Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent

As Climategate exploded prior to a December U.N. conference in Copenhagen that failed to produce a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions, top environmental officials in Canada tried to paint a happy face on the scandal. The country’s Canwest News Service reports this morning that a top-ranking official with Environment Canada produced a memo for Environment Minister Jim Prentice — just before his participation in Copenhagen — that defended the integrity of the UN IPCC science:

The personal e-mails exchanged by climate scientists wound up in the hands of special-interest groups who say they are skeptical about peer-reviewed research that concludes humans are causing global warming….

But in the memorandum obtained by Canwest News Service, Environment Canada’s deputy minister, Ian Shugart, suggested the skeptics had it wrong. He explained the scientific information in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest assessment of climate-change research was still the best reference tool for the negotiations.

“Recent media reports in the aftermath of the hacking incident at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia . . . has raised some concerns about the reliability and robustness of some of the science considered in the (fourth assessment of climate science released in 2007 by the) IPCC,” said the memorandum to Prentice from his deputy minister…

“Despite these developments, the department continues to view the IPCC (fourth assessment) as the most comprehensive and rigorous source of scientific information for climate-change negotiations.”

We’ve seen since then the birth of numerous other “Gates,” which revealed “rigorous” IPCC science sources such as student dissertations, climbing magazines, publications including  Leisure and Events Management, and World Wildlife Fund pamphlets.

Canwest also reported how the Canadian memo cited the evidence from temperature records:

The document also noted that temperature records in the report, which have been challenged by climate skeptics, were based on four different scientific agencies.

“All four data sets provide a very similar picture of the warming over land over the 20th century.”

We’ve now also learned that three of the four datasets that IPCC depended upon for their scientific research were tainted, thanks to evidence revealed from a Freedom of Information Act inquiry by Chris Horner at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. And then there was this BBC report about fudge factors and messy data, just after Climategate was exposed.

Looks like Greenpeace finally got off their greenhouse gas kick and has realized that clouds have as much to do with how climate changes as anything else.

Wait — check that. They say cloud computing is leading us down the path towards catastrophic global warming:

In a study issued Tuesday, environmental organization Greenpeace said the computing “cloud” powering the Internet is becoming a major source of pollution, as companies build data centers powered by coal, according to a Reuters report from Monday.

The study (PDF) singles out a Facebook facility that relies on a coal-powered utility, along with Apple’s North Carolina data center, also powered by coal.

According to Reuters, in the report Greenpeace concludes that “the last thing we need is for more cloud infrastructure to be built in places where it increases demand for dirty coal-fired power.”

The organization also points to Microsoft, Yahoo and Google as having data centers that rely on “heavy” use of coal power.

That’s right, another polluter demon has been unleashed from the pit of corporate hell: Big Internet.

Oh, the glory days of almost a month ago, when advocates promoted the promise of solar energy in the United States. As one industry publication reported:

Of all the reasons that solar energy is capturing record levels of investment and spurring frenetic activity, its tremendous potential, laid out by Dan Cunningham of BP Solar (Frederick, MD), is the primary driver for the market. Participating in the Chemical Development & Marketing Assn.’s (CDMA) “Opportunities for Chemicals and Materials: Capitalizing on Wind and Solar” conference held last December at the University of Pennsylvania’s chemistry department, Cunningham addressed a crowd that included the biggest names in plastics supply—BASF, Bayer MaterialScience, Dow, and DuPont to name a few—all of which appreciate the extraordinary opportunity the burgeoning solar energy sector holds for plastics.

As impressive as the current boom is, Mike Eckhart, president of ACORE (American Council of Renewable Energy), forecasted an even brighter future for solar at the same CDMA event, particularly for the United States, which has only recently thrown the full weight of government subsidies and tax benefits behind the technology. “My prediction is in two years, solar will really take off,” Eckhart said. Admitting that the U.S. is the “laggard” in solar, Eckhart said he believes the country will catch up to the current market leader, Germany, which had 2000 MW of new solar capacity installed in 2009.

Fast-forward to a report in today’s Washington Post:

BP will close its solar-panel manufacturing plant in Frederick, the final step in moving its solar business out of the United States to facilities in China, India and other countries.

Just 3 1/2 years ago, in an announcement widely hailed by Maryland officials and promoters of “green jobs,” BP unveiled a $70 million plan to double output at the facility and erected a building to house the production lines.

But on Friday the company said it would lay off 320 workers and keep only a hundred people involved in research, sales and project development. BP said laid-off employees would receive full pay and benefits for three months, followed by severance packages and job-placement assistance. The company, unable to sell or lease the building, will tear it down.

“We remain absolutely committed to solar,” BP chief executive Tony Hayward said in an interview Friday. But he said BP was “moving to where we can manufacture cheaply.”

As usual, the charlatan promoters of unreliable, inefficient and costly energy projects once again show the success of their “green jobs” initiatives, driving employment to India and China.

You may have heard something about tonight’s “Earth Hour” (this is not the weekend you want to visit Vegas), in which the World Wildlife Fund co-opted my team’s quarterback to promote a global power-down in order to draw attention to evil human consumption.

As for me, tonight our family will host a large group to celebrate my son’s birthday, so we will have even more lights on than usual — both inside and outside our humble abode. And on top of that, we will force many more vehicles out on the road at the very moment this special hour hits, as parents come to pick up their teenagers. So if my friends at the Competitive Enterprise Institute are handing out any prizes for Best Celebration of their Human Achievement Hour, I hope I am at least among the top nominees.

After yesterday’s revelation about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s dismantling of his state’s global warming regulatory infrastructure, a grassroots citizens group said they would attack the renewables rent-seeking industry via a Colorado ballot initiative. The Western Tradition Partnership announced:

(Two) Colorado citizens submitted to the Legislative Legal Council Wednesday a proposed ballot initiative restoring the right of consumers to lower their utility bills by choosing less-expensive forms of energy….

If approved, the initiative allows a utility’s customers to submit a petition requesting an election among customers on whether to opt out of so-called “renewable energy standards.” Renewable energy standards are government mandates forcing a utility to buy a certain percentage of their power from more expensive sources such as wind and solar, driving up utility bills.

Renewable energy standards are a favorite tool of speculators, who invested in the more expensive, less efficient sources and cannot attract consumers in a competitive market.  By lobbying politicians to make purchasing their product mandatory, speculators pass their losses to captive customers.

Of course the foundation for the passage of these measures has been the hyped fear from the threat of global warming, which has been proven fraudulent. WTP, which placed some fairly strict requirements in the measure’s language in order to trigger a utility customer election, reports that it is only trying to restore an opt-out provision that Colorado voters supported in a previous ballot initiative.

It has become so trendy now to challenge the crumbling global warming establishment.

Imagine lobbyists for the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Nature Conservancy controlled an EPA rulemaking panel that would decide whether a petition to cap greenhouse gas emissions sponsored by the U.S. Climate Action Partnership — an alliance that includes all three aforementioned environoia groups — would become law. Wouldn’t every activist with a cause love to have such an arrangement?

The equivalent of that is what’s transpiring in New Mexico, where the state Environmental Improvement Board is considering a rule that would cap CO2 emissions at 25 percent of 1990 levels. As New Mexico Watchdog reporter Jim Scarantino has written in a series of articles, the majority of EIB members — including (and especially) its chairman, Gregory Green — have conflicts of interest because they represent (and are paid by) activist groups who jointly brought the petition before the EIB.

Last week the Rio Grande Foundation’s Paul Gessing (NM Watchdog is a project of the Albuquerque-based conservative think tank) testified before the EIB and challenged members Green, Gay Dillingham and James Gollin to recuse themselves from hearing the petition:

Gessing told the EIB he that the very integrity of the process, aside from the merits of the issue, was undermined because “there was more than a reasonable basis to question the impartiality and fairness” of these members of the EIB in considering this petition. Those questions arise from financial and employment ties between Green and the petitioner New Energy Economy and his representation as a lobbyist on energy and environmental issues for four parties to the NEE peitition who have hired him through the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy. Gollin and Dillingham are, respectively, an officer and director of organizations that are allied with NEE in promoting the very same emissions cap they are being asked to impose upon New Mexico  as members of the EIB.

