Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Guest Post by K MacGinn

Did you catch Al Gore on 60 Minutes last Sunday? (You can go here to watch the video and read the transcript.) The interview revealed that Gore has started a new advertising campaign to get out the word. He and his wife Tipper have invested $300 million, using money from his profits of the Oscar-winning movie "An Inconvenient Truth", as well as money from his Nobel Peace Prize. Along with the new spiffy campaign, done by the same advertising company known for its cute Geico commercials with the lizard and funny cavemen characters, Gore is re-packaging his agenda for Evangelical Christians, redefining global warming as a moral and spiritual issue. "We all share the exact same interest in doing the right thing on this. Who are we as human beings? Are we destined to destroy this place that we call home, planet earth? I can't believe that that's our destiny. It is not our destiny. But we have to awaken to the moral duty that we have to do the right thing and get out of this silly political game-playing about it. This is about survival," he said. Gore has redesigned his slide show to include Bible references.

I waited for it, and there it came through in the interview: He called me a "flat earther." Well, not directly to my face, but in the interview with Leslie Stahl, he said he believed that folks like me are a "tiny, tiny minority" and that those people we're like those who who believe the landing on the moon was staged and that the earth is flat.

"I think that those people are in such a tiny, tiny minority now with their point of view. They're almost like the ones who still believe that the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona and those who believe the earth is flat. That demeans them a little bit, but it's not that far off,
" Gore said. I'm glad to see that at least Gore worries that his calling me a flat earther might be demeaning. Too bad he isn't interested in forthright reporting of statistics, "consensus", and open debate.

"Consensus" is debatable.
I remember when that was all over the MSM summer 2006, while they promoted Gore and ideology but relegated Kim Jong Il's shenanigans to second- or third-story status. I laughed back then at the term "consensus." What the hell does THAT mean? That's pretty nebulous!

It seems that scientists at Germany's Institute of Coastal Research surveyed more than 500 of the world's leading climate scientists on issues related to global warming and found that less than half of the them agreed that the issue warranted being turned over to social scientists for policy discussion (source).

Ironically, and I'm sure much to the embarrassment of the global warming fear mongers, the same week that Gore launched his incredibly expensive public relations campaign, Tom Wigley, a lead author of the most recent IPCC report on the climate, came out and endorsed President Bush's approach to global warming, criticizing Gore's and the IPCC's plan.

Here's what Steven Milloy of JunkScience.com wrote (emphasis added):

In an article entitled "Dangerous Assumptions" published in Nature (April 3), Wigley writes that the technology challenge presented by the goal of stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations "has been seriously underestimated by the IPCC, diverting attention from policies that could directly stimulate technological innovation."

Wigley, a lead author of the most recent IPCC report, describes that document as relying on "unrealistic" and "unachievable" CO2 emissions scenarios -- even for the present decade.

For the period 2000-2010, the IPCC assumes that energy and fossil fuel efficiency is increasing. But Wigley points out that in recent years both energy and fossil fuel efficiency have decreased, reversing the trend of previous decades.

One reason for this phenomenon, says Wigley, is the economic transformation occurring in the world, particularly in Asia. Whereas the IPCC assumes in its emissions scenarios that CO2 emissions in Asia are increasing by 2.6 percent to 4.8 percent annually, China's emissions are actually increasing at a rate of 11 percent to 13 percent annually.

"Because of these dramatic changes in the global economy, it is likely that we have only just begun to experience the surge in global energy use associated with rapid development. Such trends are in stark contrast to the optimism of the near-future IPCC projections and seem unlikely to alter course soon," writes Wigley.

As a consequence, "enormous advances in energy technology will be needed to stabilize atmospheric CO2 concentrations at acceptable levels," he concludes.

Wigley faults the IPCC for simply assuming that these technological advances will occur spontaneously as opposed to creating the conditions for innovation to occur.

Milloy continues on his article, asking whose plan better suits Wigley's recommendations: Gore's or Bush's? From his analysis, it appears that Gore's plans would simply shut down the current technology, whereas Bush has been endorsing development of better technology to solve the energy and climate problems.

What Gore has been pushing for:

• downsizing our lifestyles, e.g. taking colder showers, hanging our clothes outside to dry, avoiding driving, using less heating and air conditioning and generally reducing our standard of living.

• closing coal-fired power plants that provide 50 percent of U.S. electricity needs

• adopting so-called "clean energy technologies", such as cost-inefficient solar and wind power and hybrid cars, energy efficiency that only reduce energy use by marginal amounts, and government mandates for taxpayer-subsidized alternative energy sources

• more sidewalks and bike paths that hardly are a technological innovation that don't provide measurably more energy with fewer emissions.

What Bush has been promoting:

• Since 2005, technological development in the form of the Asian-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate Change. In this non-UN group, Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the U.S. have agreed to work together and with private sector partners to meet goals for energy security, national air pollution reduction, and climate change in ways that promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

• The Department of Energy recently pulled out of FutureGen, a public-private partnership to build a first-of-its-kind coal-fueled, near-zero emissions power plant. The ostensible reason for the federal pullout was the increasing cost of the $1.5 billion plant, most of which was to be borne by the government. But it may very well be that FutureGen was sacrificed as part of a a Bush administration effort to pressure Congress to take affirmative action on nuclear power, a true technological solution for concerns about atmospheric CO2.

• The Bush administration has avoided "the sort of futile mandatory clamp-down on CO2 emissions that is supported by Gore, but that Wigley realizes will be impossible to implement without halting vital economic growth."

I love how Milloy ends the article with joking about how one must feel sorry for Gore, being perhaps beaten again by Bush on his "own turf." But, following that, Milloy promptly illustrates the power that Gore's climate harem-scarem has and calls for him to take more effective and efficient action.

He writes:

Just last week, the UN's World Food Programme launched an "extraordinary emergency appeal" for donations of at least $500 million in the next four weeks to avoid rationing food aid in response to the spiraling cost of food -- a problem brought about in part by Gore's climate alarmism, which helped spur the lurch to biofuels like corn-based ethanol.

British billionaire Richard Branson, for example, credits Gore for pushing him to make a $3 billion pledge in 2006 to replace fossil fuels with biofuels. While campaigning in 2006 for Democratic senatorial candidate Amy Klobuchar, Gore asked, "What is so complicated about choosing fuel that comes from Minnesota farmers rather than from the Middle East?" while simultaneously asserting that Klobuchar would "provide leadership in the fight against global warming."

So, Al Gore, rather than wasting $300 million on a public relations campaign to promote an unrealistic and impractical approach to the dubious problem of manmade climate change, why not donate that money to the UN and help prevent real people from starving today?

Global Warming -- it's more good politics than it is good science. (I highly recommend checking out the resources at JunkScience.com.)

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