Global Climate Change: A Political Meltdown

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for global climate change proponents. First, the co-chair of the U.N. working group proclaimed that the U.N. isn’t actually trying to protect the climate. It’s working to redistribute the globe’s wealth using a carbon tax contrivance to funnel huge sums of money from rich countries to developing nations.

Next came Al Gore’s admission that his 15-year promotion of corn-based ethanol was just politics. Gore knew when he first pushed the corn solution that it would very likely shrink the food supply and raise prices. In fact, he was counting on it, along with the grateful votes of the American heartland in his 2000 Presidential bid. Worse, the supposedly beneficial impact of corn-based ethanol was shown years ago to have a negative effect. The amount of fossil fuel consumed in the production process is more than the amount saved by burning ethanol.

These revelations are disturbing only to those who believe the climate change movement is about science. It isn’t. It’s been about politics from the beginning. That doesn’t mean there is no supporting science. There is, just as there is disputing science. It does mean that the huge, pro climate change campaign has very little to do with scientific vetting. It’s about political agendas.

We’ve caught glimpses of the politics behind the climate change drive in the past. The most recent disclosures center on the U.N. and the Climatic Research Unit of East Anglia University in the U.K. CRU scientists work hand-in-glove with the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. CRU claims to possess the largest repository of climate change raw data in the world and regularly issues reports supporting man-made global warming. These studies, endorsed by the IPCC, are technology beacons for scientists rowing the pro climate change boat.

But, CRU has come under heavy criticism in the last year, to the point that climate change is questioned now more than ever before. First was the Climategate scandal where hacked emails disclosed an apparent scheme to falsify climate change data. The University formed an inquiry panel chaired by Ron Oxburgh, a staunch pro climate change advocate. Oxburgh also has financial interests in businesses that stand to make billions of dollars from low carbon technology.

In addressing conflict of interest criticisms, the University claimed any panel appointee would have an opinion on climate change. Maybe, but even conceding that disputed allegation, appointing Oxburgh was unjustified by any fair measure. Then again, CRU has averaged in excess of $1 million per year in grants since 1990, including money from business donors pushing climate change technology. So, the University can’t risk fairness.

Not surprisingly, the panel cleared CRU of wrongdoing. Last January, the Unit was found in violation of the U.K.’s freedom of information act for withholding climate change raw data from public review.

As for the U.N., the wealth redistribution motive certainly explains its reliance on Michael Mann’s infamously faulty “hockey stick” climate model to “prove” global warming. And this August, the IPCC was chastised for engaging in advocacy rather than pure science and for errors contained in published reports. Among them is the report that served, in part, as the basis for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize the IPCC shares with Al Gore.

How has the climate change movement thrived all these years? It’s great political theatre, with all the right story lines. The imperative of human survival, the desire to save animals from extinction, the excitement of scientific pursuit, the huge Federal grants and even bigger business.

And then there are the rules of engagement, which are not to engage at all. Protagonists claimed the moral high ground at the outset and declined to debate. Gore’s behavior typifies the strategy. He has consistently refused to entertain opposing viewpoints. He claims, inaccurately, that scientific “consensus” supports his opinions. He often chastises the media for covering those who disagree with him, declaring only his views warrant coverage. When the Climategate scandal broke, Gore abruptly cancelled his appearance at the year’s most important international climate conference, claiming an unforeseen schedule conflict. He simply fled from an environment he could not manipulate.

A lot of the scientific community does support the notion of man-made climate change. But, a lot doesn’t. The antagonists advance data-supported arguments that undercut the claim of global climate change. They do seem on firmer ground for several reasons, not the least of which is they allow peer review of their research.

In any case, scientists have disagreed since the dawn of their discipline. And, most are convinced of their positions. Like, the benefits of bloodletting, the geocentric nature of the universe or last year’s global swine flu pandemic. These certainties failed the test of time and better science. Many theories today will go the same way, including some related to climate change.

Perhaps the worst thing about the current spectacle is the disrepute it has heaped on science. Stuffing it in a political tool bag makes it just one of the usual suspects. That’s the real inconvenient truth.

See you in the mirror.