I awoke this morning to the news that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to investigate claims of data manipulation and scientific fraud from within its own ranks.
Don't get me wrong: I don't believe for a moment that there is any substance to the accusations, but to say that the situation is serious - with the Copenhagen Climate Summit just days away - would be an understatement. To all intents and purposes the Copenhagen summit is now dead. Even if effective agreements can be reached in Copenhagen, back in the US Senate they will face something resembling an angry nest of hornets.
What is certain is that we are witnessing the successful culmination of a calculated, well-funded and professional public relations campaign. They will teach courses on it in future years (though they might have to get a move on, I guess). You can see how it was done here.
And with regard to my recent post - in which I tried to belittle the climate change sceptics - I now see that as somewhat naive. Dismissing climate change sceptics on the grounds that they lack scientific credentials is about as pointless as criticising a bunch of thugs, hired to break up a town-hall meeting, on the poor quality of their debating skills.
It seemed (to me at least) that the climate change issue could be argued in terms of science alone. After today it is clear it has to be fought politically.
See the DeSmogBlog for further background on the role of lobbying and PR in the climate change debate.