The Death of Global Warming

Hat tip: American Interest
By Walter Russell Mead

The global warming movement as we have known it is dead. Its health had been in steady decline during the last year as the once robust hopes for a strong and legally binding treaty to be agreed upon at the Copenhagen Summit faded away. By the time that summit opened, campaigners were reduced to hoping for a ‘politically binding’ agreement to be agreed that would set the stage for the rapid adoption of the legally binding treaty. After the failure of the summit to agree to even that much, the movement went into a rapid decline.

The movement died from two causes: bad science and bad politics.

After years in which global warming activists had lectured everyone about the overwhelming nature of the scientific evidence, it turned out that the most prestigious agencies in the global warming movement were breaking laws, hiding data, and making inflated, bogus claims resting on, in some cases, no scientific basis at all. This latest story in the London Times is yet another shocker; the IPCC’s claims that the rainforests were going to disappear as a result of global warming are as bogus and fraudulent as its claims that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035. It seems as if a scare story could grab a headline, the IPCC simply didn’t care about whether it was reality-based.

With this in mind, ‘climategate’ — the scandal over hacked emails by prominent climate scientists — looks sinister rather than just unsavory. The British government has concluded that University of East Anglia, home of the research institute that provides the global warming with much of its key data, had violated Britain’s Freedom of Information Act when scientists refused to hand over data so that critics could check their calculations and methods. Breaking the law to hide key pieces of data isn’t just ’science as usual,’ as the global warming movement’s embattled defenders gamely tried to argue. A cover-up like that suggests that you indeed have something to conceal.

The urge to make the data better than it was didn’t just come out of nowhere. The global warmists were trapped into the necessity of hyping the threat by their realization that the actual evidence they had — which, let me emphasize, all hype aside, is serious, troubling and establishes in my mind the need for intensive additional research and investigation, as well as some prudential steps that would reduce CO2 emissions by enhancing fuel use efficiency and promoting alternative energy sources — was not sufficient to get the world’s governments to do what they thought needed to be done. Hyping the threat increasingly doesn’t look like an accident: it looks like it was a conscious political strategy.

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