A sure sign of warmism in decline: Yale closing down its ‘Climate and Energy Institute’

Peak warmism has already hit, and the global warming movement is now on its long glide path through loss of government funding, budget and hiring cuts, less media attention, on the way to unfashionability, embarrassment, and eventually obscurity, a historical footnote like phrenology (which was once the rage in elite academic circles).  In retrospect, the December 2015 Paris Climate Accord, which was still able to draw heads of state but which could accomplish nothing substantive other than promise money, may well be seen as the definitive moment at which the movement began its official decline.

Now elite institutions, which always have their antennae attuned to the ebb and flow of the concerns of the world’s power elite, are acting out the consequences of decline.  If you are a university president responsible for raising mega-donations by convincing the holders of wealth that they can achieve prestige and maybe a little immortality by funding your Good Works, then you have to be aware of their changing concerns.

Only a few years ago, global warming seemed like a sure winner to Yale’s then-president Richard C. Levin, when he announced in 2009 the establishment of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute and secured Rajendra K. Pachauri as its first head.  Pachuari was the head of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the major force pushing global warming as a central battle to be fought to save humanity, and he was to serve both the U.N. and Yale at the same time, locking them together as leaders of the fight to rescue us all from doom. 

That was then; this is now.  The Yale Daily News announced three days ago:

After a University decision to cut all its funding, Yale’s Climate & Energy Institute will close by the end of June.

The loss of the institute, which for the last eight years has conducted research related to issues of climate change, leaves a hole in climate and energy studies at Yale. (snip)

The announcement came in a Monday afternoon email to the YCEI community from institute co-directors and geology and geophysics professors David Bercovici and Jay Ague, and follows years of cuts to the institute’s funding, according to students involved in the organization.

“While not all good things have to come to an end, sometimes they just do,” Bercovici and Ague wrote. “The YCEI will stop activities and close up shop as of June 30, 2016.”

The YCEI was founded in 2008 with the backing of then-University President Richard Levin. Since then, the institute has hosted conferences, fostered collaborations across science departments and between universities outside of Yale, as well as supported scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships that address the changing climate. The institute also supplied undergraduates with a database of energy-related internships. Bercovici and Ague wrote that the YCEI was founded with “overwhelming enthusiasm from faculty and students across campus.” Bercovici and Ague declined to comment Monday night, citing time constraints.

You know there is deep embarrassment when professors decline to comment because of time constraints.

Part of that embarrassment might be related to the founding head of the YCEI.  The Indian Express reports:

More than a year after the Delhi Police registered a case against former chief of The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) [yet another NGO that Pachauri was the head of], R K Pachauri, the probe agency has chargesheeted the scientist for allegedly sexually harassing and outraging the modesty of a former woman colleague.

Police Tuesday filed the chargesheet before Metropolitan Magistrate Shivani Chauhan, who has now fixed April 23 for taking cognizance of the chargesheet.

The chargesheet before the designated Mahila Court in Saket District Courts has charged Pachauri under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354 A (punishment for sexual harassment), 354 D (stalking), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) under the IPC.

Police had registered the case against Pachauri based on a criminal complaint filed by the woman in February last year. In its chargesheet, police has named 23 persons as prosecution witnesses, many of whom are former and present employees of TERI, said the sources.

Pachauri has been a controversial figure for quite some time, based on unproven allegations of financial self-enrichment and allegations of sexual misbehavior.  His personal troubles no doubt have diminished his moral authority as a champion save-the-world advocate (and, oddly enough, parallel the sexual misconduct charges against the pre-eminent warmist profiteer, Al Gore), but a scandal-tainted founding director ordinarily would not be enough to kill a formerly well funded institute at a world-famous research university.  In order to accomplish that, you have to starve it (and the university backing it) of funding.

And that is what must be behind the announcement of the demise of YCEI.  Donors have moved on to more trendy opportunities to add to their personal prestige.  It all begins when, at a cocktail reception or fancy dinner, people begin to ask about the failure of the globe to warm for the last 19 years, and you get stuck in an awkward conversation about how it was necessary to “adjust” the data in order to continue to claim that warming is a problem.  That sort of thing is donor poison.

As for the poor Yale undergraduates who got those fellowships and saw themselves building careers, as rescuers of the world, they are out of luck.  The Yale Daily News interviews a number of them, and they are obviously in shock.

They would be better off taking the advice of the great James Delingpole,  who writes at Breitbart:

Make no mistake, these are dark and terrible times for the climate change industry. If you have a son or a daughter studying at university in a field like ecology, environmental studies or similar, do be sure to encourage them to polish up their burger-flipping or lap-dancing skills.

Actually, a better idea would be to move on to study “inequality,” for that is the subject about which it is much more fashionable to express “deep concern,” and it has several years more of popularity ahead.

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman

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