What’s that hissing sound? Al Gore’s fuse? Steam coming from Barbara Boxer’s ears?
Probably, but mostly, it’s the sound of gas escaping the climate change balloondoggle. Assuredly, there’s no shortage of UN envirocrats ready and willing to plug the holes. And our president will soon lend his special hot air to keep it hovering over Copenhagen.
But it’s starting to look like a matter of time before, like the recent “Balloon Boy” hoax, the airship flutters to the ground and panicky rescuers find there’s nobody in it. (Ha ha! It was all a stunt to get on the new reality show, “Groupthink,” in which a bunch of climate scientists spend the winter in a freezing apartment trying to convince the audience the ice in the bathtub is .2 mm thinner than it was last episode.)
The latest hole to appear is the leaked draft agreement from the Copenhagen climate summit. Britain’s exquisitely green Guardian  newspaper reported on Dec. 8 that “developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations.”
The so-called Danish text was devised by individuals who comprise a group called the “circle of commitment,” which, if you think about it, sounds either creepily Orwellian or like a motivational chart at a Mary Kay seminar. The text essentially ditches the hair shirt handed to the West by the Kyoto protocol, gives the World Bank “effective control of climate change finance,” according to the Guardian, and makes the third world responsible for cleaning up its own act.
Those third worlders are predictably upset. Your average president-for-life probably spent the flight to Copenhagen practicing acting gracious when he received the giant check. But now it looks like there’ll be no payday – not of the size they were dreaming of, anyway. The guys in “the circle of commitment” took a break from teaching each other the secret handshake and realized that any agreement that pumps vast sums of cash out of their countries and into the outstretched hands of strongmen and kleptocrats is politically DOA back home. So they tried to limit the scope slightly and dress things up in the language of shared responsibility.
What’s fun about this little Copenhagen crackup is that the leak comes from the left. Someone, let’s call him Dieter, realized that the Danish text preemptively neuters the monumental agreement that can result from the summit. Oh, not that stuff about limiting greenhouse emissions. No, Dieter saw that that the circle of commitment wanted to leave too much wealth in the countries that create wealth. So he waited until the circle of commitment guys had all passed out around the keg in the basement of their secret clubhouse and slipped the documents to the fellow-traveling Guardian – probably in a daring, furtive exchange at a café.
The previous (and still gaping) wound in the balloon was caused by a leak from the right – or at least by someone trying to do right. If you’ve dedicated your career to science and have at least a measure of integrity, it’s got to be hard to accept “because we said so” as part of the scientific method. The spectacle of tenured professors telling apostates “You’ll never run climate models in this town again” and whimpering that the lab rats ate their data was too much. The publications of the Climategate e-mails made a sonic boom that nobody but the Obama administration, the UN and the networks could pretend not to hear. “Remain calm! All is well! The science is still solid!”
For his part, the president’s determination to go to Copenhagen in the face of Climategate isn’t all that surprising, particularly if he knew about the Danish text. He hasn’t yet had a chance to apologize for America’s carbon footprint, and there may be a foreign head of state he has yet to bow to. And, if he thought the Danish text agreement was in the bag, he could finally walk away from that city with a win.
There’s been one other leak from the balloon, a slow one, but steady and hopefully fatal. The alarmists are losing in the arena of public opinion. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Monday said that just 45 percent of Americans believes global warming is a fact “and mostly caused by human activity.” That’s down from 56 percent in 2007 and shows that believers are in the minority for the first time in two years.
Eminently sensible people, those Americans. They may get caught up in the zeitgeist for a time, because the platitudes about “our planet” sound kind of warm and nice, and everybody like to feel morally superior once in a while. But eventually they realize they're being sold a bill of goods. They have limited patience for being badgered by jet-setting hypocrites, and they know gas when they smell it.