Today, the right-wing think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) launched its new round of ads attacking Al Gore for his leadership on climate change. According to CEI, the ads “contrast Gore’s energy-consuming lifestyle with the life-and-death need for energy in developing countries.” The ads are set to run for two weeks on CNN, CNBC, and Fox News.
Announcing the $30,000 ad buy at a press conference today, CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman said that climate change legislation of the kind Gore supported would herald “death on a massive scale” and “absolute disaster, suffering, and starvation on a massive scale” in the developing world. Watch the ad:
CEI — a noted global warming denier group — is dishonestly ignoring the disastrous effects climate change itself will wreak on the developing world. The UN Development Programme’s 2007 Human Development Report stated it unequivocally:
Climate change is the defining human development challenge of the 21st Century. Failure to respond to that challenge will stall and then reverse international efforts to reduce poverty. The poorest countries and most vulnerable citizens will suffer the earliest and most damaging setbacks, even though they have contributed least to the problem.
In fact, it was leaders of developing nations who were the most outraged at the United States’ stonewalling tactics at the Bali conference this winter. As the Washington Post reported, world leaders were furious when US climate negotiator Paula Dobriansky told the Bali delegates the US would not accept mandatory cuts in emissions:
Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South Africa’s minister of environmental affairs and tourism, called Dobriansky’s comments “unwelcome” and questioned why Washington was not doing more after leaders from emerging economies had dropped their resistance to taking measurable and verifiable steps to reduce their emissions. [...]
“If you cannot lead, leave it to the rest of us. Get out of the way,” declared Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea’s ambassador for climate change.
In reality, the costs of inaction are enormous. Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed multiple studies when it reported that the world needed to act immediately “to avert a global climate disaster, which could leave island states submerged and abandoned, African crop yields down by 50 percent, and cause a 5 percent decrease in global gross domestic product.”