"Climate change" has suffered significant setbacks in the past year. First there was Climategate. Then the Copenhagen conference ended without binding agreements on either mitigation or adaptation. This was followed quickly by Glaciergate, Amazongate, Kiwigate and serious challenges to the credibility of Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Next, professor Phil Jones of the United Kingdom's Climatic Research Unit (and lead author of the IPCC chapter on temperatures) admitted that there has been no statistically significant warming for 15 years. Then "hockey stick" promoters finally acknowledged that there indeed was a Medieval Warm Period.
These events, coupled with the economic downturn and the education efforts of climate realists - those who take a balanced perspective of climate change - have impacted public opinion. Now, a significant fraction of the public regards the past century's warming as primarily natural and a human-induced global-warming catastrophe as improbable. So public support for expensive greenhouse-gas-reduction policies has eroded.
Republican climate skeptics have taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives, thereby killing any chance of federal "cap-and-trade" legislation for now. Republican congressional leaders also have vowed to use every trick in the book to block Environmental Protection Agency carbon-dioxide (CO2) regulations scheduled to start on Jan. 2. And, not surprisingly, the United Nations' 2010 Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, is failing, with Mother Nature helping to dampen warming fears as an early winter sets in across the Northern Hemisphere.