Climate alarmists conjured a world where nothing was certain but death, taxes, and catastrophic global warming. They used this presumed scientific certainty as a bludgeon against the skeptics they deemed “deniers,” a word meant to have the noxious whiff of Holocaust denial.
So begins Rich Lowry's piece in the National Review Online about the demise of the "settled science" of anthropogenic global warming.
I suppose I can take some small satisfaction in the fact that I went on record (here and here for instance) as a "denier" prior to the exposé of the massive manipulation and suppression of the scientific data contradicting the AGW dogma. Be that as it may, what I find interesting in Lowry's article is this sentence: "Too many of the creators and guardians of the “consensus” desperately wanted to believe in it."
An example of this is the reluctance on the part of the Pom-Pom Media to even cover the new and shocking revelations. Here, from NewsBusters, is how that stacks up:
[Dr. Phil] Jones [head of the British Climatic Research Unit] also admitted that he and his fellow scientists manipulated figures to hide a decline in crucial tree-ring data thereby questioning the validity of the entire global warming theory.
Despite the seriousness of these revelations, much as what happened when the ClimateGate scandal first broke, with the exception of Fox News, America's media have almost totally boycotted this amazing story:
For its part, CNN FINALLY got around to covering this story with a very brief mention Tuesday.
- No mention by the New York Times
- No mention by the Washington Post
- No mention by USA Today
- No mention by ANY major U.S. newspaper EXCEPT the Washington Times
- No mention by the Associated Press
- No mention by Reuters
- No mention by UPI
- No mention by ABC News
- No mention by CBS News
- No mention by NBC News
- No mention by MSNBC
So we're back to the guardians of the "consensus" needing desperately to believe it. The obvious and most important question about this is: Why did they (do they) so desperately need to believe it? Many have pointed to how lucrative the global warming "crisis" proved to be for research scientists who were willing to toe the line.
Tom Bethell chimes on that point here:
Those who promoted the bogus certainties of global warming not only sought to upend a whole way of life but came close to doing so. They have been aided by hundreds of well-known politicians, writers, reporters, and politicized scientists. Among politicians, Al Gore is only the best known. In the last category, James Hansen and Michael Mann are among the major U.S. culprits.
Christopher Booker, who has long covered these issues for the Sunday Telegraph and is one of the few British journalists to have done so, calls climate fraud “the greatest scientific scandal of our age.” He notes that the Royal Society, a once great institution founded in 1662, has become “a shameless propagandist for the warmist cause.”
Government funding has been the major subversive force. If you read Science, as I do, you see that the issue the magazine cares about above all others, and editorializes about week after week, is funding. Government funding. The constant concern about money means that Science and other journals feel obliged to keep up a drumbeat of articles that sustain the mood of crisis surrounding a given issue.
In support of this argument, Bethell adds:
Recently, Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University has been the leading promoter of bogus global temperature claims. He manufactured the misleading “hockey stick” temperature graph that eliminated the Medieval Warm Period by cherry-picking tree-ring data. He accuses dissenters of being funded by oil companies and has garnered $6 million in government grants for Penn State. As a climate dissenter rather than a distorter, he would have been vilified, not remunerated. He’s an enemy of science.
One can never overlook venality and careerism, but there were very many people who apparently needed just as desperately to believe in global warming who had no such reasons for their desperation. Something to which Bethell alludes when he writes:
The prolonged deception about warming, and the silence about nuclear power, shows that the warmists’ real interest is in a revolutionary change in the American way of life, not the reduction of emissions.
A corollary to the search for why so many were so desperate to believe the global warming claims is: Why can we say with a very high degree of certainty that the vast majority of those with no financial or career stakes in the question but who nevertheless "desperately needed to believe" the global warming story were political liberals? Was it, as Bethell implies, that their real interest was "in a revolutionary change in the American way of life?" That, it seems to me is clearly a part of it. But it may be connected to another motivation, perhaps an even less conscious one. So here is another version of some thoughts on this that I have earlier and elsewhere proposed.
To be human is to be a moral creature. We are each endowed with a moral sensor; call it conscience if you like. As we all know, it can be malformed and therefore unreliable, but it cannot be shut down entirely without destroying our humanity. Like a muscle in one's body, the moral sensor needs to be exercised. When it is confronted with morally odious events or realities, it stirs from its slumber. If, however, we learn to subordinate this moral impulse of ours either to some selfish craving of our own or to some ideological censor, then we will have to find something on which to exercise our moral imaginations and about which to feel a moral urgency and perhaps moral outrage. This is so, if for no other reason, because all but the most hopeless nihilists among us do not want to either be or appear to be suffering from moral autism. Now, politically correct multiculturalists will tend to avoid any expression of moral urgency that either calls into question the sacred cows of the left (like abortion) or in any way gives aid and comfort to conservative concerns (like Islamic fanaticism). Moreover, the more one's righteous moral indignation can be indulged without incurring either personal danger or lifestyle inconveniences, the better. If the burden of the moral campaign is that the West bears the greatest responsibility for the moral offense, all the better. Put two and two together and you've got global warming, or, as it came to be called once word got out that the globe was not warming, "climate change," which has been happening for roughly four and a half billion years.
Which brings us to the second reason the global warming phenomenon had such appeal. (cheery optimist that I am, I speak in the past tense here.) As I noted in an earlier post, one of the global warming alarmists is John Holdren, now president Obama's "science czar." Holdren is typical, however, in that he managed to segue effortlessly to his global warming alarmism from his earlier population bomb alarmism. In the name of each of these causes, he has sounded so extreme an alarm that he has suggested that governments must seriously consider setting aside human rights scruples -- especially with regard to reproduction -- in order to avoid disaster. (As I suggested here, the population bomb scare, and the credulity with which it was adopted all all levels of our public life, massively contributed to the death of Europe as we know it and its eventual Islamization -- no small unintended consequence that.)
Which is related in some way to what many have noted, namely, that Green is the new Red. With the collapse of communism and the tarnishing of communism-lite, the resentment that fueled the latter had to find someplace else to be expressed. The new crisis -- which it would be a "shame to waste" (in the odious words of president Obama's chief of staff) -- and which could be used to stampede a reluctant electorate into re-engineering political and economic life -- was an environmental one. This is what Bethell was suggesting above.
Anthropogenic environmental destruction can be primarily blamed on those cultures which have the technological wherewithal to have significant environmental consequences. (The native Americans were at least as environmentally destructive as Communist East Germany, and far more so than Exxon, but they lacked the technical capacity to make the destruction consequential.) That being the case, ecological crises are an opportunity for those in high moral dudgeon to fulminate against "enemies" as abstract and as personally non-threatening as corporate greed and the middle-class lifestyle, all the while justifying, in their minds, their indifference toward the far more culturally troubling (aforementioned) symptoms of moral degeneration which had been ideologically immunized from scrutiny by the secular left. The result was a "cause" in support of which they could feel morally sanctimonious toward western culture and its market economy, coincidentally two things that the Leftists of old (the Reds) always despised.
Whether the planet is heating or not remains to be seen. If it is, whether this is due to human factors or not also remains to be seen. If and when either issue is truly settled, I will be happy to know the truth and try to accommodate to it. In the meantime, the warnings of those who "desperately need to believe" the worst should be taken with a grain of salt.