On other occasions I have criticized and even derided Al Gore for his loony (but profitable) quest to get Americans to abandon the incandescent light bulb, cars, and air conditioning (except for himself, Tipper, and selected others) - all for the ostensible purpose of cooling the planet. But in this case, by jingo, I think he's onto something. He could be right about climate being the 21st-century equivalent of the Nazis. He has certainly hit the right tone. We all love to hate the Nazis.
Of course, the world-threatening part of the comparison - i.e., the destruction and wholesale loss of life that climate change could bring, if it isn't checked - is not hard to see. Obviously, we are sitting on our collective thumb, in the face of this grave threat, while a few prophetic voices try to raise the alarm. (Cue in Al Gore here, with suitably ominous music in the background.) The whole world did the same thing in the 1930s. Hitler armed and plotted war and destruction, and Germans marched around sieg-heiling, while we stood by and did nothing. Eventually, der Führer and his gang made a heckuva mess. Historians have made whole careers, since then, explaining how we could have stopped Hitler at the Rhineland (1936) or Czechoslovakia (1938), etc.
The part of the Nazi-simile that's harder to follow is the "attack" scenario. When Hitler hit Poland, we knew that the war had actually started. Also, we knew exactly where Germany was, which made it easier to fight back. With climate-change, it's a little harder to detect the actual onset of "hostilities," as it were, as well as the enemy's locus. Maybe Poland will go up in flames one afternoon - or Cuba will be submerged by suddenly mountainous seas - but none of that is likely. One imagines that climate-change - why don't we call it "global warming" any more? - will happen more gradually, until the Fourth Reich is well and truly on the march.
True, the climate is everywhere, so identifying the enemy's locus won't be difficult. But which part of the climate really has to be addressed? Al says it's carbon dioxide, and he claims the science is "settled." But an awful lot of scientists with real credentials seem to be shouting from the back pews that it's not true. (This is like knowing that Poland has been attacked, but not being sure exactly who did it.)
But Al is doesn't want us to wait around for the climate "war" to start - just as he retrospectively decries the civilized world's inaction until the Nazis were coming down the chimney. He wants us to get to work right away - levying heavy climate taxes, building (and riding) bicycles, and deconstructing the greatest industrial economy in history - before the great climate blitzkrieg actually gets rolling. We must act now, before it's too late. (Al also says it's already too late.)
Al Gore's latest remarks were made before an environmental forum in England, but he was undoubtedly directing them toward us in the USA. Our "People's House" has narrowly passed an unread, 1500-page Clean Energy and Security Act, stuffed with over 300 pages of climate-pork giveaways and backroom deals that secured the winning votes.
This political monstrosity is now headed for a nervous U. S. Senate. The World's Greatest Deliberative Body is about to experience more soiled trousers, per capita, over this economic "dirty bomb," than over any piece of legislation in history. Dozens of senators, now abed, are lying awake worrying that their political legacy will end up being an American economy they deliberately wrecked for no discernible climate-gain. They see summertime Washington, DC, with no A/C. It is a politician's nightmare.
The former vice-president's Nazi analogy is inaccurate. It's people who make malevolent plans and amass armies to subjugate helpless nations. Climate "forces" - whatever they are - don't do this. Climate is what it has always been - natural, inexorable and inanimate. It responds to great cosmic forces beyond our ken - e.g., the sun, cosmic rays, meteors, volcanic eruptions, and heat deep inside our own planet. Growing numbers of scientists now concur that our puny activities on the globe have little or no effect on climate. Human contributions to carbon dioxide amount to only 3% of total emissions. Volcanic eruptions dwarf our industrial CO2 output. (Who is doing anything to stop the volcanoes from destroying our climate?!!)
The Nazi brand is, in fact, more aptly applied to Al Gore, Barack Obama, and goose-stepping radical environmentalists, than to inanimate "climate-change." It was, after all, politicians who enabled Hitler's grasp of power and ultimate control of the German nation. Just so, climate-change radicalism is a political movement aimed at political and financial control over whole peoples, and ultimate devolution of modern life to a kind of selective primitivism. Its truest of true believers will admit - at least privately - that the draconian Clean Energy and Security Act, passed by the House of Representatives on June 26th, will cool the climate by no more than 1/10th degree over this century - at a cost of trillions of dollars and incalculable losses in jobs and quality of life. This - as General Longstreet once said of Gettysburg - will be "ground of no value."
As if to confirm the counter-productivity of America's climate-control efforts, other countries across the world are beginning to pull back from ambitious carbon-tax initiatives that have clearly hurt their economies and accomplished little. Australia and New Zealand are both cancelling "global warming taxes" that have depressed their economies, with no apparent effect on climate. India and China - both major developing countries - reject all international calls to restrict carbon dioxide emissions in any way. Their economic growth rate far outstrips our own; China's carbon-dioxide emissions exceed ours. Without the participation of these industrial giants, the effect of other nations' carbon-emissions restrictions (including ours) would be negligible.
The dark side of efforts to "stop" climate-change - as mentioned previously in this column - is the devious racist campaign to keep the undeveloped world from developing. Millions of African people live primitively in dirt-floor huts, cooking over smoky fires of dried dung - with scant medical care to mitigate their exposure to myriad diseases. They long to achieve the healthy and prosperous living style of the West, but only industrial development will furnish that. Such development requires abundant electric power, and that power can come only from fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Solar panels cannot power factories in Africa any more than they can in the USA.
Africa possesses staggering reserves of fossil fuels. Experts estimate those reserves at nearly a trillion barrels of oil and 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The oil would supply the whole world for 100 years. But powerful interests want to keep Africa primitive - ostensibly to save the planet from further climate change. Radical environmentalists see that it's easier to keep countries primitive than to try to bring them back to a primitive state, once they have developed. Western industrial interests fear the low-cost competition that Africa would represent, should it embark on a full-scale industrial revolution of its own. And western politicians dread the legions of jobs lost to a resurgent African industrial base, rich in natural resources and abundant energy.
If there is a Nazi-esque cabal operating today, it is this unholy alliance of radical climateers, western industrialists, and western politicians - all hiding under the cover of "climate care." This is a "wicked enterprise" (as Winston Churchill might have said). And Mr. Gore ought to be careful how he slings the "Nazi" thing around. He runs the risk of people catching on to the fact that the new Nazis are people, not the climate, and that he is one of them.
Winston Churchill once described Hitler as: "This wicked man, the repository and embodiment of soul-destroying hatred, this monstrous product of former wrongs and shame..." We might keep his words in mind as we recall that Al Gore's father was one of the Senate Democrats who filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act for 83 days, until Everett Dirksen and other Republicans shamed the Senate into passing it. The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree.