Gore warns of damage from climate change

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suggesting that the planet will soon reach an irreversible "tipping point" of damage to the climate, former Vice President Al Gore told members of Congress on Wednesday that the United States needs to join international talks on a treaty.

"This treaty must be negotiated this year," Gore told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

During questioning, he acknowledged that any treaty must include mechanisms to ensure compliance with prospective limits on carbon dioxide emissions, which come primarily from burning fossil fuels for energy.

Read the whole article.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchClimate Change, Weather* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources

35 Comments
Posted January 28, 2009 at 4:48 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Jeffersonian wrote:

Has anyone else noticed that, since empirical data on global warming don’t seem to be cooperating with Al Gore’s hysterics, we’re now being stampeded in the name of “climate change?”

January 28, 5:53 pm | [comment link]
2. Grandmother wrote:

Jeffersonian, most decidedly.. However, some in Washington might have been delighted to have Gore there bringing all that hot air with him. 

Gloria in SC

January 28, 5:57 pm | [comment link]
3. Jimmy DuPre wrote:

Coal is the issue to pay attention to. Reducing the use of fossil fuels is necessary for our national security and economic stability. I predict that legislation will pass but it will not result in the reduction of our use of coal, and that new coal fired electrical plants will continue to be built. There will be warm and fuzzy statements about cap and trade and carbon credits but Obama is not going to be tied to decisions that would double our electrical bills.

January 28, 6:08 pm | [comment link]
4. Uh Clint wrote:

It’s amazing to see the hue and cry over “global warming”.  No one can prove that such a thing is happening (without “adjusting” data that is dubious in the first place; many climatalogical monitoring stations are adjacent to significant heat sources…), let alone the cause - a good example of the lies/misdirection is in a NASA supervisors admission that a scientist who worked for him was less than scientific in his publications (I’m being really nice here, folks):
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/27/james-hansens-former-nasa-supervisor-declares-himself-a-skeptic-says-hansen-embarrassed-nasa-was-never-muzzled/

Given the fact that polar ice coverage is growing, the Great Lakes are frozen over to an extent unseen in many years, and there are ice storms here in Texas, it’s pretty easy to say that the folks pushing Global Warming as an Imminent Catastrophe are out of touch with reality.  I agree that we should be trying to minimize pollution, but if the policies of the “warmers” get put in place, our entire modern society will have to be abandoned.  Big cities will be shut down, farms will change from large scale to single family - and in order to make this happen, the population will have to be drastically scaled back.  Of course, those who are enlightened won’t be amongst the candidates for population decrease…....  just us “breeders”.

January 28, 6:26 pm | [comment link]
5. demosgracias wrote:

I was interested to see how carbon credits bought from participants in the Kyoto treaty were going to build hydro electric dams in China. How anyone would think that these dams would not be build anyway shows how the buraucracy in charge of what constitutes a carbon reducing investment will be highly politicized.
Cap and trade on reduction or elimination of coal as an option should prove to be no different.

January 28, 6:28 pm | [comment link]
6. DonGander wrote:

“This treaty must be negotiated this year,”

Between this and the bulbous bailout I feel that government is beginning to act and sound very much like a vacuum cleaner salesman.

Don

January 28, 6:30 pm | [comment link]
7. Watcher On The Wall wrote:

The whole “climate change” effort led by Algore, is not about saving the earth, it’s about obtaining power and societal control. More scientists are coming out and denouncing “climate change” as a hoax and bad science.

January 28, 6:32 pm | [comment link]
8. AnglicanFirst wrote:

And what are Gore’s academic credentials supporting his assertions in a scientific field of investigation?

Let’s see.  Academic credentials.  None in the scientific field that I am aware of.  Oh, he did attend divinity schoool.  Apparently he didn’t measure up to the academic challenges presented there.

What does Gore know about the scientific field?  Experiment design, observation, data collection, data analysis, study of previous data, data analysis, study of previous analyses, theory formulation & model design, theory & model testing, study of previous theories, etc.

January 28, 7:19 pm | [comment link]
9. Jeffersonian wrote:

Coal is the issue to pay attention to. Reducing the use of fossil fuels is necessary for our national security and economic stability.

