>we see how the Green movement has adapted their strategies, successfully saving that CO2 theory from the dustbin, polishing it up good, and presenting it to a new generation of suckers
>In fact a lot of them don't WANT it replaced.
First things first, I agree with you. Many Greens have an entirely different viewpoint on how we should go about living our life (or how many humans should be here) and would love to impose their views on everyone else. I'll add that, as time goes on, I find Greens have outlived their usefulness as canaries as in the coalmine and are massively messing things up when they decide on policy. Witness the mess that $100B+ of electricity subsidies have made to German CO2 emissions actually increasing.
In short, I don't like Greens very much.
What I am curious about, in your version of the "big sell" is why other people, including people who do not share the green viewpoint, are suckered in and go along? Why are they buying into the sell? Especially if the findings are inconvenient and annoying, such as limiting their air travel? These are rational people, able to look at data just as well as yourself.
It's a bit like Holocaust denial (a subject on which debate should _not_ be suppressed). Why did the Germans willingly accept the role of scapegoats? What's in it for them, in this big conspiracy? It might have been imposed on them in 1945, but now??? Occam's razor argues for it actually happening rather a massive cover-up.
Second, let's dig into the oft-repeated argument that climate scientists have a vested argument in promoting spending on climate change research.
But, why is it that very little serious, peer-reviewed science has debunked the AGW alarmists? There would be no lack of funding for someone with solid science to back up that humans are not causing a problem. Any oil company would love to throw money at them (and probably do). Yes, riding the AGW is a gravy train, but credible science against it would make any scientist into a top earner in that field. Take Bjørn Lomborg. He may not be popular (I actually respect his views), but you can't argue that his positions have resulted in professional failure and obscurity. Quite the opposite.
Scientists do often display a herd mentality, make mistakes and block out dissenting views. But science also has in-built mechanisms to correct for that - most scientists are willing to look at data that conflicts with their worldview and adjust. For examples of that, you can look at the early reception for the prion hypothesis in the mad cow disease scare. Or for the notion that bacteria cause stomach ulcers.
Why has that not happened?
Some folks insist on perfect climate science models. Guess what - not gonna happen. Science is most effective when working with either perfect equations (ex: physics), you have masses of standalone data or can repeat the same experiment multiple times. Either your equations are elegant or you can have statistics do the work for you. Faced with a one data-point system - we only have 1 Earth's weather to look at, looking at phenomena that is way beyond simple mathematics and lacking any way to re-run repeatable full-scale experiments, scientists have a fuzzier and harder time proving their hypotheses.
It won't be perfect first time and it might never be perfect at all. It'll be fuzzy, open to interpretation and based on consensus rather than certainties. That shouldn't be too hard to understand, should it?
What I am wondering about, if people like yourself and Bombastic Bob, are reasoning in good faith, is what would it take to change your mind? At what point would you look at the scientific consensus and say "you know what, this is happening, I've changed my mind".
Short of that, at what point would you be willing to say "geez, I dunno, but the risks if I am wrong are pretty big, so I'll just err on the side of caution"?
Is there such a point? More than anything else here, I am curious about that.
For me, I'd love to learn that we were wrong and we can go back to business as usual. CO2 is not a traditional pollutant, it's natural and it is not a toxic chemical. If it turns out not to cause warming, then why not enjoy life and go back to emitting lots of it? I certainly wouldn't mind and I believe that, on other aspects, we are less polluting now than in the 50s.