And just look at the faces (video)of Green, Dillingham and Gollin as Gessing criticizes their oversight of this dog-and-pony show.

Adding insult to injury, Green’s group stacked their literature at a table where members of the public were required to sign in for the hearing. The literature promoted a lunch for petition supporters paid for by Green’s New Energy Economy. Afterward, in the comments section of Scarantino’s report, Green made a feeble effort to show fairness by offering to let Rio Grande put materials out for public consumption.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a state legislator go toe-to-toe on the climate change issue with an alarmist, but the Fox News affiliate in Salt Lake City caught that very thing on camera this week. On Wednesday after a student-led global warming rally at the legislature, State Rep. Mike Noel, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, found himself in the same room with former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. Here’s the full discussion, in which the skeptic Noel is surrounded by environoiacs, including one who kept trying to butt in.

You might recall last month the Utah legislature passed a few measures in opposition to placing limits on greenhouse gas emissions, including a recommendation to Gov. Gary Herbert that the state withdraw from the Western Climate Initiative.

I know newspaper Web polls are not scientific, but wow.

This morning on Harrisburg, Pa. NPR station WITF, the Commonwealth Foundation‘s Andrew Langer debated Jan Jarrett of Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture), and my conclusion is that CF ought to put Jarrett on their payroll. She was no competition for the exceptional Langer.

Afterward Jarrett slammed CF in a press release because of its call for an independent investigation of Penn State Climategate scientist Michael Mann:

“The real scandal is the lengths to which the right-wing will go in order to twist climate change science to meet its ideological bent,” said Jarrett. “From relying on material stolen by Russian criminals and selectively releasing some of the stolen emails, to reflexively attacking Penn State’s investigation as biased, the Commonwealth Foundation has simply gone too far. This witch hunt against climate scientists, particularly PSU’s Dr. Michael Mann and the University itself, must stop.

“The Commonwealth Foundation claims the PSU investigation that cleared Dr. Mann is a ‘whitewash.’ The foundation has produced no evidence to document that conclusion, but levels the charge because it does not like the outcome. That charge slanders Penn State University and the distinguished panel of experts pulled together to review the matter, and for that the Commonwealth Foundation owes Penn State and the people of Pennsylvania an apology.”

Sounds like Jarrett knows the lowdown on how the East Anglia emails were released. Maybe she will produce evidence, lest she be accused of slandering Russian criminals.

A sampling of stories (thanks to Climate Depot), since the Climategate story broke in November, that discredit “consensus” global warming science and the UN IPCC — many from British media:

Greenpeace cited as ‘sole source’ for ‘coral reef degradation’ claims

UN climate change panel based claims on student dissertation and magazine article

‘Researchers are still grappling to understand the balance of feedback loops’

UN IPCC’s Global Warming Report Under Fresh Attack for Rainforest Claims

Analysis: NASA GISS Rural US Sites Show No Temperature Increase Since 1900

BBC: Temperature and CO2 feedback loop ‘weaker than thought’

UN’s Amazongate’: ‘Made false predictions’ on Amazon rainforest, referenced non-peer-reviewed paper produced by WWF

Study: ‘Carbon dioxide appears to play a very limited role in setting interglacial temperature’

IPCC cited multiple Master’s Students in AR4, some unpublished

Chinese Scientist Qian Weihong of Beijing University: ‘Expects global temperatures will decrease continuously until 2030’

And that just scratches the surface, as they say. But what do the intrepid Society of Environmentalist Journalist template-followers at USA Today report about today? Butterflies, in another one of those “scientists say” articles:

A study of beleaguered butterflies in California provides some of the best clues yet as to how other animals may react to climate change, scientists say.

The unprecedented, 35-year analysis of butterfly populations in the Sierra Nevada details how several species are fleeing to higher elevations to escape warming temperatures.

Formerly mainstream American enviro-media sure know how to sniff out a scandal, don’t they?