Then how about this idea:  Instead of using this phony hog-slop of a “stimulus” to lard up the Left’s mascots, why not use the money to back bonds issued by utility companies to build a few hundred nuclear generating plants over the next decade?

January 28, 7:27 pm | [comment link]
10. In Texas wrote:

Since I follow this stuff as part of earning my living, “climate change” legislation is coming.  The Obama admin updated whitehouse.gov website lists under program initiatives that Obama-Biden are going to push for carbon reductions of 80% by 2050.  Waxman has said his committee will try to have legislation out by Memorial Day.  Pelosi has said September.  I believe I read one expert say that 80% reduction in GHG emissions would be what the US had back in the 1920’s.

With this economy, why, oh, why would you impose billions of dollars of requirements on industry, or issue “carbon credits” that must be purchased.  Just think, here in Texas my summer electric bill will go from $450 per month to $900 or even $1000.  You think $4 gasoline was high - just wait.

I guess we will have more companies moving plants to China, which is not subject to any restrictions under any treaty, same with India.

As long as environmental controls are for “those evil, polluting plants and refineries”, the average person does not see a direct impact.  I wonder what the average person will think when they get laid off, and can’t pay their electric bill, even if they are still employed?

January 28, 7:48 pm | [comment link]
11. Old Soldier wrote:

DonGander,
You sir, have just insulted vacuum cleaner salesmen.

Living in Maine and would love to see that (bogus) global warming.

January 28, 9:42 pm | [comment link]
12. Little Cabbage wrote:

Ice storms occur because a current of WARM air intercepts the snow which has formed at a higher altitude—so the moisture hits the ground as sleet and ice rather than snow.

The ice storms in areas that usually see snow instead are simply one more indication of the warming of the planet. 

Some of you folks won’t want to admit it, but it’s the truth.

January 28, 10:01 pm | [comment link]
13. libraryjim wrote:

Nonsense. Anytime the facts do not fit the theory (as with most of climate change facts to the human cause theory), the theory changes. First GW was going to eliminate all polar and sea ice, flooding the coastlands and causing immense tidal surges of up to 20 feet (Al Gore’s estimate—the IPCC said 20 cm or around 17 inches, which shows Algore cannot convert from metric to US standard). 

Now that that has not happened, and instead the sea ice is back up to the 1979 levels, all of a sudden the extreme cold waves and snow/ice storms in such areas as Dubay (sp) are merely an extension of the GW theory. In other words, the theory changed again.

The pro-anthropgenic folk need to get a grip on the FACT that climate has been changing steadily in cycles eve since the dinosaur age, often more extreme than today.  Warming cycles are often followed by cold waves, as with the end of the Medieval Warming Period—2 degrees on average warmer than our recent warming period—folowed by the mini-ice age. (proof of this was the founding of Greenland—which was green when settled by the vikings—and it’s abandonment when cold made living there impossible) complete with its ‘year without a summer’.

January 28, 10:36 pm | [comment link]
14. Fr. Dale wrote:

Whatever became of Y2K?
Did we all die and global warming (AKA climate change) is just the last gasp of our collective unconscious?

January 29, 12:03 am | [comment link]
15. stjohnsrector wrote:

Hey, that is really funny.  Did you make that up, or find it on a site somewhere?
I remember studying in school in the 1970’s about global cooling and the coming ice age.  Perhaps, like the 70’s fashions coming back, we could brush off that scare.

January 29, 12:23 am | [comment link]
16. Albeit wrote:

Al Gore has a agenda alright, but it has little to do with saving the world.  The fact is that Al Gore trades in carbon credits to his personal gain. Oh, my! Oh, dear!

Check it out: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2008/06/04/gore-invests-carbon-credit-company-will-media-care

January 29, 12:37 am | [comment link]
17. Albeit wrote:

Still don’t believe me?  Then read what Reuters reported: http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssEnergyNews/idUSL0490971420080604

January 29, 12:41 am | [comment link]
18. Dilbertnomore wrote:

Folks, face it. Whether its called Global Warming or Climate Change what we really have here is a religion. And this religion takes a bunch more faith to swallow the things that must be believed than Christianity demands. GW/CC is a bogus religion. And we all know what God thinks of phony would-be’s.

January 29, 12:41 am | [comment link]
19. Katherine wrote:

You’ve seen the item about the Snowy Owl moving south?  As the post title says, the name is a clue.  Birders are flocking to Tennessee to see the owls where they haven’t shown up in decades.

