- Al Gore, the man who should have been president in 2000,
finally got around to reading his book.
- The star of his new film "An Inconvenient Truth"
is the former VP himself. I must say I've never seen him look more presidential.
The film is based on a slideshow presentation that Gore carries around
with him in a laptop computer. (He is a Mac user.) Gore claims he has shown
it to more than 1,000 audiences, worldwide.
- The movie has a sobering message. It's about climate
change. I won't spoil it for you, but here's a tidbit. According to Gore
there is evidence that huge ice shelves in Antarctica, as well as the Greenland
ice cap, are presently in the early stages of breaking up as a result of
global warming. The extent of warming is greater at the poles than at the
equator. Thus, the effects can much more dramatic. If the trend continues
we could witness the catastrophic disintegration of portions of these vast
ice fields. Oceans would rise by 20 feet, flooding cities like New York,
Calcutta, and Shanghai, while permanently displacing hundreds of millions
- Our current refugee problems in Lebanon and Sudan are
puny by comparison.
- Gore has obviously done his homework. But did he get
it right? While some critics have charged that his science on calving ice
fields is dubious, one physicist, Paul LaViolette, proposed similar ideas
in a recent book, Earth Under Fire . LaViolette argues that such events
were common at the end of the last ice age. He thinks the vast ice field
covering north America did not necessarily retreat gradually. As temperatures
rose and the ice began to melt, enormous lakes of water developed on its
surface. Much of this melt water found its way down inside the ice field
through widening fissures, further weakening it, and lubricating it from
below, until at a critical point the whole thing gave way.
- Today, in places like Alaska and Siberia one can still
find "muck beds" thatLaViolette thinksare
the cataclysmic evidence of such events. The beds still include thick veins
of buried ice, boulders and all manner of debris, including entire forests
that were ripped to shreds, and the bones of many species like the extinct
woolly mammoth and sabretooth tiger. Generations of scientists have puzzled
over these beds, and have long debated how they were formed. Now, perhaps
- In a poll the Associated Press interviewed climate scientists
about Gore's film. Those who had seen it gave it high marks. Even if Gore
oversimplifies the link between global warming and rising levels of carbon
dioxide, as some believe, his film calls for changes that are cost effective
and need to happen, anyway. These include energy conservation measures,
more stringent fuel efficiency standards, the development of clean alternative
fuels, and a host of other strategies to reduce our human footprint.
- With hindsight, it's now abundantly clear that Gore's
advisers gave him terrible advice during the 2000 campaign when they convinced
him to steer away from environmental issues. That was a mistake. Gore is
clearly in his element talking about global environmental issues. In the
new film his "stiff manner" has morphed into something like gravitas.
Golly gee, if candidate Gore had talked this way in 2000 he'd have carried
Florida by a decisive margin. Many Naderites would have swung over.
- Most importantly, Gore has a vision for America. If the
Democrats don't draft him for the 2008 race they are crazy. Gore could
win. In fact, he might be our last best chance to weather the perfect storm
coming soon to a neighborhood near you, i.e., a convergence of climate
change, peak oil, the coming US currency crisis, Mideast strife, etc.
- But if the Democrats are to win, they had better keep
Gore alive. The neo cons who crossed the Rubicon in their 911 scheming
will surely try to snuff himif not one way, then another.
- Gore's film should be required viewing.
- Mark H. Gaffney organized the first Earth Day at Colorado
State University in 1970. His latest book, Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes,
is a radical study of early Christianity. For more information visit his
web site <www.gnosticsecrets.com> Mark can be reached for comment