EDITORIAL: Al Gore, soothsayer

Ice caps are still there, and hurricanes haven’t blown us away

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Five years ago, Al Gore predicted the North Pole’s ice cap would become a fond memory, a casualty of the raging inferno of global warming. The “entire North Polar ice cap will be gone in five years,” he solemnly told a German TV audience.

Mr. Gore’s deadline has passed, and neither Santa Claus, Rudolph and the other reindeer, nor the polar bears are looking for a life raft. There were 7.3 million square miles of Arctic ice on Dec. 7, 2008. Fast-forward five years, and there are still 7.3 million square miles of Arctic ice, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This figure does go up and down with a natural cycle of melting and freezing, but the total today is within 5 percent of what it has been for the past 30 years.

“Everything will be fine” hardly makes an attention-grabbing prognostication, and Mr. Gore is unmatched at channeling outrageous prophecies into cash. His prophecies are always wrong, but like every good snake-oil salesman, he hops the next freight and keeps the cash. He even won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his slideshow-turned-movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” given for his “efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundation for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”

The Nobel Committee forgot to follow up to verify whether Mr. Gore was right. Indeed, some still refuse to even admit the possibility that the former vice president’s premonitions have been off base. The Los Angeles Times, for example, by policy won’t publish letters to the editor that question man-made global warming. Too bad. Such questioning is essential.

In “The Inconvenient Truth,” the country’s foremost doomsayer warned that the world’s sea levels would rise 20 feet as a result of the polar ice melting. We presume that the former senator will “revise and extend” his remarks on that one, too, since the ice melt simply isn’t happening.

The American Geophysical Union last week noted that NASA satellite measurements of temperatures at the South Pole recorded a bone-crushing minus-135.3 degrees Fahrenheit on July 31, just a half-degree short of the record set a few years earlier. The penguins aren’t drowning, either.

Mr. Gore saw dire portents in the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Two weeks after the storm hit, Mr. Gore announced that “the scientific community is warning us that the average hurricane will continue to get stronger because of global warming.”

Wrong again. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ended Nov. 30, was the meekest since 1982. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noted that “no major hurricanes formed in the Atlantic basin [for the] first time since 1994.” This was despite 19 additional years with carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere.

Mr. Gore clearly is no Nostradamus. So we’ll try. We predict that five years hence, the Earth will still be here, and so will Al, awash in cool cash from frightened people who, sadly, don’t know any better.

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