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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Macleans: Al Gore's tenuous grasp on the 'truth'

Just inside the front cover, on page 4 of the May 14, 2007 issue of Maclean's magazine appears this photo of the Goracle with an interesting caption:

GORE BLASTED the Tories' green plan, but it includes almost every remedy that he calls for
The editorial that follows is called "Al Gore's tenuous grasp on the 'truth'" (sorry, it doesn't appear to be available on-line yet, but the print version of the magazine is available now and I've copied it here):
Of all the memorable scenes in Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth, it's hard to forget his forecast on rising oceans.

The collapse of the Greenland ice sheet at the hands of global warming will increase worldwide sea levels by nearly seven metres, Gore states. He sketches out the impact this will have: India and Bangladesh will be inundated. Forty million people will be displaced around Shanghai. Florida will all but disappear. Most cruel of all, however, is the effect on New York City. His graphics then show a blue tide of water slowly swallowing up city streets. "This is what would happen to Manhattan. They [scientists] can measure this precisely." In a whisper he adds: "The area where the World Trade Center Memorial is to be located would be underwater." It is perhaps the most powerful moment in the movie. Yet, like the bulk of Gore's message, it is also heavily exaggerated and of questionable practical value.

Those scientists in which Gore puts so much faith do discuss the possibility of a failure of Greenland's ice. In fact, the February 2007 report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change mentions the possibility of a seven-metre rise in the oceans. But that report also says global warming would have to continue "for millennia" for this to occur. Gore's Manhattan/Atlantis scenario is thus a potential risk sometime after 4007. It's not exactly a clear and present danger.

We bring this up not because global warming or environmentalism are things to be
ignored—they are important issues to be sure—but to point out Gore's frequent distance from the useful truth. His comment last week in Toronto that the Conservative government's environmental plan is a "complete and total fraud... designed to mislead the Canadian people" is as exaggerated and misplaced as his movie scaremongering. It is never a fraud to be honest. However painful it may be for single-minded idealists like Gore to admit, it is an absolute impossibility for Canada to meet its 2012 Kyoto targets without triggering economic collapse.

The plan released by Environment Minister John Baird last month includes almost all the remedies Gore himself calls for. Ottawa has already introduced tax breaks for public transit. Now we have rebates for fuel-efficient cars with new standards on the way. There will be carbon sequestering, a new technology fund and a ban on incandescent bulbs. Baird's plan is also notable for its focus on reducing air pollution, which arguably has a bigger negative impact on Canadians today than global warming ever will. Taken as a whole, the plan represents an effective compromise between economic sanity and environmental necessity.

Gore's fascinating reinvention of himself from earnest but boring politician to environmental crusader is a notable achievement. If he has made himself rich in the process, we applaud that as well. But during this transformation, Gore appears to have forgotten the art of realistic policy-making, and he has ceased to tell his audience the whole truth. M
Kudos to Macleans for making this honest and unbiased assessment of the Goracle and the deceptions that he promotes in the name of environmentalism.

There's lots more on environmentalism in this issue of Macleans, including a 5 page "Green Report" by Luiza CH. Savage and Nicholas Kohler, titled "Welcome to Planet Al" about the recent travels of the "larger-than-life-jet-setting-celebrity-magnet-environmental-rock-star" through Canada.

1 comment:

John Nicklin said...

"However painful it may be for single-minded idealists like Gore to admit, it is an absolute impossibility for Canada to meet its 2012 Kyoto targets without triggering economic collapse."

But economic collapse is what people like Gore want. When the depression hit in the 30's, it wasn't the rich that suffered, it was the poor and it further widened the gap. Maurice Strong is on record as wanting a total economic collapse and that the greens should be striving for that outcome.

Gore is out of touch with reality, he has read too much of his own press. And why not, when you get paid $5,000 a minute to spread the gospel.