The cause of combatting global warming has not gone very well in the past twenty or so years. The Kyoto Accords, rolled out with great fanfare in the 1990s, has done little to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions. More recent efforts to hammer out an international deal that would mandate reductions in CO2 emissions will likely be ineffective as well.
A number of reasons exist for this situation.
First, the solutions being offered to combat global warming are either likely to be unproductive or else likely to be catastrophic to the economies of countries that attempt them. Solar and wind technology are advancing, but are not quite ready enough to replace fossil fuels without huge spikes in energy prices. This fact is one reason why developing countries such as China and India are either ignoring carbon mandates or are just giving them lip service.
Second, despite protestations to the contrary by eminent climate scientists such as former Vice President Al Gore, the science of global warming is not settled. Satellite data has shown that there has been little or no warming since 1998. Predictions of catastrophe, such as the disappearance of the arctic ice cap, have not materialized.
Finally, a number of scandals, including the infamous Climategate affair, suggest that at least some climate scientists who adhere to the theory of human-caused global warming have played fast and loose with the data and have used dodgy methods to try to squash dissent in their own ranks. NOAA has been accused of deliberately altering data to cause it to record a rise in global temperature where it did not exist before.
Since simple strategies such as scientific debate and political action have failed to satisfy the adherents of global warming, some are proposing to harken back to tried and true methods that have not been used since the time of Galileo. If global warming skeptics cannot be defeated in the court of public opinion, they can be crushed in actual courts of law.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, recently opined in the Washington Post that all of this nettlesome resistance to fighting global warming is a shadowy plot by the oil companies to deny science and to allow themselves to continue raking in what President Jimmy Carter used to call “obscene profits.: Whitehouse’s solution is to unleash RICO on the vast global warming denying conspiracy. Even if no one is actually convicted of a crime, the process of discovery will unveil the extent, if any, that the evil oil companies are alleged to be orchestrating the global warming denial conspiracy behind the scenes. That global warming skeptics would be intimidated into silence would be a happy side effect, from Whitehouse’s point of view.
Whitehouse has been joined by a group of pro-global warming scientists who have written a letter urging President Obama to prosecute global warming skeptics, according to the Daily Caller.
Across the pond, according to the Guardian, Professor Phillipe Sands, a professor of international law at University College, London, suggests that the UN International Court of Justice be asked to issue a ruling that global warming is “settled science,” which would make the matter “authoritative and could well be dispositive on a range of future actions, including negotiations.” This is despite the fact that global warming is being challenged, as Sands admits, by “scientifically qualified, knowledgeable, and influential persons.”
Essentially, what Whitehouse and Sands propose is the setting up of an inquisition, the criminalization of scientific dissent. At least the original inquisitors who persecuted Galileo and others thought they had God on their side. The modern inquisitors want to force people to bow down to the god of the State, sacrificing the search for truth to the imperative of power.