The global-warming industry is getting several bailouts, none of which it wants. Last week, three major corporations - Conoco/Phillips, BP and Caterpillar - bailed out on the U.S. Climate Action Partnership lobbyist collaboration. Arizona bailed on the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) cap-and-trade plan. The Utah House presumably wants to bail on WCI, too, because it overwhelmingly passed a resolution requesting the Environmental Protection Agency to bail on its planned regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. Texas and Virginia also want the nation's top environmental regulator to cease and desist.
On Thursday, the Netherlands' Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, resigned. The guru of global-warming diplomacy, after a disastrous December summit in Copenhagen did not produce an international agreement on greenhouse gas reduction, favored bailing over failing.
"I saw him at the airport after Copenhagen," said Jake Schmidt, a climate expert for the Natural Resources Defense Council, to Associated Press. "He was tired, worn out." The summit "clearly took a toll on him."
This followed an admission a few weeks ago by Phil Jones, former University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit director, that he had suicidal thoughts over his role in the Climategate scandal.
On behalf of climate realists everywhere, I beg: Spare us the beleaguered scientists story line. The collapse of the hollow cause they advocated, which spurred a sector bubble probably larger than the 1990s Internet craze and the last decade's real estate speculation combined, was inevitable. Billions of dollars - much of it belonging to taxpayers - were poured into climate-related research and heavily subsidized "green" ventures because of the hype.
Over the same period, global-warming skeptics (including respected scientists and policy scholars) warned repeatedly that there was no authoritative, unified view behind climate catastrophism. But rather than heeding their cautions, large news organizations (and the activist Society of Environmental Journalists) joined environmental harassment groups in marginalizing them. They equated the doubters with disbelievers of tobacco's harm, the moon landing and a spherical earth - you know, crackpots.
Had the media scrutinized the reports of the once-heralded U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) rather than listening to the environoia movement, they would have discovered the fragile ceramics were on the alarmists' shelf. It has only taken a few curious bloggers and some journalists from the United Kingdom to finally scrutinize the IPCC's footnotes, which represented the purportedly rigorous scientific study that undergirded the report's conclusions.
What they found beneath the IPCC surface is an error-laden swamp of green groups' promotional materials and amateur compositions by college students instead of the "peer-reviewed" research alarmists had claimed. Climategate spurred subsequent daughter controversies that included "Glaciergate" (Himalayan ice not eroding as quickly as claimed), "Amazongate" (rain forests are suffering from logging, not climate, according to a World Wildlife Fund report) and "Africagate" (a Canadian environmentalist think tank said crop yields would be cut in half because of increasing temperatures). The barrage of revelations has prevented the Big Environment industrial-media complex from controlling the story line.
Climategate data-fudger Michael Mann, the scientist at Penn State University known for the "hockey stick" temperature chart, which rewrote history by eliminating the Medieval Warm Period, last week bemoaned this new discourse on global warming. In an interview with the Web site the Benshi, he whined about "an organized, well-funded effort to discredit" the "scientific community," which he said was driven by the fossil-fuel industry. He accused climate realists of conducting "smear campaigns run against scientists for the sole purpose of discrediting them, so as to discredit the science."
Michael should Mann up. Whatever smudges appear on the reputations of warmism-promoting scientists have been applied by themselves. After all, the skeptics aren't the ones who made up, fudged or twisted data or who employed dubious and biased sources as the foundation for their predictions of calamity. And the alarmists had (and still do) a massive funding advantage, amplified by their colleagues at the major news organizations, which helped keep the messaging winds at their backs. Grammies, Oscars and Nobels were part of their rewards.
But now we have another climate bailout. Though the U.S. media is not hunting down the IPCC fallacies the way their British counterparts are, at the same time, they do not defend global-warming proponents the way they once did. They once championed the cause with vigor, but now a lot of big-city journalists have gone mute about the whole thing.
A suggestion to regain the attention: The scientists should undertake a Mark McGwire/Tiger Woods-like apology campaign. Only then can they start on the road to recovery and restore their lost reputations.
Paul Chesser is a special correspondent for the Heartland Institute.