The recent televised Academy Awards program was an Al Gore-apalooza, as the assembled actors and musicians were almost giddy in their support of the former vice president.
Gore, often criticized for his wooden personality, lightened up a little bit and pretended to be announcing his bid for the 2008 presidential race as he appeared onstage with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. He says he has no interest, but it was clear the adoring entertainers wished otherwise.
Gore claimed his own share of the Oscar spotlight, as his global warming film treatise An Inconvenient Truth won awards for best documentary and best song.
“I am involved in a campaign of a different kind,” Gore told ABC in an interview after the broadcast, “to try to convince people in this country and around the world to feel the urgency of the climate crisis.”
But that “urgency” has all the hyperbole of Gore’s past political and environmental rhetoric.
Many of the greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, occur naturally in the atmosphere, and, yes, our human activities have changed their concentrations. But the scientific community remains divided as to the extent and the causes of those concentrations, and rising air and ocean temperatures.
Some “significant part” the changes, the National Academy of Sciences admits, could be due to “natural variability.”
I am not willing to be misled by a person who likens our consumerist actions to the Nazi Germany’s Kristallnacht, and who bashes science and technology.
Yes, humans are contributing to a warming planet. But, no, the sky isn’t falling.
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports the rate of global warming since 1975 is fairly constant, roughly 0.18 degrees Celsius per decade.
And here’s an interesting tidbit from Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute: “The Kyoto Protocol, if fulfilled by every signatory, would reduce global warming by 0.07 degrees Celsius per half-century.”
That is, says Michaels, “too small to measure, because the earth’s temperature varies by more than that from year to year.”
But who knows climate change science better than Al Gore? After all, wasn’t he instrumental in developing the Internet?
I give his performance two thumbs down.
(Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell can be reached at 800-837-3419 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)