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Dangerous and growing threat of climate crisis

February 15, 2009
Science and Public Policy Institute
A response to Al Gore's Senate testimony of January 28, 2009
The Testimony

Al Gore, testifying before a Senate Committee on a bitterly cold, snowy late January day in 2009, said the "global community" was facing "the dangerous and growing threat of the climate crisis". He used the words "climate crisis" eight times in his written15-minute testimony.

The text of Gore's testimony, unlike previous statements by him about the "climate crisis", contained no scientific information.  Gore's "science", such as it was, was confined to a series of slides shown to the Committee but still unavailable to public enquirers thereafter.

Gore now says little in public about the science of climate, because he has been proven wrong on his facts so often in the past. Two years ago a High Court Judge in London ordered1 the British Government to correct nine "errors" in Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, before allowing innocent schoolchildren to be exposed to it. Gore's propaganda movie in fact contained at least 352 serious scientific errors3.

Gore's Senate testimony, as published, was little more than a string of childishly Apocalyptic generalities - "Earth is in grave danger"; "urgent and unprecedented threat to the existence of our civilization"; "dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels"; buying oil from "dangerous and unstable regimes"; "national security at risk"; oil's "roller-coaster is headed for a crash, and we're in the front car"; "70 million tons of global warming pollution"; "we move closer and closer to several dangerous tipping points" that will "make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable destruction of the conditions that make human life possible"; burning oil "in ways that destroy the planet"; "securing the future of human civilization"; "new evidence and fresh warnings from scientists"; etc., etc.

Gore urged the Senate to support President Obama's "recovery package"4 - energy efficiency, renewable energy, a national electricity grid, and "clean cars" -- that would create "millions of new jobs". He also said Congress must "place a price on carbon". He said there was "much stronger support for action than when we completed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997".

His ideal Copenhagen treaty to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol would contain asymmetrical limits on carbon emissions, hitting the West hard5 but letting off Communist China and other developing countries with lesser restrictions, softened by cash subsidies from Western nations. He also wanted a "strong compliance and verification regime". He said the treaty to protect the ozone layer had banned most of the "major substances that create the ozone hole over Antarctica".

Finally, Gore discussed "in more detail why we must do all of this within the next year"6. But the further "detail" was not included in the published text of his speech, and the Kerry Committee staff have not released Gore's "few new pictures that illustrate the unprecedented need for bold and speedy action this year", even though the Senate Committee hearing was supposedly public. CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

The Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI) is a nonprofit institute of research and education dedicated to sound public policy based on sound science. Free from affiliation to any corporation or political party, we support the advancement of sensible public policies for energy and the environment rooted in rational science and economics. Only through science and factual information, separating reality from rhetoric, can legislators develop beneficial policies without unintended consequences that might threaten the life, liberty, and prosperity of the citizenry.
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