mm448: Global warming: real but not catastrophe

July 25, 2008

dreamstime_638321

© Markwr | Dreamstime.com

MUDGE’s Musings

Politicians disagree. That’s not news — that’s politics.

Scientists disagree. That sometimes does not make the news. The flaming rhetoric gets the attention; the calm, carefully reasoned rebuttal is buried on page A22.

Or buried in a special interest magazine.

Found another such publication: Skeptical Inquirer.

Al Gore wants this country to totally migrate power generation from coal, like that sooty specimen above, to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, in 10 years. A very Kennedy-esque proposal. Actually, Kennedy’s inspiration (or, at least, his speechwriters’) might have been Chicago visionary, and leading proponent of the Columbian Exposition of 1892-93, Daniel Burnham, who most famously said: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood…”

[Editor’s note: the paragraph immediately above is a prime example of this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©‘s specialty: Sequitur Service©.]

Gore’s proposal of course is the follow-on to his environmental hobby-horse, sound-bit as global warming.

Not so fast, Al…

Read the rest of this entry »


mm169: It’s a Gore-y story

October 14, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

Have to congratulate Al Gore.

One gets the impression that, like many such awards, the Nobel Prizes are subject to public relations campaigns and politicking…

It was inevitable that the Nobel Peace Prize would go to Gore. Historically, the prize has had very little to do with rewarding genuine peacemakers. In 1939, nominees for the prize included such distinguished fighters for peace as Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler. The prize has always been influenced by the exigencies of realpolitik. So, over the years individuals like Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter and Willy Brandt received the Nobel. [–Spiked (see below)]

… so it wasn’t exactly out of the blue that Gore was awarded the Peace prize for his work on behalf of environmental awareness.

So, a couple of weeks ago, Gore’s “campaign” to win the Nobel was widely enough known that we picked up on it even in this out of the way nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©.

What was speculation (the Prize) is now fact. And so many other observers are taking a closer look at Gore’s presidential opportunity.

So, two of L-HC’s usual suspects, Salon and Slate weigh in.

salon

What are the odds that Al Gore enters the presidential race?

We put that question this morning to Karen Skelton, who served as Gore’s political director while he was vice president. Her response: “He will not run. Negative odds. He’s got all he needs. He’s a Nobel Prize winner, which means he’s being rewarded for following his passion successfully in a way that’s changed the world. His passion was never politics for the fight, it was for the cause.”

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

War Room: Political News, Politics News – Salon

slate

Will Al Gore now run for the White House?

By John Dickerson
Posted Friday, Oct. 12, 2007, at 10:43 AM ET

Al Gore. Click image to expand.Al Gore

Al Gore is a winner. Al Gore was right. One of the best things for Al Gore about winning the Nobel Peace Prize is that the sound bites are finally all on his side. For decades the two-term vice president has been championing environmental causes and until recently often received public scorn and derision. Now he’s been rewarded with one of the most coveted prizes on the planet.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

What does the Nobel Peace Prize mean for Gore 2008? – By John Dickerson – Slate Magazine

With the help of an interesting publication out of the UK, Spiked let’s put this prize into some context.

spiked

On Monday, spiked will publish a series of articles on Al Gore, the Nobel and the climate change debate. As a preview, here is Frank Furedi explaining why Gore is a fitting winner of the ‘Nobel Fear Prize’.

When I heard commentators this morning praising Al Gore as a ‘charismatic figure’, I waited around for the punchline. But they weren’t joking.

Somehow, this dull provincial politician suffering from a charisma-bypass has been transformed into a hi-tech twenty-first century prophet – and now he has won the Nobel Peace Prize to boot.

It is hard to tell if the reinvention of Gore is a testimony to the persuasive powers of PowerPoint, or to the collapse of the cultural and political imagination in the West. Probably, Gore’s emergence as a modern-day icon is a result of his ability to personify our culture of fear. He is the ideal spokesman for an era in which virtually every human experience comes with a health warning attached. Now, with his Nobel award, he joins a pantheon of cultural saints, including fellow Nobel recipient Mother Teresa.

A bracing point of view. And welcome.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

And the Nobel Fear Prize goes to… | spiked

And now for some perspective on Gore as a past presidential candidate, from an opinion columnist for the NYTimes.

nytimes

Yesterday began with the gratifying news that Al Gore, derided by George H.W. Bush as the “Ozone Man,” had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The first thing media types wanted to know was whether this would prompt Mr. Gore to elbow his way into the presidential campaign. That’s like asking someone who’s recovered from a heart attack if he plans to resume smoking.

