Happy birthday Climategate.
It’s around the time of the second anniversary of the Climategate leak so it’s fitting to take stock of where we are now. Before doing that, it’s worth taking a walk down memory lane to recall how things were before it occurred.
They were really different. If you were in the fight at the time, things were pretty grim and you had to be plain dog-mean cussed not to just give up and walk away. Al was riding high with his Nobel prize, Oscar and charging $100,000 a pop for a speaking engagement. The then UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown was telling us we’d 50 days to save the planet or was it 40 or maybe 10? Doesn’t matter anyhow, nobody remembers the bum nowadays but I do recall him telling us that under him, the days of boom and bust were gone though. Obama was determined to saddle an unwitting America with an indirect carbon tax and everyone was going to be ecstatic, according to the media. Bliss awaited. The BBC was in overdrive; even their fricking soaps had veiled references to the evils of global warming.
Yoof was demanding action and converging en masse on Copenhagen to set things aright. Da timez dey woz achanging. You couldn’t turn on the television without being lectured by some media climate expert on the environmental impact of your flatulence. The day of the manipulated and malleable moron had finally arrived and the whole world seemed to be celebrating it. It was the high point of the green orgasm, there wasn’t a G spot left to hit. Personally, it was the lowest I’ve ever felt in the whole struggle.
Well, Copenhagen turned out to be an abject failure, a bit of post-coital triste for them. The developing nations, behind the leadership of China, blew it out of the water because they knew no wealth transfer was going to happen. They were well aware we were already broke though not many of us actually realised that, and anyway, nobody was going to stop them industrialising, most especially us; the enemy. Global warming was good fodder for our well-fed electorate but their electorate’s needs were much more realistic and pressing. That was the alarmist’s wake up call.
But what did the alarmists do in response to it? Well, they did what they do best; they spun things. All reporting of Climategate in the mainstream media (MSM) was silenced by self censorship and the Copenhagen fiasco was pitched as just a tiny glitch on the road to the coming green utopia; don’t worry, it would all be fixed at the next jamboree in Cancun. On a daily basis, Google shamelessly managed to report dramatically fewer and fewer hits on the keyword “climategate” and the television and papers totally ignored it for months.
For a lot of enquiring minds, that was the real wake up call as well. The blogosphere started bulging with new people who’d realised for the first time the media streams they’d sort of trusted in a jaundiced way for their information were not independent at all. Far from it, they’d swapped any journalistic integrity to jump on the green bandwagon to save us from ourselves and I’m not just talking about the tabloids here; Nature, The New Scientist, The Scientific American, they all did their bit of staying silent and if I have to hazard a guess, their subscription renewal numbers since November 2009 have went steadily south. That influx of new minds has enriched the blogosphere.
Climategate was at last the great confirmation of a deep suspicion many of us had entertained for a long time; we were not contending with an honest scientific debate but dealing with a bunch of cheats, liars and spin merchants. Following it, anything they said was going to be examined critically by a fresh army of sceptics and the pickings since climategate have been rich.
The floodgates opened and there were a lot of gates, glaciergate, pachuraigate and amazongate to name but a few. On hard examination, so many of the outrageous claims being made by the IPCC turned out not to be based on their much trumpeted peer-reviewed papers but press releases, undergraduate scribblings and the furtive handouts of quasi-political activist organisations like Greenpeace and the WWF. A recent survey by a corps of volunteers found 30% of the references in the last IPCC report tracked back to sources like those. So much for their exclusive use of gold standard science.
The point about fighting a war and make no mistake about it, slam dunking global warming down the big white telephone to God is a war, is that you have to sort out two things; what’s the objective and who is the enemy.
