Looks like George Will is at it again. This time carrying some water for James Inhofe on the hacked emails from the University of East Anglia. Paul Krugman reminds Will that there was no "smoking gun" in those emails and also asks Will why he hates the free market so much with his opposition to cap and trade.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And meanwhile, he is also going to be dealing with health care, right now on the floor of the Senate. He announced this week to Copenhagen to deal with climate change. And it comes at a time when the politics seem to be changing a little bit in this.
Let me show our latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. It shows whether people believe global warming is occurring. That number is going down. July 2008, 80 percent of the public; down to 72 percent now. And there's been a sort of a real partisanship. Look at Republicans, 74 percent believed global warming was occurring back in 2008. Now, a 20-point drop to 54 percent.
George, there has been a partinizing of this issue, and let me turn to one more complication we've had over the last week. This Climate Research Institute at East Anglia University, someone hacked into their e-mail account and showed a bunch of emails between scientists, which opponents of climate change legislation said proves that they are rigging the science and trying to hide information that runs counter to their theories.
WILL: It raises the question of -- we're being asked to wage trillions of dollars and substantially curtail freedom on climate models that are imperfect and unproven. And the consensus far from being as solid as they say it is, and the debate as over as they say it is. The e-mails indicate people are very nervous about suppressing criticism, gaming the peer review process for scholarly works and all the rest. One of the e-mails said it is a travesty, his word, it is a travesty that we cannot explain the fact that global warming has stopped. Well, they shouldn't be embarrassed about that. It's a complicated business, and that's why we shouldn't be (inaudible).
KRUGMAN: All those e-mails -- people have never seen what academic discussion looks like. There's not a single smoking gun in there. There's nothing in there. And the travesty is that people are not able to explain why the fact that 1988 was a very warm year doesn't actually mean that global warming has stopped. I mean, that's loose wording. Right? Everything is about -- we're really in the same situation as if there was one extremely warm day in April. And then people are saying, well, you see, May is cooler than April, there's no trend here. And that's what -- the travesty is how hard it has been to explain...
WILL: One of the emails, Paul, said he wished he could delete, get rid of the medieval warming period. That lasted 600 years...
KRUGMAN: It's not -- read -- this has all been explained. What he meant is they want to put a start on it. We have an end to it, we don't have a start on it. There's a lot of loose use of language when you're just talking among each other. And what the deleting really meant, the deleting would be meant that, you know, we don't know when this thing started, because we don't have very good data back then. There weren't any weather stations. And that's what the context was.
WILL: But what I was going to say there is that the United States pledges to reduce its carbon emissions 83 percent below the 2005. That will not even be seriously attempted, and here is why. That would mean we would have total carbon emissions equal to the United States in 1910, when there were 92 million Americans. Furthermore, our per-capita carbon emissions in 2050, when he says this is going to happen, when there's going to be 420 million Americans, would be on a per-capita basis what we had in 1875.
STEPHANOPOULOS: (inaudible) credibility problem as well. I mean, I think the issue is, I think the president had to go to Copenhagen. It was the only way to get the Indians and the Chinese to go as well. But, Paul, as he goes, he'll be making a commitment that he can't necessarily keep unless the Senate follows through.
KRUGMAN: Everyone understands that. And I just want to say, I'm surprised, George, that you lack faith in the power of the marketplace. All this cap-and-trade is about is putting a price on carbon emission, and people will do amazing things given a market incentive.
WILL: Speaking of the marketplace, the biggest industry in the world right now may be fighting climate change. There are billions, trillions of dollars on the table, and when you say, well, they are academics and they are scientists and they talk in funny ways -- academics are human beings, and the enormous incentive to get on the bandwagon on global warming, the financial incentive, the market driving this, is huge.
KRUGMAN: There is tremendously more money in being a skeptic than there is in being a supporter. It's so much easier, come on. You got the energy industry's behind it. There are 20 times as many believers as there are skeptics in the scientific community. They get almost equal time in the media.
WILL: Is there a larger venture capital firm in this country than the Energy Department of this government, which right now is sending out billions and billions of dollars in speculation on green energy?
KRUGMAN: Oh...come on.