The high priests of global warming have lost their prestige and the realists are winning the debate

The high priests of global warming have lost their prestige. They're still chanting the same old mantras. But no one's listening, no one cares, writes James Delingpole

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It's not global warming that's man-made, it's the myth itself
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James Delingpole
On 7 March 2012 13:38

So what has changed now? One factor, undoubtedly, has been the fall-out from Fakegate or Gleickgate - the failed attempt by prominent environmental activist Peter Gleick to smear the Heartland Institute (the US think tank best known for its annual climate sceptics' conference) using stolen or faked documents. The attempted smear was bad enough (imagine the media outrage if climate realists had tried something similar!) but where the stunt really backfired was as a consequence of its handling by left-liberal news organisations like the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.

All of them leapt into report the story gleefully without bothering to check whether or not it was true. And when evidence began to emerge that it wasn't true, they compounded their error by seeking to defend Gleick's duplicity and criminal actions regardless. Numerous left-liberal commentators argued that Gleick was in fact a hero whose crime was entirely justified in seeking to expose the manifest evils of this sinister, right-wing think tank.

Problem was, even this argument wasn't borne out the facts. As far as environmental think tanks go, Heartland is little more than a Mom & Pop operation, run on the relative shoestring budget of $4.7 million (only a proportion of which goes towards "climate change" issues). Now compare this with the budgets of left-leaning environmentalist pressure groups such as the Sierra Club ($84.8 million), Natural Resources Defense Council ($97 million), or the World Wildlife Fund ($177.7 million). And that's before you take into account US government spending on climate change issues, which according to calculations by blogger Jo Nova exceeds spending on sceptical science by 3500 to one.

During the last two decades global warming alarmist propaganda has depended on Hitler's Big Lie principle (whoops: Godwin's Law. So shoot me). But that principle, as first Hitler discovered and now the AGW lobby is discovering too, is flawed. In fact there are only so many times you can tell a whopping great lie (be it on the solidity of AGW theory or that climate sceptics are lavishly funded by Big Oil) before the people see through it. And once the people discover that they have been consistently lied to (and cheated out of a great deal of money to boot) they don't like it one bit.

Coming soon - indeed it has already started - is the mother of all backlashes against the AGW alarmism industry. It will happen on lines predicted over a century ago by Gustave Le Bon in his seminal 1895 work, The Crowd.

Le Bon (whose analysis of crowd mentality influenced Freud, Hitler and Mussolini) argued that the secret of demagoguery was to repeat an idea over and over again in order to create a "contagion" which would infect the popular mind and hold the culture in its grip. This is what, until very recently, happened with the global warming religion.

But this contagion can only keep going, Le Bon argues, so long as those spreading it possess "prestige" in the eyes of the mob. Once that "prestige" is lost, the crowd turns brutally against those seers and experts and leaders in whom it once had such faith. Suddenly it sees them for the liars and cheats and manipulators they really are.

This is what is happening now in the great climate debate. Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann's new book is not selling; George Monbiot is mocked as a conspiracy theorist; the Royal Society's Sir Paul Nurse climate science ignorance is eviscerated in a report by the Global Warming Policy Foundation; Yale economics professor William D Nordhaus publishes an essay in the New York Review of Books called Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong - and is almost instantaneously and comprehensively rebutted at Watts Up With That?

The high priests of global warming have lost their prestige. They're still chanting the same old mantras. But no one's listening, no one cares.

James Delingpole's Watermelons: How Environmentalists Are Killing The Planet, Destroying The Economy And Stealing Your Children's Future is published by Publius in the US; by Biteback in the UK; and by Connor Court in Australia under the title Killing The Earth To Save It. (Author image: Donna Laframboise )

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