Commentary Magazine


Topic: An Inconvenient Truth

Why Al Gore’s Warming Fibs Matter

Al Gore has done it again. Having been repeatedly lambasted for making exaggerated claims and telling outright lies in order to promote his environmentalist agenda, he’s now committed another gaffe that will further undermine his credibility and that of his cause. As Politico reports, in an interview with the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein while once again claiming that global warming was the cause of an increase in storms and hurricanes, Gore made the following assertion:

In the interview, published Wednesday, Gore said that “the fingerprint of man-made global warming is all over” storms like hurricanes and other extreme weather events.

“The extreme events are more extreme. The hurricane scale used to be 1-5 and now they’re adding a 6,” he said, according to a transcript of the interview.

But, as Politico noted, other experts and the Post’s own environmental reporters were quick to point out that this isn’t true. The National Weather Service itself admitted that no such plan existed.

Though this was the most egregious element of the interview, as the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto pointed out, it wasn’t the only one. Just as dishonest was his claim that the temporary flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy in lower Manhattan justified Gore’s claim in his Oscar-winning movie, An Inconvenient Truth, that the area would soon be permanently underwater. But, as New Yorkers are well aware, the 9/11 memorial is currently dry. Gore’s alarmist predictions are just as daft today as they were when the film first came out.

This is certainly fodder for Gore’s critics and will, in turn, elicit more impassioned defenses of him from his fans. More significantly, it will also generate comments from slightly more sober advocates of the global warming agenda, to the effect that such fibs don’t really matter because their purpose is to raise awareness of a genuine threat to humanity, albeit one not quite so imminent or terrible as the nightmare scenarios spun by the former vice president. But, as Taranto also pointed out, Gore’s mendacity is significant, not just because a lot of people believe him, but because they cast doubt on the entire enterprise he’s seeking to promote. If, as believers in global warming continually tell us, skeptics are undermining faith in facts and science, there is no greater contributor to such cynicism than Al Gore.

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Al Gore has done it again. Having been repeatedly lambasted for making exaggerated claims and telling outright lies in order to promote his environmentalist agenda, he’s now committed another gaffe that will further undermine his credibility and that of his cause. As Politico reports, in an interview with the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein while once again claiming that global warming was the cause of an increase in storms and hurricanes, Gore made the following assertion:

In the interview, published Wednesday, Gore said that “the fingerprint of man-made global warming is all over” storms like hurricanes and other extreme weather events.

“The extreme events are more extreme. The hurricane scale used to be 1-5 and now they’re adding a 6,” he said, according to a transcript of the interview.

But, as Politico noted, other experts and the Post’s own environmental reporters were quick to point out that this isn’t true. The National Weather Service itself admitted that no such plan existed.

Though this was the most egregious element of the interview, as the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto pointed out, it wasn’t the only one. Just as dishonest was his claim that the temporary flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy in lower Manhattan justified Gore’s claim in his Oscar-winning movie, An Inconvenient Truth, that the area would soon be permanently underwater. But, as New Yorkers are well aware, the 9/11 memorial is currently dry. Gore’s alarmist predictions are just as daft today as they were when the film first came out.

This is certainly fodder for Gore’s critics and will, in turn, elicit more impassioned defenses of him from his fans. More significantly, it will also generate comments from slightly more sober advocates of the global warming agenda, to the effect that such fibs don’t really matter because their purpose is to raise awareness of a genuine threat to humanity, albeit one not quite so imminent or terrible as the nightmare scenarios spun by the former vice president. But, as Taranto also pointed out, Gore’s mendacity is significant, not just because a lot of people believe him, but because they cast doubt on the entire enterprise he’s seeking to promote. If, as believers in global warming continually tell us, skeptics are undermining faith in facts and science, there is no greater contributor to such cynicism than Al Gore.

At stake here is not Gore’s reputation. In his post-political existence, he has proven himself impervious to shame or to criticism. Having enriched himself on government-subsidized “green” investments and profiteered from the creation of a failed cable channel that wound up netting him a cool $100 million from its sale to the Qatari owners of Al Jazeera, Gore can thumb his nose at fact-checkers and critics alike and laugh all the way to the bank.

Gore is no stranger to challenges to the credibility of the assertions to his movie. Though there are a number of websites that point to numerous, significant errors in the movie, a British court ruled that it should be viewed as a polemic rather than fact when a critic sued to prevent it from being shown in schools as an authoritative view of the subject of global warming.

