I see the analogy between global warming and the weapons of mass destruction used to justify the Iraq war. Those who planned the war believed there were other good reasons to go to war with Iraq, but they made a decision to use weapons of mass destruction as the reason to go to war, because they thought people could understand this reason and unite behind the war effort. But then, when the WMD were not found, the war looked like a big mistake.Now, here comes big Al Gore with a huge op-ed in the NYT that begins with a fat juicy piece of evidence that I was right:
... [P]eople [who] support the policies that are supposed to deal with global warming [may have] other reasons they have for wanting those policies [but may] rely on the global warming prediction rather than those other reasons....
It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.He wants the policies that are sold under the name "global warming" whether the prediction of global warming is right or wrong.
Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.
[T]he crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer....The "pollution" is carbon dioxide, which is what flows out of our noses and mouths when we exhale. Do you think of your breathing passages as spewing shit? There's nothing dirty or toxic about carbon dioxide. The problem has only to do with the greenhouse effect. But isn't it so much more effective — i.e., scarier — to make people think we're still talking about filth?
What do you make of these meanderings about capitalism and socialism?
The decisive victory of democratic capitalism over communism in the 1990s led to a period of philosophical dominance for market economics worldwide and the illusion of a unipolar world. It also led, in the United States, to a hubristic “bubble” of market fundamentalism that encouraged opponents of regulatory constraints to mount an aggressive effort to shift the internal boundary between the democracy sphere and the market sphere.When someone writes like that, I get suspicious. I want to rewrite it in plain English: After the fall of communism, people placed more trust in the market and were wary of government-dictated solutions.
Over time, markets would most efficiently solve most problems, they argued. Laws and regulations interfering with the operations of the market carried a faint odor of the discredited statist adversary we had just defeated.Yeah, that's what was already in my translation of your previous windbaggage. Maybe this piece is just padded. Maybe it's a devious plot to bore us into submission.
This period of market triumphalism coincided with confirmation by scientists that earlier fears about global warming had been grossly understated.Oh? Just a coincidence? Al Gore has unwittingly tweaked my suspicion that the scientists are politicos.
Not only did the fall of communism make the work of the government regulator much more difficult, according to Al, the mainstream media also became less supportive:
Simultaneously, changes in America’s political system — including the replacement of newspapers and magazines by television as the dominant medium of communication — conferred powerful advantages on wealthy advocates of unrestrained markets and weakened advocates of legal and regulatory reforms. Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment.Quick: Name a showman masquerading as political thinker. You said "Al Gore," right?
And what is this "hatred and divisiveness"? It's just criticism and debate. Al Gore is distressed that the media don't propagandize for government regulation as they did back in the good old days of communism.
And as in times past, that has proved to be a potent drug in the veins of the body politic. Their most consistent theme is to label as “socialist” any proposal to reform exploitive behavior in the marketplace.As in what "times past"? Is the lively public debate of today somehow akin to the racial bigotry that stalled civil rights legislation? Because worrying about socialism isn't expressed as hatred. Really, Gore seems to expect people to lie back and accept whatever the government decides is good for us.
From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.What?! I knew this was religion! We're supposed to believe. And please don't use "rule of law" as a synonym for government regulation.
Later this week, Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman are expected to present for consideration similar cap-and-trade legislation.And we should just lie back and take it.
I search in vain for the part of the article where Al Gore notes his personal financial interest in this regulation. So, supplemental reading: "Gore’s Dual Role: Advocate and Investor."
Critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming skeptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the world’s first “carbon billionaire,” profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in.The mouth, is, as noted, a sewer.
Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, asserted at a hearing this year that Mr. Gore stood to benefit personally from the energy and climate policies he was urging Congress to adopt.
Mr. Gore says that he is simply putting his money where his mouth is.
“Do you think there is something wrong with being active in business in this country?” Mr. Gore said. “I am proud of it. I am proud of it.”So the market is great... when it's making you a billionaire.
ADDED: In the comments Paul draws my attention to the NYT's post-script identifying the author, which includes: "As a businessman, he is an investor in alternative energy companies."