The globe is cooling to Al Gore

by Jim Longworth

Not long ago Al Gore was on fire, having won an Oscar, a Grammy and the Nobel prize. But adoration is fleeting, and the media is starting to scrutinize his credibility. Last week Gore did nothing to help his cause when he admitted that during the 2000 presidential campaign, his advocacy for corn-based ethanol was more about gaining the farm vote, than in improving the environment. And that wasn’t his only misstep.

In December of last year, Gore said that the Arctic ice caps would be totally melted in seven years. But days later his own scientist Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski refuted that statement. Perhaps we should have paid more attention to Gore when, in May of 2006, he told GRIST magazine: “I believe it’s appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it [global warming] is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are.”

It’s no wonder that in October 2007, a British judge banned Gore’s Oscar winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, from being shown in schools, ruling that the film “contains scientific inaccuracies and political mush.” In fact there are so many inaccuracies in Gore’s presentations that John Coleman (founder of the Weather Channel) along with 9,000 scientists are considering litigation against the former veep for perpetrating lies about global warming.

But the problem with Al Gore isn’t so much that he lies, but rather why he lies. Increasingly we are learning that his data debacles are driven by greed and fueled by hypocrisy. For starters, Gore is a partner in Generation Investment Management (GIM), which, according to Bill Hobbs of the Tennessean, puts honest Al at conflict with his public persona of crusading for our global well being. That’s because Gore lobbied heavily for passage of the cap-and-trade bill which is designed to reduce greenhouse gases for major polluting industries by allowing them to buy or sell permits to emit those gases. Sounds innocent enough until you consider that Gore, as head of GIM, would essentially be buying carbon offsets from himself. Congressman Steve Scalise and others were understandably concerned about this potentially cozy arrangement, and caught Gore off guard during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee last April when they revealed that Gore’s original partner in GIM was none other than former Godlman Sachs CEO David Blood, and that Gore’s buddy Ken Lay (former Enron crook) first suggested the cap and trade proposal to the vice president back in 1997. Moreover, Gore is a partner with Kleiner Perkins who, according to the New York Times, “has hundreds of millions of dollars invested in firms that could benefit from any legislation that limits carbon dioxide emissions.”

Okay, so all of this smells pretty bad, but what bothers me most is the collateral damage caused by Gore’s various proclamations and associations over the years.

Case in point, his lobbying for the cap and trade bill. In addition to providing Gore with potential profits from swapping carbon futures, the legislation would also send jobs to India and China. Sound familiar? In 1993 Gore was the cheerleader in chief for NAFTA, assuring us that free trade would be good for America. Ross Perot tried to warn us that the vice president’s data was faulty, but we wouldn’t listen. Today, thanks mainly to Gore’s persuasiveness, millions of Americans have lost their jobs to third-world countries, and our nation’s manufacturing base has all but disappeared, making it impossible for us to fully recover from last year’s devastating recession.

After having the 2000 election stolen from him, Al Gore morphed himself from political victim into a champion for the environment. But we now know that Al is just a champion for Al. I don’t know about the planet getting warmer, but Al Gore sure isn’t as hot as he used to be.

Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).