Saturday, December 12, 2009

Shades of Bush in Gore's case for global warming

Richard Rubino
Salem News -

During the 2000 presidential campaign, third-party candidates Patrick Buchanan and Ralph Nader consistently argued that there was little difference between the two major candidates — Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore.

Indeed, this assertion is true regarding the creative tactics both have employed to defeat their adversaries. In order for President Bush to achieve the neoconservative dream of a constitutional republic in Iraq, he erroneously asserted that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was linked to al-Qaeda, and possessed a weapons of mass destruction program. The only question before the country, Bush argued, was not if, but when to dislodge Hussein from power.

Vice President Dick Cheney claimed there was "irrefutable evidence" of an Iraqi nuclear program and that Hussein had purchased tubes and centrifuges to enrich uranium.

Turns out the evidence was far from irrefutable.

Former vice president Al Gore is now using the "Bush playbook" in the area of combating climate change.

He argues that there is an absolute consensus that the Earth is warming and that the cause is man's excess use of carbon-based fuels. "The debate in the scientific community is over," Gore asserts; and his spokesperson, Kalee Kreider, equates global-warming skeptics with "people who still don't believe we landed on the moon."

Logical inquiry is scoffed at and global-warming skeptics are depicted as either tribunes of the oil industry or akin to members of the Flat Earth Society.

But the facts are not all in yet. Climate change is far from a settled issue.

Those who question Gore's claims are far from peripheral figures. There are, in fact, many reputable scientists with no political "ax to grind" and no money to be made from the oil industry, who dissent from the perceived consensus that global warming is man-made.

Ivar Giaever, a self-proclaimed skeptic, who holds a Nobel Prize in physics, warns: "Global warming has become a new religion."

Giaever is not a single voice in the wilderness. Many prominent members of the scientific community join him in opposition to the fundamentalist global-warming alarmists.

In fact, 650 international scientists concur that the science in this area is far from conclusive. In the U.S. Senate's minority report on this issue, these maverick scientists disputed the report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and challenged Mr. Gore's assertion that global warming is man-made. Finally, over 30,000 scientists have signed onto the Global Warming Petition Project, stating that global warming has not been proven.

Gore's actions could have a real effect in that he is spearheading the institution of a mandatory "cap-and-trade" system in which government would limit carbon emissions. The Congressional Budget Office warns of the calamitous effects this could have on the nation's economy, warning that consumers "would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline. Those price increases would be regressive in that poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would."

Global-warming skeptics, like pre-Iraq War dissenters, should no longer be treated as second-class citizens, but as serious participants in the national discourse.

Both Gore, in arguing for limits on carbon emissions, and Bush, in making the argument for the invasion of Iraq, presented their respective cases in a manner that left absolutely no room for opposing facts or ideas. Such facts would simply be, to use Gore's favorite word, too inconvenient.