In my opinion, climate change is happening. However, the recent spate of well-documented reports of evasions, stonewalling, and sloppy research about global warming has certainly damaged credibility. What was supposed to be impartial science has been shown on at least three occasions to be anything but that. But, maybe the important thing about renewable energy and cleantech isn’t so much whether climate change is happening, but how it can help us as a country. More on that after these reports of climate change scientists being, ahem, less than objective.
IPCC head was told of false Himalayan glacier melting claim before Copenhagen summit. He said nothing, even though he knew that several glaciologists had refuted the claim. The University of East Anglia broke the law by deliberately refusing to make climate data available to climate skeptics. Their mail servers were also hacked, with embarrassing revelations to them. U.N.'s global warming findings on the Brazilian rainforest are not accurate. Their prediction that 40% of the rainforest was endangered by climate change was based on a number given by an independent author, who was discussing the effects of harmful logging, not climate change.
How did this get so politicized? The two opposing sides launch salvos at each other, trying to destroy the other’s credibility. Thus, little gets accomplished. Sounds like our Congress. Doesn’t it?
Other countries don’t have this problem. They agree to disagree, and work together to create energy. China, Japan, Europe, and the UK are way ahead of the US in implementing renewable energy. Clean Edge visited China four year ago, and had this to say:
I was struck by the nation's lack of animosity, if you will, among energy sources. Coal or gas advocates there didn't pooh-pooh wind and solar as intermittent, not scalable, or not ready for prime time. The Chinese mantra was (and is): it's all energy, and we need lots more of it – bring it on.
Spain gets 14% of their power from wind. Germany made a major and successful push to get solar installed on residential buildings. The UK is planning massive offshore wind and wave power projects. France gets most their power from nuclear. They just don’t seem to squabble as much about climate change and renewable energy as we do.
Rather than telling people that renewable energy must happen or else we’re all doomed by climate change, a more sensible approach is to present it as a way to generate power here in the US without importing oil and gas. If you tell a Texas rancher he must change his ways because global warming is coming, he might call you a greenie crackpot. But if you tell him a wind farm wants to install turbines on his land and pay him royalties or that he can turn agricultural waste into biofuel he can use or sell, then he will probably listen.
The extreme politicization of the climate change debate here in the US mirrors our politics at large. This simply isn’t an issue elsewhere.