From The BreakThrough Institute, a progressive environmental think tank that thankfully does not walk the now-crumbling mainstream path of climate change politics.
One of the country’s most respected liberal foreign policy voices, Walter Russell Mead, blames Al Gore for the magical climate thinking that led to the contrivance and ultimate failure of Copenhagen
Here’s some of what Mead says:
The mainstream media is now coming to terms with the death [of the current environmental movement]. Environmentalists are still trying to avoid pulling the plug, but the corpse is already cool to the touch and soon it will begin to smell. As the global greens move from the denial stage of the grief process, brace yourself for some eloquent, petulant and arrogant rage. Tears will be shed and hands will be wrung. The world is stupid, uncaring, unworthy to be saved. Horrible Republicans, evil Chinese, demented know-nothing climate skeptics have ruined the world and condemned our grandchildren to lives of sorrow and pain.
Because of course, we could not have erred, made stupid political calculations, or been blinded by our own smugness.
The climate change movement now needs to regroup, and at some point it will have to confront a central, unpalatable fact: the wounds from which it is bleeding so profusely are mostly its own fault. This phase of the climate change movement was immature, unrealistic and naive. It was poorly organized and foolishly led. It adopted an unrealistic and unreachable political goal, and sought to stampede world opinion through misleading and exaggerated statements. It lacked the most elementary level of political realism–all the more egregious given the movement’s politically sophisticated and very rich opponents. Foundation staff, activists and sympathetic journalists cocooned themselves in an echo chamber of comfortable group-think, and as they toasted one another in green Kool-Aid they thought they were making progress when actually they were slowly and painfully digging themselves into an ever-deeper hole.
As witness the multiple errors in research that climate change opponents gleefully latched upon and turned into a media firestorm. The climate change mainstream did virtually nothing to rebut this in any politically intelligible way until it was way too late. Most of them still don’t get it. The damage has been massive and won’t be repaired any time soon. But to hear them talk about, it’s all the fault of right-wing Neanderthals and everything will be fine real soon, just you wait and see. Magical thinking, indeed.
What hare-brained funders failed to provide Phil Jones and the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia with enough clerical help to comply with the freedom of information act? And why was there no one available to counsel Jones when, apparently, he realized that some of the requests couldn’t be satisfied because key data was lost? How did the climate of carelessness at the IPCC develop — and why were warning voices from inside the movement ignored in the rush to get all the alarming but unverified predictions into print?
Because it turned into a religion, that’s why. We are right, they are wrong. This was coupled with the usual liberal arrogance and cluelessness that anyone who opposes us must be a goober and thus is beneath contempt and not worth responding to.
I think Al Gore failed the climate change movement and that his negligence and blindness has done it irreparable harm. If the skeptics are right and the world isn’t warming — or if natural causes are responsible for climate change – it doesn’t matter much. But if Al Gore and the climate change people are even half right about what is happening to our world, the cost of Mr. Gore’s failures are incalculably great. He was the one world leader who had the standing inside the climate change movement to lead it onto a more sustainable path and, as far as we can tell from the facts now before us, he didn’t really try.