- - Thursday, September 5, 2013

Al Gore’s multimillion-dollar scheme to persuade the world that global warming is about to boil, fry or saute us all is disappearing faster than an ice cube on the sidewalk on a summer day.

The former vice president reached the peak of his popularity with the 2006 release of his Oscar-winning scare-film “An Inconvenient Truth,” for which he was hailed as a genius and basked in A-list status at Hollywood soirees. He wasted no time on his return to the spotlight and founded the Climate Reality Project, a group to spread the word about an imminent planetary cataclysm that could only be averted by adopting his agenda. That’s the scheme melting now.

Al collected $87.4 million in donations in 2008, and the website BuzzFeed reports that once it caught fire, he could spend nearly $30 million annually on television commercials and grass-roots operations. It even conned some conservatives, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Rev. Pat Robertson, to appear in television commercials. Mr. Gingrich, sadder but wiser, later called the commercial the “dumbest thing I’ve done in the last four years.”

In hindsight, perhaps the Climate Reality Project wasn’t such a scorcher of an idea after all. By 2011, receipts had fallen 80 percent, to $17.6 million. Even wealthy liberals aren’t terminally stupid. Wallets and purses snapped shut as reality arrived and the promised cataclysmic warming never happened.

The scorekeepers of global-warming alarmism, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, is about to release its fifth Assessment Report, which is said to admit that the planet has been cooling, not warming. A leaked draft version of the report concedes the very inconvenient truth, and casts doubt on the claim that man plays a role in triggering “extreme weather.”

The U.N. forgot to send an advance copy of the findings to Mr. Gore. On Thursday, the Nobel Peace Prize winner pointed to dramatic photographs of wildfires in Yosemite National Park, as if the arid Western region had never burned prior to the Industrial Revolution. “As temps rise,” Mr. Gore tweeted, “fires are becoming worse and worse across our country.” Actually, the fires are doing no such thing.

This wildfire season has been the weakest in at least a decade, according to statistics provided by the National Fire Information Center. There were 83,919 blazes in the first nine months of the year that Mr. Gore was the toast of Tinseltown. So far this year, there have only been 35,566 fires, down dramatically from the usual. The total number of scorched acres is down 38 percent from the 10-year average of 6.2 million acres.

Facts aren’t likely to deter Mr. Gore’s diehard fans. They’re the loyal sort who will stand up and say he did, so, invent the Internet, and he really was the inspiration for the insipid movie “Love Story.” The groupies will keep mailing in the donations, and so will the crony-capitalist “green” companies, which would profit handsomely if Mr. Gore’s dreams and schemes should become actual policy. The cash will keep the incandescent lights on in the Gore house of many mansions, but it won’t be enough to restore his credibility. Since the planet hasn’t been warming at all, it’s only a matter of time before the public catches on and good ol’ Al and his schemes will be put permanently on ice.