Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Failure of Al Gore and the Green Movement

I haven't blogged about the global warming/climate change debate in quite a while as I was getting rather exhausted with the subject and others are doing a much better job of shining light on the subject. One such is Walter Russell Mead who has written  a pair of essays on Al Gore and the Green movement, the failure of their argument for a Global Green Carbon Treaty and why the whole enterprise was and is destined to fail. Part One is here and Part Deux is here. Of course you should read both essays but here is a sample from Part Deux:

Mr. Gore’s work up to and including his latest Rolling Stone essay has taken a demagogic rather than intellectual approach. His method of arguing is to trumpet the science of climate change and to make ad hominem arguments against its opponents. The science is clear, it is settled, and the opposition against it is funded by people with an economic stake in denial. I am right about the science and my opponents are a bunch of evil opportunists in it only for the money.

That is Mr. Gore’s position, and it is his entire position. He says nothing about the feasibility of the proposed GGCT or its cost effectiveness. That, presumably, we must take on faith. There is nothing to discuss about policy. It is essentially the cry of Chicken Little: “The sky is falling and we must run and tell the king.”

Thus speaketh Al Gore: the world is burning down and so you must immediately follow my plan for fixing what’s wrong. He does not discuss whether his plan is feasible; to anyone who objects to the ponderous, unwieldy Rube Goldberg style green treaty agenda, Gore simply bellows: “What’s the matter you soul-dead, hired flack of the evil oil companies, don’t you believe in Science?”

Al Gore’s logic is exactly like the genealogy of the man who boasted that his line of descent went all the way back to Julius Caesar — with only two gaps. Gore’s ironclad argument has only two gaps: he presents no evidence that the GGCT is either feasible (that it would be efficacious if put into practice and that it can in fact be put into practice in a reasonable time frame) or economical (that it is the cheapest and most effective means of reaching the goal, and that the cost of the fix is less than the cost of the problem).

This is the method of the global green movement as shaped by Al Gore: an ever-crescendoing invocation of blizzards, droughts, locusts and floods aims to stampede the populace into embracing one of the most dubious and unworkable policy prescriptions ever presented to the public eye.
And from Part One on Gore's rank hypocrisy:

But you cannot be a leading environmentalist who hopes to lead the general public into a long and difficult struggle for sacrifice and fundamental change if your own conduct is so flagrantly inconsistent with the green gospel you profess. If the heart of your message is that the peril of climate change is so imminent and so overwhelming that the entire political and social system of the world must change, now, you cannot fly on private jets. You cannot own multiple mansions. You cannot even become enormously rich investing in companies that will profit if the policies you advocate are put into place.

It is not enough to buy carbon offsets (aka “indulgences”) with your vast wealth, not enough to power your luxurious mansions with exotic low impact energy sources the average person could not afford, not enough to argue that you only needed the jet so that you could promote your earth-saving film.

You are asking billions of people, the overwhelming majority of whom lack many of the basic life amenities you take for granted, people who can’t afford Whole Foods environmentalism, to slash their meager living standards. You may well be right, and those changes may be necessary — the more shame on you that with your superior insight and knowledge you refuse to live a modest life. There’s a gospel hymn some people in Tennessee still sing that makes the point: “You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.”


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