Al Gore picked a bad day to tout his global-warming scam. Just as he was telling an easily conned columnist for the Associated Press that Earthlings have just 10 years to get in line behind him to save the world from the frying pan, a consortium of 50,000 physicists conceded that maybe Al’s evidence of man-made warming isn’t so hot, after all.
Al, who confuses the hot air of flatulent cows, forgetting to turn out the lights and fumes from cars and trucks with the hot air he contributes himself, now wants to abandon coal-fired generation of electricity and turn to the impractical, the fanciful and the harebrained. It won’t cost but $3 trillion, lot of could be, possibly and maybe for a lot of zeroes.
Al is green down to his skivvies. But most of his advice is for everyone else. He likes the extravagant life of the grasshopper, and if the ants will only work harder he can continue to burn through enough energy at his Nashville mansion to light six typical homes of worker ants. You have to wonder what Al and Tipper are doing behind those closed doors to use up so much energy, and at their age, too.
The American Physical Society, which represents those 50,000 physicists, is actually showing a little humility in the face of accumulating evidence that they’ve been wrong about global warming. The society not so long ago said the evidence of man as wastrel abuser of Earth was “incontrovertible.” Now the evidence is beginning to look “controvertible” after all. Al and his friends have sold fearful politicians, including both Barack Obama and John McCain, the notion that society as we know it must be sacrificed to a severe and joyless life for everyone else. They argue that the debate over global warming - or “climate change,” in the new euphemism - is over and some of the global-warming red-hots even want to make skepticism illegal. Skepticism is immoral, some of the loudest preachers now say, and Al looks as if indulging profligacy may be fattening, too.
But the times, they are a-changing. “There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the conclusion that anthropogenic C02 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the industrial revolution,” Jeffrey Marque, editor of a forum of the physicists’ society, says. Shorn of euphemy, that means that Al’s a fraud and the skeptics were right.
Al and his friends dread public acknowledgment that the “debate” over global warming has been a sham. Al’s only effort to actually debate anyone is hardly willingness to argue: “Shut up,” he explained.
The physicists are trying to open the debate with the publication of a learned paper that concludes that “climate sensitivity,” a measurement of the rate of change caused by greenhouse gas, has been greatly exaggerated. The author of the paper, Lord Monckton of Brenchley, makes the commonsensical argument that nature is the villain, if we must have a villain. “In the past 70 years,” told the online journal DailyTech, “the sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years.” Lord Monckton, who was science adviser to the British administrations of Margaret Thatcher, notes that Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon and Pluto warmed over this period in the same way as Earth. So why is Al Gore making so much noise about Earth? Why hasn’t he inquired how Pluto is going to the dogs, or who’s spoiling Neptune’s moon?
Al identifies with moons. He cites John F. Kennedy’s pledge in 1961 - which JFK redeemed even if he didn’t live to see it - to send a man to the moon within a decade as the inspiration to make the America safe for windmills and ocean waves within 10 years. If we don’t do as Al says, and cut out the consumption of oil, we’ll continue to be hostages of hostile Arabs and mad mullahs. But like most green fanatics, he has nothing nice to say about nuclear energy, the obvious way to reduce consumption of oil, foreign or domestic. Al prefers pie in the sky: solar, wind and geothermal generation of energy, which is nice but not yet practical.
Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, a Republican, is not impressed. “We could put windmills from the Atlantic to the Pacific and it will increase the production of carbon-free energy production, but the fact of the matter is it’s not going to get the job done.” But Al Gore is living proof that talking about it is a nice living.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Times.