Mr. Gore, who won an Academy Award for his documentary on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and an Emmy for his cable TV network, Current, knows better than anyone else how toxic and downright idiotic presidential politics has become.

He may be one of the most intelligent, thoughtful, talented men in America and remarkably well-equipped to lead the nation, but it’s Mr. Bush’s less-than-curious, less-than-distinguished son, George W., who is president.

There are all kinds of ironies wrapped up in the title of Mr. Gore’s latest book, “The Assault on Reason.”

Especially useful is the comparison with (the even more hypocritical than most of his fellow hypocritical candidates in his hypocritical party) Rudy Giuliani.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

The Trivial Pursuit – New York Times

And another comparison with Gore’s “successful” opponent in 2000 from the Washington Post…

washingtonpost

By Peter Baker, Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 13, 2007; A09

MIAMI, Oct. 12 — Somehow, it seemed only fitting that at the moment of Al Gore‘s triumph, George W. Bush would spend the day in Florida, scene of the fateful clash that propelled one to the presidency and the other to the Nobel Prize.

What a difference seven years makes. The winner of that struggle went on to capture the White House and to become a wartime leader now heading toward the final year of a struggling presidency. The loser went on to reinvent himself from cautious politician to hero of the activist left now honored as a man of peace.

For the Gore camp, it was a day of resurrection, a day to salve the wounds of history and to write another narrative that they hope will be as enduring as Florida. “We finally have their respective legacies,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and a veteran of the Clinton-Gore White House. “Bush earned the Iraq war, and Al Gore earned the Nobel Prize. Who knew Al Gore would one day thank the Supreme Court for their judgment?”

The White House stuck to polite, if restrained, congratulations. “Obviously, it’s an important recognition, and we’re sure the vice president is thrilled,” spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters aboard Air Force One heading here Friday. Another senior official, commenting on the condition of anonymity to speak less diplomatically, said the Nobel Prize is nice, but the presidency is still better. “We’re happy for him,” the aide said, “but suspect he’d trade places before we would.”

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Feats Divide Pair Linked by Election

A similar perspective from an opinion column in the the LATimes:

latimes

Jonathan Chait

No wonder conservatives are apoplectic – Gore’s fortunes rise as the president’s plummets.

October 13, 2007

When Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, conservatives reacted with apoplexy. Talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, conservative bloggers and other Republican faithful denounced the prize as a fraud….

The defensiveness of Gore’s critics comes because he is the ultimate rebuke to Bush. Gore, obviously, is the great historic counter-factual, the man who would have been president if Florida had a functioning ballot system. More than that, he is the anti-Bush. He is intellectual and introverted, while Bush is simplistic and backslapping.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Al Gore: the anti-Bush – Los Angeles Times

Finally, James Woudhuysen, again from Spiked, takes a most incisive look at the environmental movement itself, in the light of this latest event and symbol of its ascendency into the mainstream of political thought.

spiked

Environmental activists and commentators frequently argue that climate change is the most pressing problem facing humanity, and that if we don’t do something about it the planet will burn up. Yet when planet-sized technological solutions to global warming – also known as ‘geo-engineering solutions’ – are put forward, environmentalists are the first to balk. ‘It will never work’, they say. Why are those who are most concerned about climate change also the most hostile to doing something serious to tackle it?

It isn’t just because such solutions would be ambitious, costly and distant in time; nor is it only because these solutions would carry risks. Rather, environmentalists tend to dismiss geo-engineering because, at root, they are not interested in halting climate change. For many today, both green activists and leading politicians, climate change is a moral and political issue rather than simply a practical problem. They see the ‘issue of climate change’ as a means to changing people’s behaviour and expectations, rather than simply as a byproduct of industrialisation that ought to be tackled by technological know-how. They are resistant to geo-engineering solutions because putting an end to climate change would rob them of their raison d’être.

Here’s a particularly telling point:

Yet it is not particular technologies that environmentalists hate, so much as the whole idea of human ingenuity – the conscious, designing, problem-solving capabilities that distinguish mankind from naturally occurring species. If, as environmentalists claim, mankind means waste and the reckless destruction of finite natural resources, then artificial constructions can only deserve varying degrees of ridicule – partly for the damage they will bring in tow, but mainly for their creators’ outrageous arrogance.

