The greatest scandal connected to global warming is not exaggeration, fraud or destruction of data to conceal the weakness of the argument. It is those who are personally profiting from promoting this fantasy at the expense of the rest of us.
Al Gore is the most visible beneficiary. The world's greatest climate-change fear-monger has amassed millions in book sales and speaking fees. His science-fiction movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," won an Academy Award for best documentary and 21 other film awards. He was co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his "efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."
Meanwhile, Mr. Gore was laying his own foundations. As he was whipping up hysteria over climate change, he cannily invested in "green" firms that stood to profit in the hundreds of millions of dollars (if not more) from increased government regulations and sweetheart deals from connected politicians and bureaucrats. The multimillionaire climate dilettante was given a free pass by reporters, who refused to ask him hard questions about the degree to which he was profiting from the panic he was causing.
With the global-warming story line unraveling, the New York Times allowed Mr. Gore to run what amounted to an unpaid advertisement for his brand of climate-change hysteria. This screed, published Saturday, reiterated his claim that the world faces an "unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it." That's pretty good rhetoric for the person with the largest carbon footprint in the world.
Mr. Gore is not the only one profiting from climate fraud. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace prize with Mr. Gore
, is also the director general of the Energy and Resources Institute. The New Delhi-based research group has received substantial financial grants to examine the issue of the world's vanishing glaciers, a purported crisis that was highlighted in the 2007 IPCC climate-change report. The glaciology unit is headed by Syed Hasnain, who in 1999 claimed that Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035, which became a noted scare quote in the IPCC report.
A more detailed study found that glacial melt was far less pronounced and widespread than claimed by the global-warming proponents. Mr. Pachauri denounced this skepticism as "voodoo science." However, in January, Murari Lal, who wrote the glacier section of the 2007 IPCC report, admitted that the alarmist claims were not backed by peer-reviewed science but had been included in the report for a political purpose, which was to "impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action." No word on whether Mr. Pachauri will return his institute's grant money, but we doubt it.
The greatest potential profits are possible in the ill-defined "carbon trading" industry, currently valued at $126 billion.
The trade in carbon emission credits - a key aspect of the beleaguered "cap-and-trade" energy bill now stalled in Congress - will make quick fortunes for the "carbon brokers" assisting companies with reducing their carbon footprints. But because carbon quotas and the acceptable means of measuring them will be determined by the government, this will benefit those who combine presumed expertise with political access, which in the Obama administration means the climate-change alarmists.
Mr. Gore is heavily involved in this scam through Generation Investment Management LLP, which he chairs, and Mr. Pachauri also has been accused of making millions from carbon trading. The dubious science of cap-and-trade and its productivity-killing implications make the bill unlikely to be passed in an election year, but any moves toward this framework will enhance the fortunes of these and other well-connected adherents to the global-warming cult at the expense of businesses and private citizens.
Given the clear conflicts of interest of those who both promote and profit from climate-change alarmism, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize should be rescinded.