Last November, in an incident dubbed “Climategate,” thousands of e-mails and data files were stolen from Britain’s Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and posted on the Internet.

The purloined files, now widely available on the web, reveal systematic fraud and conspiracy among influential scientists both in England and the U.S. Exposed was a concerted effort to “hide” and distort data that didn’t fit their theories, to prevent peer-reviewed publications, newspapers and websites from publishing dissenting views and to thwart Freedom of Information laws — even to the point of destroying vital climate data in order to prevent other scientists from attempting to verify their results.

Those involved include highly influential lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and IPCC-chosen guardians of vital historical climate data. Such willful and systematic deception among top IPCC authors is truly scandalous given the unilateral power this organization has in influencing climate science and policy decisions.

However, this was not some secret plot conducted behind closed doors by a few corrupt scientists. Their dogmatic adherence to global warming theories and attempts to shutout anything and anyone that might threaten their beliefs has been the sine qua non of global warming and environmentalism in general.

Not long ago, you’ll remember, the sky was falling (again). Al Gore was trumpeting dire predictions of killer cyclones and twenty-foot oceans engulfing entire states. Magazines featured covers decorated with drowning polar bears, melting ice caps and the Earth enveloped in flames. Front-page articles appeared almost daily with another IPCC finding and the latest “extreme weather event” — purportedly direct evidence of looming disaster.

Yet increasing numbers of scientists were debunking these outrageous claims. Al Gore’s alleged “Inconvenient Truth” was shown to be a pack of wild exaggerations. Michael E. Mann’s infamous “hockey-stick” plot, used by the IPCC to promote the idea of runaway warming, was shown to be a product of faulty statistical methods.

Some scientists reported being removed from peer-review committees and denied publication for failing to tow the global warming line. Others showed cases where the IPCC misrepresented scientific findings and warned that consensus and intolerance of debate was replacing sound science.

But who would listen? “The science is settled” was the common mantra, as was “The debate is over.” Anyone who dared challenge the prevailing dogma was a “denier” and “flat-earther.”

Today even more scientists are speaking out. They argue climate models consistently fail to predict actual climate measurements at observed data contradicts the basic assumptions of CO2-driven global warming on which climate models are based. Falling global temperatures, too, are no longer cooperating with global warming predictions.

What has been the reaction? Are those pushing for cap-and-trade legislation abandoning their quest to choke-off all things carbon? Has “going green” and reducing one’s “carbon footprint” fallen out of fashion? Did the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change attendees discuss whether CO2 is truly the bane of mankind? Hardly.

In stark contrast to years of promoting an alleged scientific basis for anthropogenic warming and an urgent need to squelch all things carbon (i.e., living), the response to all counter evidence has been to quietly change the subject.

The supposedly scientific and incontrovertible evidence for global warming has morphed into the scientifically uncontroversial prediction of “climate change.”

Fighting “climate change” ensures an unassailable adversary — climate is always changing — and allows environmentalists to sidestep whether any of the science for global warming is actually true. But the damage is done.

The need to reduce civilization’s “carbon footprint” is unquestionably accepted today along with wealth destroying policies like cap-and-trade, banning incandescent bulbs, and endless subsidies for unproductive “renewable” energies. What was once regarded as an essential component of life (CO2) is now considered a pollutant.

But we’ve seen this pattern before.

It was junk-science that lead to the banning of DDT, resulting in millions of preventable malaria deaths. Neither this, nor the fact that DDT has never been shown to be harmful to humans, has dissuaded environmentalists from condemning its use and revering those instrumental in getting it banned (such as Rachael Carson and Gaylord Nelson.)

Environmentalist Paul Ehrlich’s repeated “scientific” predictions of population bombs and mass starvation are demonstrably false, yet he is praised and invited to speak at universities across the country.

Nuclear power is unsafe, claim environmentalists. But when science proves its safety by any conceivable standard, environmentalists opposite it on principle.

It is time to connect the dots. As these and countless other examples show, hijacking science in service of environmental ideology is nothing new. Global warming come “climate change” is just the latest (and most destructive) attempt to get people to swallow environmentalism’s anti-progress ideology.

Fabricated doomsday predictions aside, we need to see clearly what reducing one’s “carbon footprint” actually means for a species whose very existence depends on having a healthy one.

Jim Allard ([email protected]) is a graduate student in biological sciences.