Let’s take who’s the enemy first. A lot of the skeptics would say that’s the climate scientists but come on boys and girls, let’s be honest about them, even as scientists, they’re rather third-rate. Bean counters, technicians, clerks, nobodies on an ego trip out of an obscure and nascent branch of science blinking in the spotlight of notoriety. It’s a 15 minutes thingy. If they’re not coming up with the answer you want, just fire them and hire a few more who have the political smarts to come up with the requisite answers. So, who’s doing the hiring and firing? The activists? Naw, they’ve got money but not that much and anyway, everyone knows they’re a bunch of assorted loonies. The politicians? Naw again, they’re the guys who’re always cadging a buck off you for their next campaign. You don’t give, they don’t get elected. They all think they’re masters of the universe running the game but the key player is the one all of them need. If he’s not playing, they’re all buggered.
It’s the moneyman of course. They feed the politicians funds for their campaigns but only as long as politicians put in place policies that big bucks can be made from. The activists? Well, they were useful tools to give the money-making policies a feel-good and ethical veneer. The activists, in which I have to include most of mainstream journalism, became puppets of the politicians, who were all along dancing to the tune of the guys who held the big purse strings.
The objective is public opinion and more importantly, that segment of it that actually turns up in a polling booth and casts a vote. Public opinion has changed over the last two years and nowadays, the environment ranks at the bottom of most voters list of concerns; they’ve fallen back to life’s essentials of jobs and money. Because of the media blackout, most of the electorate have never heard of climategate and anyway, it would rank as a sciency thing so most of them would quickly change the channel. Given that assessment, you have to ask yourself if it actually mattered in terms of winning the objective.
It was significant but not for achieving the objective, that was done by other external events. What it did do was totally undermine the credibility of climate science, stripping it of any integrity. It revealed a world of small and venial people withholding information, fudging results, actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints and rigging the game. They were cheats. Once the cancer at the heart of the thing was exposed, it slowly and inexorably spread outwards, gradually engulfing the IPCC and then the professional associations such as the American Physics Society and the Royal Society. It’s still metastasising.
Climategate has become a political card to be held in reserve or played. In last year’s mid-terms, the Republicans won big, partly because their candidates played it. In Europe, the politicians are still holding it in reserve. By sheer necessity, they’re in the process of making big cuts to environmental budgets because that’s where the fat is and if the pressure from the MSM, who are the lapdogs of the environmental movement, gets too intense, they’ll play it as well. Political survival trumps the environment every time.
The arse fell out of this perfect storm of a conjunction of interests of the moneymen, politicians and the activists when the implosion of the financial system occurred. The moneymen scurried to cover exposed positions and a few Winters of brutal ferocity were the cherry on top of the disaster. When people are freezing, lecturing them about global warming is a hard sell. All you had to do from then on was watch the money.
I did. Daily, I watched the big sell orders in green stocks on the NYSE and the LSE and it was plain to see that assets were being repositioned out of green sectors. The price of carbon steadily worked its way down to 5 cents a Tonne before they finally closed the Chicago Carbon Exchange. It was a mercy killing really. Al, being a founder and major shareholder, took a bath but he’s still worth a few million.
As for Cancun, it was a non-event, as will be the upcoming Durban conference. Not even Al bothered to show up. By the middle of 2010, all the smart money had left the room and there was nobody left but the true believers, who ended up nursing huge losses.
Everyone is running for cover; the moneymen have long ago moved to profitable pastures anew, the cash-strapped politicians are cutting the green subsidies, the media are prudently staying stumm on all things environmental, the activists are still in denial over the ruins of the green dream, which leaves the climate scientists, who are about to get the blame for the whole thing.
As a young man, I took up fencing and since I’d watched more than enough of those swashbuckling films, the weapon of choice had to be the sabre. My natural over-the-top enthusiasm and youthful aggression terrorised and intimidated most opponents, so it fell to my fencing master to artfully whack me around the side of the head enough times with the flat of one in a few bouts before I really started to learn how to fence. I graduated to the foil and épée and discovered you didn’t have to hew limbs off your opponent to win. Cool precision would carry the day.
In fencing terms, Climategate was the point-perfect cut that nicked the carotid artery of the onward charging global warming giant. Since then, it’s been flailing around but the movements are getting weaker and weaker because it’s slowly bleeding to death. The deed has been done.
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