Remember Climategate? It was probably the most embarrassing scandal of academic research in modern history. All of a sudden, the loudmouths who had been preaching to us about rising sea levels, melting ice caps, vanishing polar bears and desert expansion were caught with their pants down, exposed as nothing more than a bunch of fraudsters and scam artists. (And if allegations are true that Russia’s secret service was instrumental in exposing them, then kudos to Moscow.)
Ideally, all that should remain today of Climategate would be that the academic community is left to pick shrapnel. However, that is not the case. Political agitators on the left have been all too eager to use the global warming myth as an instrument to advance their own power. The most disturbing example is a small but vocal crowd of global warming fanatics, documented by Mike’s America, who demand that democratic government be replaced with a global “environmental” dictatorship.
There is not much we can do about such insanity than to contain it by means of reason. (Oh, and buy the biggest, baddest SUV available.) Fortunately, there are some signs that this might be working. Some of the less warp-minded climate “scientists” are now trying to restore their own credibility (after having done their own best to shred it). A good example is the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, Ground Zero of Climategate. It was their “scientists” who exchanged e-mails about how to maintain the myth of global warming despite mounting evidence to the contrary, so we should not take anything coming out of that institution at face value. However, it is reasonable to assume that they are now trying to rebuild their outfit based on the novel idea of scholarly integrity, instead of political dogma. If so, it is worth taking a serious look at their data that shows that the Earth’s temperature has not risen since 1997. From the Daily Mail back in January 2012:
The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century. Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.
Again, let’s not rush to conclusions based on anything coming out of the University of East Anglia. Let’s give them time to convince us that they are now in fact a credible academic institution. Their findings about the end to a trend in rising temperatures is actually nothing new – it is something they admitted to having observed already back in 2009 when Climategate broke. The fact that they are now accepting facts as facts is not very impressive; it is what we should expect of them.
While we continue to fight climate fanaticism with reason, and while we wait for the worst of the political hysteria to die down, we do have to keep an eye on the less extreme policy repercussions of the climate scam. A good example of what we have to fight here is the proliferation of “environmental” taxes and similar policy measures that, while not being outright tyrannical in nature still do invade our freedoms in the name of saving the world. The latest but definitely not the last case is Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, who still wants the carbon emissions tax that is supposed to do away with the non-existent threat to our climate:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned yesterday (16 July) that global warming will accelerate at a dramatic rate unless leaders reach a deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. After marathon talks in Durban last December, countries agreed to forge a new deal by 2015 that would for the first time force all the biggest polluters to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Critics said at the time, however, the plan was too timid to slow global warming. “Time is of the essence,” Merkel told an international conference in Berlin, where delegates from more than 30 countries are preparing for a major UN climate conference at the end of the year in Qatar. Merkel’s comments came a day after Germany’s Environment Minister questioned the country’s ability to reach its own climate goals, in an interview with newspaper Bild am Sonntag. These include introducing 1 million electric cars and reducing energy usage 10 percent by 2020. As of the beginning of 2012, only 4,541 electric cars were in use, according to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority.
The real reason why Merkel wants this tax is obvious. Germany is a welfare state just like most of Europe. As a welfare state it has notorious problems feeding its government with enough tax revenues. Germany has been through drastic austerity measures more than once, and they are going to end up there again. But on top of their inherent problems, the German government has also assumed bailout responsibility for other, even more troubled welfare states in Europe. Merkel and her government are in dire need of even more taxes than they are already taking in.
Our lawmakers want “environmental” taxes for the exact same reason as they want addiction taxes: the public is more accepting of a tax that comes with a perceived moral purpose, so they will be more inclined to pay it and less eager to question how you use the money. In reality, the “environmental” taxes would not go away if we solved the alleged environmental problem – if people stopped emitting carbon dioxide government would find something else to tax. By the same token, if we all stopped drinking alcohol tomorrow, government would tax the oxygen in the air instead.
Scientific scams like global warming are harmless so long as all they do is embarrass the academic community. But when their delusions are picked up by politicians things can get really bad. Fortunately, it seems like we are turning the tide on the myth that our seas are rising from man-made global warming. Let’s also turn the tide on the myth that you can save the welfare state with an endless stream of new taxes.