The global warming hysteria has always been unhappy in its champions. It does well to remember that its very first Goliath was the unctuous and preening Al Gore. Having served as a sidekick and underling to Bill Clinton, and then enduring the lesser humiliation of losing to the man regarded at the time as the dumbest ever to run for President, George W. Bush, Mr. Gore searching about for something to tame his shame, set up as the early chief oracle to the global warming apocalyptics. It’s a mystery to this day how he so swiftly emerged from so complete a debacle to world oracle.
Global Warming was the original denomination, favoured by Mr. Gore and the legions of NGOs, Greenpeacers and their ilk. But it proved too sturdy a framing. It lacked the elasticity so useful when it becomes needful to slide an argument around or twist it to meet contradicting realities. The term was never precise, but neither was it fully malleable. That is why – when the winter snows continued to show up after infallible predications by some we’d never see them again, when glaciers didn’t melt on cue, when polar bears fattened and multiplied – the always agile camp of climate diviners switched to the infinitely accommodating “Climate Change.” Climate Change is a binder you can stuff everything in. Warm, Cold, Hot, Dry, Wind, Drought, Frost and Fry. It says everything and nothing. In fact, it is the perfect synonym that less enlightened generations called Weather. And Weather always happens. It is change itself. Ask any Newfoundlander.
Throughout this piece, however, I’ll stay with the original baptismal designation: Global Warming it is. It is what Gore called it. He put out a fact-parched, overblown, manipulative pseudo-documentary – An Inconvenient Truth (a milestone and pioneer in the hash tagged genre of what we now hear of as Fake News) – and on the back of that PowerPoint agitprop repeated the rewards of a latter-day Copernicus. First, from the coven of molesters and sex fiends, the Academy of Arts and Sciences (sic) he got their highest piece of tinsel, an Oscar. Then from the Norwegian Nobel Committee, arguably, the secular world’s highest honour, a Nobel Peace Prize.
What, really, had he done for either? Reflect first on the Peace Prize. What conflict did he stop or ameliorate? What mediation did he engage in to settle a war, or prevent one? What personal example did he set to elevate and inspire the minds of young people? What sufferings did he endure in the battles against tyranny, or for the enduring causes of individual freedom, or respect for human dignity?
In this latter case, we have very real and recent examples of the moral status of courage of some so chosen. Who does not admire Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov, Pasternak? Who does not admire Mother Teresa or Malalai Joya? The bravery and endurance of the three Russians, two authors, one real scientist, bear equivalence with that of the warrior heroes and martyrs of old. The courage and stamina of the young Malalai exerts a sovereign reach into the admiration of all. So too, the example of Mother Teresa, extending the most humble and deepest charity to the neglected, forgotten and dying poor of Calcutta.
Where does Mr. Gore align – in action or example – with any one of these wonders of our kind? A self-absorbed, haughty, failed politico of the too-sadly familiar type, a man on the make for prestige and fortune, who latched on to a Hollywood posse to glossify his “save the world” PowerPoint – this man gets a Nobel prize. And from now beshamed and tawdry closed universe of Beverly Hills he was given their highest tribute.
Why bring up Al Gore now? Isn’t he, as they say, passé? For this reason, that he illustrates how easily the global warming crusade walks so glibly by all its misdirections, its errors, its failed predictions – both general and particular – and yet maintains its momentum in the unskeptical press, seemingly without injury. And, more to the point, how it discards its generals and gurus, its sages and Nostradamuses, once their moment has past, their lights dimmed, their predictions fail or – most frequently, having ridden the wave to personal enrichment and a sustaining self-celebrity, they blithely wander off into other enchantments. From there they decorate the boardrooms of Apple and Google, parley subsidies for windmills, do sales work for solar panels.
They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall.
Samuel Johnson, The Vanity of Human Wishes
With such champions, how does the cause continue to thrive? One day, they are known in the mass media as the voice of the world in its hour of peril. The next, just add-ons to some tame conference list of the usual suspects. Their “leadership”’ such as it is has the quality of a fad.