Ballad of a Thin Man

“You’ve been with the professors 
And they’ve all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You’ve been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
You’re very well read
It’s well known. 

But something is happening here

But you don’t know what it is

Do you, Mr. Jones?”

                                 –  Bob Dylan

 Poor Philip Jones.   To think that only a few months ago he was riding the crest of the Climate Change wave, certain that the adulation would continue to sweep him to a plateau of  glory as one of the planet’s saviors.   Now his career and scientific reputation are in about as much of a mess as the office in which he lost the vital research data upon which the world has written its own doomsday scenario.  

Three admissions – that data for the vital “hockey stick” has gone missing in Jones’ mountain of disorganized office documents;   that there  has been no trackable global warming since 1995;  and that warming periods have happened before but not due to man-made changes  – constitute some of the most provocative developments in over thrity years of global warming advocacy. 

That is because Philip Jones is one of the world’s leading climatologists and his scientific studies regarded as so unimpeachbale  by the IPCC ( Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) – the U.N. body charged with determing whether man-made activity is causing global warming, that his work has rarely ever been challenged by his peers, and certainly not by acolytes such as Al Gore or many members of the media. 

Jones spilled forth all these revelations on Monday in an interview with the BBC.   Yet even more mind spinning was this astonishing admission

“Prof. Jones agreed that scientists on both sides of the debate could suffer sometimes from a “bunker mentality”.  He said “sceptics” who doubted his climate record should compile their own dataset from material publicly available in the US.”

Ahem…..debate?   Six months ago you could not get Mr. Jones, Mr. Gore or any member of the climate change chorus to admit that there was any debate at all.  In fact, most had gone on record declaring  that global warming science was settled and beyond dispute.

Yet “compiling their own dataset” was exactly what the most persistent climate skpetics, scientists such as Richard Lindzen, Edward Wegman, Fred Singer and Robert Carter, have been doing for decades.

For Jones, Gore and many of their supporters in the media however, these men were not skeptics at all but deniers, as pernicious and as notorious as other any deniers of historical fact, including the Holocaust:

Said Mr. Gore in 2006:

“Fifteen percent of the people believe the moon landing was staged on some movie lot and a somewhat smaller number believe the Earth is flat. They all get together on a Saturdy night and party with global warming deniers.

Scott Pelley, of CBS’ 60 Minutes, when asked by CBS reporter Brian Montopoli in March 2006, why he did not pause to acknowledge global warming skeptics, responded:

“ If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”

Newsweek joined that claque in August, 2007 with its famous cover story on global warming when Sharon Begley labelled these scientists:

   “ part of the denial machine, funded by the energy industry and organized by corrupt right wing lobbies.”

In the midst of the coldest winter in the northern hemisphere in in 130 years, with snow at one point blanketing 48 out of 50 states in the United States and rivers freezing in places they have not done so in 200 years, one would be hard put to understand any resistance to alternative ways of looking at global weather patterns.

For Philip Jones, that opportunity may have come a little too late.  But his acknowledgement that there might exist legitimate critiques of the science of global warming, is evidence that ‘something’ is certainly happening here, and that his chorus may soon be singing a very different tune.

Ballad of a thin man indeed.

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