Today Is Al Gore’s Birthday

Today is Al Gore’s birthday. In July of 2008, this appeared at the Wall Street Journal:

Appearing before a packed crowd at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, the former vice president and Nobel laureate urged lawmakers to resist the temptation to overturn a federal ban on offshore drilling, and he reiterated his support for a carbon tax accompanied by a “sharp reduction” in payroll taxes.

“We should tax what we burn, not what we earn,” Gore told the crowd. His comments come at a pivotal time, with some Democratic lawmakers saying publicly that they could support a relaxation of the offshore drilling ban as a response to soaring oil prices.

Gore also challenged the country to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources within 10 years. He compared the goal to the Marshall Plan, the interstate highway system and the Apollo program. “Once again,” he said, “we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind.”

This isn’t about campaign promises. This isn’t about cutting a political deal. This isn’t about taking a moderate approach. This isn’t about baby steps. This is about the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. This is about science. This is about the desperate need for a global sense of desperate urgency. We don’t have time to waste. We don’t have time to compromise.

The world is not addressing climate change with anything remotely close to the urgency it demands. Nearly a month ago, I wrote about the collapse of international efforts to address climate change. I linked about the increased industry disinformation campaign. About how the British, the European Union, China, India, Russia, Australia, and the U.S Senate are failing. This is an historical moment when world leadership is required. When someone needs to step up and force the world to open its collective eyes and stop dithering and denying and pretending and avoiding. This is not a time to be perpetuating myths and enabling both the process and the paradigm that undermine the very concept of our having a collective future.

As I wrote, last month:

And, of course, January saw this report, in Science Daily:

A new analysis of global surface temperatures by NASA scientists finds the past year was tied for the second warmest since 1880. In the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year on record.

Although 2008 was the coolest year of the decade because of a strong La Nina that cooled the tropical Pacific Ocean, 2009 saw a return to a near-record global temperatures as the La Nina diminished, according to the new analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The past year was a small fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest on record, putting 2009 in a virtual tie with a cluster of other years –1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 — for the second warmest on record.

Or even more to the point:

January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. Looking back to 1880, when modern scientific instrumentation became available to monitor temperatures precisely, a clear warming trend is present, although there was a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s.

The nations facing imminent catastrophe are trying. But they are tiny, and considered politically insignificant. There are already an estimated 25,000,000 climate refugees. We ignore them not only at their peril but at our own. These nations, these peoples. Keep an eye on them. Their desperation will be ours. Because in the face of the greatest threat humanity has ever faced, the world’s leaders are failing to lead.

A couple days ago, The Guardian had this:

Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting on our lives over the coming decades. This is the stark conclusion of James Lovelock, the globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist who developed the Gaia theory.

It follows a tumultuous few months in which public opinion on efforts to tackle climate change has been undermined by events such as the climate scientists’ emails leaked from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit.

“I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change,” said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. “The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

It appears that Lovelock is right. It appears that The Guardian’s characterization of what Lovelock said is right.

I hope Al Gore has a happy birthday.  

11 comments

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  1. whats it gonna take?

    storm Pictures, Images and Photos

  2. http://climateprogress.org

    …just not as much as we are led to believe.

    New offshore drilling To Save 3 cents gallon…in 2030

    • TMC on March 31, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    and hearing his speech today while I was at the UN, just made me wonder what would have happened if Justice Sandra Day O’Connor had voted differently and sided with the Constitution. Happy Birthday , Mr Gore. Keep up the good fight.

  3. I’m pretty sure we’re done.

    I’m mean I’ll keep trying until I take my last breath, but I’m pretty sure we’re done.

    • Edger on April 1, 2010 at 2:55 am

    It’s scary how right…

    Billmon in September of 2006 posted a story about:

    British scientist James Lovelock and his warning that catastrophic global climate change is both imminent and unstoppable:

    Within the next decade or two, Lovelock forecasts, Gaia will hike her thermostat by at least 10 degrees. Earth, he predicts, will be hotter than at any time since the Eocene Age 55 million years ago, when crocodiles swam in the Arctic Ocean.

    “There’s no realization of how quickly and irreversibly the planet is changing,” Lovelock says. “Maybe 200 million people will migrate close to the Arctic and survive this. Even if we took extraordinary steps, it would take the world 1,000 years to recover.”

    It would be easy to view this as just another kooky end-of-the-world theory, if it weren’t for the history of some of Lovelock’s other kooky theories — like the time in the late ’70s when he hypothesized that chlorofluorocarbons wafted high into the stratosphere would eat great big holes in the ozone layer, exposing first the polar regions and then the rest of the earth’s surface to increasingly harmful ultraviolet radiation. What a nut.

    As far as I can tell, Lovelock’s latest crackpot (or should I say “crockpot”?) idea is still the minority opinion among climatologists, most of whom seem to believe we have perhaps 70-100 years before the seriously disastrous greenhouse effects kick in — although Jim Hansen, the NASA scientist, has suggested that unless major cuts in Co2 emissions are made within the next decade, the process will become every bit as irreversible as Lovelock claims it already is.

  4. OK, so let me get this straight.

    We tax the western industrial world out of existence to fund a global depopulation effort because scumbags don’t think they can “manage” a world with too many Malthusian people.

    Sociopaths don’t care about people.  It’s a concept normal people just can’t grasp.  The good project their own goodness upon others refusing to accept and acknowledge evil.

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