Political Hay

Gore’s Noble Challenge

As a hot property again, may Al will thaw out enough to engage in real debate about his voodoo understandings.

By 10.12.07

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Al Gore has finally won his Nobel Prize, reminiscent of the proverbial little nut that stood his ground, evolving into a giant Oak. Now we can only hope that he runs for President, an office that, given recent history, surely deserves him.

Where else -- except perhaps via the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, which Gore negotiated -- can someone accomplish so little while spending so much? But, to get there, or at least to the Demo nomination, Gore's going to have to do something he has assiduously avoided: debate

Gore's standard rule on live TV has been there will be no live challenge. The last time he ran for President (2000), he succeeded de facto, with George "Carbon Bonoixde" Bush as the token global warming flyweight. This time, debates happen.

That's because Gore represents a party gone global warming ga-ga, with some of the world's goofiest environmental legislation in history awaiting a Bush veto and a Gore signature.

Consider what Bernie Sanders ("I"-VT) has in the docket: A legislative magic wand that will require us to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide by 90% in a mere 42 years. Since 1990, we're up a little under 20%. Sanders' legislation takes us back to the 1930s, a technological stone age. True, there's other, more "moderate" legislation. John Kerry's (D-MA) proposal would cut it back 80%. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is at 50%.

Each and every one has a good chance of Senate passage, and an even better chance of a veto. So, now that you have your Nobel, Come out and fight like a man, Al, and don't even worry about picking on someone your own size.

The fact is that Al has ducked, feinted, dived away from, or fluffed each and every opportunity for a reasoned debate with any global warming scientist not of his choice, a choice he no longer enjoys. Heartland Institute, a Chicago think tank, spent over a million dollars filing ads in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and their ilk, begging Al to debate. No dice. In a less public venue, my own Cato Institute sent kind and courteous letters asking him to share our pretty auditorium on Washington's Massachusetts Avenue, for a civil discussion with our scholars. Again, no dice.

Here's the rub: if any opposition were so easy to vanquish, Gore would relish the opportunity. Obviously there's a substantive and cogent argument he can't kill.

In essence, it is that Gore has massively departed from the scientific mainstream on global warming, even as that community may be itself biased by the funding afforded by emphasizing the negative.

For example, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (of which I am a member, while Gore is not) predicts a mean sea-level rise of about 13 inches by 2100. Gore's book and movie contain an undated montage showing Florida sliding beneath the waves, something that could only happen with 13 feet or more.

How on earth does one accomplish such a disconnect from scientific reality?

Gore only has one scientist, James Hansen of NASA, whispering the sweet nothings into his ear that sea-level could rise this much or more in the next 92 years, as Greenland's ice sheets are destabilized by climate change.

No other scientist is willing to climb out on this limb, because it is simply not supported by the observed climatic history of Greenland since the end of the last ice age. For much of six millennia, ending 3,000 years ago, it had to be warmer, and yet the ice stuck like glue. Hansen's amazing response, which you can read on his blog, documented at www.realclimate.org (not exactly a peer-reviewed scientific journal!) is that other scientists don't agree with him because they suffer from what he calls "scientific reticence." In other words, all his colleagues are chicken-bleeps because they don't agree with him.

How about the other pole? Every computer model mentioned by the United Nations shows Antarctica gaining ice this century because a slight warming will result in more precipitation which must fall as snow. Would Gore like that out in public? Or how about the fact that Antarctica just set its record maximum for sea-ice extent, as measured by satellite.

The world can only hope that Gore's Nobel propels him into another run for the Presidency. He received it for his climate lunacy. Now he can defend it and the Nobel Prize by merely debating those who must be so easy to defeat.

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