Just a year ago, 15,000 of the world’s leaders, diplomats, and UN officials were gearing up to descend on Copenhagen to forge a global treaty that would save the planet. The world’s media delivered massive coverage. Important newspapers printed urgent front-page calls for action, and a popular new U.S. President waded in to put his reputation on the line. The climate talks opened with a video showing a little girl’s nightmare encounter with drought, storms, eruptions, floods and other man-made climate disasters. “Please help the world,”
After two weeks of chaos, the talks collapsed in a smouldering heap of wreckage. The only surprise was that this outcome should have come as a surprise to so many intelligent people. These people actually seemed to believe that experts and politicians have supernatural powers to predict the future and control the climate. They believed that experts know how fast temperatures will rise by when, and what the consequences will be, and that we know what to do about it. They believed that despite the recent abject failure of Kyoto (to say nothing of other well-intentioned international treaties), the nations of the world would willingly join hands and sacrifice their sovereignty in order to sign on to a vast scheme of unimaginable scope, untold cost and certain damage to their own interests.
Copenhagen was not a political breakdown. It was an intellectual breakdown so astonishing that future generations will marvel at our blind credulity. Copenhagen was a classic case of the emperor with no clothes.
Mercifully, nobody will pay attention to the climate conference at Cancun next week,
The biggest loser is the environmental movement. For years, its activists neglected almost everything but climate change. They behaved as if they’d cornered the market on wisdom, truth and certainty, and they demonized anyone who dared to disagree. They got a fabulous free ride from politicians and the media, who parroted their claims like Sunday-school children reciting Scripture. No interest group in modern times has been so free from skepticism, scrutiny or simple accountability as the environmental establishment.
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