Anyone who doubts the operation of a beneficent Providence in human affairs ought to contemplate the exquisite timing of what has come to be called Climategate, i.e., the leaking of hundreds of emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (my emphasis):

“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline“.

“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

And so on for hundreds of pages. Curious readers at leisure might wish to peruse this searchable database of all the leaked emails: The Smoking Gun.

These emails were leaked on November 20. The Copenhagen climate change summit starts today, December 7, the day that now lives infamy for more reasons than one. First there was Pearl Harbor. Now there is orgy of bad faith that is Copenhagen. General Eisenhower, Admiral Nimitz, and their colleagues took care to redress the first outrage. It’s up to us — aided by that beneficent Providence I just mentioned — to redress the second.

Admire the timing: On the one hand, had the emails been leaked much earlier, the engines of obfuscation and exoneration might have had more of an opportunity to spin, twist, fold, spindle, and mutilate the story out of all recognition.

Maybe Barbara Boxer would have succeeded in her effort to prosecute those responsible for the leaks, thus transforming it from a story about the hijacking of science for political profit into a story about the machinations of the vast right-wing conspiracy to, to, to . . . well, she wouldnt have said to tell the truth, but you can see where her story is going. (Heres a question for call-me-Senator Boxer: why is Daniel Ellsberg a hero for leaking some top-secret Pentagon documents to The New York Times, thus compromising national security, while those who have just blown the whistle on what is perhaps the most egregious example of scientific fraud in our time are guilty of being traitors to the Progressive Cause?)

On the other hand, had the emails been leaked even a few days later, public outrage at the fraud might not have built to a sufficiently furious crescendo, which it certainly has done. Your proverbial man in the street has a lot of respect for scientists, i.e., those who pursue the truth about the natural world wherever it may lead. Part of the cost of that respect, however, is the fact that, once violated, it never recovers. The blow just delivered to the Climate Carbon Concession is devastating. The full extent of the damage has not yet been tabulated: indeed, it has not yet been fully experienced. The loss of credibility is spreading and accelerating. People are beginning to ask all sorts of embarrassing questions. Why, for example, should they give up incandescent light bulbs, which shed a pleasing light, for the Eastern European Cold War fluorescent bulbs that flicker for a few seconds after you flip the light switch and then yield a dim, scrofulous, sickly glow? It was supposed to be “for the environment.” But what if the environment doesnt give a damn. (Except, what about all that mercury in the fluorescent bulbs?)