Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From Green to Blue: Al Gore Has Had a Bad Year

His wife walked away. He's become a tabloid headline. They make fun of him on the late night talk shows, the news blogs and the floor of the U.S. Senate.

As Kermit tried to warn him, it's not easy being green.

And yet if all that wasn't enough to make you take the smiley face pin off your lapel, Mr. Gore has witnessed this year not only the collapse of his beloved "cap-and-trade" dreams, but the dramatic discrediting of the whole global warming...thing.

Matt Patterson, editor of Green Watch, summarizes a few of the "things gone wrong" in this Washington Times piece.

The fortunes of Mr. Gore's global-warming crusade certainly are in decline: A recent Rasmussen poll found that just 34 percent of respondents "feel human activity is the main contributor" to global warming and that the percentage of those who consider global warming a "serious issue" has "trended down slightly since last November."

Mr. Gore himself is to blame for at least some of the public backlash against global-warming orthodoxy: Using bad science to justify bad policy will inevitably rub people the wrong way. And Mr. Gore has not helped his cause by consistently expressing outrageous falsehoods ("the debate is over") and shamelessly trying to shield his assertions from legitimate criticism by claiming "settled science." All the while, he has enriched himself and pushed a left-wing economic agenda...

Fortunately, thanks largely to the tireless work of independent researchers Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, the flaws in the statistical methodology used to create the various hockey-stick graphs have received widespread attention, and the once-iconic symbol of global warming has since been largely marginalized in the climate-change debate.

But not before it helped Al Gore to earn an Academy Award, a Nobel Peace Prize and an undeserved reputation as a scientific guru. As The Washington Post once noted of Mr. Gore's academic credentials: "For all of Gore's later fascination with science and technology, he often struggled academically in those subjects. The political champion of the natural world received [a] sophomore D in Natural Sciences 6 ... and then got a C-plus in Natural Sciences 118 his senior year."

Imagine: We nearly let this former politician, who barely passed sophomore science at Harvard, persuade us to acquiesce to the monstrous statism of cap-and-trade, which would have resulted in higher energy and food prices and imposed yet another economic hardship on the poorest members of our society. All in the name of bad science.

Shame on him. And thank God he failed.