One overlooked reason why climate alarmism became irresistible to otherwise smart and successful people was the role played by Stanford University.
On the one hand, Stanford University has been the center of Silicon Valley and the alma mater of many extremely successful and wealthy Internet and computing pioneers: Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google), Vinod Khosla and Andy Bechtolsheim (SUN, investing), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Jerry Yang and David Filo (Yahoo), William Hewlett and David Packard (HP), Vint Cerf (“father of the Internet”), Peter Thiel (PayPal) and many others.
On the other hand, among American universities Stanford was the most rabid nest of the warmist pseudo-science, apparently centered around Stephen Schneider. (Today these dubious distinctions are probably held by Penn State and Michael Mann, respectively.) Paul Ehrlich and Donald Kennedy were among his colleagues. Donald Kennedy also served as president of Stanford University, until got caught in “financial irregularities”.
These developments were unrelated. The Internet and computing pioneers studied computer science, electrical engineering and/or business, while the warmists were affiliated with biology and/or environmental studies. Nevertheless, the latter successfully leveraged the Stanford brand and the trust of its alumni to brainwash them and others into their alarmist faith.
Steven Chu, a former Chair of the Physics Department at Stanford, is an interesting crossbreed between the two groups. He was a Nobel Laureate in physics, but also a corrupt and incompetent Secretary of Energy in the Obama administration, and a devoted warmist.