For those of you who still cling to the faith that there is still integrity in "science":Growing evidence of great climate change scams
HERE'S some news to put a great big smile on your face: apparently, Arctic sea ice volume is up by 50 per cent. Have you cracked open the champagne yet? Did you ring all your mates? Me neither. In fact, to be honest, I couldn't care less whether it's up 50 per cent or down 50 per cent. It's just weather doing what weather does - changing all the time.
But you wouldn't guess this from the way it is reported in the media. Sceptical websites are presenting it as a vindication of their longstanding claim that all the fuss about catastrophic, man-made global warming has been greatly overdone. Warmist news outlets ("a rare piece of good news", declared the BBC) are greeting it as a sign of hope that maybe there is time left for us to save the planet from the Greatest Threat It Has Ever Known.
Both sides are missing the point. Let me draw your attention to three recent news stories that show why. The first comes from Britain, where reporter David Rose has revealed the extent to which certain politicians and high-level government advisers have benefited financially from the great climate change scam.
These include at least four members of the government's Climate Change Committee, the official watchdog that dictates Britain's green energy policy; Nicholas Stern, the accountant whose eponymous 2006 report (widely criticised for its flawed economics) was used to justify many of Britain's most aggressive and costly carbon emissions-reduction schemes; and the chief executive and chairman of the Pound3.8 billion ($7bn) taxpayer-funded Green Investment Bank.
In their official roles, these people have helped shape the government policy that has resulted in billions of pounds of taxpayers' money being diverted into subsidising green industries. Yet in their private roles these same individuals collectively have made many hundreds of thousand of pounds as special advisers and shareholders in green businesses whose profits are largely dependent on state-enforced subsidies.
The conflict of interest is shocking, yet what these troughers have been doing is apparently perfectly legal.
Next, let us move to the US where an even more egregious scandal has just been exposed.
The Environmental Protection Agency's highest paid climate expert John Beale has been found guilty of cheating his organisation out of nearly $US1 million ($1.1m) in salary and benefits across a 10-year period.
Beale was a US top environmental regulator, responsible for rewriting the 1990 Clean Air Act, leading the EPA delegation at UN climate conferences, negotiating carbon emissions reduction agreements with China and India.
Yet it now seems he used his job mainly as an excuse to travel first-class and stay in five-star hotels at taxpayers' expense, pretending to be a CIA operative.
Officials have described it in court documents as one of the most audacious, creative, federal frauds they have encountered.
Now to Australia and the speech made to the Senate this month on the subject of wind farms by the Democratic Labour Party's John Madigan. It describes, in eye-watering detail, the unhealthily cosy relationship between the wind industry in Victoria and senior members of the state government.
Madigan tells the story of the Waubra wind farm, a vast complex of 128 wind turbines, which began operating in 2009. Since then, there have been more than 1300 complaints about the noise irritation and health problems caused to local residents by the turbines. In at least 11 cases, families were driven permanently from their homes. So why wasn't anything done in response?
Thanks to Freedom of Information requests made by Madigan, we now know that although the Victorian government has long had more than sufficient grounds to close Waubra for non-compliance with noise regulations, it instead has been sitting on its hands.
As Madigan's speech damningly concludes: "Victoria's wind industry is churning out multiple millions of dollars' worth of renewable energy certificates it is not entitled to and is being allowed to rort the REC and LRET (the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target) systems. Banks and superannuation funds are lending billions of dollars for the construction of wind farms, exposed to serious risk arising from the planning permit non-compliance being orchestrated by the wind industry."
What should concern us about all three of these stories is not that they are rare aberrations but that they are depressingly representative of the corruption and malfeasance that are rife throughout the multi-billion-dollar global climate change industry.
I've been covering this territory as a journalist for nigh-on a decade now, reporting on issues such as the Climategate emails in which private correspondence by some of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's lead authors revealed them to have been twisting the evidence and abusing the scientific method to exaggerate the extent of so-called anthropogenic global warming.
But the conclusion I have long since reached is that the scientific debate about whether man-made carbon emissions are dangerously and unprecedentedly warming the planet is a poisonous distraction. It's nothing but an elephant trap, devised by hardcore environmentalists, shyster politicians, rent-seeking businesses and grant-troughing activist scientists to get everyone bogged down in trivial "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" arguments about global temperature changes of a fraction of a degree.
Yes, the latest evidence suggests that the "warmists" are losing this debate too: sunspot activity is proving to be the weakest in 100 years, suggesting we are probably entering a prolonged period of global cooling, redolent of the era of frost fairs on London's River Thames.
Really, though, it doesn't matter which side of the scientific argument you sit on - whether you're an ardent true believer like Tim Flannery or an arch-sceptic like Ian Plimer. What should concern every one of us far more, surely, is the way that in the name of saving the planet so much corruption has been embedded, so much money wasted and so much public trust abused - all of it at our expense.James Delingpole is a British journalist and author.