Wall Street Journal probes prophets and profits tied to climate alarmism

Bret Stephens explains in the Wall Street Journal why he remains unconvinced about the imminent danger of global warming after hearing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speak on the topic.

When John Kerry speaks, people wonder: Is he seriously clever or totally oblivious? Profound or void? Detective Columbo or Chance the gardener?

The secretary devoted much of his speech to venting spleen at those in the “Flat Earth Society” who dispute the 97% of climate scientists who believe in man-made global warming. “We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact,” he said. Once upon a time people understood that skepticism was essential to good science. Now Mr. Kerry is trying to invoke a specious democracy among scientists to shut down democratic debate for everyone else.

This is of a piece with the amusing notion that the only thing standing in the way of climate salvation is a shadowy, greedy and powerful conspiracy involving the Koch Brothers, MIT’s Dick Lindzen, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe and this newspaper’s editorial page. Oh, the power! …

… The carbon-trading schemes enacted with such fanfare just a few years ago have effectively ceased to operate amid collapsing prices. The sustainable-energy craze produced the expensive bankruptcies of solar-panel maker Solyndra, Fisker Automotive and battery maker A123 Systems, to name a few. Germany, which has taken its climate-change fetish further than any other major economy, is now coming to grips with a comprehensive fiasco of higher energy prices and higher carbon emissions. Who would have thought that when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, people might still want to switch on the lights?

It is now the dogma of the left that any hint of doubt when it comes to predictions of climate doom is evidence of greed, stupidity, moral turpitude or psychological derangement. “Climate denial” is intended to be the equivalent of Holocaust denial. And yet the only people who’ve predicted anything right so far are those who foresaw that the Kyoto Protocol would fail, that renewable energies didn’t really work, and that climate bureaucrats accountable to nobody but their own sense of virtue and taste for profit were a danger to everyone.

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