Back in December, science writer Fred Pearce wrote about the effect of Climategate on the global-warming movement. He quoted an anonymous PR professional for a aleading environmental group:The e-mails represented a seminal moment in the climate debate of the last five years, and it was a moment that broke decisively against us. I think the CRU leak is nothing less than catastrophic.That assessment has been validated quite spectacularly in the past few days.
First, there was the revelation that the U.K.'s information commissioner considered that a crime had been committed by climate scientists at the University of East Anglia in their evasions of the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.
Next, the leading British left-wing newspaper, the Guardian, and that same Fred Pearce confirmed that the e-mails did indeed include evidence of attempts to hide problems in the science:A Guardian investigation of thousands of emails and documents apparently hacked from the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit has found evidence that a series of measurements from Chinese weather stations were seriously flawed and that documents relating to them could not be produced. . . .On top of all the other revelations about the IPCC, the business dealings of its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, and the problems with the Stern Report, the public credibility of the global-warming movement has taken a terrible beating. The inevitable consequences are now being played out in the political sphere. Three examples should suffice.
Today the Guardian reveals how Jones withheld the information requested under freedom of information laws. Subsequently a senior colleague told him he feared that Jones's collaborator, Wei-Chyung Wang of the University at Albany, had "screwed up".
First, Walter Russell Mead pronounces that "the global warming movement as we know it is dead." He concludes:The death of global warming (the movement, not the phenomenon) has some important political and cultural consequences in the United States that I’ll be blogging on down the road. Basically, Sarah Palin 1, Al Gore zip. The global warming meltdown confirms all the populist suspicions out there about an arrogantly clueless establishment invoking faked ’science’ to impose cockamamie social mandates on the long-suffering American people, backed by a mainstream media that is totally in the tank.On the other side of the aisle, George Monbiot himself calls for heads to roll (as well he should):The vast body of climate science still shows that manmade climate change is real and that it presents a massive challenge to human survival. But those of us who seek to explain its implications and call for action must demand the highest possible standards from the people whose work we promote, and condemn any failures to release data or admit and rectify mistakes. We do no one any favours – least of all ourselves – by wasting our time promoting false claims.And the upshot of all this is that even President Obama now recognizes that cap-and-trade is dead, as summarized over at Talking Points Memo:The remarks represent the first time the President has acknowledged that the Senate may not be willing to adopt a cap and trade system: the central feature of the climate change initiative that Obama ran on during the 2008 campaign.This leaves the EPA and its sledgehammer (see Marlo Lewis's assessment of the proposed regulations here and here) as the only hope left for the global warming alarmists. Given that many people assume that the EPA introduced its unwieldy rule in an attempt to pressure the Senate to act to prevent the EPA rule from taking effect, one has to wonder how much political capital will be put behind the EPA's regulation now.
Obama's tacit acceptance of the move to drop emissions pricing from climate and energy policy appears to make that result only more likely—and will likely raise the ire of environmentalists, who see an emissions market as key to addressing the dangers of climate change.
One final question: Has anyone seen Al Gore in all of this?
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