Political miscalculations on the part of global warming alarmists have opened the way for a renewed commitment to nuclear power that will find expression within the next few years, Joe Bast, president and CEO of the Heartland Institute observed just as his organization's fourth International Conference on Climate Change concluded.
The growing "climategate" scandal that involves emails leaked to the Internet from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in Great Britain has confirmed the skeptical view of man-made global warming theories and "put in a stake in the heart" of the pseudoscience that fuels alarmism, Bast said in an interview on the final day of the conference in Chicago, Illinois.
As an added benefit, he expects U.S. policymakers to divorce themselves from "cap and trade" schemes and to move more forcefully in the direction of sensible energy polices, especially after the November elections.
"I think one unintended consequence of this whole debate has been the re-examination and re-legitimization of nuclear energy," Bast suggested. "I'm sure the left must be kicking itself for allowing this to happen. They should have thought ahead and asked themselves what would happen if they lost on global warming. As it turns out, they have helped to endorse and validate nuclear power. You are going to see a lot more nuke plants built over the next 20 to 30 years."
Some of the key developments that occurred in the climate debate since last Heartland Conference in Washington D.C. are as follows:
- Last November, emails and other documents from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia revealed a pattern of mismanagement of temperature data, interference with peerreview, and overt efforts to suppress academic debate on global warming;
- In December, negotiations in Copenhagen over a successor to the Kyoto Protocol collapsed, leaving the world without a binding international agreement after Kyoto expires in 2012;
- In January, major errors of fact and forecasts in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were acknowledged by the agency's staff and supporters;
- In February, Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit, admitted there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995 and that "the vast majority of climate scientists" do not believe the debate on climate change is over;
- In March and April, The Christian Science Monitor and many other respected sources uncovered evidence of massive fraud in the operation of cap-and-trade programs, raising doubts about the workability of such programs as well as the ethics and objectivity of Al Gore and others who have made millions of dollars by creating firms that buy and sell carbon credits.
Despite a growing body of scientific evidence that points to natural as opposed to man-made factors that fuel warming and cooling cycles, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced a repacked version of "cap and trade" bill earlier this month that would impose carbon reductions on industry. However, Bast does not expect the legislation to gain any traction in the U.S. Senate.
"Cap and trade is dead," he said. "We are finally on the downhill here, we are victorious. Now is great time to be a skeptic, now is a great time to be a libertarian. The vibe at this conference was fantastic."