Crunch-time for the initiators of the man-made global warming theory- or is it?
TIA Daily February 21, 2010
What's Left Without Global Warming?
by Robert Tracinski
With apologies to
I mean all of this stuff about how we have to restructure our entire society to avoid man-made global warming—what was it all really about? Was it ever really about global warming? Or was it really about restructuring our society, for which global warming was just an excuse?
That's what we have to start asking in the wake of Climategate.
It is not just that Climategate—the e-mails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit at Britain's University of East Anglia, and the subsequent investigations they unleashed—has revealed that the "settled science" of global warming was riddled with errors, based on questionable data and false assumptions, and distorted by conformity, bullying, and groupthink.
It is not just that some of the main Climategate conspirators, such as the CRU's Phil Jones, are now admitting that the science isn't settled and that global temperatures may well have been warmer than today one thousand years ago, long before automobiles and industrial smokestacks.
No, what really ought to give us pause is that so far none of these revelations has actually stopped the political agenda on global warming. Virtually everyone who advocated massive new controls on our economic life in the name of stopping global warming still advocates it. And it's not just because they're in denial and they still think science is on their side. The most frightening new trend—frightening because of what it reveals—is that many of these people are advocating these controls even if the globe is not warming.
It started with President Obama's State of the Union address, when he referred to "the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change"—eliciting laughter in the chamber—and then went on to say: "But even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future—because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy." What is notable there is the development of a fallback position in case the public doubts the science. But of course, the fallback position makes no sense. If carbon dioxide is not frying the globe, then windmills and solar cells aren't "clean energy." They're just inefficient energy.
Similarly, Lindsey Graham—one of a handful of Senate Republicans who really drank the Kool-Aid on global warming—has switched to advocating all the same controls as a way to reduce our "dependency" on foreign oil. But of course, the far easier way would be to lift restrictions on offshore drilling and on oil exploration on federal lands.
When this trend finally struck me was in a column by the Washington Post's Dana Milbank that discussed how Washington's big snowstorm was being used by both sides in the global warming debate. Milbank acknowledges that this "argument-by-anecdote" is invalid, briefly refers to Climategate, and then offers this remarkable shift.
For those concerned about warming, it's time for a shift in emphasis. Fortunately, one has already been provided to them by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has done more than any Democrat to keep climate legislation alive this year. His solution: skip the hurricanes and Himalayan glaciers and keep the argument on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent annually on foreign oil, some of that going to terrorists rather than to domestic job creation.
Al Gore, for one, seems to realize it's time for a new tactic. New TV ads released during last week's blizzards by Gore's climate advocacy group say nothing about climate science. They show workers asking their senators for more jobs from clean energy.
That's a good sign. If the Washington snows persuade the greens to put away the slides of polar bears and pine beetles and to keep the focus on national security and jobs, it will have been worth the shoveling.
With a sinking feeling, I realized that this is the new party line. If the science can no longer be invoked to support massive government controls on the economy, then drop the science. You can drop it, because none of this was ever really about science. It was about power. It was about control. It was about central planning of our lives by the usual gang in Washington.
This is the second time that the left has been forced to drop its mask. The first time was the Fall of the Berlin Wall. For decades, the Western left had claimed that they wanted massive new controls and sweeping power over the economy because economic science was on their side and they were moving us toward a shining utopia of universal prosperity. By the time the Wall came down, everyone knew this was a lie. Everyone knew by then that government control was bad economics and that it was capitalism that actually delivered prosperity.
But the left had already begun a switch to its New Left variant of anti-"consumerism." In effect, their attitude was: if socialism doesn't lead to prosperity, then to heck with prosperity. The pseudo-scientific rationalizations of Marxism could be dropped because they mattered less than the thing they were supposed to rationalize: control of the individual. So the left switched, over a period of decades, from saying that economic science justifies a global economic dictatorship, to claiming that climate science justifies a global economic dictatorship. And now they're panicking again, experimenting with a reverse switch: dropping climate science and going back to economic science, in the form of bogus arguments about "green jobs" and "energy independence."
The persistence of cap-and-trade in the face of Climategate provides us with more evidence that the real essence of the left is a reactionary hatred of capitalism—which means: a hatred of affluence, a hatred of prosperous middle-class strivers (a class to which, ironically, most of the left belongs), and most of all a hatred of the blue-collar entrepreneurs, the Joe-the-Plumber types, who have the temerity to think that they can support themselves and get ahead without the "help" of a paternalistic elite. It is a hatred of the independent individual.
But to confess to such an ugly motive is to ensure one's defeat. This is the left's second big strike-out in two decades, the second time in less than a generation that it will be forced to admit that all of the reams and reams it has written about how its central political cause was justified by facts and science—that all of it was just a rationalization for a grab for power.
The result will be a catastrophic loss of moral legitimacy for the left—and I do not see how they can recover from it.