As I write this, I’m inspired by an unusual rock that sits on the desk beside my computer.  It’s unusual in two ways.  One, it looks like a chunk of wood, with clear layers formed by tree rings, and in fact it’s from a petrified tropical tree.  Two, the tree grew near the south pole millions of years ago, when the whole world, including the polar regions, was tropical.   I got it when I was with the U.S. antarctic expedition.

I once showed it to a liberal friend, a true believer in the doctrine that the earth is warming now only because of society’s—particularly America’s—profligacy and that we have to adopt the entire left-wing agenda in order to set things right.  He was astounded—he hadn’t known that the earth naturally undergoes continuous cycles of warming and cooling.

It’s ignorance like this that allowed the man-made global warming hoax to catch on with so many people over the last several years, a hoax perpetrated by scientists seeking grant funds for research on the subject; corporations seeking profits from technological “solutions” to the problem; media outlets and freelancers like Al gore seeking to attract and influence readers, viewers, and listeners with sensational stories; politicians seeking the votes of alarmed citizens; and left-wing ideologues seeking to impose their vision on the world.

The latest big conclave of warmers, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, with 194 countries represented, took place in the resort town of Cancun, Mexico, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10.  Ever since, I’ve been looking for a major article by a conservative author summing up the meeting in hopes of discussing it here.  But I’ve seen nothing like that—the conference generated little news and few articles.  A column by Christoper Booker described the preaching at the rally as “stale.”

I wonder if it’s too much to hope that the air has gone out of the warming movement.  Maybe the public wised up after this year’s explosive climate-gate revelations, when leaked e-mails showed key scientists in the movement scheming to make the case for climate change seem stronger than it is and punishing dissenters from the warming faith.  This was the most damning of a mounting body of evidence—perhaps it reached a critical mass this year—that warmers are perverting science to advance their agenda.  Previous posts here this year have highlighted some of this evidence.  One concerned the charge by an eminent physicist that a prestigious scientific organization supports global warming “fraud” in order to make money at the expense of scientific truth.  Another reported the admission by a leader of  the UN climate change group that “We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy….The climate summit in Cancun…is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.”  Indeed, the conference concluded with an agreement by participants that prosperous countries such as the U.S. should give $100 billion a year for the next 10 years to less prosperous countries so they can fight global warming.  According to one speaker, the director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, the only way to achieve sufficient reductions in global emissions while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next 20 years.  He proposed a rationing system similar to the one imposed during World War II.

In a nice bit of irony, the conference took place during a period of record-setting cold in Cancun, and many attendees flew there from countries experiencing extremely low temperatures in what is already a bad winter in the northern hemisphere.  More significantly, warmers have had to admit grudgingly that world temperatures have been essentially flat for the last 15 years (except for one El Nino year)—no global warming (see this report).   This may not disprove global warming, but it does at least indicate that the cries for urgency—“Give us heaps of money and radically change your politics right now!”—are misplaced.

Two reports on the Cancun confab pithily characterized the global warming crusade:  Christopher Booker’s column said it’s “One of the greatest collective flights from reality in the history of the human race,” and a column by Christopher Monckton called it “The strangest intellectual aberration of our age.”  But, as Shakespeare said, “The truth will out,” and maybe that’s happening now.  What a nice Christmas present for we the people if the ho-hum that greeted the Cancun conference really does signify the beginning of the end of this incredible hysteria.