Global warming industry becomes too big to fail

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PostWed Nov 25, 2009 4:50 pm » by Forestgrove111


Global warming industry becomes too big to fail
By: Timothy P. Carney
Examiner Columnist
November 25, 2009 "I'm in the process of trying to persuade Siemens Corp. (a company with half a million employees in 190 countries!) to donate me a little cash to do some CO2 measur[e]ments here in the UK -- looking promising," wrote Andrew Manning, a climate-science research fellow at the University of East Anglia, "so the last thing I need is news articles calling into question (again) observed temperature increases."

Manning's e-mail, written in October to a colleague at East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit, was one of the thousands of private communiques exposed to public view by a whistleblower or a hacker. The note and others like it reveal the intriguing relationship between industry giants like Siemens and the scientists driving climate change fears. More importantly, though, Manning's e-mail shows the incentives of climate scientists: Convince people there is a climate disaster coming, get more money.

Manning and the warming crowd benefit from a beautiful feedback loop: The more governments, businesses, and media outlets you can convince that man-made global warming is a serious threat, the more these institutions will invest in climate change studies, solutions, and policies. And the more they invest in combating global warming -- whether it's a newspaper hiring a climate reporter, a company buying emissions credits and alternative energy sources, or a government building a climate lab -- the less willing they are to tolerate dissent on the issue.

So the warming crowd, these e-mails show us, suffers from the same conflicts of interest and profit motives that are frequently attributed to skeptics. When Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" came out, Gore charged that global warming deniers were trying to protect profits. Gore quoted fabled muckraker Upton Sinclair, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it."

Climate scientists derive both their sense of purpose and their paychecks from a perceived climate crisis. We shouldn't be surprised, then, to see them putting their pet cause ahead of scientific standards. For instance, climate scientist Giorgio Filippo in a 2000 e-mail wrote about the drafting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's assessment of climate research: "Essentially, I feel that at this point there are very little rules and almost anything goes. I think this will set a dangerous precedent, which might mine the IPCC credibility, and I am a bit uncomfortable that now nearly everybody seems to think that it is just ok to do this."

These are the scientists who drive climate policy.

Some critics writing about the leaked e-mails say they expose a "fraud," a "hoax," and a conspiracy. The warming crowd claim that everything is being taken out of context.

But Manning's e-mail cannot be ignored, because it is self-evidently true. If the catastrophic-man-made-climate-change hypothesis melted down, these scientists would lose their funding.

Atlantic blogger Megan McArdle probably put it best: "That doesn't mean their paradigm is wrong; rather, it means we need to be less romantic about the practice of science. No scientific consensus is ever as powerful as its proponents claim, because no scientists are ever as perfect as we'd like to imagine."

And scientists aren't the only ones with skin in the game. Take manufacturing and transportation giant Siemens, for instance, whom Manning was wooing. In 2006, the company joined the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which has been a key lobbyist for the sort of greenhouse gas cap-and-trade scheme at the heart of the climate bill currently before Congress. Siemens and other members of USCAP have invested billions in buying up greenhouse gas credits, alternative energy sources like wind and solar power, and carbon capture and sequestration (the attempt to trap CO2 underground). E-mails show CRU scientists pushing corporate donors to fund their climate science as a way of advancing carbon capture.

Governments have poured hundreds of billions of dollars into climate research. News organizations have staked their credibility on the claim that climate science is "settled." With all this on the line for scientists, media, business, and government, are we really going to let some contrary data get in the way?

The leaked e-mails don't necessarily show a conspiracy, but they do show that the industry built upon belief in man-made global warming has become too big to fail.


Timothy P. Carney, The Examiner's lobbying editor, can be reached at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. He writes an op-ed column that appears on Friday.

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