January 29, 1:39 am | [comment link]
20. Jim the Puritan wrote:

A new Ice Age is a lot scarier to me than Global Warming.

January 29, 2:01 am | [comment link]
21. Creighton+ wrote:

Those who embrace the ideology of Global Warming come across as Fanatics.  In the 70’s we feared a new Ice Age.  Now, it is global warming.  I believe in Climate cycles and the Sun going through various cycles that effect our climate….and we could be better stewards of our environment…but I do not accept the fear driven concept of Global Warming.

January 29, 9:33 am | [comment link]
22. John Wilkins wrote:

Global warming has to do with average temperatures.  Hotter in the summer, colder in the winter, but an average rise.  Thus the more accurate name “climate change.”

What is interesting about the rhetoric here is that I doubt scientific evidence could actually convince anyone.  There may be some elements of “religiosity” to environmentalism.

Libraryjim may be right that parts of the theory change.  Climate is a relatively new science, so of course it will.  It doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t happening.  Furthermore, The trend until the industrial age was cooling.  What he doesn’t take into account is the rapidity of climate change.  Warming the planet in a 120 myr cycle is different than over 200 years.

January 29, 11:00 am | [comment link]
23. Dave B wrote:

“Coal is the issue to pay attention to. Reducing the use of fossil fuels is necessary for our national security and economic stability.”
America has more coal than the Arabs have oil.  Coal and natural gas are America’s aces and we want to put them in the dicard pile! Coal can be converted to liquid fuel.  How does this indanger the US economically or affect our national security?  Coal should be the bridge to other energy sources and free us from importing our energy from nations hostile to us.  “Climate change” has little to do with “green house” or “ice house” gases and every thing to do with levels of solar activity.  There are many instances where temperature data were fudged and or improperly collected to draw any conclusion about fractional degree changes in world temperature.

January 29, 12:20 pm | [comment link]
24. libraryjim wrote:

Anyone who has watched Discovery or the History channel knows that climate change is rapid, and has been going on for millennium (sp?).

On their discussion of the extinctin of dinosaurs one theory was extreme climate change, too rapid for the mammoth beasties to migrate or adapt.

In the program on 10,000 BC (to go along with the movie), rapid extreme climate change was the explanation for mass migrations.

In the program on ‘Little Ice Age, Big Chill’, the rapidity of the encroaching ice age on the medieval warming period was the blame for the deaths of many settlements in Greenland and northern climes, many now buried beneath glaciers! As well as loss of crops resulting in mass starvation around the world.

Of course, then they all offer a disclaimer: “But this is nothing compared to what we have today”. I can see the ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge, “you know what I mean?”’ behind the scenes.

Then there is the newspaper record:

starting in 1912, the warning of a new ice age began.  Since the last ice age wasn’t that long ago, the warnings were dire and hysterical (“Ice will cover Canada and wipe out the population”—Chicago Tribune 1923).

In 1969, Global warming was the threat.

In 1974 we were back to cooling leading to another ice age “The threat so great it may be irreversible, and a new warm period is unlikely!” (1975 Science News)

Then in 1990s the rumblings of global warming began again: “Billions will die!”

Now, the report is: Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming

If ‘science’ has shown us anything over the last 100 years, it’s that they don’t have a clue, either, and are just guessing. That’s a heck of a lot of economic upheaval for a ‘theory’ that is still being discussed and without consensus.

January 29, 12:43 pm | [comment link]
25. libraryjim wrote:

Oh, I just found this one from the Daily Tech website:

Solar Activity Diminishes; Researchers Predict Another Ice Age

Dr. Kenneth Tapping is worried about the sun. Solar activity comes in regular cycles, but the latest one is refusing to start. Sunspots have all but vanished, and activity is suspiciously quiet. The last time this happened was 400 years ago—and it signaled a solar event known as a “Maunder Minimum,”  along with the start of what we now call the “Little Ice Age.”

Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada’s National Research Council, says it may be happening again. Overseeing a giant radio telescope he calls a “stethoscope for the sun,” Tapping says, if the pattern doesn’t change quickly, the earth is in for some very chilly weather.

Here we are, back to 1912 again.

