Jonah Goldberg
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As Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at MIT, recently lamented in the Wall Street Journal: "Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis."

In Vanity Fair, writer Mark Hertsgaard alleges that Frederick Seitz, the former president of the National Academy of Sciences and the former president of the prestigious Rockefeller University, was a shill for, of all things, the tobacco industry. A press release by the National Environmental Trust proclaims "Scientist Who Spearheaded Attacks on Global Warming Also Directed $45M Tobacco Industry Effort to Hide Health Impacts of Smoking." Seitz, a giant in American science, says this is all "ridiculous, completely wrong." Now 94, Seitz explained to TCSDaily.com that R.J. Reynolds had given Rockefeller University $5 million a year for basic research. Seitz says he directed the money toward non-tobacco-related efforts in the study of prions (the virus-like proteins that cause mad cow disease), tuberculosis and other diseases. Prion researcher Stanley Prusiner thanked both R.J. Reynolds and Seitz in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

But Gore & Co. aren't troubled by such details because the smears are all for a good cause. That's why Gore saw nothing wrong in bullying dissident climate change scientists when he was a senator or waging a mean-spirited campaign to discredit the work of his old mentor, Harvard oceanographer Roger Revelle, because Revelle thought alarmism was unwarranted.

Hence the irony of the title "An Inconvenient Truth." It is the green scare that has no patience for inconvenient truths. For example, Gore blames the disappearing snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro on global warming, but a study in Nature magazine identified the clear-cutting of surrounding moisture-rich forests as the culprit. In the famously fact-checked New Yorker, editor David Remnick pens a love letter to Gore in which he laments that Earth will "likely be an uninhabitable planet" if we don't heed Gore's jeremiads. Oh ... come ... on!

This is just a small taste of the millenarian battiness running through the green scare. Sure, a one- or two-degree-per-century rise in average global temperatures may have unpleasant consequences - with some pleasant ones as well - but in what study did the New Yorker's fact-checkers verify that Earth will become uninhabitable? Moreover, the greens' proposed solutions to global warming are even more otherworldly. Reducing global carbon dioxide emissions to 60 percent of 1990 levels before 2050, while China, India and (hopefully) Africa modernize, is inconceivable, ill-conceived and also immoral because it would consign generations to poverty.

But none of that seems to matter to the greens. To them, the only thing we have to fear is the lack of fear itself.

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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