How urgent is the threat of global warming? Listen to an editorial that the Guardian, England’s leading left-wing daily, published early in December, as the Copenhagen climate summit was opening:
Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.
Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security.
Global warming is so urgent that editorial writers at 55 other newspapers around the world (including one in the U.S., the Miami Herald) cannot be troubled to do their jobs and write their own editorials about it. Decisive action indeed.
A few weeks earlier, the world of global warmism had been rocked by a whistle-blower’s release of thousands of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at Britain’s University of East Anglia, which showed widespread corruption of the scientific process. The mass editorial devoted just one sentence to the scandal widely if unimaginatively dubbed “Climategate”:
The controversy over emails by British researchers that suggest they tried to suppress inconvenient data has muddied the waters but failed to dent the mass of evidence on which these predictions are based.
It muddied the waters without denting the mass. If the Guardian’s editorialists are less than graceful in their use of metaphor, the editorial itself was a splendid metaphor for the groupthink that has characterized climate science, policy, and journalism. Just a few days later, the Times of London reported that the Met Office, Britain’s national weather service, had “spent four days collecting signatures” on a petition “to bolster the reputation of climate-change science”:
More than 1,700 scientists have agreed to sign a statement defending the “professional integrity” of global warming research….
One scientist told The Times he felt under pressure to sign. “The Met Office is a major employer
of scientists and has long had a policy of only appointing and working with those who subscribe to their views on man-made global warming,” he said.
The concept of scientists—or journalists— signing a petition is ludicrous. The idea is that they are lending their authority to whatever cause the petition represents. In fact they are undermining that author-ity, which is based on the presumption that they think for themselves.
The problem with the petition as a form is also a problem with the Met Office petition’s substance. Its purpose is to shore up scientists’ authority by vouching for their integrity. But signing a loyalty oath under pressure from the government is itself a corrupt act. And once again, the question arises: Why should any layman regard global warmism as credible when the “consensus” rests on political machinations, statistical deceptions, and efforts to suppress alternative hypotheses?
The Climategate e-mails provide a splendid example of how scientists and journalists worked together to promote this phony consensus. In September 2009, Andrew Revkin, then warming correspondent for the New York Times (he accepted an early-retirement buyout just before Christmas), asked this puffball question of Michael Mann, the Pennsylvania State University scientist whose “trick” was famously employed to “hide the decline” in observed temperatures (quoting verbatim):
I’m going to blog on this as it relates to the value of the peer review process and not on the merits of the mcintyre [a global-warming skeptic] et al attacks.
peer review, for all its imperfections, is where the herky-jerky process of knowledge building happens, would you agree?
Here is Mann’s response:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online