January 29, 12:49 pm | [comment link]
26. jkc1945 wrote:

I really think the basic question here is - - where do we 21st century earth-dwellers get the idea that the 2009 climate is the “ideal” climate for the earth, and anything else, whether cooler or warmer, is an aberration?  Perhaps we are continuing to emerge from the last Ice Age, and we are just too small and finite to really notice that.  Or maybe we are the leading edge of a solar-induced warming, and once again, just cannot think in terms of “millions of years” of change.  In any case, we must look pretty silly to God, as we try to measure things like carbon dioxide changes over, say, 50 years.

January 29, 12:52 pm | [comment link]
27. Dilbertnomore wrote:

#23 - DaveB, Gaia and John Wilkins are going to get a twist in their knickers over any positive inclinations toward coal.

I’m sticking with God’s charge to man given in Genesis 1:28 - “...and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

That tells me we should drill, mine, refine, collect wind power, and collect solar, hydro and tide energy everywhere it makes sense to do so. We should pull every bit of juice we can squeeze from good old Gaia because God says that’s what Gaia is there for.

January 29, 1:03 pm | [comment link]
28. Pb wrote:

There is also the interesting question of the accuracy of the data. Have thermometers become more accurate? I would bet so. So the data is changing. Climate has been changing ever since the big bang.

January 29, 1:50 pm | [comment link]
29. Jim the Puritan wrote:

I am a runner, now a slow jogger.  For almost 30 years I have run the same route that takes me along a beach in a beach park.  I can tell by the position of certain rocks and walls built along the beach whether there has been any change in sea levels (it’s in a protected area in a cove and also with a substantial fringing reef, so there’s not a risk of erosion of the shoreline from wave action or storm surge).  I can assure you the shoreline there is where it has always been.  Yet from reading all the hysterical stories about climate change and sea level rise, the water should be halfway across the beach park by now.

The clue to this hysteria is that it is all built on “models” and the fear of what “may” happen under the models.  The actual empirical data do not back it up, unless someone chugs it through the “model,” applies various assumptions to the data that biases the facts towards the result one wants and then the person says, “see, we told you!”

The hysteria is also built on and supported by the logical fallacy of the “Precautionary Principle,” which has been in vogue in environmental circles for many years, and has now permeated into many environmental, health, safety and welfare laws and regulations.  It essentially says if you think there may be harm, you must act in a way to miminize the risk of the harm.  The flaw is that it assumes the harm will happen, even if the possibility it may happen is negligible, or even if there is no empirical evidence it will happen.  It also puts the person who opposes the application of the Principle in the position of having to prove that something WON’T happen, which is generally impossible.

This is why in many parts of the country, it is now virtually impossible legally to do anything “new,” whether building new houses, working on cures for diseases, or developing new disease-resistant crops (GMOs), because in getting permits and approvals one has to go through an interminable process of proving that it won’t violate the Precautionary Principle.  For example, the applicant has the burden of proof to show the development won’t cause asteroids to fall out of the sky, the seas to dry up, or trigger runaway global warming, etc.

Basically, “Global Warming” is a reflection of the same sort of irrational thinking we thought went out with the Medieval Age, but it is still alive and thriving in 21st century America.

Here’s a little example of the Precautionary Principle, taken from http://radicallibertarians.blogspot.com/2007/04/urgh-and-precautionary-principle.html

Urgh and the Precautionary Principle  

Urgh stands happy besides a big circular object made of rock, with a chisel and hammer (primitive, of course) nearby. His friend Arh approaches presently.

