Global Conflicts

by Julie Walsh on March 13, 2008

Yesterday, running between flights, I briefly noted how Al “Gore is traveling to Poland and India this week to meet with government officials to continue his efforts to achieve a global climate treaty”, revealing his status as self-appointed roving Climate-treaty Ambassador.

The day before, various news services reported that the man who left office worth under $3 million had just plunked $35 million into a particular “firm that selects the private funds for clients and invests in makers of environmentally friendly products”.  Let us stipulate that Mr. Gore and his advisors are savvy enough to not place all of his wealth in one fund; in fact, the same sources report this wealth as “well in excess of” $100 million.  It’s been a good seven years.

Mr. Gore also has a position in, and position with, a Silicon Valley “green” venture capital outfit – another group of people investing money in companies who would be worth real money under different circumstances – and of course sells carbon “offsets”, which are a bit of window dressing at present but which would be assigned artificial value through artificial (state-created) scarcity under different circumstances.

At this point I want to remind all of the skeptics, who clearly need no reminding, that one’s financial interests dictate or at minimum pollute one’s opinions.  As a certain gentleman recently said, people who disagree with him on this issue do so “because they are locked in a coalition with rich and powerful people who take advantage of the poor for economic profit”.

Like, say, increasing their energy costs? Exporting pollution to countries with lower environmental and other standards, and therefore exporting jobs? Here we see the trouble with this line of argument, that it is not possible to cherry-pick such things, assigning venality to just one side: one cannot logically fault the skeptics’ credibility on the grounds that they receive income related to their advocacy without also faulting Gore’s credibility and that of their heavily compensated rock star alarmists like James Hansen, the “responsible” businesses aiding in the campaign in order to sell windmills, carbon offsets or the like, and so on.

So, in sum, we see the former vice-president traveling the world – though, no doubt, “the planes were going there anyway” – to encourage people in positions of responsibility to whom he has unique access to agree to something that, if they agree, will do for his wealth what the alarmism he has fostered since leaving office has already done, but several times over.

Now imagine the outcry and arguments in the event an oil company’s CEO or emissary assumed this role.

That was a trick, of course. Several oil companies have been doing this for more than a decade. It didn’t work out in time for Enron, though others have picked up where they left off, a story that you never hear. Maybe Mr. Gore has now made the issue safe for substantive debate without the ritual claims of corruption – or else has begged full disclosure of who is meeting with whom advocating what and with what interests at stake. 

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: