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Issues of the Day More from Al Gore on Climate Change Denial

I admire Al Gore for many things, not the least of which is his strenuous warnings aimed at braking civilization’s sprint toward the climate change abyss. Perhaps no other public figure in the world has done as much to raise public consciousness of the perils of our fossil fuel addiction.

In an article titled “Climate of Denial: Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison?” in the June 24, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone,  Gore comes out swinging against the news media, which “seems confused” about whether “it is in the news business or entertainment business” with respect to the climate change debate. This, while “Polluters and Ideologues are trampling over the ‘rule’ of democratic discourse…spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year on misleading advertisements…[and] hiring four anti-climate lobbyists for every member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.” 

Gore compares the lobbying efforts undertaken by industry groups and right-wing ideologues to the reaction launched by similar groups against the campaign fifty years ago showing the links between tobacco consumption and cancer. But, he avers

This time, the scientific consensus is even stronger. It has been endorsed by every National Academy of [S]cience of every major country on the planet, [and] every major professional scientific society related to the study of global warming …[Further, according to the] most authoritative study by 3,000 of the very best scientific experts in the world, the evidence [of anthropogenic climate change] was judged ‘unequivocal.’”

Attack the scientists when the science is unassailable

The industry and other interest groups leading the disinformation charge against the veracity of climate change are unable to attack the science so they attack the scientists. The campaign flared shortly before the  ill-fated Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change in December 2009 (see my post,
Climate Change Denial and the Climate of Fear in Green Prophet, May 20, 2010) and has been blazing ever since.

Scientists have not taken the attack lying down and continue documenting climate change phenomena.  Over the past year, it was determined that 2010 (along with 2005) was the hottest year on record, and that flooding wreaked havoc on huge amounts of land: in Pakistan an estimated 20 million people were displaced by floods, in Australia, an area roughly the size of central Europe was inundated, and in the US,  the Mississippi River rose to all-time flood records.

Other climate change events and trends that that were conspicuous in 2010 included droughts and fires in Russia that killed over 50,000 people. The lack of rain in China, northern France and the American southwest and western regions created tinderbox conditions. Elsewhere, the melting of polar and glacial ice is expected to eventually  lead to emergency migrations due to sea-level rise, and mega-storms and other extreme weather occurrences, such as the killer tornadoes that flattened Joplin, Missouri and other parts of the US in May, continue to be experienced around the world. 

A Call to Change

“All over the world, the grassroots movement in favor of changing public policies to confront the climate change crisis…is growing rapidly,” says Gore. “But most governments remain paralyzed, unable to take action...Continuing on our current course would be suicidal for global civilization. But the key question is: How do we drive home that fact in a democratic society when questions of truth have been converted into questions of power?”

Gore continues, saying “Those who profit from the unconstrained pollution that is the primary cause of climate change are determined to block our perception of this reality.” While the Rolling Stone article is aimed primarily at American readers, the underling truth applies globally. In Israel, with the discovery of large fossil fuel holdings off our coast, Israeli energy interests and their American partners (see my post Israel’s Oil Tycoons Seek Higher Ground: New Challenge for Social Greens) have shown themselves committed to the same strategies of chicanery.  This, despite the fact that , according to the World Bank,

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is particularly vulnerable to climate change. It is one of the world’s most water-scarce and dry regions; with a high dependency on climate-sensitive agriculture and a large share of its population and economic activity in flood-prone urban coastal zones

But for corporate entities such as Israel’s Delek Group and its Texas partners Noble Energy, what importance is the vulnerability of people and land when profits hang in the balance?


Gore’s big-voiced (and rather long-winded) article is resonant with his Tennessean twang and the air of southern gentility, yet it speaks to all people of reason without condescension,  The piece concludes with a five-point action program geared to individuals, urging us to: (1) “become a committed advocate for solving the crisis, (2) make "consumer choices that reduce energy use and reduce your impact on the environment,” (3) “join an organization committed to action on this issue,” (4) contact media “when they put out claptrap on climate" and “don’t give up on the political system.”


In Israel, all of these points apply. Concerning the political system, environmentally-concerned Israelis should strengthen the hand of the Minister of Environmental Protection, Gilad Erdan, who, despite his politics on the West Bank and the Palestinians (from which I sharply dissent) is perhaps the only minister in the present government who is doing his job with commitment and courage, Even more importantly, concerned individuals should lend support to the many environmental organizations in the country and move them to action.


© Yosef Gotlieb, . All rights reserved