Urgh: Look what Urgh did!
Arh: What be?
Urgh: Me invent rolling object! You push, it roll around.
Arh: What for?
Urgh: *shrugs* It be used to transport things maybe, put object in middle and push.
Arh: Urgh not serious!
Urgh: What?
Arh: Urgh rolling thing untested. What if rolling thing rolls over someone asleep? Urgh kill people with rolling thing!
Urgh: Well, Urgh not planning to use around people…
Arh: But can you prove it never happen?
Urgh: Um… no…
Arh: Therefore rolling thing dangerous! Not use!
Urgh: So, because me cannot prove not dangerous, you say dangerous?
Arh: Yes!
Urgh: Arh realize using logical fallacy right? Argument from Ignorance. Arh cannot say something dangerous just because no proof it is not.
Arh: SHUT UP CAPITALIST SWINE! LOGIC NOT INVENTED YET!
Urgh: Um, capitalism not invented yet either.
Arh: SHUT UP OR ME SMASH URGH WITH ROCK! Also, Urgh not made environmental impact study of effect of rock on grass.
Urgh: Well, rolling thing more useful than impact of rock on grass… tradeoff seems pretty good for us…
Arh: Tradeoff? No risk is acceptable! Rolling thing might lead to vegetation death, killing animals, no more food, we all die!
Urgh: But Arh not know that for certain.
Arh: BUT IT POSSIBLE! Therefore Arh assume until you prove otherwise!
Urgh: ... Arh using Argument from Ignorance again…
Arh: LOGIC NOT INVENTED YET!
Urgh: ... and why burden of proof on Urgh? Why not think Arh’s method preventing progress and thus putting more lives at risk than the alternative?
Arh: BECAUSE YOU CAPITALIST SWINE! URGH WANT TO MAKE MONEY OFF ROLLING THINGS AGAINST HEALTH OF TRIBE! ARH HATE YOU!
Urgh: ... but money not invented yet.
Arh: SHUT UP URGH!

January 29, 2:35 pm | [comment link]
30. Jimmy DuPre wrote:

Let me clarify my previous post;Coal is the issue to pay attention to. Reducing the use of CRUDE OIL is necessary for our national security and economic stability. I predict that legislation will pass but it will not result in the reduction of our use of coal, and that new coal fired electrical plants will continue to be built. There will be warm and fuzzy statements about cap and trade and carbon credits but Obama is not going to be tied to decisions that would double our electrical bills.
It is legitimate to study the astronomical rise in what we consume per capita over the last 150 years. We well may be creating problems for our great garndchildren that can’t be solved. Unfortunately this concern has coalesced into an oversimplification called climate change not motivated by science, but rather by seeking research grants. The sad thing is that once climate change is discredited it will be that much harder to sustain any serious discussion about our over consumption of natural resources.

January 29, 3:33 pm | [comment link]
31. Dave B wrote:

In 1980 Dr. Holdren helped select five metals — chrome, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten — and joined Dr. Ehrlich and Dr. Harte in betting $1,000 that those metals would be more expensive ten years later. They turned out to be wrong on all five metals, and had to pay up when the bet came due in 1990.
This was a rather famous bet (Holdren is a Obama advisor).  I am not sure how all this works but dire predictions of scarcity have universally turned out to be wrong.  Water is one item that may create problems.  I do think there are better energy sources but muddle headed thinking (think bio fuels) and wishful technology (wind power, Germany abandoned it because it was unreliable and required an expensive back up system) are not going to do it.  Solar converted hydrogen?  We do need to bridge the lack of current technology with tried and true systems and turning coal into gas is one option.

January 29, 3:50 pm | [comment link]
32. libraryjim wrote:

Jimmy,
Remember during the campaign, when Obama was asked about new coal plants? He responded:

[blockuqote] I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.
That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.

The only thing I’ve said with respect to coal, I haven’t been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a (sic) ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

—San Francisco Chronicle (emphasis added)

a you tube video of the audio of the speech can be found here.

So forget coal.

January 29, 4:19 pm | [comment link]
33. libraryjim wrote:

Actually, that report only contains the blocked part of the speech, and reports on the spin put on later. 

When I typed in Obama coal plant bankrupt I got 18 hits from YouTube. Everything from Sean Hannity to local news to individuals in coal country outraged at his unedited comments (such as this one.

January 29, 4:25 pm | [comment link]
34. Jimmy DuPre wrote:

Library Jim; it is just possible that Obama the candidate was talking to his base. Obama the President who wants to be reelected is not going to be blamed for rolling blackouts and doubling of electrical bills.

I think. I could be wrong.

January 29, 6:38 pm | [comment link]
35. libraryjim wrote:

Jimmy,
Could be, but the coal mining people are the same ones that he said were ” bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”  Many of them are my relatives, who hunt and go to church and bowl or play bingo with people of different races and nationalities, and are not bitter.

We’ll just have to wait and see, since we haven’t seen the REAL Obama yet.

January 29, 9:55 pm | [comment link]
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