- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 15, 2000

Al Gore does not believe in global warming. Yes, Gore wrote a book called “Earth in the Balance: Ecology in the Human Spirit,” that was a call to arms against global warming. Yes, the book warned that without drastic changes, America's children might face “a decade without winter.”

Yes, he warned that global warming could cause floods and countless deaths. And: “We now know that (cars') cumulative impact on the global environment is posing a mortal threat to the security of every nation that is more deadly than that of any military enemy we are ever again likely to confront.”

Indeed, Gore wrote that saving the planet “is in one way more difficult than the struggle to vanquish Hitler” and likened those who called for caution in meeting the problem to Hitler appeaser Neville Chamberlain. President Clinton ceded environmental issues to Gore. Whenever there was a natural disaster, Gore ran to the scene with a worried I-told-you-so look and wag of the finger … whether the catastrophe involved floods, droughts or wildfires. (No wonder Gore thought he ran into fire-ravaged Texas with FEMA Director James Lee Witt. It's not like him to miss a good disaster photo op.)

In 1997, Gore helped negotiate an international treaty in Kyoto that would require the United States to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 93 percent of 1990 levels by 2012. “The imperative here is to do what we promise, rather than to promise what we cannot do,” Gore said at the time. It was an odd statement, coming from a man who had just negotiated a treaty that exempted developing nations … even though the Senate had voted 95-0 to oppose said provision before Gore's plane took off. No surprise, Clintonia has not sought treaty ratification in the Senate.

It now appears that in Goredom, Neville Chamberlain wasn't such a bad chap after all. Gore and Clinton have been the very model of what the “Earth in the Balance” authors dismissed as environmental appeasers when it comes to dealing with that pernicious enemy, the automobile.

American cars offered greater fuel efficiency under President Reagan, despite older technology, than they do under this ostensibly enlightened administration. Yet, no plan to fight global warming can succeed without reducing American consumption of oil.

When they ran for office in 1992, Clinton and Gore promised to raise fuel efficiency standards to 40 to 45 miles per gallon. Gore today promises a standard of 60 miles per gallon, which would require the average car to be smaller than the Ford Escort. That's some pledge from the enviro-guru, who has failed to end the exemption for sport utility vehicles from the federal fuel-efficiency standard … even before the GOP won the House. Rather than regulate Detroit's Big Three, the administration has given some $1.5 billion to DaimlerChrylser, Ford and General Motors to develop technologies for more fuel-efficient cars. Thus, the administration has been throwing money at the Big Three while they reap profits churning out gas guzzlers.

G ore has disappointed environmentalists by refusing to call for increased gasoline taxes. He has told environmental groups that the bid for an energy tax was lost in 1993, and that's that.

Then, there was his part in pushing the president to release part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves. If Gore really believed in global warming, he would not want to lower fuel prices. As he wrote in his book, “the unrestrained burning of cheap fossil fuels has many ferocious defenders,” but he would not be one of them. Higher fuel prices constitute “one of the logical first steps in changing our policies in a manner consistent with a more responsible approach to the environment.”

Gore, the enviro-author, dismissed global-warming nonbelievers as industry- bought charlatans. He raged at the notion that global warming might be benign. He called for an all-out effort to fight this threat to Mother Earth.

But if he truly believed that his children might live a decade without winter, if he truly thought that countless lives could be lost from inevitable natural disasters, he could not possibly support cheap gasoline and gas-guzzling SUVs. Politicians, after all, may settle for compromises and policies that they may not see as serving the public interest, but few readily make concessions that they believe could cost widespread death and destruction.

One can only assume, then, that Gore does not believe in global warming.

Hypocrisy is not the issue. Yes, it is hypocritical of Gore to pose as both an environmental savior and a champion of cheaper gasoline, but that's not the worst of it. The sad fact is that if Al Gore doesn't believe in his own signature cause, then he probably doesn't believe in anything.


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