This Week’s Column: Climategate

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Little more than a year since Nobel Laureate Al Gore was feted with both Stockholm’s and Hollywood’s highest honors for his “Inconvenient Truth” than the wheels started coming off the global warming wagon. Far from what we’d been led to believe was “settled science,” questions started springing up about not only the validity of data used to “prove” man-made global warming, but about the integrity of the very researchers gathering and analyzing the data. This week the scientist at the center of the tempest, so to speak, admitted quite frankly both that the data was a farce, and that it was intentionally fabricated.



To truly analyze this situation, we have to start with the premise of the question: that the gradual warming of the globe will eventually kill our civilization as we know it. The notion certainly sounds sinister enough: if the planet warms, the ice caps will melt, the ocean will rise, landmasses will fall into the ocean, weather patterns will change, crop production will be impacted, etc., etc., etc. Even subscribing to that theory – that the warming of the globe will lead to a catastrophic series of events – the second premise of the question is perhaps even more troubling: man’s activity on the planet is causing the globe to warm. Yikes; you and I, simply by eating three square meals and driving to and from our daily vocations, are precipitating the very calamities that could be our doom.



The implications of these recent revelations in the “Climategate” scandal, however, now throw both premises completely in question. On one hand, it is fairly clear that the globe has not been warming at all, for at least the past decade and a half. Secondly, it appears that all evidence to the contrary was manufactured specifically to “prove” that man’s impact on the environment was moreover causing the alleged warming.



The first problem is the necessary acknowledgement that man isn’t the problem. The elitists who push so forcefully to convince us that we are “killing the planet” are convicted that man is a destructive force hell-bent on ripping apart “Mother Earth.” This, unfortunately, misses the big picture that God created the Heavens and the Earth for his own pleasure, and for man’s use and enjoyment. The Earth and its bounty are here to provide for and serve us, not the other way around. There is a difference between stewardship and subservience.



The second problem is that these same elitists are pushing this campaign of global warming alarmism to advance a broader sociopolitical agenda. Like their cousins the animal rights extremists, the enviro-elites don’t care nearly so much about “saving the planet” as they do about imposing their will and lifestyle upon the people.



Animal rights activists don’t care about farm animals; they care about forcing you to be a vegetarian. Likewise, enviro-activists don’t care about stewardship of working farmland, they care about forcing you to drive a Prius and eat Organic food.



Examining the situation from within that paradigm, it is clear that the “experts” working to prove manmade climate change had incentive to rig the data. Setting aside their own personal sociopolitical ambitions for a moment, consider two prevailing themes in academia: the “publish or perish” philosophy, and the need to obtain grant-based funding for research. The wheels of academia are greased with grant-funded research. From small private foundations to the federal government, billions of dollars (and probably more than that) are available annually to institutes of science and learning for various research initiates. In recent years, the proportion of those funds earmarked for climate research has grown exponentially. So, it stands to reason that if you are a researcher who’s very livelihood requires grant-based funding, you get to work proving the hypotheses of your benefactors.



Goals drive outcomes. Given that the goal of the ruling class in Washington, D.C. and in other global seats of power was to “prove” global warming was both manmade and killing the planet, it is unsurprising that a set of unscrupulous “scientists” would take the incentive to meet that goal.



The end, in other words, justified the means. And it almost worked, too. Gore walked away with his Oscar and his Nobel Prize, the scientists were hailed for their brilliance, and Washington had more justification for draconian legislation and regulation.



Except for the inconvenient truth.