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Gore warns about McCain policies: Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous.

By Joe Romm  

"Gore warns about McCain policies: Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous."

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gore-fight.jpgOkay, no more complaints the Dems aren’t talking climate change (see “Should you freak out at the lack of air time for climate change in Denver — or Minneapolis?“). Al Gore globally warmed the crowd in a terrific speech (be sure to read to the end where he compares Obama’s experience to Lincoln’s).

Gore pointed out that if he had won in 2000:

… we would not be denying the climate crisis; we’d be solving it.

Today, we face essentially the same choice we faced in 2000, though it may be even more obvious now, because John McCain, a man who has earned our respect on many levels, is now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue them, the same policies all over again.

Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous.

And Gore took on McCain’s walking away from mandatory caps (see “McCain opposes ‘mandatory’ carbon limits“) and cozying up to Big Oil (see “You’ve heard of ‘polluters pay’? So has McCain.“:

Oil company profits, as you know, have soared to record levels, and gasoline prices have gone through the roof, and we are more dependent than ever on dirty and dangerous fossil fuels. Many scientists predict — shockingly — that the entire North Polar ice cap may be completely gone during summer months during the first term of the next president. Sea levels are rising; fires are raging; storms are stronger. Military experts warn us our national security is threatened by massive waves of climate refugees destabilizing countries around the world, and scientists tell us the very web of life is endangered by unprecedented extinctions.

We are facing a planetary emergency, which, if not solved, would exceed anything we’ve ever experienced in the history of humankind.

In spite of John McCain’s past record of open-mindedness and leadership on the climate crisis, he has now apparently allowed his party to browbeat him into abandoning his support of mandatory caps on global warming pollution.

And then he turned to focus on clean energy:

And it just so happens that the climate crisis is intertwined with the other two great challenges facing our nation: reviving our economy and strengthening our national security. The solutions to all three require us to end our dependence on carbon-based fuels.

Instead of letting lobbyists and polluters control our destiny, we need to invest in American innovation.

Almost a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison, our most famous inventor, said, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!” he continued. “I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Well, now, in 2008, we already have everything we need to use the sun, the wind, geothermal power, conservation and efficiency to solve the climate crisis — everything, that is, except a president in the White House who inspires us to believe, “Yes, we can.” But we know how to fix that.

So how did this no-brainer become a brain-twister?

Because the carbon fuels industry — big oil and coal — have a 50-year lease on the Republican Party, and they are drilling it for everything it’s worth.

And this same industry has spent a half a billion dollars this year alone trying to convince the public they are actually solving the problem, when they are, in fact, making it worse every single day.

This administration and the special interests who control it lock, stock and barrel after barrel have performed this same sleight-of-hand on issue after issue. Some of the best marketers have the worst products, and this is certainly true of today’s Republican Party.

Kudos to Gore.

‹ Climate Progress at two years: Thank you for the music!

Obama convention speech on energy ›

10 Responses to Gore warns about McCain policies: Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous.

  1. Rick C says:

    Joe, there’s no if anymore about the northern polar ice cap. I have been listening to Professor Michio Kaku’s program on our Pacifica Radio affiliate KPFT here in Houston and he has said on several occasions that the northern polar ice cap is lost no matter what we do. So I have to disagree with Al Gore on that one.

    However I’ve been following Al Gore again since he did Inconvenient Truth and I have to say what a remarkable change he’s undergone since his 2000 race and the post election blues when he grew that beard.

  2. Mauri Pelto says:

    That speech deserves an ovation. Gore continues to be a source of inspiration that will help prompt us to responsible action on climate change.

  3. Ben says:

    we would not be denying the climate crisis; we’d be solving it.

    It’s nice to read, but also very sad.

  4. Dano says:

    Overall, has anyone ever seen an event where there were so many high-quality speeches? Michelle Obama, Hillary, Biden, Kerry, Gore, Barack Obama? Amazing.

    Best,

    D

  5. Jim Prall says:

    Dano –
    You said it. The Dems seem really energized and focused. As I watched Obama’s speech last night, I kept thinking: when was the last time I heard a speech by any politician really drive home such a strong message with so much power? Sadly we lost a lot of time waiting for this day, watching the right kick sand in John Kerry’s face and muddy the waters over and over. I’m not sure they are going to be able to “swiftboat” Obama this time. He may have too much momentum, credibility and core support.

