To Quote Sir Robin’s Minstrel: “They Bravely Ran Away, Away”

Some years ago–1997 in fact–I was invited to participate in a climate change group grope in Denver hosted by former Colorado Senator Tim Wirth, who left the Senate first for a Clinton Administration State Department post, and then to be the head of the UN Foundation, an entity set in motion by Ted Turner’s billion-dollar pledge to the United Nations–a pledge that Turner later had to renege on after his fortunes shrank in the aftermath of the disastrous AOL-Time Warner merger. But that’s another story.
On the morning of the second day of the meeting, it was solemnly announced that Sen. Wirth had been called suddenly back to Washington and wouldn’t be with us that day. In my usual snark mode, I said, “Oh great, now this is a totally Wirthless meeting!” I had forgotten than enviros are totally mirthless, too, for there was not the faintest ripple of a smile to be seen. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised: the main conclusion of the meeting–this was 1997 remember–was that we needed to institute cap and trade for greenhouse gas emissions right away. So it was indeed a totally worthless meeting, by any rendering of the term.
The mirthless Wirth comes back to mind with this news story about how Wirth thinks the climate campaign needs to “undertake an aggressive program to go after those who are among the deniers, who are putting out these mistruths, and really call them for what they’re doing and make a battle out of it. They’ve had pretty much of a free ride so far, and that time has got to stop.”
The easiest way for Wirth to end the “free ride” would be to debate climate skeptics. Okay, so how about a high profile debate, which I am sure a major network would broadcast, especially if it included the human car alarm former Vice President Al Gore. Back in 1993, Vice President Gore went on CNN’s Larry King show to debate Ross Perot over the NAFTA Treaty. It was Gore’s finest moment. Maybe his only fine moment. So why, with an issue he says is the most important in the history of the universe, and with both an Oscar and Nobel Prize in his hip pocket, does he steadfastly refuse to debate anyone? Back in 2007, Lord Christopher Monckton, Margaret Thatcher’s science adviser back in the 1980s, challenged Gore to a public debate. Monckton took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post with display ads so that Gore couldn’t say he didn’t get the message. And the offer is still open. (And I see the eminently Wirthy worthy Anthony Watts is keen to join the party.)
Gore, Wirth, and the climate campaigners always refuse debate because they say all such forums “legitimize” the skeptics over a matter that is fully settled, don’t you know. (We’ll pass over for now the thoroughly risible attempt to equate climate skeptics with Holocaust deniers.) Of course, the real reason they won’t debate is that they know they will lose. Monckton last year won a formal debate on climate change at the prestigious Oxford Union, and the “skeptics” position has also carried the vote in the Intelligence Squared debate series at NYU. Not exactly audiences of red state, Fox News-watching yokels, those.
Wirth is a perfect example of everything wrong with environmentalism. Way back in 1988, at the beginning of the climate crusade, Sen. Wirth remarked: “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing–in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” There, in one sentence, is a succinct display of the serial bad faith and will to power of modern environmentalism. Even if catastrophic global warming turns out to be correct, would you trust control of America’s economy to people like Gore and Wirth? Neither would I.
P.S. In case you don’t know the Monty Python reference in the title of this post (or just want a refresher), see this.