It's not clear what Al Gore has been doing the past three months since the Climate-gate scientific fraud scandal broke--perhaps doing a bit of inter-planetary travel or hanging out in a remote cave discussing how to deindustrialize America with his fellow global warming alarmist, Usama bin Laden. No matter, Gore has returned to his global warming crusade with an op-ed in the Sunday New York Times. And what an op-ed! "We can't wish away climate change" is nearly 1900 words, or about three times the length of most op-eds. Unfortunately, the leader of the forces of darkness hasn't learned a thing during his mysterious sabbatical.
Gore begins by claiming that "it would be an enormous relief" if global warming turned out not to be a crisis. This is undoubtedly true for most people, but Gore can't resist piling on: "I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion." Oh, really? Can anyone believe that the man who has remade himself from losing presidential candidate into the savior of the planet wants it all to go away? Can we believe those words from the same man who stands to make hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars from investments in green technology if energy-rationing policies are enacted? Would he give back his Oscar and his Nobel Peace Prize?
In his op-ed Gore then summarizes Climate-gate as "the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." Yes, at least two mistakes. One mistake that he doesn't mention is the systematic manipulation of data in order to make the 1930s and 40s appear cooler and the 1990s and 2000s warmer in the surface temperature record. Another is the conspiracy to cover up the Medieval Warm Period with the infamous “hockey stick” graph. Gore also fails to mention that Professor Phil Jones, the central figure in Climate-gate, conceded in a recent interview that there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995.
For Gore, the scientific case for alarmism is exactly as it was before Climate-gate, except that it's "clearer and clearer" that things are actually worse than scientists thought. This is a refrain Gore trots out every few months, and it is the main reason he continues to lose credibility.
From misrepresenting the science Gore moves on to describe the political obstacles to global energy rationing. He correctly summarizes the obstacles as formidable, but can't resist telling another tall tale. He claims that China "had privately signaled last year that if the United States passed meaningful legislation, it would join in serious efforts to produce an effective treaty" in Copenhagen. But when the Senate failed to pass cap-and-trade, "the Chinese balked." This "private signal" is sheer fantasy. The Chinese government has made it clear in the most direct, undiplomatic language at every international global warming pow-wow for years that they will not commit to mandatory emissions reductions.
Gore concludes with a long, incoherent rant about why he and his fellow doomsters have so far failed. It all started with the fall of communism. This allowed "market fundamentalists" to convince ignorant voters that, "laws and regulations interfering with the operations of the market carried a faint odor of the discredited statist adversary we had just defeated."
So what is to be done? Here Gore becomes totally unglued. "...[W]hat is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption." The point about a regime of laws in particular and politics in general is that they cannot be instruments of human redemption. Gore's global “Salvationism” (to use English economist David Henderson's insightful term) is not far removed from the totalitarianism of communism – or worse -- as he makes clear in his 1992 book, “Earth in the Balance.”
And where does Gore put his hopes for human redemption? Hilariously, Gore is counting on Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), who may release a draft energy-rationing bill this week that Gore hopes "will place a true cap on carbon emissions."
This shows that Gore can still get a laugh now and then, but he's become another illustration of the old adage that even the best vaudeville acts eventually wear out. It's time for Al Gore to hang up the soft shoes and shuffle off the stage.
Myron Ebell is director of Freedom Action and an occasional contributor to the Fox Forum.