The U.S. has long been seen as a big part of the problem as it relates to global warming. The U.S. failure to sign the Kyoto Protocol agreement was viewed in some quarters as an example of the U.S. not living up to its responsibility in combating global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. The thinking was that the other developed countries were taking the lead while the U.S. just sat on the sidelines.

This allowed Western Europe and Australia the opportunity to implement and evaluate many of the policies that the U.S. is just now contemplating. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill is just now being advanced in Congress (see “Climate Bill Passes House; Heads To Senate” elsewhere in this issue), while Europe is evaluating its cap-and-trade schemes.

What Europe is learning from its experience is that emissions did not decline, but the standards of living did decline, and economic growth was harmed. Plus, there’s the disconcerting fact among global-warming believers that despite an increase in greenhouse gases the earth has not been warming like the models all predicted.

Meanwhile, in Australia, people are beginning to question the validity of the hype and the ramifications of implementing such a radical environmental agenda. While the U.S. seems to be rushing to a party that it feels guilty for missing, the rest of the world seems to be on the verge of leaving the party early.

Certainly environmentalism remains the number-one transforming movement in the free world, and its attack on industrialized civilization and modern agriculture has not waned. But, the opposition that has largely remained silent or rendered impotent seems to be wakening and gaining momentum.

What Europe and Australia have learned is that the so-called solutions haven’t had an effect on the climate, but they have raised costs, disrupted society, raised taxes, lowered standards of living and hurt their economies. But the real change in these countries is that – unlike in the U.S. where anyone who dares to question the value of these environmental programs is seen as a heretic – it’s becoming acceptable to hear out the critics, fairly examine the data, and openly debate the global warming issue. In other words, true “science” is slowly but surely gaining acceptance in the public realm.

In his new book, “Heaven and Earth, Global Warming: The Missing Science,” noted Australian scientist Ian Plimer points out: "To reduce modern climate change to one variable, CO2, of a small proportion of one variable human-induced is not science. To try to predict the future based on just one variable (CO2) in extraordinarily complex natural systems is folly." Not surprisingly, the computer modeling that has provided the basis for global warming is proving out to be fatally and fundamentally flawed.

It is striking that leading climate change proponents overseas are now admitting that they may have allowed ideology to override scientific evidence. We’re not to that point in the U.S. yet, where the legitimacy of the climate dogma can be evaluated in a scientific manner, but if it’s happening overseas there is hope here.

Separating the science from the propaganda marks a significant shift for the green movement. Sure, the discussions should have taken place a long time ago, but if environmentalism moves away from being a new religion toward simply being a part of policy and scientific discovery, then it might actually earn the moral certainty that it began with.