Commentary Magazine


Topic: energy industry

Blind Leftist Squirrel Finds His Global Warming Acorn

There are some people who are so odious that when you find yourself on the same side of an issue with them, your first instinct must be to question whether you were right in the first place. Alexander Cockburn is certainly such a person. He is a rabid leftist, apologist for totalitarians and a vicious hater of Israel. From his perch as editor of his own rag CounterPunch and as a columnist for the Nation, he has spewed forth nonsense and bile for a long time. But like the proverbial blind squirrel, it appears as though even Cockburn is capable of finding an acorn. That is the only way to explain the utterly rational and completely on-target attack on the Copenhagen Global Warming jamboree and the entire Climategate cover-up that he has written for the Nation and which can be read for free at RealClearPolitics.com.

The headline on the version of the piece that appeared in the Nation aptly summed up the way in which the belief that global warming is caused by human activity is now more a matter of religious faith than of rational science: “From Nicea to Copenhagen.” He describes Copenhagen as “surely the most outlandish foray into intellectual fantasizing since the fourth-century Christian bishops assembled in 325 AD for the Council of Nicaea to debate whether God the Father was supreme or had to share equal status in the pecking order of eternity with his Son and the Holy Ghost.”

Making the same point that Bret Stephens highlighted with greater clarity in the Wall Street Journal on December 1, Cockburn shows that money is more of a motivation for the environmental alarmists than for the skeptics:

It has been a standard ploy of the Warmers to revile the skeptics as whores of the energy industry, swaddled in munificent grants and with large personal stakes in discrediting AGW. Actually, the precise opposite is true. Billions in funding and research grants sluice into the big climate-modeling enterprises and a vast archipelago of research departments and “institutes of climate change” across academia. It’s where the money is. Skepticism, particularly for a young climatologist or atmospheric physicist, can be a career breaker.

He goes on to nail the Climategate e-mails as indicative of the falsity of the theory that global warming is caused by mankind and rightly notes that such corruption is far from uncommon in the sciences.

Cockburn is, of course, a marginal figure even on the Left; so his apostasy from the true faith on warming, which is itself a derivative of the Left’s antagonism to capitalism, is just a pinprick in the vast body of unthinking consensus that characterizes most of the media’s commentary on this issue. But his voice is just one more being raised to say that the emperors who met in Copenhagen have no clothes on. As such, no matter how distasteful it may be to find oneself in agreement with him, it must be considered a hopeful sign.

There are some people who are so odious that when you find yourself on the same side of an issue with them, your first instinct must be to question whether you were right in the first place. Alexander Cockburn is certainly such a person. He is a rabid leftist, apologist for totalitarians and a vicious hater of Israel. From his perch as editor of his own rag CounterPunch and as a columnist for the Nation, he has spewed forth nonsense and bile for a long time. But like the proverbial blind squirrel, it appears as though even Cockburn is capable of finding an acorn. That is the only way to explain the utterly rational and completely on-target attack on the Copenhagen Global Warming jamboree and the entire Climategate cover-up that he has written for the Nation and which can be read for free at RealClearPolitics.com.

The headline on the version of the piece that appeared in the Nation aptly summed up the way in which the belief that global warming is caused by human activity is now more a matter of religious faith than of rational science: “From Nicea to Copenhagen.” He describes Copenhagen as “surely the most outlandish foray into intellectual fantasizing since the fourth-century Christian bishops assembled in 325 AD for the Council of Nicaea to debate whether God the Father was supreme or had to share equal status in the pecking order of eternity with his Son and the Holy Ghost.”

Making the same point that Bret Stephens highlighted with greater clarity in the Wall Street Journal on December 1, Cockburn shows that money is more of a motivation for the environmental alarmists than for the skeptics:

It has been a standard ploy of the Warmers to revile the skeptics as whores of the energy industry, swaddled in munificent grants and with large personal stakes in discrediting AGW. Actually, the precise opposite is true. Billions in funding and research grants sluice into the big climate-modeling enterprises and a vast archipelago of research departments and “institutes of climate change” across academia. It’s where the money is. Skepticism, particularly for a young climatologist or atmospheric physicist, can be a career breaker.

He goes on to nail the Climategate e-mails as indicative of the falsity of the theory that global warming is caused by mankind and rightly notes that such corruption is far from uncommon in the sciences.

Cockburn is, of course, a marginal figure even on the Left; so his apostasy from the true faith on warming, which is itself a derivative of the Left’s antagonism to capitalism, is just a pinprick in the vast body of unthinking consensus that characterizes most of the media’s commentary on this issue. But his voice is just one more being raised to say that the emperors who met in Copenhagen have no clothes on. As such, no matter how distasteful it may be to find oneself in agreement with him, it must be considered a hopeful sign.

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