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Al Gore Deserves Shame, Not an Apology

NPR recently ran a silly story with this provocative headline: “We All Owe Al Gore an Apology.”  I dissent.

Let’s first be clear about Gore.  After losing the 2000 presidential election, Gore found a cause to peddle in global warming.  He partnered with affluent donors, created a documentary full of hyperbolic exaggeration and dire warnings about an impending ecological armageddon, and made millions.  And millions.  He divorced his wife and became the international playboy of global warming-turned-climate change-turned-climate disruption-turned-whatever we’re calling it now.

He did all this for a cause he doesn’t really believe.  He doesn’t believe the things that he’s saying.  It defies logic to believe that he does.  No one who believed the dire predictions of earth’s impending incineration that Al Gore has made, who also maintains it is completely in mankind’s power to stop it if we just showed some responsibility and conservation as Al Gore champions, would lead by example.

The fact that Gore still travels in fleets of SUVs, jets around the Earth in private aircraft, owns and maintains multiple homes, each of which burns more energy and emits more carbon in a week than an average citizen produces in a year, tells me Gore doesn’t believe what he’s saying.  Either (1) he doesn’t really believe that the Earth is doomed, which makes him a duplicitous, exploitative liar, or (2) he doesn’t really believe that we can do anything to change our planet’s fate, which raises the question why he pretends we can.  Those are the only potential explanations for Gore’s lack of personal response to his own public instruction: he’s lying or he’s part of a nefarious scheme to consolidate power and usurp control over people’s lives.  Sorry, but neither one of those possibilities makes me inclined to offer him any apology.

That’s the initial reason NPR swings and misses on this piece.  Here’s another.  Reporting from the rain-battered, flood-weary Midwest, reporter Nathan Rott leads his piece this way:

Angel Portillo doesn’t think about climate change much. It’s not that he doesn’t care. He just has other things to worry about. Climate change seems so far away, so big.

Lately though, Portillo says he has been thinking about it more often.

Standing on the banks of a swollen and surging Arkansas River, just upriver from a cluster of flooded businesses and homes, it’s easy to see why.

“Stuff like this,” he says, nodding at the frothy brown waters, “all of the tornadoes that have been happening — it just doesn’t seem like a coincidence, you know?”

A string of natural disasters has hit the Central U.S. in recent weeks. Tornadoes have devastated communities, tearing up trees and homes. Record rainfall has prevented countless farmers from planting crops. Rising rivers continue to flood fields, inundate homes and threaten aging levees from Iowa to Mississippi.

And then, after all that lead up, Rott drops this in his sixth paragraph:

And while none of these events can be directly attributed to climate change…

Rott writes and NPR publishes an article full of examples of bad weather, violent storms, and extreme conditions, precisely none of which are the demonstrable result of global warming, and none of which even begin to intimate that man has any ability to alter them.

It’s not Al Gore who needs an apology.  It’s all those who have been unjustly deceived by him, which now includes the readers and listeners of NRP.

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