Ben Stein made an indirect reference to the ClimateGate e-mail scandal during a face-off with Democratic strategist James Carville on Wednesday’s Situation Room: “The truth is, we’ve now got a lot of data coming out that the scientific community who are on the side of anthropogenic global warming were cooking the data and were suppressing data to those requesting their data.”
Stein and Carville appeared on the program’s regular “Strategy Session” segment 46 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour, less than an hour before CNN aired a slanted report on the e-mail scandal. Substitute anchor Suzanne Malveaux first raised President Obama’s upcoming trip to Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference with the Democrat: “Obviously, this is a political issue. This is up to Congress. What can the President do on this issue?”
Carville went on the offensive out of the gate: “Well, unfortunately, I hope I’m wrong, but not very much, and I hope that talk radio and the pollution lobby are right that global warming is not a problem and 940 peer-reviewed scientific articles are wrong. That’s about all we can hope for because, right now, I have to tell you, that the pollution lobby and talk radio is winning this battle, and the will in the United States to do something about this is not what where I think it should be. But that’s the reality of the political situation as I see it right now.”
Stein rebuked his opponent for his labeling, and made his first reference to ClimateGate:
STEIN: Well, calling the people who want to keep Americans free to use the kind of energy they want to use the ‘pollution lobby’ is a wild smear...But it’s not the pollution lobby- it’s a lobby for the truth. The truth is that the global temperature peaked around 1998. It’s not gotten any hotter. Instead, it’s gotten cooler. The truth is that there have been periods in the past, 1,000 years ago, 2,500 years ago when it was warmer than it is now when there was no manmade burning of carbon. The truth is that we don’t know the exact interaction between all those events and effects and what they do to the weather....The truth is, we’ve now got a lot of data coming out that the scientific community who are on the side of anthropogenic global warming were cooking the data and were suppressing data to those requesting their data. So, I think the whole thing of fighting global warming may be based on a false premise. Maybe it isn’t, but the fact is we just don’t know at this point.
For the remainder of the segment, Carville and Stein mainly stuck to their talking points on the climate debate:
MALVEAUX: Well, the truth is, too, is that Americans are divided politically over this issue. If you look at the poll, Washington Post/ABC News here, among Republicans, 54 percent believe that global warming is really happening, but Democrats, 86 percent believe it is really- it is taking place here.
CARVILLE: Look, again, I hope that talk radio and the pollution lobby is right, because I- but I’m afraid that 950-something peer-reviewed scientific articles and almost the entirety of the non-paid- for by polluters- the people had studied this- think that this is- this climate change is real. I hope they’re wrong for the sake of my children, and it seems as though that they spent a lot of money and have been very successful here.
MALVEAUX: Well, what do you make of that, Ben? Do you think it’s just a lobbying effort?
STEIN: There are huge- no, there are huge numbers of scientists who are questioning that. When you say 950 peer-reviewed articles. We now learned that the peers are in a kind of cabal and not all of them- some of them are in a kind of a cabal to suppress any information that challenges the consensus on global warming and the man-made effects on the climate. We- there are many, many scientists not paid for by the energy companies. In fact, the energy companies have pretty much have backed off and washed their hands of this. They find they just don’t want to question the conventional wisdom on this. This is being done- this questioning about the effects of man-made activity on the climate is being done by brave, independent souls, and it's not just proved.
MALVEAUX: We could debate whether or not this is real or not, but I covered Bush for eight years, and he said that global warming did not exist, that science didn’t back it up. But here is a poll that shows that a lot more people are actually agreeing with the former president. Three and a half years ago, 76 percent of Republicans believed it was happening. Well, now, it’s down to 54 percent. Take a look at the independents: 86 percent thought it was happening. Now, it’s down to 71 percent. Democrats, 92 percent. Now, it is down to 86 percent. Is that not going make it even harder for the President to convince the rest of the world that we need some sort of global initiative here for climate change?
MALVEAUX: Climate change?
CARVILLE: The answer is yes.
MALVEAUX: What does he do?
CARVILLE: Yes, the pollution lobby is winning. They’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars, and they’re winning.
MALVEAUX: So, what does he do? What does the President do?
CARVILLE: The point is that every peer-reviewed scientific article says that this is true. (Stein unintelligible in the background)
MALVEAUX: If you could give him some sort of advice, could you advise the President? What does he need to do if he’s going to change this and he’s going to turn this around, or is it hopeless?
CARVILLE: Well, I don’t know if it’s hopeless. Still, you got a majority of the people believe in that, and in the end, scientific truth is going to win out. But right now, you got to say- ExxonMobil was paying tens of thousands of dollars for any, quote, ‘scientists,’ unquote, that would dispute these facts. In over a period of time, this is building up, and they’re winning, and I don’t know why you’re not happy about it, Ben.
STEIN: But, you know, James, with all due respect, I hate to say this, because I respect you very much and I always love it when I’m on with you, but you just made that up about ExxonMobil. They’re not paying tens of thousands of dollars to any scientists-
CARVILLE: Sure they did. They did.
STEIN: Who will dispute global warming. There’s a cabal of global warming- anthropogenic global warming scientists who are suppressing anyone questioning them. It’s not the pollution lobby versus the clean air lobby. It’s the truth lobby versus those who want to suppress the truth lobby. Look, I don’t like pollution either. I don’t like these little micro-particles that go up in the air and they get in my lungs and they cause cancer. But whether or not- and I’m all for cleansing the air of as much as possible- but whether or not man-made activity is changing the climate of the earth, that is very much in dispute, and whether or not we should have giant global policies based on suppressing something which may be a hoax, that’s very much up in the air.
CARVILLE: It’s very much not up in the air by the scientific community. But again, nobody is suppressing you. You’re right here saying this, and you all are winning. The scientific community and the evidence is losing, and that happens, you know? That happens.
STEIN: James, I’m not trying to get something published in a peer review journal.
CARVILLE: I know.
STEIN: If I were trying to get it published in a peer review journal, they wouldn’t let me.
MALVEAUX: But we do know that the president is-
CARVILLE: They got tenure- go ahead, sorry.
MALVEAUX: But we do know the President is going to Copenhagen. It’s going to be at the beginning of the summit. He’s already received some criticism that he’s not going to be able to get a lot done because he’s going to be there on day one of the summit as opposed to the end. But, clearly, speaking with senior administration officials today, they say at least we’re going to try to get some momentum with this debate and perhaps this move forward. So, that’s where we’re going to leave it right there.