WASHINGTON -- Science, many scientists say, has been restored to her rightful throne because progressives have regained power. Progressives, say progressives, emulate the cool detachment of scientific discourse. So hear now the calm, collected voice of a scientist lavishly honored by progressives, Rajendra Pachauri.
He is chairman of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 version of the increasingly weird Nobel Peace Prize. Denouncing persons skeptical about the shrill certitudes of those who say global warming poses an imminent threat to the planet, he says:
"They are the same people who deny the link between smoking and cancer. They are people who say that asbestos is as good as talcum powder -- and I hope they put it on their faces every day."
Do not judge him as harshly as he speaks of others. Nothing prepared him for the unnerving horror of encountering disagreement. Global warming alarmists, long cosseted by echoing media, manifest an interesting incongruity -- hysteria and name calling accompanying serene assertions about the "settled science" of climate change. Were it settled, we would be spared the hyperbole that amounts to Ring Lardner's "Shut up, he explained."
The global warming industry, like Alexander in the famous children's story, is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Actually, a bad three months, which began Nov. 19 with the publication of e-mails indicating attempts by scientists to massage data and suppress dissent in order to strengthen "evidence" of global warming.
But there already supposedly was a broad, deep and unassailable consensus. Strange.
Next came the failure of The World's Last -- We Really, Really Mean It -- Chance, aka the Copenhagen climate change summit. It was a nullity, and since then things have been getting worse for those trying to stampede the world into a spasm of prophylactic statism.
In 2007, before the economic downturn began enforcing seriousness and discouraging grandstanding, seven Western U.S. states (and four Canadian provinces) decided to fix the planet on their own. California's Arnold Schwarzenegger intoned, "We cannot wait for the United States government to get its act together on the environment." The 11 jurisdictions formed what is now called the Western Climate Initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, starting in 2012.