The bore of Al Gore

“So,” said Al Gore at the recent Bali, Indonesia, conference on global warming, “I am going to speak an inconvenient truth. My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali. We all know that.”

Well, no, Al, what we all know is that a sufficient degree of disloyalty, pomposity, vengefulness and incompetence can lead people to dismiss truths that don’t lend them credence.

And we know that one such truth in your case is that America is controlling its increases in greenhouse-gas emissions better than a long list of European and other Kyoto-signing poseurs. Another is that the objective the United States opposed at Bali was an immediate industrial-nation commitment to emission-reduction goals that could throttle economies and create vast misery if met. That would be anything but progress.

Look at an online White House recounting, and you’ll see why we’re accomplishing more than most others — a list of efforts that simply refutes the furled-brow moans and groans that the federal government has been sitting on its hands.

We have used both incentives and mandates to promote cleaner energy technology in no fewer than 60 programs. There have been significant loans and tax credits and other steps taken to assist in the future development of more nuclear power, which is be the single most important current alternative to fossil-fuel consumption, despite the superstitious hesitations of Gore-style greenies.

The United States is also working in a clean-air partnership that includes two countries that will soon be emitting more greenhouse gases than we are, India and China, as well as supplying most of the money for U.N. climate-change programs. Another international effort aims to capture methane emissions as an energy source.

Now maybe all of this — and there’s lots more — isn’t enough for Gore, but it is producing results, many of which could be important for anti-pollution, oil-conserving purposes beyond any possible curtailing of global warming, and we have meanwhile learned from the Kyoto Protocol that ill-considered grandiosity doesn’t produce anything but braggadocio about good intentions that pave the road to nowhere.

That treaty’s goals could worsen industrial economies, and even if Europeans and others were meeting them — most are not — their efforts wouldn’t reduce warming by much more than a smidgen by the calculations even of global-warming alarmists who adore the accord. The whole idea of Kyoto was to get something going and expand it gradually, which could mean long-lasting, job-depleting, poverty-increasing recession, if not a downright depression. Throw developing countries in the mix — the only way to make it work — and you could well be ensuring terrible human misery in the Third World for a long, long time. Want to starve children? Travel that route.

A reportedly impressive presentation by U.S. representatives at the Bali conference demonstrated that achieving new goals considered by some sufficient to make a difference would be breathtakingly gargantuan in the absence of new, reasonably inexpensive technologies, and here, surely, is where the alarmists should put their emphasis: technological research. If their dire prognostications are right, the only salvation will reside in coming up with answers we don’t now have. They can maybe make a case for adding some to fossil-fuel costs to better instigate innovation, but even this is politically very difficult even after pledges have been made — and perhaps unwarranted by the science.

Supposedly, there’s a “scientific consensus” that human-induced warming will deliver a series of enormous catastrophes if left untreated, but the extent of concurrence has never been what it has mostly been made out to be, and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has recently released a list of 400 of the growing number of reputable scientists from all over the world who have voiced serious doubts about one aspect or another of the thesis. Inhofe himself may have said some insupportable things on the subject, but it is not so easy to ignore the observations of these researchers.

Real progress in serving the welfare of humanity is not a matter of leaping and then looking more carefully later, or agreeing on a leap no one will ever be willing to make, but of taking reasonable, practical steps while all the time aiming to learn more. The U.S. record here is far better than many others, whatever Gore says.

(Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado. He can be reached at SpeaktoJay(at)aol.com.)

3 Responses to "The bore of Al Gore"

  1. Janice  December 21, 2007 at 9:04 am

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. We need more than good intentions to overcome the destruction we have unleased on our ecosystem. We need a leader to challenge we the people to tackle and overcome this challenge – and we need it now – not at some abstract point in the future that enables society to continue to poision its own environment in it’s never ending gluttony of resources. Ten or twenty years from now is not good enough to attempt to slow down global warming – we need it now. This lying administration – and those who support them, are guilty of the highest crimes against humanity. What stupid creatures that destroy their own environment – maybe they deserve extinction.
    If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.
    Mark Twain

  2. JoyfulC  December 21, 2007 at 10:44 am

    I believe that every move “for the environment” that this administration has made has actually been to the short-term benefit of business/industry at the long-term expense of the environment.

    Let’s face it: we’re dealing with some serious idealogists and elitists here. They don’t make choices based on evidence, but based on their ideology and that which will protect the status quo that’s currently serving them so well.

