You can fool some of the people some of the time, as Abraham Lincoln observed, and you even can fool all the people some of the time. But you can't fool all the people all the time. Al Gore and his friends got so excited about points one and especially point two that they forgot point three.
Not everybody is on to the global-warming scam, not yet, but all the people — or enough of them — are getting there. "Global warming," or even "climate change" as Al's marketing men now insist that it be called, is becoming the stuff of jests and jokes. Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, a Republican, built an igloo of that hot stuff that buried Washington last week on the Capitol lawn and dubbed it "Al Gore's new home."
Across the Potomac, the Republicans in Virginia filmed a television commercial called "12 inches of global warming" and invited two Virginia congressmen, both Democrats who voted for the infamous cap-and-trade legislation, to help with the shovel that will become the official state tool before the streets thaw.
One day this week, there was measurable snow on the ground in 50 states. (No report yet from the other seven of the "57 states" President Obama once said he was campaigning to be the president of.) Even Hawaii reported snow on some of its mountain peaks, and several towns in northwestern Florida were lightly dusted, like the powdered sugar on a cop's doughnut.
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A few snowflakes, or even a lot of snowflakes, is hardly proof that the great global-warming scare is a fraud and a swindle, but the collapse of the "science" of global warming is transforming even the sheep into skeptics. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground — an Internet blog and not to be confused with the violent underground Weathermen of the sordid '60s — observes that characteristics of climate must be measured carefully over the decades and even centuries, not by occasional blizzards and storms.
But political fraud and scientific swindle can be measured by collapsing "science." The University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit in Britain was regarded as the leader in climate research and the fount of raw data on which the science was based until leaked e-mails between researchers revealed evidence of doctoring of data and manipulation of evidence. The director of the research unit, professor Phil Jones, was regarded as an archbishop in the Church of Global Warming. He was pressured to resign in the wake of the scandal. Now he has conceded to an interviewer from the BBC that based on the evidence in his findings, the globe might have been warmer in medieval times. If so, the notion that fluctuations in earthly temperatures are man-made is rendered just that, a man-made notion.
The learned professor told his interviewer that for the past 15 years there has been no "statistically significant" warming. He conceded that he has lost track of many of the relevant papers — that his office was overwhelmed by the clutter of paper. Some of the crucial data to back up scare stories might be lying under other stuff, but he's not sure. An environmental analyst for the BBC said the professor told him that his "strengths" include "integrity" and "doggedness" but not record-keeping and "office tidying." He's just not dogged about keeping things straight.
This was good enough in the early years of the scam, but not any longer. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama at Huntsville and once a ranking member of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says the temperature records have been compromised and cannot be relied on. The findings of weather stations that collected temperature data were distorted by location. Several were located near air-conditioning units and on waste-treatment plants; one was next to a waste incinerator. Still another was built at Rome's international airport and catches the hot exhaust of taxiing jetliners.
Terry Mills, a professor of applied statistics at Britain's Loughborough University, looks at the U.N. panel's data and applies a little skepticism. "The earth," he told London's Daily Mail, "has gone through warming spells like these at least twice before in the last thousand years."
The global-warming hysteria, on which the Obama administration wants to base enormous new tax burdens, is just about as reliable as the weather hysteria presented nightly on your favorite television channel. Man is driven by his ego and finds it impossible to think even the weather is not all about him.
• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.