When asked about ClimateGate, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed its importance, emphasizing that “climate change is happening.”

Of course climate change is happening. Soon we’ll be calling press conferences to declare, “The earth is moving” or “It’s going to get dark tonight.” The reality is the climate has been changing ever since there was a climate, and part of that change was a cooling period as recent as the 1940s to the 1970s giving rise to fears of a coming ice age. When Gibbs spouts this rhetoric, he’s clearly referring to human-induced warming, but since when has climate change become synonymous with manmade global warming?  And what does it take for a scientific consensus to stop being one?

In fact, the phrase “climate change” is one of climatologist Roy Spencer’s major irritations about the whole climate change debate. He writes, “Thirty years ago, the term “climate change” would have meant natural climate change, which is what climate scientists mostly studied before that time. Today, it has come to mean human-caused climate change. The public, and especially the media, now think that “climate change” implies WE are responsible for it. Mother Nature, not Al Gore, invented real climate change.”

A number of events may have made it clear to global warming alarmists and proponents of cap and trade legislation that global warming just wasn’t selling. Maybe it was in the beginning of 2009 when global warming ranked dead last when a Pew poll asked respondents to prioritize 20 issues facing the nation. Global warming fell well behind the economy, jobs, social security, education and it even falls behind moral decline, lobbyists and trade policy. It could have been a more gradual shift over the past decade since temperatures have relatively flat lined.

Or maybe it was the lack of natural disasters that failed to reach U.S. soil after Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth depicted constant 2012-like weather catastrophes. Interestingly, the hurricane season ends today and “has been the tamest in 12 years, and for the first time in three seasons not a single hurricane made landfall in the United States. And as researchers at Colorado State University pointed out, for the first time in a generation the Atlantic Coast has been spared major land-falling hurricanes – defined as those with peak winds of at least 111 m.p.h. – for four consecutive seasons.”

That’s not to say we won’t have more Katrina-like storms in the future, but adaptation and preparation to climate change is prudent while changing the weather with silly mechanisms like cap and trade is impossible.

It’s likely a combination of these events and a multitude of others, but in lieu of ClimateGate Gibbs remains confident that “there’s no real scientific basis for the dispute of this.” For all this incessant talk about scientific consensus from proponents of cap and trade legislation, there sure are a lot of dissenting scientists – more than 650.

Addressing Drastic Sea Level Rises
Natural Forces Slow Warming
Tropical Cyclone Activity
Warming and Cooling in the North Pacific
Climate Change Modeling and the Sun’s Effect on Global Temperature
Climate Engineering and the Fallacies in the EPA’s ANPR
Anthropogenic Effects on Global Warming
Global Warming is Irreversible
Scientists Make Anti-Global Warming Case
Could Global Warming Models Be Wrong?

Heritage Senior Policy Analyst Ben Lieberman summarizes it best, saying, “If influential scientists’ being caught manipulating and suppressing data is no big deal, and if the absence of any additional warming since the late 1990s is also no big deal, one wonders what if anything would be a big deal.”