted that climate discussions focus solely on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and almost never on energy supply for a thirsty world. Their focus is never on global human flourishing – enabling all peoples to live up to their highest potential, yet abundant energy enables human empowerment. Only fossil fuels (aided by nuclear) can accomplish that goal.

Cost-effective energy, he said, is essential to human flourishing, yet billions today lack cost-effective energy, mostly in so-called “developing” nations whose development is being stifled by global elites who refuse to fund the expansion of their energy supply. The “green visionaries” rarely ever consider cost-effectiveness (following the lead of the EPA) and thus their “solutions” rarely benefit the world’s neediest people.

Solar and wind, Epstein noted, only produce electricity and cannot provide the multiple other benefits that fossil fuels and their byproducts contribute to society. The good news is that today people are beginning to see the negatives associated with canceling fossil fuels – and the arguments, including those in his own books, are better developed for fighting the establishment.

Epstein asserted that today there are great opportunities for changing minds from fear of a scary climate to finding opportunities to enable all of humanity to flourish. Epstein argues that philosophy studies the basic ideas that govern our actions and provides a framework that shapes both societies and individual actions.

The key to changing viewpoints is to carefully weigh benefits and side effects of every action. Informed decisions rely on choosing whether to take a risky drug (for example) based on weighing the benefits versus the side effects. Nearly every leading thinker today, he said, violates this basic principle.

Few factor in the massive benefits of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels enable food production at scale and are the building blocks for plastics, modern health care, and much more. Today, we live in fossil fuel benefits denial.

Second, fossil fuels aid in climate mastery in multiple ways, yet catastrophists focus solely on the negatives. Sturdy buildings, irrigation systems, heating and air conditioning, storm warning systems, and so much more neutralize climate danger. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notably ignores all of these benefits.

Finally, we need to factor in negative and positive side effects of climate change based on real events, not conjecture. These philosophical concepts can guide society out of fear into flourishing.

The problem is there are two basic views regarding humanity and the climate. Catastrophists see humans as parasitic polluters capable only of environmental harm. Others perceive that nature exists in a delicate nurturing balance delicate that is stable, sufficient, and safe as long as we are not too greedy.

Epstein, however, says nature is wild and dangerous and that humans can add new value to make the Earth more livable. The goal of the catastrophists is to eliminate all human impact on the Earth, but we should focus first on advancing global human flourishing that empowers people to live their best lives. The most essential fact to advance that argument is that cost-effective energy – which requires affordability, reliability, versatility, and scalability – empowers people.


  • Duggan Flanakin
  • Duggan Flanakin is the Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow.
  • A former Senior Fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Mr. Flanakin authored definitive works on the creation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and on environmental education in Texas.
  • A brief history of his multifaceted career appears in his book, “Infinite Galaxies: Poems from the Dugout.”