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An inconvenient truth: Mr. Gore's sanity in the balance

By Greg Strange
web posted July 10, 2006

I am not a credentialed psychologist, but I have a psychological theory about why ex-vice president and presidential near miss Al Gore is such a rabid advocate of global warming hysteria. It goes something like this.

For many years, Gore believed that the eventual attainment of the presidency was something akin to a birthright and would almost certainly be his ultimate destiny. In 2000, when he missed it by a gnat's eyelash and his hopes were dashed, it must have been psychologically devastating for him.

So he dropped out of sight for a while. Eventually, he turned up again, sporting an uncharacteristic and unflattering beard, and, whether out of sour grapes or ideological extremism, began his relentless criticism of Bush administration policies, particularly where they pertained to the war in Iraq and the environment, Gore's pet subject for years as evidenced by his book Earth In The Balance.

Sometimes adopting the speaking style of a fire-and-brimstone, Pentecostal-type preacher during his harangues against that "renegade band of right-wing extremists," he was transmogrified into something worse than simply the old wooden, monotoned and personality-challenged automaton he had always been. He gave every appearance that he had become instead a fairly nutty guy who seemed to have sorta, kinda gone off the proverbial deep end.

Because of that new perception, future presidential aspirations seemed accordingly dim. But if you can't be president, then what might be the next best thing? Well, how about the guy who saved mankind and all of civilization? Not too shabby if he can pull it off. And that's where the global warming hysteria-mongering comes in.

Gore fancies that he can go down in history as a visionary who saved the world from a self-induced climatic disaster, contingent, of course, upon the world's politicians waking up and doing something before it's too late. And according to Al in his new movie, the world has approximately ten years to make some pretty dramatic changes before the effects of global warming become irreversible and we plummet headlong into a downward spiral that will culminate in civilizational destruction.

Al GoreSaving mankind is a pretty tall order, but nobody thinks any more highly of Mr. Gore's abilities than Mr. Gore himself. So, he dragged out the old slide show he's been carting around the country and the world for years, turned it into a motion picture and gave it the dopey name An Inconvenient Truth. And in that movie he very matter-of-factly states that scientific debate on global warming is over, all scientists are now in absolute agreement and the only remaining dissenters are right-wing nut jobs.

Well, okay, he didn't actually say that last thing, but it's implied. Anyway, the funny thing is, if you call up that handy-dandy website, Wikipedia, and do a search for "global warming skeptics," it will bring up a page with a long list of respected scientists who, believe it or not, are not in total agreement with Al Gore's stable of doom-mongers.

Take Dr. Bill Gray, for instance, highly respected atmospheric scientist who is world renowned for his yearly forecasts of Atlantic hurricane activity. "They've been brainwashing us for 20 years," Dr. Gray has said. "This scare will . . . run its course. In 15-20 years, we'll look back and see what a hoax this was."

Gray acknowledges that there's been some warming over the past 30 years. "I don't question that. And humans might have caused a very slight amount of this warming. Very slight. But . . . my belief is that three, four years from now, the globe will start to cool again, as it did from the middle ‘40s to the middle ‘70s."

Now, to hear Al Gore tell it, anyone who disagrees with global warming orthodoxy to the same degree as Dr. Gray should be confined to a rubber room, wearing a strait jacket and slobbering on himself. And yet, every year the meteorological community waits with bated breath for his hurricane forecast to come out. If global warming doomsday-think is so monolithic, how do they tolerate Gray's dissent and why would they listen to him about anything else? Is he just viewed as a colorful eccentric, like a lovable uncle that inappropriately belches at the dinner table?

And then there's Dr. Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at MIT, who wrote an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal just recently that was entitled: "Don't Believe the Hype -- Al Gore is wrong. There's no ‘consensus' on global warming." Here's a few factoids he provided that would seem to punch holes in Gore's dire presentation:

1.) The Arctic was as warm or perhaps even warmer in 1940 as compared to now. 2.) Evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. 3.) Alpine glaciers have been retreating since the early 19 th century, long before global warming could have been caused by man. 4.) The global warming models that give Gore such heebie jeebies imply that atmospheric temperatures should rise more than surface temperatures, but satellite data has shown no such warming of the atmosphere since 1979.

Dr. Lindzen also said in the article that atmospheric scientists quite simply "do not understand the natural internal variability of climate change." If that's the case (and who could argue that it isn't?), then it makes no sense to so adamantly attribute most or all of whatever warming of the earth there has been to human activity.

So what are we to glean from all of this? Well, that Al Gore needs to face an inconvenient truth himself, that being that, in reality, and however disturbingly for him, the debate over global warming is not, in fact, totally and decisively over. If there is any sanity at all in the scientific community, the debate can't be over.

That's not to say there shouldn't be a debate at all. There should. But humanity would be better served if a frustrated egotist like Al Gore didn't go around alarming the public with doomsday predictions all for the sake of nursing his personal psychopathologies.

Maybe global warming really is being mostly caused by human activity, but what are the odds that of all the possible scenarios, the worst case scenario is the one that will come true? Why would you believe that instead of believing, for instance, that the world will heat up another two or three degrees and then swing back the other way due to natural climate fluctuations and that civilization won't be destroyed?

Do you believe with absolute certainty your local weather forecast for three days out? How about two? How about for tomorrow? Then why would you believe a forecast for decades in the future when it is infinitely and impossibly more complicated than tomorrow's forecast?

When it comes to global warming, Al Gore apparently believes those scenarios that are the most outlandish rather than the most likely or plausible. The question is, why? Mr. Gore is no atmospheric scientist, but he sure would make a hell of a case study for a team of world-class psychologists.

Greg Strange's web site can be found at http://www.greg-strange.com. (c) 2006 Greg Strange.

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