The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, October 15, 2007
Read the rest...and enjoy. (Besides, isn't the Peace prize supposed to be about...well, peace??)
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.
And nobody minds. His Honour was examining the vice-president's acclaimed crockumentary because the British Government, in its wisdom, has decided to force-feed it to hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren. It would be nice to think it would have to be preceded by a warning that any resemblance between this film and any actual planet living or dead is entirely coincidental, but it seems more likely that the Nobel Peace imprimatur will completely insulate the picture from even the most modest quibbles.
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.