Sunday, March 25, 2007

Al Gore ROCKS!!!

This is from last Wednesday's (3/21/07) Progress Report (you can see how far behind I am in reading my e-mail) ... I am just fed up with conservatives ... Al Gore is right ... they're wrong:

A Hero And A Target

House and Senate committee hearings on global warming today expect "huge turnouts," as they play host to the testimony of Vice President Al Gore, who will be sending Congress a message "demanding immediate action to solve the climate crisis." Carrying with him as many as 500,000 postcards from individuals seeking "real action on global warming," Gore returns to Capitol Hill "as a celebrated Academy Award winner, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and a man on a mission to save the planet." Gore's efforts to raise the public consciousness of looming environmental and economic disasters have made him the subject of right-wing attacks. Long-time critics of global warming science have refocused their criticisms of late on the leading spokesman of the climate crisis awakening. Conservatives have hurled personal attacks on Gore, calling him an "alarmist," an "extremist," and a "high-profile hypocrite." The intensity of the right-wing rage is a reflection of Gore's incredible success in winning over public attention and goodwill for his work on the environment. Two years ago, global warming was still considered a fringe issue to many. Today, the debate is over -- Americans overwhelmingly agree that the climate crisis exists and that we must act now to reverse it. Gore's documentary (and companion book) An Inconvenient Truth had a profound impact on how Americans view the issue of global warming, and the public stage that Gore now commands is a deserved recognition of his work.

PATHETIC ATTEMPTS TO STUMP GORE: Earlier this week, the Drudge Report -- a leading global warming denier -- posted questions that were “circulating behind-the-scenes” and would supposedly leave “Gore scrambling for answers.” The list recycled long-running efforts by conservatives to play down the extent of human contribution to global warming. One question said: "Wouldn't it make more sense that the sun is responsible for warming since it is the common denominator?" Media Matters reports that theory has been debunked by the scientific community, noting that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- in a report it released in February -- "concluded that both greenhouse gases and solar radiation are contributing to global warming." Moreover, "solar activity has not increased since the 1950s" and is therefore unlikely to be able to singularly explain the recent warming. Another question for Gore read: "Joseph Romm, the executive director for the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, has said we must build 700 large nuclear plants to stave off climate change. Where do you stand on the need for nuclear energy?" Romm, a former assistant energy secretary in the Clinton administration, noted that he sides with Gore and is in favor of "mandatory carbon dioxide controls" before making calculated and safe investments into nuclear power.

SMEARS AND LIES: There is no meaningful debate within the scientific community about the human contribution to global warming, so the right wing has instead busied itself with propagating information to smear the leading spokesman of the climate crisis awakening movement. Recently, Fox News's Sean Hannity lashed out at Gore for supposedly flying on private jets, despite having no evidence Gore had done so since Jan. 2000. Gore's office told The Progress Report that the Vice President reduces his emissions as much as he can, drives a hybrid, flies commercially whenever possible, and purchases green power. Fox News's Brit Hume chose to smear Gore by claiming he was a hypocrite for accepting royalties from a zinc mine located on his Tennessee property. But as the Tennessean reported, "[T]here is no evidence the mine has caused serious damage to the environment in the area or threatened the health of his neighbors." Conservatives were also overjoyed to highlight a recent New York Times article claiming that scientists have disputed Gore's environmental work. At least four of the sources cited in the story have records of misinformation on the issue. Also, Media Matters notes the Times last year printed a story explaining that scientists "tended to agree" with Gore's main points.

MORE WORK TO DO: While the scientific consensus is in (global warming is "unequivocal" and human activity is its main driver), a well-heeled and carefully-orchestrated movement on the right is trying to doctor it. Funded with money from oil and gas firms, conservative think tanks continue to pour money into efforts to push back on the science. The American Enterprise Institute offered $10,000 only to scientists whose views were critical of the scientific consensus. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is funded with donations from Exxon Mobil, ran television ads downplaying the impact of increasing levels of carbon dioxide, stating "they call it pollution; we call it life." A hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee demonstrated the pervasive influence this ideology has had inside the White House. Philip Cooney, a former environmental adviser to President Bush, acknowledged changing scientific statements to "align" them with "the administration's stated policy" that there is no consensus that global warming is caused by man. Gore's mission to increase awareness is thus challenged by those wanting to bury their heads in the sands. Exemplifying this mentality, Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) said of Gore's testimony today, "Those who believe all his garbage are going to be excited to death and the rest of us are going to ignore it."


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