Earlier today, my IWF colleague Carrie Lukas pointed out how the American media is largely ignoring the climate-gate issue. I totally agree that the media’s apathy is troubling (as I discussed here). However, the big exception to this general rule is the Wall Street Journal editorial page which today runs two excellent pieces on the recent CRU email scandal.
First, Richard S. Lidzen takes on the global warming scare mongers favorite debate line: “the science is settled.” He clearly and painstakingly explains the holes in current climate science and comments on the recent CRU email scandal by saying:
What does all this have to do with climate catastrophe? The answer brings us to a scandal that is, in my opinion, considerably greater than that implied in the hacked emails from the Climate Research Unit (though perhaps not as bad as their destruction of raw data): namely the suggestion that the very existence of warming or of the greenhouse effect is tantamount to catastrophe. This is the grossest of “bait and switch” scams. It is only such a scam that lends importance to the machinations in the emails designed to nudge temperatures a few tenths of a degree.
The notion that complex climate “catastrophes” are simply a matter of the response of a single number, GATA, to a single forcing, CO2 (or solar forcing for that matter), represents a gigantic step backward in the science of climate. Many disasters associated with warming are simply normal occurrences whose existence is falsely claimed to be evidence of warming. And all these examples involve phenomena that are dependent on the confluence of many factors.
In Climategate: Follow the Money, Bret Stephens examines why the the scientists involved in climate-gate acted in such an irresponsible manner and concludes, it’s all about the money.
But the deeper question is why the scientists behaved this way to begin with, especially since the science behind man-made global warming is said to be firmly settled. To answer the question, it helps to turn the alarmists’ follow-the-money methods right back at them.
Consider the case of Phil Jones, the director of the CRU and the man at the heart of climategate. According to one of the documents hacked from his center, between 2000 and 2006 Mr. Jones was the recipient (or co-recipient) of some $19 million worth of research grants, a sixfold increase over what he’d been awarded in the 1990s.
Why did the money pour in so quickly? Because the climate alarm kept ringing so loudly: The louder the alarm, the greater the sums. And who better to ring it than people like Mr. Jones, one of its likeliest beneficiaries?
Thus, the European Commission’s most recent appropriation for climate research comes to nearly $3 billion, and that’s not counting funds from the EU’s member governments. In the U.S., the House intends to spend $1.3 billion on NASA’s climate efforts, $400 million on NOAA’s, and another $300 million for the National Science Foundation. The states also have a piece of the action, with California-apparently not feeling bankrupt enough-devoting $600 million to their own climate initiative. In Australia, alarmists have their own Department of Climate Change at their funding disposal.
And all this is only a fraction of the $94 billion that HSBC Bank estimates has been spent globally this year on what it calls “green stimulus”-largely ethanol and other alternative energy schemes-of the kind from which Al Gore and his partners at Kleiner Perkins hope to profit handsomely.
None of these outfits are per se corrupt, in the sense that the monies they get are spent on something other than their intended purposes. But they depend on an inherently corrupting premise, namely that the hypothesis on which their livelihood depends has in fact been proved. Absent that proof, everything they represent-including the thousands of jobs they provide-vanishes. This is what’s known as a vested interest, and vested interests are an enemy of sound science.
Following the money leads to a number of co-conspirators on climate-gate. For instance, take the network NBC which this month sponsored “green week.” During “green week,” viewers were treated to an endless selection of condescending lectures on how to live green. Their morning and nightly news shows ran “green” stories as did their 24-hour cable news outlet MSNBC. But that wasn’t it; their prime-time shows such as 30 Rock and The Office interlaced “green” messaging through the show’s storylines. The network even ran a series of PSAs starring many of the network’s stars offering tips on how normal non-Hollywood folks can “stay green” (apparently taking private jets to movie premiers just didn’t make the cut).
Why would NBC be so pro-green? Could it be that NBC is owned by General Electric–a company that has major investments in green technology? The tentacles of this scandal go far beyond the scientists involved…as does the money’s influence.