Jewish World Review Jan. 20, 2004 / 26 Teves, 5764

Jack Kelly

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The gods have a sense of humor — just ask AlGore | Does the Goddess have it in for Al Gore?

Less than a week after Gore endorsed Howard Dean for president with a long rant about how Iraq was a "catastrophe" and a "quagmire," Saddam Hussein was captured and Dean's slide in the polls began.

On Jan. 15, Al Gore traveled to New York City to give a speech on global warming. Gore couldn't have known in advance that this would be the coldest day in that city in nearly half a century. But any politician who wasn't dumber than dirt probably could have figured out that January isn't the best time to persuade New Yorkers that it's too hot outside.

Gore's speech was long, but he wasted little effort in trying to make the case that global warming is a serious and urgent problem. He just declared that "the evidence is overwhelming and undeniable," and went on to call President Bush a "moral coward" for not seeing things his way.

Actually, the evidence that global warming is a serious problem is on par with the evidence that Iraq is a "quagmire."

Global warming alarmists assert that the world is growing warmer; that the effects of warming are all very bad; that the warming is caused principally by human activity, and that these effects can be countered by curbing carbon dioxide emissions in the developed world only.

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Only the first assertion is true, and it isn't frightening. Global air temperatures rose about 0.45 degrees Centigrade (0.8 degrees F) during the 20th Century. Computer models predict a rise in global temperatures of 1.5 to 4.5 degrees C in the next 100 years. At the midrange, this would make the climate in 2100 no warmer than it was during the Medieval Warm Period (1000-1400), when conditions for human life in North America and Europe were better than they are today.

The earth has been both very much warmer and very much colder than it is today. There once were jungles in Wyoming, glaciers in Wisconsin. Since the dinosaurs didn't drive SUVs, we can assume Mother Nature is behind most climate change.

But for Gore and his ilk, global warming isn't about scientific fact. It's about politics, and quasi-religious belief.

"Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists," Michael Crichton, the physician turned novelist and screenwriter, said in a speech last September.

Environmentalism provides a mirror image of Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths, Crichton said.

"There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is judgment day coming for us all," he said.

"Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief," Crichton said. "It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them."

The approximately 3,500 true believers who ventured out in the frigid air to hear the Rev. Al preach the Green Gospel applauded his condemnation of that debbil Bush. But others speculated his speech may have been counter-productive.

"While Mr. Gore may have helped rally the Democratic faithful, the political cast to his speech drew concern that he might be undermining the very cause he said he was addressing," wrote New York Times reporter Michael Slackman. In many ways it is the politicization of the climate issue that has stifled discussions of new and innovative policy options, Roger Pielke, director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, told Slackman.

"As opposing sides use the issue for political gain, it is very difficult for new ideas to enter the discussion," Pielke said. "The politics is all well and good, but meanwhile we lack effective options on climate."

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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