    This morning I got up early and read some more of Monbiot’s _Heat_. His ch. 2 on the denial industry is now familiar ground (SEPP, TASSC, Milloy, Seitz and Singer.) It’s striking how much these guys can make doing this stuff. Monbiot points readers to http://www.exxonsecrets.org for background on just how much money Exxon has poured into denialist astroturf front groups. Now maybe the next Big Lie we need to expose and document is the huge P.R. campaign by the not-yet-clean coal industry.

    One interesting point Monbiot makes is that the key anti-climate astroturf groups were not *started* at Exxon’s prompting; rather, the tobacco industry went looking for some cover for their specific line of disinformation, and their hired liars hit on the clever plan of building a false front of multiple anti-science agendas all thrown together. The intent seems to have been to allow big tobacco to fund front groups that said more than just “2nd hand smoke doesn’t (necessarily) cause cancer” but that also denied lots of other science at the same time. That might help hide the craven tobacco agenda, suggests Monbiot. One big hit for this approach was to attach climate science. They then got additional money from Exxon, and the astroturf groups multipled and began popping up like weeds as this strategy started to pay off.

    I know people who do real grassroots advocacy on health issues, and they struggle to pay the bills. A big ethical issue for them is refusal to accept any donations from drug companies, in order to maintain total independence to say whatever they must and to be free to criticize. Cleary the astroturf tycoons have no such ethical hesitation.

    I got to wondering if there is any way to blunt this weapon of mass deception? Tougher financial disclosure rules for activist groups? For people coming to speak to Congress? For people giving “guest editorials” in magazines and newspapers? Of course there’s ample room for money laundering through multi-stage channeling of the oil or coal blood money.

  6. Dano says:

    I got to wondering if there is any way to blunt this weapon of mass deception? Tougher financial disclosure rules for activist groups? For people coming to speak to Congress? For people giving “guest editorials” in magazines and newspapers? Of course there’s ample room for money laundering through multi-stage channeling of the oil or coal blood money.

    In my view, there is a…ahem…”market” for this sort of thing you decry. There is a segment of society that needs this sort of narrative.

    IMHO this is an aspect of human nature where psychologically this narrative is preferred. Being an ecologist, I can absolutely empathize with Aldo Leopold who said “Having an ecological education means living in a world of wounds.”. Some (many) can’t function in such an environment, thus the need for the denial industry. Others look for an excuse for their behavior and look for such a narrative to justify it.

    That said, I’m a glass half-full guy (altho it is half-full of groundwater tainted by big ag) and Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”. Meaning: immovable object, irresistible force.

    Best,

    D

  7. David B. Benson says:

    Rick C — All we have to do is sequester as much CO2 as is added by humans to the active carbon cycle and then sequester about 500 GtC more.

    So far, nobody has started. :-(

  8. Carl says:

    Did Gore make this speech from his new twin 500hp turbo diesel powered million dollar house boat? He sets such a good example for the rest of us to follow.

  9. Larry Coleman says:

    As much as I admire Gore’s work, I think he misrepresented Lincoln’s opposition to the Mexican-American war. Gore said that during Lincoln’s “one term in Congress…he showed courage and wisdom to oppose the invasion of another country in a war that was popular when it started but later condemned by history.” According to David Herbert Donald’s excellent bio of Lincoln, Lincoln was silent on the war before he went to Congress, commenting only that we should support the President during time of war. (!) When he did get to Washington in 1847, when the war was essentially over, he finally began to attack Polk’s conduct of the war, but his arguments were legalistic rather than principled (Were American troops on US soil when their blood was spilled, e.g.?), and amounted really to an attempt to weaken the Democrats in anticipation of the upcoming Presidential election. Gore’s version makes a nice story and I wish his inferences were true, but they are not, at least according to Donald. I am a physicist, not a historian, so what do I know?

  10. mantolama says:

    Being an ecologist, I can absolutely empathize with Aldo Leopold who said “Having an ecological education means living in a world of wounds.”. Some (many) can’t function in such an environment, thus the need for the denial industry.