In a repeat of Copenhagen, on the eve of the Durban climate change gabfest, someone released another horde of emails from alarmist climate researchers, including Dr. Michael Mann, whose infamous “hockey stick” was headlined in the 2001 IPCC report to justify the Kyoto agreement and demands that nations slash fossil fuel use and economic growth.
Meanwhile, back on Dr. Mann’s campus, Pennsylvania State University was confronting the sordid Jerry Sandusky affair. Sports Illustrated summarized the Augean Stables task in an article titled “Missteps at every turn: Efforts to clean up Penn State reveal how deep the institutional problems lie.”
As SI noted, a key judge in the case, Pennsylvania’s governor, Penn State’s new athletic director and even the attorney appointed to head up a “full and complete” internal investigation all have deep and longstanding ties to the university and/or its big-money football team. Noting these and other “blatant conflicts of interest,” the magazine quoted new PSU president Rodney Erickson as saying, “Penn State is committed to transparency to the fullest extent possible” [emphasis added] – in view of relevant financial, personal and other considerations, and special exemptions that Penn State enjoys from disclosure laws.
SI ended the article by asking, “Is Penn State cleaning house? Or simply rearranging the furniture?”
The same question applies to Dr. Mann. In the wake of Climategate 2009, Penn State hurriedly exonerated him and his department of any wrongdoing, as did NOAA and the National Science Foundation. The blatant whitewashes reflect the desperation of organizations intent on preserving their money train and perpetuating the Hollywood façade of manmade catastrophic climate change.
All three organizations are at the forefront of fraudulent climate alarmism and its agenda of “radically transforming” the energy and economic foundations of modern nations. As IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri has said, climate change is “just a part of” the effort “to bring about major structural changes” in “unsustainable” economic growth, development and lifestyles.
The agenda involves slashing carbon dioxide levels to 80% below 1990 levels. That would carry the United States back to emission levels last seen during the American Civil War – devastating the economy.
Together these institutions receive billions of dollars in annual government grants that foster one line of thinking on “global climate disruption” – another term concocted to spin weather and climate events as unprecedented disasters resulting from hydrocarbon energy use. Delegates from all three institutions get to attend annual climate confabs at exotic 5-star resorts, to promote “the cause” of ending mankind’s “addiction” to fossil fuels and establishing “global governance” under UN auspices.
For all these institutions, full-blown independent investigations – with adverse witnesses, cross-examination, and access to data and records denied to previous investigators – could result in lost income, prestige, and power over public policy decisions. Honest, replicable, truly peer-reviewed, robustly debated science into the causes, effects and extent of climate change would do likewise.
For Penn State, global warming represents a significant cash cow. As meteorologist Art Horn has noted, the university received a whopping $470,000,000 in federal grants and contracts between 2010 and 2011. Neither Mann nor Penn State is saying how much went to climate research. But since the US government spent over $106 billion on climate research money between 2003 and 2010, PSU undoubtedly received a hefty portion for promoting the official alarmist viewpoint.
No wonder they refused to turn over raw data and computer codes to other scientists, IPCC reviewers and even investigators – claiming these were private property, even though taxpayers paid for them and the results generated are being used to justify endless energy, job and economy-killing public policies.
At the tip of the policy iceberg are EPA’s (postponed) CO2 “endangerment” regulations, its boiler and refinery rules, its reams of restrictions on coal-fired power plants, the agency’s opposition to hydraulic shale fracturing and the Keystone XL pipeline, and its new automobile mileage rules, which will raise the cost of cars, reduce crash-worthiness and result in thousands of additional deaths in accidents. Mann’s deceptive models and hockey sticks are also being used to justify a $100-billion-a-year “climate change reparation and mitigation” fund for poor nations, to be financed directly by FRCs (formerly rich countries) or via “climate taxes” imposed on international air travel and imported and exported products.
Also benefitting from the corrupt Climate Armageddon research machine are crony capitalists and climate profiteers too numerous to count: the renewable energy and carbon trading firms that depend on climate scares to maintain renewable energy, “green job,” carbon trading, and similar mandates and schemes.
As Competitive Enterprise Institute analyst Bill Frezza has observed, the US Department of Energy invested $529 million in taxpayer-subsidized loan guarantees to build North America’s largest lithium ion automotive battery plant … to supply a Finnish electric car manufacturer backed by Al Gore’s venture capital fund … to ship 40 (!) cars to the USA to date … so that they can be purchased by “environment-motivated” millionaires like Leonardo DeCaprio, who receive $7,500 tax credits for buying the cars.
Add in billions for wind turbines and solar panels … billions to persuade the poorest nations on Planet Earth to endure “sustainable” lifestyles, rather than modernize through reliable, affordable and, yes, hydrocarbon energy … and billions for IPCC and other UN bureaucrats, who insist that drought and flood, cold and heat, storm and sea level events are no longer due to natural forces, but to mankind’s use of fossil fuels – and we’re talking serious money.
Global warming alarmism could ultimately cause the global economy trillions of dollars.
Meanwhile, what about average workers and families? They get none of these perks, sinecures, subsidies and handouts. Instead, they get to pay taxes to support the bureaucrats, pseudo scientists and activists. They get to pay soaring energy bills that subsidize wind, solar and climate schemes, while driving families into fuel poverty. They get to lose their jobs, as companies faced with skyrocketing energy bills lay people off, close their doors or ship jobs off to overseas factories that have cheap energy and cheap labor, because China, India, et cetera do not and will not operate under Kyoto-style restrictions.
What about families in destitute African countries, where 90% of the people still don’t have electricity – because radical environmentalists, IPCC and World Bank operatives, and Obama Administration bureaucrats collude to delay or prevent the construction of coal and even gas-fired power plants?
It’s remotely possible that we face a genuine manmade climate crisis. It’s highly likely that mankind will continue to confront natural climate changes that compel adaptation through ingenuity and technology.
However, Climategate 1 and 2, The Delinquent Teenager and other exposés make it clear that the climate crisis cabal deliberately altered data, misrepresented and withheld crucial information, squelched inquiry and debate, and presented a one-sided narrative, so as to protect their revenues and reputations, and drive an anti-hydrocarbon agenda. Until truly convincing evidence is presented, vetted and fully debated – that fossil fuels are causing catastrophic warming and climate disruption – Kyoto and its proposed successors should be terminated, and the frenzied rush to kill fossil fuels and embrace renewables should be ended.
Penn State needs to conduct a real investigation, by honest independent analysts who have no ties to the university or the climate crisis consortium. Its trustees took bold, decisive action on the Sandusky scandal. They need to do the same thing with Professor Mann, his department and colleagues.
Far too much is at stake – for the university, United States and world at large – to permit Penn State (or the IPCC and White House) to merely rearrange the furniture.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.