This is an excellent review of the recent film by Al Gore about global warming which peels away the political posturing while presenting some cogent questions.
An Inconvenient Truth
By James Bowman Published 5/31/2006 12:02:22 AM
The American Spectator
It's true that I am a natural skeptic about prophecies of doom from scientists and other experts. And if the media buy into these prophecies and make them the subject of endless scare stories -- as they did about "the population explosion" some years ago, before it became clear that it would be population implosion we had to worry about -- I am even more likely to set my face against them. But the real clincher, I don't mind telling you, and the thing that is sure to persuade me there is nothing to worry about, is the presence of Al Gore as the pitchman for the apocalypse....
I am not a scientist and am unqualified to offer an opinion on the science that he uses to prove his point. As far as it goes, it sounds as persuasive to me as it was meant to sound. But it doesn't go very far. For even if we accept that the science of man-made global warming is air-tight, there are only three questions about it that matter, politically speaking. They are these. How much of a difference in the worldwide rise of atmospheric and oceanic temperatures can we make by our political choices? What are the choices available to us? And how much will those choices cost us? The former vice president deals with none of these questions in any serious way. Instead, he adopts the currently fashionable technique -- which is unfortunately not limited to cinematic entertainments -- of simply ridiculing the choices of the morons in power.
Do you suppose it's merely coincidental that millions of others join the speaker in believing that he should be sitting where the moron-in-chief sits?
As to how much of a difference we can make, he gives us none of the science on that point. Bjorn Lomborg's calculation that the implementation of the Kyoto accords, the great shibboleth of the global-warming lobby, would at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars a year only postpone the temperature rise over the next century by six years may be wrong, but Mr. Gore never mentions that calculation, let alone demonstrates its error. Presumably, his performance has been so winning, the sympathy we owe him for his personal griefs and disappointments so great, that he doesn't have to. Similarly, the only choices he mentions are but marginally political ones. We can make a difference, he says, by buying more energy efficient light bulbs or recycling. We could also raise the CAFE standards for car manufacturers. But how much of a difference these things would make is not mentioned. Nor are the choices that would make the biggest difference, namely a carbon tax and the construction of new nuclear power-generating plants.
Most importantly, the question of cost is treated with a scandalous lack of seriousness. Indeed, the very idea that there could be any cost, any trade-off between American or world prosperity and an environmentally clear conscience is described as a "false choice." Handsome Al at his most engaging stands grinning before a comic graphic of a scale. On one side of the scale are piled up gold bars, on the other side -- planet earth. Would we sell our whole planet for any number of bars of gold? Of course not! Where would we live? See how easy it all is? You'd have to be a moron not to understand it.