Al Gore takes aim at climate change skeptics

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 1, 2010 4:51pm EST

Former Vice President Al Gore participates in a panel discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative, in New York, September 23, 2009. REUTERS/Chip East

Former Vice President Al Gore participates in a panel discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative, in New York, September 23, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Chip East

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Vice President Al Gore took aim at skeptics who doubt the reality of human-caused climate change, saying he wished it were an illusion but that the problem is real and urgent.

Gore, who has made the fight against climate change his signature issue since leaving the White House in 2001, specifically addressed challenges to the accuracy of findings by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion," Gore wrote in an op-ed piece in The New York Times.

"But unfortunately, the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes" in reports by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Climate change skeptics have pointed to errors in the panel's landmark 2007 report -- an overestimate of how fast Himalayan glaciers would melt in a warming world and incorrect information on how much of the Netherlands is below sea level -- as signs that the report's basic conclusions are flawed.

The panel's report said that climate change is "unequivocal" and that human activities contribute to it.

Gore's defense of the panel's findings came two days after the United Nations announced that an independent scientific board would review the panel's work in light of the errors.

The intergovernmental panel shared a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Gore and has driven political momentum to agree on a global climate treaty to replace the carbon-capping Kyoto Protocol.

A December meeting in Copenhagen that aimed to bring about a global agreement failed to reach this goal, and Gore blamed inaction in the U.S. Senate.

"Because the world still relies on leadership from the United States, the failure by the Senate to pass legislation intended to cap American emissions before the Copenhagen meeting guaranteed that the outcome would fall far short of even the minimum needed to build momentum toward a meaningful solution," Gore wrote.

Three U.S. senators -- Democrat John Kerry, Republican Lindsey Graham and Independent Joe Lieberman -- have proposed to restart the process by dumping across-the-board cap-and-trade provisions in favor of sectoral approaches to cutting greenhouse gas provisions.

The new bipartisan bill could target individual sectors and move away from a system used in Europe in which companies would buy and sell the right to pollute, a process that caps and eventually reduces emissions blamed for heating the Earth.

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Comments (150)
ccharles wrote:
certainly you smart guys can explain to us what is going to happen. Surly you cant think that if we change the composition of our atmosphere that there will be no effects from it. So since you can smear so well, please enlighten us.

Kudos to those willing to venture a guess. The fact remains… co2 is at its highest level ever, and that man may be able to control the elevation of the co2. As long as this level remains, we have a problem houston!

Feb 28, 2010 11:43pm EST  --  Report as abuse
NatetheGrate wrote:
You ninnies! Everybody can see the atmosphere is warming enough to melt the glaciers, and the polar icecaps will probably be next. Anyway, even if global warming is not a human-caused phenomenon, how can limiting emissions into the atmosphere be a bad thing? It will at least help improve air quality! This is not about personality, it’s about life on earth — which is still the only planet we have!

Mar 01, 2010 12:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
jedco wrote:
“…he has vested interests in all these green tech companies and would make a fortune out of all this hyped manipulated nonsense if it passes”

Did you read this drivel on the wall at a truck stop men’s room? This, along with the other comments here illustrate perfectly how hard Al has it. He could insist that the sky is blue and nobody would believe him until they heard it on television. Why think when repeating is so much easier?

Mar 01, 2010 12:01am EST  --  Report as abuse
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