    When people listen to politicians spouting their religious convictions, we should stop and ask ourselves what their religion has to say about certain issues. Let’s examine a couple:

    1) Israel. What does the Christian religion see as the outcome for Israel? That it will eventually negotiate a situation that will allow it to coexist in peace and prosperity with its neighbours in the region? Not hardly. I believe the Christian script for Israel involves a horrific consuming war in which only those Jews who convert to Christianity will be saved (and even that, not in this lifetime?). So bearing this in mind, do you think we have a better chance for promoting Middle East peace by electing a Christian who firmly believes that it’s simply not in the script? Or someone whose beliefs allow for the possibility of peace, prosperity and a future for Israel and its neighbours? At the very least, I think we’d do best with someone who sticks to applying his or her religious convictions to him- or herself, and takes a secular approach to public service.

    (Imagine that! Politicians who apply their religious convictions to matters such as whether they personally should take a bribe or be fair and ethical, rather than whether gays should marry or women should be allowed to choose abortion. … nah! it’ll never happen! ;-)

    2) The environment. Again, what do Christians believe? Apparently they believe that god made this planet on a whim and that “he” (being the model for us emotional and capricious humans) intends to destroy it by fire eventually anyway. And don’t most Christians view that eventuality as something better happening sooner than later? So if the planet and world as we know it is disposable to a Christian god — here for a good time, not a long time — if destroying the earth is actually part of god’s masterplan, then how could we ever expect any person who wears their Christianity on his or her sleeve to take much interest in environmental issues?

    You see why I get the willies when I hear politicians thumping the religion drum??

    Then let’s examine the elitist angle. The reliance on fossil fuels and out-of-control materialism and energy consumption has made them wealthy and powerful and keeps them wealthy and powerful. Say this global warming thing is for real — what are they looking at?

    Any choices they make to reverse the trend will (at this time anyway) involve their forfeiting some wealth and power. Not an agreeable alternative for them, I’m sure.

    But if they do nothing (… except maybe try to muddy the waters, confuse people, discredit anyone threatening their status quo in an effort to stall any remedial action), while the planet may undergo terrible changes that severely impact all life forms on it, their wealth and power just might give them the tools to survive the worst of it. And generations down the road, when the pressure is off from over-population and the planet starts to come back, their offspring will have survived to inherit it.

    If you were in their shoes, what would you do?

    Unless and until enough of us learn to stand up to the idealogists and elitists — and especially to stop them from using their power and wealth (which they got by exploiting others in the first place!) against us — unless and until enough of us can do that, the writing is on the wall for this planet.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m no great fan of Al Gore’s. But I don’t think much of Jay Ambrose either.

  3. Pablo  December 21, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Is this author some relative of george bush?

    One of the most disconcerting things to me regarding the U.S. and global warming is the total lack of concern and unwillingness to do anything by the US citizenry. I know very few people, including many self-proclaimed liberals who claim concern about global climate change, who try to lower their consumption of electricity by turning off lights when not in use (they seem to think electricity comes from a wire, not from burning coal), not using elevators when there are stairs, turning down their heaters, turning up or off their air conditioners, etc…Also, look at the humungous homes being built for wealthy americans to live in–these people consume well over double what is necessary. This should be illegal. And look at the cars most americans use–90% of the gas-guzzling SUVs out there are used by people who don’t need them, unless you consider keeping up with the environmentally-destructive Jones’s a necessity. This should also be illegal, and not in year 2020, but NOW! How pathetic we are that it is prestigious to damage the environment and leave nothing for our children! And it is not just SUVs, but most people now drive big cars and big cars = big consumption = more heat-trapping carbon in the atmosphere. And the fools won’t change ’til the government makes them do it, simply pathetic.

    Also, think about the damn wars the US public continues to support, and the massive amount of carbon that is being put into the atmosphere, all so we can assure that we will continue to have cheap SUV fuel. And yes, we do continue to support the wars, as shown by around half the voters supporting warmonging repugnicans, and half the democrats supporting hillary, who has supported the war all along and has no plan for withdrawal. In addition, she is threatening Iran with war, even with nukes (‘all options are on the table’), and half the democrats support her. 70% of the public claim to be against the war, but actions speak louder than words.

    I do agree with one thing the author said, and that is that the main solution is to find alternative energy solutions. This is especially necessary since, as mr dick said, our way of life is not up for negotion. Most people won’t come right out and say it, but their actions show it; most are not willing to do anything to assure a life of security and happiness for future generations. Imagine if we closed all our military bases and quit spending 40% (correct my figure if I’m wrong) of our budget on war and destruction and spent that $ on research, how fast we could resolve the issues. But how is this ever going to happen if US citizens are totally unwilling to look in the mirror?

    Let’s face it, we are pigs, and authors like this making justification after justification for us just encourages further american gluttony, greed and apathy. Shame on Jay!

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