Braunholtz: Gore’s vindicated now
Vail CO, Colorado
It’s ironically pleasurable to see Al Gore winning a Nobel Prize for his persistent work in making the world notice the threats that global warming poses.
There’s been the predictable outcry from the climate-change skeptics but finally the public sees most of this lot as the petulant flat-earth whackos they are. True skepticism is good because it challenges assumptions and motivates a better understanding of the issues, but these vocal climate change deniers give skeptics a bad name.
Recently an economist from the Hudson Institute deliberately misinterpreted published research to support his head-in-the-sand viewpoint. So much so that some of the scientists he lists want off ” accusing him of “dishonest,” “cynical,” “mendacious,” and “misrepresentations” of their findings and views. This is water off a ducks back to a spin doctor who cares only for his point of view, no matter how factually untenable. I think he defended his mangling of the scientists views and research with “I carefully avoided saying that you agree with our interpretations.”
Read the fine print before you buy a used car from the Hudson Institute.
Still it’s fun to see to see deniers struggle as public opinion casts them off to the wasteland of irrelevance ” a place Al Gore has found himself from time to time.
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George Bush derogatorily referred to him as “Ozone Man.” Really, it’s a back-handed compliment to Al Gore’s knowledge and foresight as he helped enact a ban on CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons), which were destroying the ozone layer. This ban has worked, saving the ozone layer and us from our own ignorance. It’s a global success story that suggests a progressive cap on greenhouse gases is needed to compliment any CO2 trading policies.
Gore’s never been afraid to look to the future even when it was unfashionable. In the manufactured unquestioning gung-ho fervor before the Iraq war he gave an anti-war speech that is now eerily prescient in predicting the disaster that Iraq has become.
Apparently not one to let the state of Florida’s inability to run or count an election fairly get him down, Gore’s now got an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize. I can’t help but wonder what George W. Bush would’ve achieved if the roles would’ve been reversed. Thanks to the Florida election, Bush and Gore will be forever linked. The worse either one did the better the other would look. GW looks to be on course to win the anti-Nobel Peace Prize though, especially if Iran is next in line.
This can be seen as sour grapes, but it’s also a lesson for the future and our fondness to vote for those “aw shucks” good guys with which we’d like to have a beer. I’ve heard that President Bush is a likeable, decent and fun guy to hang out with. Still, many of the guys I enjoy drinking with I wouldn’t want to drive my car ” let alone the country.
Recent Peace Prizes have gone to people who’ve tried to prevent conflict. Global warming will create civil and full-on wars if it increases drought and famine. The conflict in Darfur, Sudan is partly the result of a long drought with different farming and herding cultures struggling for the same water. A rebel movement broke out and the government armed the herders to suppress it.
The developed world is providing two factors that have the capacity to undermine any country, let alone struggling ones, with weak ” at best ” governments and institutions. Climate-change-induced famine and lots of guns are not a good mix.
The north Atlantic nations look to get into a serious argument themselves over the thawing Northwest Passage through Canada and polar resources as the Arctic ice cap disappears.
Hopefully Al Gore can use the publicity of the prize and those “running for president?” rumors to keep the desire for action on greenhouse gases growing. At some point in time we’ll leave the internal combustion engine behind ” as his book predicted long ago. Pity we’ve wasted so much time realizing that.
Alan Braunholtz of Vail writes a biweekly column for the Daily. Send comments or questions to email@example.com.