Those who make a lucrative living out of government science by promoting human responsibility for “climate change” have been taking many lumps in recent years, and the trend continues:

First, contemplate this recent interview with British scientist James Lovelock.

Lovelock is often described as “Britain’s top environmental guru” (think Al Gore with actual scientific and academic credentials). He promoted the personification of the Earth’s ecosystem as “Gaia,” an entity to which he attributed quasi-rational powers.

In an interview in 2006, he said, “Before this century is over, billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”

A short six years later, his views on climate have, well, changed.

Promoting a new book, he said this week on MSNBC.com that he had been “extrapolating too far.” While he still thinks the globe is warming (which it has, on average, ever since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 1850s), he now says, “The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books — mine included — because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.

“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said. “The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time. … It (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added.

He pointed to Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and Tim Flannery’s “The Weather Makers” as other examples of “alarmist” forecasts of the future.

It’s too much to say Lovelock is a “skeptic.” But perhaps because he works on his own and is not tied to government grants, he’s fallen a long way from his former status as an “alarmist.”

Let’s move on to a letter recently sent to NASA by some prominent alumni, including seven astronauts, a deputy associate administrator, several scientists and the deputy administrator of the Space Shuttle program.

As the Washington Examiner reported on April 10, “In an unprecedented slap at NASA’s endorsement of global warming science, nearly 50 former astronauts and scientists — including the ex-boss of the Johnson Space Center — claim the agency is on the wrong side of science and must change course or ruin the reputation of the world’s top space agency.

“Challenging statements from NASA that man is causing climate change, the former NASA executives demanded in a letter to Administrator Charles Bolden that he and the agency ‘refrain from including unproven remarks’ supporting global warming in the media.”

The letter said that thousands of years of data challenge modern-day claims that man-made carbon dioxide is causing climate change. The authors also directly challenge the warmist talking point that there is little or no credible dissent among scientists:

“With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from (NASA’s) Goddard Institute for Space Studies leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled,” they wrote.

They said NASA’s claims “are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. … At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees and even the reputation of science itself.”

Critics huffed that the signers weren’t “climate scientists,” but defenders said that what they were attacking was a poor use of the scientific method by people using unproven computer models and questionable data.

The signers are certainly experts on science itself, fully qualified to blow the whistle on those bending it to produce predetermined results.

There’s more: New studies showing that most glaciers in the high Himalayas are gaining ice, not losing it; that polar bear populations around Hudson Bay are growing, not declining; that the interlocking effects of the sun and cosmic rays on climate remain potentially huge; and that CO2 has risen but temperatures have flat-lined for more than a decade, the data that pushed Lovelock to his admission above.

Most important, though, is this: As the impact of the long-term costs of the warmists’ political nostrums has become both clearer and more dire, more and more nations are retreating as fast as they can from their former commitments to high-cost “green energy” programs (especially as they see how plentiful oil and natural gas reserves have become).

The idea that human action is causing climate change — and its corollary, that human action can affect it — is becoming increasingly incredible to governments, astronauts, neutral scientists and ordinary taxpayers alike.

M. D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a free-lance writer. He can be contacted at:

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