How soft-headed can the Greens get? Keep reading.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Why greens don’t want to ‘solve’ climate change | spiked

So, a refreshing change here for L-HC.

It’s not been our experience in this space to date to have had the occasion to expose the practitioners of political correctness.

PC comes from those drug-addled survivors of the ’60s that now set policy in so many institutions of higher education and non-governmental organizations.

We are reminded, courtesy of Spiked, that the jerks of the right have no monopoly on wrong-headed moral certitude.

But Al Gore, child of those same times, is not a jerk.

And if he restrains himself from the temptations that his stellar year has exposed to him, he’ll remain one of the good guys. Either way, he deserves our congratulations.

Al, direct your energies toward persuading your friends the Greens that technological solutions to our environmental challenges are perfectly appropriate.

Then, perhaps they’ll retire the Peace prize with your name on it.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE


mm158: Miscellanea, or, this and that

October 1, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

shortattention

Short attention span blogging: Item 1:

Mike Garibaldi Frick: Elect the U.S. President with the Popular Vote – Politics on The Huffington Post

It’s time to elect the President and Vice President of the United States by direct, popular vote.

In addition to being given greater proportionate representation in the Senate, individuals living in states with smaller populations are given more political influence than those people living in larger states. That’s simply undemocratic. Electing the President by popular vote might also increase voter turnout and most certainly would extend the power of third party campaigns.

We’ve looked at this topic previously several times; it won’t go away… Take a look at the full post, and the comments.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Mike Garibaldi Frick: Elect the U.S. President with the Popular Vote – Politics on The Huffington Post

MUDGE is beginning to think that the Electoral College can be characterized in the manner that Winston Churchill characterized democracy:

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

The Electoral College is a lousy system, whose latest inadequacies have led this country to an abysmal seven years and counting, but I fear that it may be better than any other system for this country.

Short attention span blogging: Item 2:

Space Race Turns 50 With Sputnik Anniversary

MOSCOW (AP) — When Sputnik took off 50 years ago, the world gazed at the heavens in awe and apprehension, watching what seemed like the unveiling of a sustained Soviet effort to conquer space and score a stunning Cold War triumph.

But 50 years later, it emerges that the momentous launch was far from being part of a well-planned strategy to demonstrate communist superiority over the West. Instead, the first artificial satellite in space was a spur-of-the-moment gamble driven by the dream of one scientist, whose team scrounged a rocket, slapped together a satellite and persuaded a dubious Kremlin to open the space age.

And that winking light that crowds around the globe gathered to watch in the night sky? Not Sputnik at all, as it turns out, but just the second stage of its booster rocket, according to Boris Chertok, one of the founders of the Soviet space program.

MUDGE was a kid when Sputnik launched the world into the space age. It’s been a long time, but I dimly remember stepping outside to peer at the city-light polluted sky for something winking up there.

Eerie.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Wired News – AP News

Reflecting years later, one can’t help remember that, not mentioned in this story, in the end the Soviet Union’s captured German World War II rocket scientists (those wonderful folks who brought London the destructive power of the V-1 and V-2) beat the U.S.’s captured German rocket scientists into space. At least the first couple of steps.

It took a visionary John F. Kennedy to define an inspiring goal for our Germans and their mentored U.S. colleagues to focus on, and the U.S. won the war of which Sputnik was the first overt battle.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

They don’t build presidents like that any more.

Speaking of which…

Short attention span blogging: Item 3:

If Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize, will he run for president?

By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, Sept. 24, 2007, at 12:00 PM ET

Al Gore. Click image to expand.Al Gore

I am occasionally asked why it is that so many Europeans display reflexive anti-Americanism, and I force myself to choose from a salad of possible answers. One of these is the resentment that I can remember feeling myself when I lived in England in the 1970s: the sheer brute fact that American voters who knew nothing about Europe (and cared less) could pick a president who had more clout than any of our elected prime ministers could exert. America could change our economic climate by means of the Federal Reserve, could use bases in Britain to forward its policies in Asia or the Middle East, and all the rest of it. Americans could also choose a complete crook like Richard Nixon, or a complete moron like Jimmy Carter, and we still had to watch our local politicians genuflect to the so-called Atlantic alliance.

Love him, hate him, respect him as one (somewhat reluctantly) might, Christopher Hitchens is always interesting.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

If Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize, will he run for president? – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate Magazine

In this very, very long presidential election season, most anything can happen.

And most anything probably will.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE