Gore’s Faith Is Bad Science

Townhall.com Michael Barone March 26, 2007

Al Gore likes to present himself as a tribune of science, warning the world of imminent danger. But he is more like an Old Testament prophet, calling on us to bewail our wrongful conduct and to go and sin no more.

He starts off with the science. The world’s climate, he reports, is getting warmer. This accurate report is, however, not set in historic context. World climate has grown warmer and cooler at various times in history. Climate change is not some unique historic event. It is the way the world works.

Not this time, Gore says. What’s different is that climate change is being driven by human activity — to wit, increasing carbon dioxide emissions. Which means, he says, that we have to sharply reduce those emissions. But what the scientists tell us is that some proportion of climate change is caused by human activity and some proportion by natural causes — and that they can only estimate what those proportions are. The estimates they have produced have varied sharply. The climate change models that have been developed don’t account for events of the recent past, much less predict with precision events in the future.

To which the prophet replies, with religious intensity, that all debate should be over. Those scientists with inconvenient views should be defunded and silenced. We should replace scientific inquiry with faith. We should have faith that climate change — “global warming” — is caused primarily by human activity. And we should have faith that the effects will be catastrophic, with rising oceans flooding great cities and pleasant plains and forests broiled by a searing sun.

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6 thoughts on “Gore’s Faith Is Bad Science”

  1. Nice try, but…

    You have to grant that some people are having a bit of fun with this. Al Gore is an easy target. The smug self-seriousness, the private jets, the large homes, the transformation from lackluster politician to self-styled spokesman of impending catastrophes, etc. etc. Nothing against Al here. He seems like a nice guy, a bit full of himself perhaps, but not a bad guy overall. For a lot of people it’s a bit much though. But hate? No, that doesn’t capture it at all. The author needs to lighten up a bit.

  2. Re: Note 1.

    Perhaps conservatives are more or less opposed to the hypothesis that humans cause global warming not because Mr. Gore is currently the chief advocate of the hypothesis, but because there is plenty of evidence that the hypothesis is false. I see no evidence in Mr. Chait’s column that would lead me to believe opposition to the so-called “consensus” hypothesis is motivated solely or even primarily by disdain for Mr. Gore. In fact, I cannot see much in Mr. Chait’s column besides silly conjecture. I can hardly believe that one would take Mr. Chait’s column seriously, much less use it to demonstrate that “Right-wing denialism of global warming is driven by hatred of Al Gore, not science.”

    By the way, contrary to Mr. Chait’s column, I don’t know many conservatives who actually hate Al Gore. There are always a few exceptions, but the great majority of conservatives I know just strongly disagree with Gore on many issues and think he is a sort of goofy, buffoonish character with a tendency to tell little self-aggrandizing lies that serve no rational purpose. Thus, Gore is a frequent target of jokes and satire. That is not the same as hating a person.

  3. Why do you think three Republican congressmen with scientific backgrounds have been denied positions on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming? Especially when relavent experience is one of the key criteria considered when committee assigments are made

  4. I would assume that the congressmen didn’t get the committee seat because they are on the wrong side of the debate regarding human-caused global warming. The conservative Republican base opposes the rush to a doubtful/false conclusion of the debate. The Republican leadership, which is predominantly conservative, are listening to their base, which is not convinced (and I would add with good reason from a scientific point of view) that humans cause global warming.

    I think it is clear that this has nothing to do with the person of Al Gore.

    For that matter, it has nothing to do with desiring to oppose the Democrats, or attempting to make this look like the Democrats’ pet issue, as Mr. Chait suggests. The Republican Party would do much better in terms of popularity at this moment in time if they were to cave in on human-caused global warming and on Iraq. Instead, they are doing what they think is best for the country, at the cost of being demonized by columnists such as Mr. Chait and Ellen Goodman, and more importantly at the cost of lost votes.

  5. Al Gore has apparently convinced the US Supreme Court which ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to consider whether Greenhouse gasses contribute to Global Warming.

    High Court Tells EPA to Consider Global Warming Steps , Bllomberg, April 2, 2007

    April 2 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Supreme Court ordered Bush administration environmental officials to reconsider their refusal to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions, giving a boost to advocates of stronger action against global warming.

    The justices, voting 5-4, today said the Environmental Protection Agency considered improper factors in 2003 when it decided not to order cuts in carbon emissions from new cars and trucks.

    “EPA has offered no reasoned explanation for its refusal to decide whether greenhouse gases cause or contribute to climate change,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.

    ..Environmentalists and 12 states, including California and Massachusetts, are seeking to force the federal agency to limit emissions from new cars and trucks. New York is leading a separate state effort to curb power-plant emissions.

    The decision also may boost efforts by California and other states to enact their own climate-change regulations. In challenging those rules, automakers have pointed to the EPA’s conclusion that carbon dioxide isn’t an “air pollutant” subject to federal and state regulation under the U.S. Clean Air Act.

    The majority today rejected that conclusion. “Greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act’s capacious definition of `air pollutant,”’ Stevens wrote.

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