Readers with a long memory may recall that the United States never adopted the Kyoto Protocol because the Clinton administration never submitted it for ratification to the Senate. The Clinton administration never submitted it to the Senate for ratification because in July 1997 the Senate voted 95-0 to adopt a resolution stating that ”the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto.”
According to Dana Milbank’s Washington Sketch column, the Senate’s tone on the subject has altered radically. Millbank quotes the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously deferring to the expertise of Al Gore on the impending climate catastrophe. Milbank writes:
Once Al Gore was a mere vice president, but now he is a Nobel laureate and climate-change prophet. He repeats phrases such as “unified national smart grid” the way he once did “no controlling legal authority” — and the ridicule has been replaced by worship, even by his political foes.
Milbank not only mocks the senators’ deference to Gore, he refers to Gore as “the Goracle.” Contrast Milbank’s report today with his slightly straighter 2007 column on Gore’s House and Senate testimony. In 2007, Gore’s testimony met considerable resistance from skeptical Republicans. Milbank likened Gore to Clarence Darrow facing down William Jennings Bryan in the received liberal version of the Scopes trial.
What’s happening here? Milbank himself is generally a reliable indicator of mainstream liberal opinion. Is anthropogenic global warming not the crisis it’s cracked up to be? Is Al Gore rightly deemed a figure of fun? Are those deferential Republican senators lagging indicators of correct opinion? Does Milbank owe those troglodytic Republican House members featured in his 2007 column an apology?
Milbank devoted a respectful 2008 column to James Hansen. Hansen is the chief climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the man who originally raised the alarm on global warming in a 1988 appearance before Congress and one of Al Gore’s closest allies. As far as I can tell from the column, Milbank takes Hansen’s claims seriously.
Retired NASA atmospheric scienticst John Theon is Hansen’s former supervisor. Watts Up With That? reports that Theon has now publicly declared himself a global warming skeptic who asserts that Hansen “embarrassed NASA” with his alarming climate claims.
Though It would be a mistake to take any of Milbank’s columns too seriously, his column today may suggest that “the climate” on anthropogenic global warming is changing, and changing for the better. But will it change in time to prevent the Obama administration from doing serious damage? We can only hope that Milbank will tackle the question some time soon.
Via Lucianne and Harry MacDougald.
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