It wasn???t very long ago that to question global warming was truly a threat to the earth was to be anti-science, hostile to the environment, or just plain dumb.
All that changed with ???Climategate,??? the sensational revelation in 2009 that many of the scientists involved in the formulation of global warming and reasoning behind it had actually ???cooked??? the research they were using. Leaked emails from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed flawed and even doctored science and opened the floodgate of skepticism.
Today, there are easily more skeptics of global warming today than adherents. Support for many of the related causes of the pro-warming side - a carbon tax and ???cap and trade??? legislation to limit carbon emissions - have died down considerably. Sharp skepticism and tougher questions are now heard from its former advocates, among them Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Minnesota???s former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Even the term ???global warming??? is now heard more and more infrequently, as advocates such as former Vice President Al Gore speak instead of the cause as ???climate change.???
Now, in his fascinating and provocative book "The Greatest Hoax," the man who began doubting global warming/climate change tells how he reached that conclusion before anyone else, and how the tide turned.
As far back as 2003, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) raised hackles in the ???green community??? and the national press when he took to the Senate floor to declare ???that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.???
Inhofe stood alone. When he arrived in Milan, Italy in December 2003 for the annual IPCC global warming conference, the Oklahoman - by then chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee - found WANTED posters plastered throughout the convention center bearing his face and the legend: ???The Most Dangerous Man on the Planet.??? Soon, national environmental groups were using the senator???s image and name to raise big dollars.
As to where the issue began and what was the genesis of Inhofe???s conclusion that it is ???junk science,??? the book reproduces it: a Newsweek article from April 28, 1975 entitled ???The Cooling World.??? He also cites the National Science Board conclusion in 1974 that ???the present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end ... leading into the next ice age.???
???In truth,??? writes Inhofe, ???alarmists have alternated between global cooling and global warming scares during four separate and sometimes overlapping periods ... As I continued my investigation, more and more serious inconsistencies came to light.???
Along with those inconsistencies he uncovered long before ???Climategate,??? Inhofe found other groups pushing the questionable science behind global warming. The United Nations ???began officially working on the global warming issue when it decided to create the IPCC.??? Calls for a Kyoto Protocol - ostensibly a treaty to require nation-signatories to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by considerable amounts below 1990 levels - and a carbon tax - by individual nations or as some sort of worldwide tax - would mean greater power for government officials. MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen put it perfectly in 2007 when he said: ???Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat???s dream. If you control carbon, you control life.???
The Greatest Hoax makes powerful reading for those who feel strongly about an issue, even when odds and evidence seem against them. It is a reminder that if one has doubts, to ask the right questions until the right answers come, and to remind all who claim to be all-knowing of Daniel Patrick Moynihan???s famous admonition: ???You???re entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to the facts.???