In testimony before the U.S. Congress on March 21, former vice president Al Gore asserted “there is no longer any serious debate over the basic points that make up the consensus on global warming.” He advocated laws that would force U.S. citizens to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent by mid-century.
Little Prior Notice
Gore’s testimony became controversial even before it started, as he violated Congressional rules requiring persons who voluntarily present testimony to submit a written version of their remarks at least 48 hours prior to making a personal appearance.
Gore failed to do so, submitting some written remarks only moments before making his personal appearance. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) protested that this deprived representatives the opportunity to scrutinize Gore’s testimony for factual accuracy.
In addition to being late in submitting his remarks, Gore delivered substantially different testimony than appeared in his written remarks.
New Restrictions Proposed
In his verbal testimony, Gore called for new taxes related to carbon dioxide, cap-and-trade carbon limitations, a ban on incandescent light bulbs–to force people to switch to fluorescent bulbs, which use less power but are substantially more expensive–and a ban on the construction of coal-fired power plants.
Gore justified these impositions by asserting in his written remarks, “Hurricanes are getting stronger. Sea levels are rising. Droughts are becoming longer and more intense. Mountain glaciers are receding around the world.”
Scientific Literature Disagrees
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) noted at the hearing, however, that Gore’s assertions have been thoroughly refuted in the scientific literature.
“It is my perspective that your global warming alarmist pronouncements are now and have always been filled with inaccuracies and misleading statements,” said Inhofe. “Many of the peer-reviewed studies published in such journals as Nature, Geophysical Research Letters, and Science are radically at odds with your claims.”
A review of the scientific literature supports Inhofe’s claims.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on November 29, 2005 found a recent upsurge in North Atlantic hurricanes is due to “natural occurring cycles” and “is not related to greenhouse warming.”
According to the most recent findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea level is expected to rise by only a foot over the next century.
Film’s Claims Refuted
Claims by Gore in An Inconvenient Truth that drought is expanding the southern frontier of the Sahara Desert were refuted by the September 16, 2002 issue of New Scientist magazine, which reported, “Africa’s deserts are in ‘spectacular’ retreat.” New Scientist added, “The southern Sahara desert is in retreat, making farming viable again in what were some of the most arid parts of Africa.”
Assertions that global warming is causing a retreat of mountain glaciers were refuted by the March 13, 2005 Insurance Digest and the American Meteorological Association’s September 2006 Journal of Climate. According to the Journal of Climate, “Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who have recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame.”
Scientists’ have also refuted Gore’s assertions that global warming is causing the glacier atop Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro to shrink. According to a November 23, 2003 article published by Nature magazine, “Although it’s tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain’s foothills is the more likely culprit. Without the forests’ humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine.”
Public Catching On
“The public is catching on,” Inhofe pointed out to Gore. “Even the New York Times last week published an article about scientists, many of them your supporters, who say you have overstated your case on global warming–in fact, they warn that you may be hurting the so-called cause with your ‘alarmism.'”
Inhofe challenged Gore to go beyond friendly media and make his claims on the same stage as climate realists.
Given the scientific literature refuting Gore’s claims, “it is no wonder you have turned down the chance to debate the president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus,” said Inhofe. “And now I understand a debate challenge has been issued by Lord Monckton of [Brenchley]” of Great Britain.
A March 14 debate in New York City between prominent global warming alarmists and prominent climate realists offered insight into why Gore might be refusing to debate. Before the debate, audience members indicated by a 2 to 1 margin they believed global warming is a crisis. After the debate, global warming skeptics outnumbered those believing global warming is a crisis. (See article on page 1.)
“The alarmists have refused to debate for years, despite repeated efforts to get them to do so. Now, we know why,” said Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “When the facts were presented to an educated and sophisticated audience that was predisposed to believe the alarmists, they lost.”
Rationing Energy Use
At the close of Gore’s testimony, Inhofe challenged Gore to take a pledge to practice what he preaches. Presenting a “Personal Energy Ethics Pledge,” Inhofe challenged Gore to commit to using no more energy in his Tennessee residence than the typical American household.
Inhofe presented a graph showing the Gore residence uses 20 times the energy of the average American household. Although repeatedly asked to sign the pledge, Gore refused to do so.
“Al Gore proved yet again why he not only is the ideal alarmist spokesman from the skeptics’ point of view, but why he also has been canceling confirmed interviews for several months: He is unavoidably prone to outrageous hyperbole,” said Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
“Gore’s slide show, movie, and book present global warming as mankind’s greatest challenge. He has often said that meeting it will require an effort similar to America’s in the Second World War. Americans suffered through WWII with rationing coupons for food and fuel, and if Gore has his way, rationing coupons will soon be back” to address global warming fears, Ebell added.
James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
For more information …
James Inhofe, “Opening Statement: Hearing on Vice President Al Gore’s Perspective on Global Warming,” March 21, 2007, http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=75d0b214-802a-23ad-49d8-42ef79986e5e
Marc Morano, “Gore Refuses to Take Personal Energy Ethics Pledge,” March 21, 2007, http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=7616011f-802a-23ad-435e-887baa7069ca
Al Gore’s Testimony before the United States House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Energy & Air Quality and the Science and Technology Committee Subcommittee on Energy & Environment on March 21, 2007 is available through PolicyBot™, The Heartland Institute’s free online research database. Point your Web browser to http://www.policybot.org and search for document #20895.