And it has only become much, much, much worse since.
Jonathan Chait does a little bit of the Herculean task of intellectual garbage collection:
Carbon Emissions Are Rising, So Let’s Ignore Al Gore!: Much like the alternative energy field, the climate skeptic field is competitive, entrepreneurial, and constantly pushing the cutting edge. Venture capitalists like the Koch brothers have seeded numerous innovators, who are all discovering new methods previously unimaginable. Today's Wall Street Journal has an op-ed by Robert Bryce, offering up new arguments against climate science that truly advance the frontiers of climate science denial.
Bryce argues that Al Gore, and his scientist buddies, have failed because carbon emissions are rising:
The carbon taxers/limiters have lost. Carbon-dioxide emissions have been the environmental issue of the past decade. Over that time period, Al Gore became a world-renowned figure for his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," for which he won an Oscar. In 2007, he, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), collected a Nobel Peace Prize for "informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change." That same year, the IPCC released its fourth assessment report, which declared that "most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions." ...
Here's a reality check: During the same decade that Mr. Gore and the IPCC dominated the environmental debate, global carbon-dioxide emissions rose by 28.5 percent.
This is kind like like arguing, in 1949, that since Winston Churchill started warning about the Iron Curtain, the USSR has expanded its control over Eastern Europe, so let's ignore that blowhard. Listening to him has gotten us nowhere!
Even more imaginative is this:
The science is not settled, not by a long shot. Last month, scientists at CERN, the prestigious high-energy physics lab in Switzerland, reported that neutrinos might—repeat, might—travel faster than the speed of light. If serious scientists can question Einstein's theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth's atmosphere.
People have made versions of this argument before, but always as a reductio ad absurdum of climate science skeptics. The argument goes like this: We can't be completely sure about any scientific conclusion, not even the theory of relativity, so we might as well listen to the best scientific conclusions available. Bryce starts down that path, but veers off: Since we can't be sure of any science, let's ignore climate science. He doesn't seem to realize he's made the case for ignoring all science.
I have an idea — why don't you jump out your window? We can't be completely sure about the theory of gravity!
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?