I interview Ebenezer Rabbet (ˈrabət)

The Rabbet legend begins with a delightful children’s blog about an orphan rabbit named Ebenezer   – a bunny with a magical destiny.  This rabbit is credited with doing more for scientific literacy than any other blogging  animal on the planet. 

Rabbit with portable computer bag

Rabbits are very common in  amusement parks and petting zoos, but  I interviewed Ebenezer Rabbet at his office in the posh California mansion  he had purchased,  using the cash he gets from Yingli Green Energy for pushing solar energy.

Fernando: So, this is the first time we’ve met.

Rabbet: Yes, it is.

Fernando: And my sources tell me that your real name isn´t really Ebenezer.

Rabbet: (laughing) Yeah.

Fernando: Ebenezer is…

Rabbet:  Is just the nom de plum – well, it’s because my agent, when my first blog post  came out, thought ‘this is a blog that will appeal to autistic males between the ages of 30 and 70’ but they didn’t want the guys to know a rabbit was writing  it. So he said to me ‘could I use your real name but tell them you´re a college professor’ and I said ‘fine’. But I only have one name. Just use something similar - use Ebenezer. 

Fernando: Ebenezer, that´s it.

Rabbet:  Yeah.

Fernando: You  fooled the guys for a while.

Rabbet: Yeah, not for too long.

Fernando: Not for too long.

Rabbet: Yeah – because I started getting my picture in the press and no one could pretend I was a man anymore. It´s the ears, they´re way too long.

Fernando: Yes – and I don’t think the guys have minded.

Rabbet: No – it hasn’t held me back, has it? Clearly not held me back. They don´t really care if I´m just a rabbit. I don´t need a college degree to write a blog. And I´ve done a lot to reduce rabbit hunting. To me it´s cannibalism, if you don´t mind me saying so.

Fernando: Not a bit. I´m not into shooting small game.   So you thought your blog would be particularly stimulating. That’s why you started it?

Rabbet: Well, it turned out to be stimulating.  I had to find me a new gig. There I was, living in a cage, trying to write a book, ¨The Lapse Rate in Tibet¨. But I couldn´t finish it. The dogs were barking, and I couldn´t work,  and this light-bulb went on over my head and I thought ‘I can just write a blog´.  For years and years and years I tried to write that damned book. But I couldn´t.  I would go to a café and sit, and think about atmospheric circulation and shit like that. People thought I was a dude  wearing a rabbit outfit.  So I decided to start a blog.

Fernando: You have a lot of things in common with other bloggers. You write short posts and stick photos and shit…

Rabbet: Yeah. Let me tell you, the first day’s writing went well so I kept at it. And eventually I became famous after I wrote “What is grass” in November 2005. The potheads thought it was about marihuana and I got a zillion hits.

Fernando: We have a lot of things in common. My blog had 23 hits after I wrote “Bill Fisher´s Penguin”.

Rabbet: Yeah. Amazing, isn´t it? I bet they thought it was about a Batman sequel. The internet is full of really naive readers. I like that.

Fernando: First of all you know this is the last animal interview I’m doing. Next week I  will go down a level and do more  politicians. I want to do Netanyahu for sure.

Rabbet: That´s going to be huge. Netanyahu is Jewish. That´s going to bring a lot of Zionists to your blog.

Fernando: Good. But let´s remember Zionism isn´t Judaism. Most Republicans are Zionists and  eat ham.  So let´s get started with the controversial material…what´s your blog´s aim?

Rabbet: Anyhow, initially I was going to write science stuff. But then I realized that was pretty boring. So I decided to turn radical. I point out the wrongness in ways designed to grab readers’ attention — with ridicule where appropriate, with snark, and with names attached. This will get read; it will get you some devoted followers, and a lot of bitter enemies.

Fernando: Good. But you realize it´s hopeless. We all die.

Rabbet: You know – I cry, but I’m not someone who can sort of keep crying going. You know what I mean? I prefer to vent writing about climate disasters – I can do floods for hours.

Fernando: I seem to recall you wrote crap about Lomborg.

Rabbet: Yeah, I did. Bjorn Lomborg and the ignorati from the Breakthrough Institute and yet others are crocadiling about how Africa needs coal to generate electricity, never mind that right now the majority of the countryside and small villages would do better with solar or wind.
Fernando: I seem to recall most of Africa isn´t well suited for wind.  Did you know that?

Rabbet: Well, that’s a really good point, but I – I  wrote about wind power being a better choice for Africans…. (tugs on his ear and looks a bit worried).

Fernando: All is well. I won´t tell anybody.

Rabbet: ‘All is well’, yeah.

Fernando: But you know what happens if the Congolese put up a wind mill outside Kinshasa? That thing will barely turn. 

Rabbet: Yeah, I do. But I couldn’t stop the idea. I don’t think you can when you’ve been writing that material for so many years. One of these days I need to look up one of those maps showing wind power potential… to find out what goes on, you know.

Fernando: Will you?

Rabbet: I’m not going to say I won’t. To be honest, I don’t think I will. I love writing posts about wind power in Africa. I love writing it. Besides, I feel I am doing a good turn for humanity.

Fernando: Tell me: did you ever feel that you had to succumb to the pressure? Look up the material before you write about it?

Rabbet: Yeah. In the beginning I did.  I can say that now because I’m free of it. But now the words flow real easy. It´s just a blog. Like: “Any bunny serious, rather than self serving, would look at this and figure out that developed societies, if they wished to help the underdeveloped, would help them set up solar, wind, or hydro on minigrids.” See? It has rhythm.  Look, I’d been told repeatedly that it wasn’t very commercial because it was too scientific.  So – and I went for the ring – now I feel like a Beatle.

