The Wall Street Journal editorial page — in contrast to their news dept., which is still top notch — is a notorious den of hackery. So when I first read this editorial, my reaction was … eh. It’s a farrago of fusty flat-earth falsehoods. Every right-wing talking point on climate science is unimaginatively passed along, without any sign of awareness that each of them has been carefully and repeatedly debunked.

The folks over at the invaluable RealClimate have done the yeoman’s work of putting together a detailed, point-by-point rebuttal. They leave the editorial a smoking pile of rubble, but if you’d like to read a few people kick it while it’s down, you can check out David Appell, Media Matters, Chris Mooney, and Tim Lambert.

For my part, I more or less agree with Appell: The editorial is a sign of desperation. It’s a sign that flat-earthism on climate is becoming less and less acceptable in polite circles. Note the tone of baffled umbrage:

Recall that as recently as 1997 the Senate voted 95-0 for the Byrd-Hagel Resolution assailing Kyoto’s provisions. Bill Clinton never even brought the Protocol up for a vote. But all of a sudden such limits are said to be a political "inevitability" in a Republican Senate. Energy Chairman Pete Domenici says he’s open to the John McCain-Joe Lieberman mini-Kyoto, and New Mexico Democrat Jeff Bingaman is proposing an amendment that would impose even stricter limits on fossil fuel use.

Ah, the plaintive sound of being left behind.