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Tuesday, October 16, 2007
In response to the announcement that Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize (joining such past noted winners as Yasser Arafat, Kofi Annan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Le Duc Tho, Anwar al Sadat, and Jimmy Carter), Mark Steyn wrote this column:
A COUPLE of days before Al Gore was awarded his Nobel Peace prize, Michael Burton, an English High Court judge and apparently a fine film critic, ruled that Al's Oscar-winner An Inconvenient Truth was prone to "alarmism and exaggeration" and identified nine major factual errors.

For example, the former vice-president predicts a rise in sea levels of 6m "in the near future". "The Armageddon scenario he predicts," declared Burton, "is not in line with the scientific consensus."

I'll say. The so-called scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests rising sea levels across the next century of somewhere between 15cm and 60cm, with about 30cm being most likely. An Inconvenient Truth insouciantly adds a zero to the worst-case scenario.
A schoolkid in Ontario was complaining the other day that, whatever subject you do, you have to sit through Gore's movie: It turns up in biology class, in geography, in physics, in history, in English.

Whatever you're studying, it's all you need to know. It fulfils the same role in the schoolhouses of the guilt-ridden developed world that the Koran does in Pakistani madrassas. Gore's rise is as remorseless as those sea levels. I assumed Gore's clammy embrace would do for the environmental movement what his belated endorsement had done for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential candidacy: kill it stone dead. But governor Dean was constrained by actual humdrum prosaic vote tallies in Iowa and New Hampshire. The ecochondriacs, by contrast, seem happiest when they're most unmoored from reality.

That's where Gore comes in. No matter how you raise the stakes ("It might take another 30 Kyotos", says Jerry Mahlman of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research), Saint Al of the Ecopalypse can raise them higher. Climate change, he says, is the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced. Ever. And not just humankind, but alienkind, too. "We are," warns Gore, "altering the balance of energy between our planet and the rest of the universe".

Wow. It's not just the Maldive Islands, but the balance of energy between Earth and the rest of the universe. You wouldn't happen to have the stats on that, would you? Universal "balance of energy" graphs for 1940 and 1873? Gore is the logical reductio of what the popular Australian blogger Tim Blair calls global warm-mongering: Worst-case scenario, with all the zeroes you want on the end, and then a few more for holes in the ozone layer as yet undreamt of. Anyone can, as the environmentalists advise, think globally and act locally, but only Gore thinks cosmically and acts not at all.

One can forgive youthful indiscretions, like his 1988 presidential candidacy, when he became the first and only politician in US history to hire a herd of cows for the launch of his campaign, positioning them attractively around him for the photo op at the supposed Gore "family farm". The contribution to global warming from increased methane from bovine flatulence in the Gore neighbourhood was no doubt "offset" by reduced flatulent emissions from whichever farm he'd hired the cows from: it was, in that sense, a "carbon-neutral" event.

But since then there's been a pronounced pattern of behaviour. In 2000, it was revealed that his tenant, Tracy Mayberry, has asked her distinguished landlord to fix the plumbing. The toilet overflowed and the tank was held together by bread bag ties. This was after Gore had inflicted federal toilet regulations on the rest of the country in the interest of water conservancy, yet he let his own tenant's lavatory overflow for months on end. Americans have to make do with cisterns that hold less than a supersized cup at McDonald's, but Environmental Boy had a Niagara-sized torrent running through his tenants' bathroom and down the stairs 24 hours a day.
An isolated incident? Well, the average US household consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours of electricity. In 2006, the Gores wolfed down nearly 221,000kWh.

221,000kWh? What's he doing in there? As his spokesperson explained it, his high energy usage derives from his brave calls for low energy usage. He's burning up all that electricity by sending out faxes every couple of minutes urging you wastrels to use less electricity. Insofar as he's made any contribution to global peace, it's in persuading large swaths of a narcissistic Western world to busy itself with non-solutions to pseudo-crises to such a distracting degree that al-Qa'ida may wind up imposing the global caliphate without having to fire a shot.
Meanwhile, Gore is now being urged to jump into the presidential race and save Democrats from the allegedly too-hawkish Hillary Clinton. I doubt he will.

But you'll know he's considering it if he starts slimming down faster than the Antarctic shelf. When Al Gore starts getting carb-neutral, we're really in trouble.


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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »