The Light Brigade Shines at the Shivering Blackout Rally

Some observations from the “Forward on Climate” Rally:

  • Here’s the background on what we were doing February 17.
  • At least a dozen protesters we met were proudly pro-blackout. Here’s one example.

    • We wore shirts with the equation “Anti-Fossil + Anti-Nuclear = Pro-Blackout.” While we were preparing, at least a dozen protestors unthinkingly tried to buy the shirts condemning their position. But thinking was not the order of the day.
    • The mindlessness of the protest was highlighted by the typical response to a series of questions we asked. 1) “Are you anti-fossil fuel?” “Yes!” 2) “Are you anti-nuclear?” “Yes”! 3) “Are you pro-blackout?” “Yes!” Some of them retracted this after thinking about it…but thinking was not the order of the day.
    • The common refrain of most of the protesters was: “We can use other sources of energy,” referencing solar and wind, the biggest energy failures of the last century. When we pointed out that replacing reliable energy with unreliable energy was the equivalent of replacing steel with wood, they seemed unconcerned.
    • It was really, really cold the whole time. I was surprised that everyone we ran into was wearing oil-based clothing. I figured a couple people would try to symbolically wear “natural fibers,” I didn’t see any. When I pointed out to people that their clothes were made of oil, they blamed “the system.” When I pointed out that they could choose to wear more expensive, less effective clothing, they were unmoved. In “the future,” they wouldn’t need the evil material carried by “Keystone XL.”
    • For “the biggest climate rally in history,” attendance was remarkably sparse. Those of us in the Light Brigade guessed 5,000. We were heartened by the lack of real enthusiasm by the protesters. The Light Brigade, as our videos will show, had real passion–we love energy with conviction, while they hate it with confusion.
    • “Forward on climate” was personified by the shivering, emotionally muted, and fairly sparse crowd leaving early in their oil clothing to get to their coal and gas homes.
    • The lesson of the protest was clear: Nature, untamed by fossil fuels and other affordable, reliable energy is an often uncomfortable and dangerous place to be. That’s why the protesters left as early as they could, and why the whole production was ridiculous. Who wants to stand outside in the middle of February, freezing to “send a message” about “global warming”? Resolve faded to the point where by the 4:00 closing time, I could shoot footage right next to the stage with no one within 20 feet of me.
    • When I checked my email later in the day, I got a message from Bill McKibben (when I paid him his $10,000 fee for our debate at Duke I got on the mailing list) celebrating this as an unprecedented success: “Today was the day. Finally, powerfully, decisively — the movement to stop climate change has come together.” This is a complete lie, but it is a heartening lie. Either McKibben’s previous “successes” have been even more underwhelming than this, or he is so shamed by his failure that he will tell people that black is white, even when black is right in front of them.
    • Speaking of desperate, the protest appointed a stalker to trail me and hand out a sheet attributing my views to a tiny contribution by the Koch Brothers to my former employer. This was one of several intimidation tricks that et al tried–the night before, they tried giving me the “silent treatment,” which lasted about 2 minutes. I’m flattered by the attention, guys, but do you think that a true lover of industrial progress is going to be stopped by insults, yelling, weird gestures, stalking? They also tried sending an “expert” to put me in my place after the disciples were frustrated: Steve Kretzmann, head of Oil Change International. We have full footage of that exchange so you can see for yourself how this last-ditch effort worked out.
    • I am writing this from a heated home, which I got to through a gasoline-powered car, on a computer produced by coal, and I just want to say thank you to everyone that made that possible. And thank you to the CIP Accelerators who made the Light Brigade possible; I hope that our videos cause our ranks of Accelerators to swell.
    • As you will see in the coming days, our team did a fantastic job offering a sincere and passionate education to attendees of the blackout rally. Eric Dennis, a physicist; Thomas Eiden, a nuclear engineer; Erin Connors, a mechanical engineer in the oil industry; Travis Fisher, an economist; and many others. I can’t wait for all the footage to come out; we probably captured 5 hours worth. Get ready–the video flood starts Monday.