Fernando: That’s such a great analogy. Ebenezer sure beats Ringo.

Rabbet: But there were – except there were four Beatles – I don´t suppose they would want a 2 meter tall rabbit playing in the band. It would have been so amusement-parkish.

Fernando: I hear you made a global warming bet.

Rabbet: I need temps to increase .13C/decade over the 2005-2009 baseline to win one bet and not lose/void the other one, and .18C/decade to win both.

Fernando: The betting  line says you are shit out of luck.

Rabbet: Yeah. Okay. But you never know. Maybe the sun will flare up and cook half the planet (sighs).

Fernando: You know the Sun doesn´t influence the climate that much. You should know, you´ve been writing all sorts of crap about Dr. Soon…

Rabbet: Yeah. Writing about Soon is a real stand-out moment for me. I mean I knew it was getting big – in that there was press attention and so-on – but at that point – that for me was the real – that was when it felt Beatlesque.  But you know, this Soon character….from many sources, it is well known that science obfustication has been well funded by industries who have found research conclusions uncomfortable. And then there´s tobacco. The economists consistently forgot to mention they were paid by the Tobacco Institute. I like to mix the two subjects. Tobacco and Global Warming. I knew only some of the tobacco issues and very little about flame retardant, so how that ties to climate is definitely worth watching.

Fernando: But don´t you think the Grijalva letter was a bit too much? Isn´t it a witch hunt? 

Rabbet:  Well, you know what Soon did…to only reveal non-controversial funding while consistently failing to reveal his fossil fuel funders further reinforces the conclusion that the omission was deliberate.

Fernando: Those coal companies sure are dodgy.  But Grijalva is a commie....so do you get solar panel manufacturer cash?

Rabbet: Well....didn’t you know?

Fernando: No, I don´t know. I´m just fishing.

Rabbet: Part of me wishes it were true. I sure could use the cash, the electric bill is killing me. I´m reduced to buying Chilean carrots.

Fernando: I think we should change the subject. I´m not into pushing conspiracy theories.  So did you like the Merchants of Doubt?

Rabbet: Yeah. It´s really popular, you know.

Fernando: I see it gets “50 out of the 57 who saw it liked it” at Rotten Tomatoes.

Rabbet: Yeah. I´m hoping more people see it soon, though. Maybe it´s going to get the Oscar.

Fernando: Wow. That would make Gore really happy.

Rabbet: Yeah.

Fernando: What about the fossil fuel divestment campaign? Are you selling your oil stocks?

Rabbet: Well, the thing is you’ve got to sort out which fund has the oil stocks, and which doesn´t. Turns out all of them own oil stocks. So I´m invested against my will. It´s the way my retirement plan works.

Fernando: Yes. I bet you would love to have a vault full of carrots.

Rabbet: You know – I do have one. But one has to diversify, and carrots rot. But I do like writing about divestment. Obviously, the boys from Alberta are up against it with oil where it is, and if oil goes up, then they are up against it from renewables.   The Keystone demos were/are basically a holding action until the market woke up.  Bloomberg figures there is something like a trillion in stranded investments.

Fernando: Is it true, but Bloomberg says the future market indicates that it´s just – temporary. And now there´s a lot more heavy oil coming in from Canada. Up 20 % in 90 days.

Rabbet: Yeah, contango. I think this is all a conspiracy by the Saudis to kill renewables. That is – that’s true. Hell. And I went to six Keystone protests. It´s hopeless.

Fernando:  It´s called market pull. Plus the Canadian oil will displace Venezuelan crude.

Rabbet: I know. That´s got to have President Maduro worried.

Fernando: Did you hear the rumor, the Venezuelan regime pays off to have anti pipeline propaganda, to help their oil corner the Houston market?

Rabbet: No. That´s a conspiracy theory. 

Fernando: That´s on Twitter. I wrote it myself. 

Rabbet: I wrote compulsively on Twitter, but it´s not like a blog. But you got to be kidding, me, the Venezuelans aren´t that sophisticated. That Maduro is a retard. 

Fernando: I know.  Plus he likes to torture people. But he has a French advisor. They´re very shifty, the French. Well, it looks like we´re out of time. Any more comments?

Rabbet: I do!

Fernando: Go ahead, make my day.

Rabbet: Russel Seitz said: “Fortunately, there exists a training video to prepare audiences for any climate video running longer than 90 seconds or expressing sincere belief in more than three existential threats.” What do you think about it?

Fernando: Typical Seitz. But I don´t watch those  climate videos describing existential threats. I like happy endings. 

2 comentarios:

  1. Respuestas
    1. Russell, that link was pretty good. I confess it inspired me, so I decided to carry out an experiment to see what a high temperature environment did to rabbits. I went to the supermarket, bought a rabbit, put in on a pan, daubed it with salt and garlic, cut up onions and red peppers and baked it for two hours. When the rabbit looked well done I pulled it out, took the onions, the red peppers and the rabbit grease and tossed it all in a blender. This results in a reddish looking purée one can pour over the rabbit and serve with white rice. It's pretty good. The experiment also confirmed a high temperature environment renders a dead rabbit much more edible.

      Now I'm running a parallel experiment, I'm measuring sea level rise. The data shows that, in 300 years, my apartment will be 150 meters closer to the sea.