Thursday, February 18, 2010
The last few months have been cruel and wintry for global-warming true believers. The long storm began in November, when a leak of e-mails from Britain's University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit revealed that key global-warming scientists tried to stifle dissent and politicize peer review, which led to revelations that the researchers had dumped much of the raw data used to bolster the alarmist argument.
Then came the news that that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 report -- you know, the one that reported that manmade global warming was "unequivocal" -- wrongly predicted that it was likely Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035, based not on peer-reviewed research, but on an article in a popular magazine. Oh, and it turns out that the IPCC was wrong in reporting that 55 percent of The Netherlands is below sea level.
Last week, Phil Jones, the unit's director at the time of the e-mail leak, answered tough questions posed by the BBC in an interview, during which he admitted that there has been no statistically significant warming of the planet since 1995. Jones also rejected Al Gore's mantra when he said he did not believe that "the vast majority of climate scientists think" the debate over climate change is over.
Like the Wicked Witch of Oz, the global-warming machine is melting into a wretched puddle. Tuesday, The New York Times jumped in to save the day. An editorial reminded readers that, despite "isolated errors and exaggerations," the IPCC report did win a Nobel Prize. Columnist Tom Friedman suggested that calling "global warming" by a different name, "global weirding," would change the debate. Friedman apparently believes that people who don't agree with him are so stupid that a new name will distract them from any ideas or facts on an issue.
The alarmists also have taken to scolding skeptics who have pointed to this year's record snowfalls as dimwits who do not know the difference between weather and climate. This is choice -- after all the years during which the global-warming believers pointed to every warm season, low-snowfall report and storm as proof that the "tipping point" was near.
They've done this to themselves. In announcing that all scientists supported the IPCC, they claimed a mantle of scientific infallibility.
Their actions and attitudes did not reflect the sort of behavior you would expect from people who truly believe that the planet is in peril. The high-profile global-warming partisans focused on ridiculing nonbelievers, rather than persuading them. They hopped onto private planes to be seen at confabs, where nothing real got done. Biggies like Gore would refuse to debate -- even as they argued that Mother Earth's condition was near critical.
The worst part is that these loudmouths have drowned out the voices of scientists -- including those who believe global warming is largely caused by man -- who have been ready to engage in the complexities of climate science. In their hubris, they decided that they, and only they, would save the planet.
But their egos got in the way.
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See Other Commentary by Debra J. Saunders
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