We need not rehearse the contentious debate about global warming to understand just how insidious Gore’s willingness to play fast and loose with the facts on global warming is for the maintenance of a civil discussion on the subject. But if those who believe the U.S. must take drastic action to halt global warming continue to insist that the facts lie all on one side of the argument, it is incumbent on them to stick to the facts and not make exaggerated claims.

Gore has never been able to do that. Thus, he has done more to both fuel the most alarmist and unrealistic scenarios about the possible impact of global warming and to inspire skepticism about this belief. Wherever the truth may lie on this subject, and there are strong cases to be made on both sides, surely there should be no tolerance for a man who routinely lies about it.

Yet no matter how often his falsehoods are uncovered, the environmental community rarely if ever takes Gore to task. He has reaped all sorts of applause and honor for his lies from an Oscar to a Nobel Prize. Indeed, the more his assertions are debunked, the less his fans seem to care. But they should. No one has done more to sink the discussion about global warming into the realm of sci-fi fantasy alarmism or to invite more skepticism than Gore. It’s clear that the more his lips move, the less likely it is that we’ll hear the truth. Those who advocate concern about climate change and who want to mobilize Americans to support the measures they believe will save for the planet should be pleading him for him to shut up, lest doubters about the environmental faith in warming be further undermined. 

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Polar Bears Are Dying!! Or Something…

Not even poems would help, I think. It seems Americans don’t want to give money away to developing countries to fund green projects in those locales. By a 57 to 39 percent margin, they say they’d rather not. And that’s when they heard that the figure was a mere $10B. Now Hillary Clinton is talking $100B. Asked how much they trust scientists, 29 percent say “completely” (are these all relatives?) or “a lot,” while a whopping 40 percent say only “a little” or “not at all.” Asked if they think scientists all agree or if there “is a lot of disagreement,” 62 percent go with disagreement.

It must be maddening to Gore and the environmental busybodies: didn’t people see An Inconvenient Truth? Well, not that many – and if they did, they’re not buying into the hype-a-thon. It seems that, once again, no matter how hard the liberal elites shriek, average Americans aren’t convinced by the Chicken Little-ism. Perhaps in hard economic times, the American public would rather not be pestered to send money to assuage the Third World decriers of Western “economic imperialism.” Maybe they’ve been reading up on Climategate and figured they were being had. Or maybe the high-pitched hysteria has been counterproductive. After a while people tune out, concluding that it can’t possibly be as bad as all those costumed Copenhagen catastrophizers make it out to be.

Nevertheless, a large majority, according to the same poll, is willing to regulate greenhouse gases, although that number has declined 10 points since June. So maybe the lesson here for the Green set is to lower the volume, be candid about what we do and don’t know, and make policy proposals that don’t strike average voters as absurd. Nah. There are polar bears dying because of this!! No, not really. But voters are tiring of listening to these and other horror stories. In the end, the most significant result of all the global-warming hype has been to diminish the credibility of the radical environmentalists. So maybe we should thank Gore after all.

Not even poems would help, I think. It seems Americans don’t want to give money away to developing countries to fund green projects in those locales. By a 57 to 39 percent margin, they say they’d rather not. And that’s when they heard that the figure was a mere $10B. Now Hillary Clinton is talking $100B. Asked how much they trust scientists, 29 percent say “completely” (are these all relatives?) or “a lot,” while a whopping 40 percent say only “a little” or “not at all.” Asked if they think scientists all agree or if there “is a lot of disagreement,” 62 percent go with disagreement.

It must be maddening to Gore and the environmental busybodies: didn’t people see An Inconvenient Truth? Well, not that many – and if they did, they’re not buying into the hype-a-thon. It seems that, once again, no matter how hard the liberal elites shriek, average Americans aren’t convinced by the Chicken Little-ism. Perhaps in hard economic times, the American public would rather not be pestered to send money to assuage the Third World decriers of Western “economic imperialism.” Maybe they’ve been reading up on Climategate and figured they were being had. Or maybe the high-pitched hysteria has been counterproductive. After a while people tune out, concluding that it can’t possibly be as bad as all those costumed Copenhagen catastrophizers make it out to be.

Nevertheless, a large majority, according to the same poll, is willing to regulate greenhouse gases, although that number has declined 10 points since June. So maybe the lesson here for the Green set is to lower the volume, be candid about what we do and don’t know, and make policy proposals that don’t strike average voters as absurd. Nah. There are polar bears dying because of this!! No, not really. But voters are tiring of listening to these and other horror stories. In the end, the most significant result of all the global-warming hype has been to diminish the credibility of the radical environmentalists. So maybe we should thank Gore after all.

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