Killing the green wave
by By LORRIE GOLDSTEIN
Most people understand what an independent public inquiry is.
Except climate scientists and politicians.
In a public inquiry, a third party with no interest in the outcome — typically a judge — is appointed by government with a mandate to investigate an issue of public concern.
The inquiry has its own legal counsel, investigators and budget.
It has the power to compel witnesses to testify publicly, to cross-examine them, to demand documents and call in outside experts.
By that standard, the three official “inquiries” into “Climategate” — the last of which recently “exonerated” scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia (UEA) — again were farces.
Two were cases of the UEA appointing sympathetic academics to investigate itself.
The third was a one-day hearing before a British parliamentary committee in a country that has been at the forefront of global warming hysteria.
Climategate involved the unsanctioned release of thousands of e-mails and documents by leading climate scientists.
The most infamous came from former CRU director Phil Jones about using a “trick” to “hide the decline” in temperatures, plus discussing with colleagues ways to hide data from freedom of information requests under U.K. law.
The latest “inquiry” found what the two previous ones did — the science of climate change is sound (surprise!), but researchers were unprofessionally secretive.
While warmists declared “victory” with each predictable report, and are still fighting skeptics over the credibility of various claims in the 2007 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which basically described global warming as an existential threat, much of the public has stopped listening.
International polls show concern over climate change dropping — even in countries such as Germany, which has heavily invested in renewable energy — and most significantly in the U.S., the world’s No. 2 greenhouse gas emitter.
With China, the world’s largest emitter, refusing to accept hard emission targets, global negotiations to draft a successor agreement to the (widely ignored) Kyoto accord, which expires in 2012, are stalled.
There’ll be another attempt in Cancun this November after talks all but fell apart in Copenhagen last December, but the effort is losing steam.
One reason is the realization global, centrally-imposed diktats to cut emissions over mandated time frames — mindful of the former Soviet Union’s absurd five-year plans for the production of tin — don’t work.
Another is politicians now have to move from promising to lower emissions, which is easy, to lowering them, which, as the public is discovering, is ruinously expensive, doesn’t work and will lead to power shortages.
Optimists might say, as Newsweek did Monday in an essay, “A Green Retreat: Why the environment is no longer a surefire political winner,” that climate change is finally being put into perspective as one of many challenges we face, not necessarily the most significant.
Unfortunately, the global political fight never has been about the environment, but about expanding government power domestically and creating, internationally, a socialist, money-sucking scheme to transfer wealth from the first world to the third. That effort is proceeding.
It’s how Stephen Harper accurately described Kyoto, before he became prime minister and stopped talking about the issue honestly.
As for the opposition parties, they’re so uninformed about the devastating economic consequences of what they’re advocating, it’s just scary.