~And changed the alarmism from global cooling to global warming, and now climate change~
Jay Lehr and Tom Harris
Although his science is often seriously wrong, no one can deny that Al Gore has a flare for the dramatic. Speaking about climate change in an October 12 PBS interview, the former vice-president proclaimed, “We have a global emergency.” Referring to the most recent UN climate report, Gore claimed it showed that current global warming “could actually extend to an existential threat to human civilization on this planet as we know it.”
Al Gore’s overblown rhetoric makes no sense, of course. Yet his hyperbolic claims beg the question: How did this all start?
Back in the 1970s, media articles warning of imminent climate change problems began to appear regularly. TIME and Newsweek ran multiple cover stories asserting that oil companies and America’s capitalist life style were causing catastrophic damage to Earth’s climate. They claimed scientists were almost unanimous in their opinion that manmade climate change would reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.
The April 28, 1975 Newsweek proposed solutions that even included outlawing internal combustion engines.
This sounds very similar to today’s climate change debate – except, in the 70s, the fear was manmade global cooling, not warming.
TIME magazine’s January 31, 1977 cover featured a story, “How to Survive The Coming Ice Age.” It included “facts” such as scientists predicting that Earth’s so-called average temperature could drop by 20 degrees Fahrenheit due to manmade global cooling. Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned readers that “the drop in temperature between 1945 and 1968 had taken us one sixth of the way to the next Ice Age temperature.”
Global cooling gained considerable traction with the general public. But then, instead of cooling as long predicted by manmade climate change advocates, the planet started warming again. Something had to be done to rescue the climate change agenda from utter disaster. Enter Al Gore.
Al Gore Sr., a powerful Senator from Tennessee, saw to it that his son was elected to the House of Representatives, serving from 1977 to 1985, then going on to the Senate from 1985 to 1993. Gore Junior’s primary issue was his conviction that the Earth would perish if we did not eliminate fossil fuels.
Gore advanced to Vice President under President Bill Clinton, where he was able to enact policies and direct funding to ensure that the climate change agenda became a top priority of the United States Government. Gore’s mission was boosted when Clinton gave him authority over the newly created President’s Council on Sustainable Development.
It will come as no surprise then that, when the Council’s Charter was revised on April 25, 1997, the “Scope of Activities” included the following direction to the Council:
Advise the President on domestic implementation of policy options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Council should not debate the science of global warming [emphasis added], but should instead focus on the implementation of national and local greenhouse gas reduction policies and activities, and adaptations in the U.S. economy and society that maximize environmental and social benefits, minimize economic impacts, and are consistent with U.S. international agreements. The Council should, at a minimum, identify and encourage potentially replicable examples of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across diverse sectors and levels of society.
Considering that the Council was tasked with advising the President “on matters involving sustainable development,” and alternative points of view on the science of climate change were effectively excluded, it was a foregone conclusion that the Clinton administration would go in the direction Gore wanted. Indeed, in their cover letter to the President accompanying their 1999 report, Advancing Prosperity, Opportunity and a Healthy Environment for the 21st Century, the Council stated: “Our report presents consensus recommendations on how America can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take other steps to protect the climate.”
A cornerstone of Gore’s strategy was to ensure that all high-ranking government officials who had any involvement with funding policies relating to climate change were in line with his vision. These agencies included the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, Department of Education, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
An example of his power was shown when physicist Dr. William Happer, then Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy, testified before Congress in 1993 that scientific data did not support the hypothesis of manmade global warming. Gore saw to it that Happer was immediately fired. Fifteen years later, Happer quipped, “I had the privilege of being fired by Al Gore, since I refused to go along with his alarmism. I did not need the job that badly.”
Al Gore was also able to leverage his high visibility, his movie awards, his Nobel Prize, and his involvement in various carbon trading and other schemes into a personal fortune. When he ended his tenure as Vice President in 2001, his net worth was $2 million. By 2013, it exceeded $300 million.
Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, provided a series of graphic images showing the apocalyptic consequences that some had predicted if fossil fuels were allowed to continue warming the planet. Images included melting glaciers, dying polar bears, spreading diseases, coastal cities inundated by massive floods, cities wiped out by hurricanes and tornadoes, and food supplies exterminated by droughts.
This compelling propaganda played a major role in frightening an entire generation about the future, causing young people and many parents to feel guilty about the role that they and their country were supposedly having in destroying our beautiful planet.
Since then, Americans have been told constantly that they should feel irresponsible if they drive cars or use fossil fuel energy to heat their homes or power their businesses. A rapid, massive conversion away from coal, oil and natural gas to renewable energy sources such and wind and solar, we are told, is the only hope for saving the planet.
Now children are increasingly depressed about their future, thanks to the constant barrage of global warming propaganda that they receive at school. Indeed, they have become so brainwashed and cowed by their peers that they no longer dare to question any statement made about catastrophic climate change.
Yet, essentially everything in Gore’s climate change agenda is either wrong or highly misrepresented.
Now that he is President Donald Trump’s Senior Scientist for the National Security Council, Dr. Happer needs to show there is no “scientific consensus” on these issues, rekindle informed debate on climate and energy issues, and help bring hope, common sense and real science back into the discourse – to help end the dangerous mythology of dangerous manmade global warming.
Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, Tom Harris, is Executive Director of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), a non-partisan group of independent scientists, economists, and energy and policy experts formed in 2008 to promote better understanding of climate science and policy worldwide. The ICSC aims to help create an environment in which a more rational, open discussion about climate issues emerges, thereby moving the debate away from implementation of costly and ineffectual “climate control” measures. Instead ICSC encourages assisting vulnerable peoples to adapt to climate variability and continuing scientific research into the causes and impacts of climate change. ICSC also focuses on publicizing the repercussions of misguided plans to “solve the climate crisis”. Mr. Harris has 30 years’ experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, and technical trainer. He was Science and Technology Advisor to the Opposition senior environment critic in Canada’s Parliament. From 2006 to 2008, he was executive director of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (Canada).
Dr. Jay Lehr is the Science Director of The Heartland Institute of Arlington Heights, Illinois.