The Mendacity of Al Gore’s Rolling Stone Article, Part 3: Diplomacy and Climate Policy

by William Yeatman on June 28, 2011

in Blog

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[N.B. Ex-Vice President and massive carbon “polluter” Al Gore took to the pages of last week’s Rolling Stone in order to critique President Barack Obama’s supposedly timid response to global warming. This is Part 3 of a multipart series on the policy distortions peddled by Mr. Gore in the piece.]

Regarding the diplomacy of climate change mitigation, Mr. Gore wrote,

The failure [of the Congress] to pass legislation to limit global-warming pollution ensured that the much-anticipated Copenhagen summit on a global treaty in 2009 would also end in failure.

This is utter malarkey. The failure of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to produce a legally binding treaty to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions at the Copenhagen summit had zero to do with the U.S. Congress, and everything to do with realist international relations.

As I wrote on this blog last May,

For years, I’ve been arguing that a multilateral response to global warming is a pipe dream. According to the International Energy Agency, the “solution” to this supposed problem would cost $45 trillion through 2050. Yet there is ZERO historical precedent for burden sharing of this magnitude, short of war, and the specter of warmer winters simply doesn’t engender the sort of desperate international cooperation as does a threat like the Nazis. (See here, here, here, and here for my take on the fecklessness of climate diplomacy.)

I’m in good company on this matter; Walter Russell Mead made the same point yesterday in part 2 of his series of blogs critiquing Mr. Gore’s Rolling Stone piece.

Interestingly (at least to me), Mr. Mead compared the futility of pursuing a legally binding climate treaty to the uselessness of Post-World War 1 efforts to outlaw war. He wrote,

The global green treaty movement to outlaw climate change is the most egregious folly to seize the world’s imagination since the Kellog-Briand Pact outlawed war in the late 1920s.  The idea that the nations of the earth could agree on an enforceable treaty mandating deep cuts in their output of all greenhouse gasses is absurd.  A global treaty to meet Mr. Gore’s policy goals isn’t a treaty: the changes such a treaty requires are so broad and so sweeping that a [legally binding treaty to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions] is less a treaty than a constitution for global government.  Worse, it is a constitution for a global welfare state with trillions of dollars ultimately sent by the taxpayers of rich countries to governments (however feckless, inept, corrupt or tyrannical) in poor ones.

Two years ago, I made the same comparison in an oped for Townhall. Here’s the introduction to that piece:

Global efforts to mitigate climate change are resulting in the most ineffectual diplomacy since U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand tried to end all war with international law—eleven years before Hitler launched World War II.

The esteemed Mr. Mead and I are two peas in a pod when it comes to our perspectives on climate diplomacy!

We should feel fortunate that Al Gore’s vision of a Green New World Order is impossible. There is ample evidence that the benefits of economic growth unhindered by costly emissions controls surpass the deleterious effects of global warming.

Hank Roth June 29, 2011 at 8:55 am

This is an industry funded website. Who would be foolish enough to believe anything you say here? You are class traitors, supporting other corporate funded, fossil fuel corporate apologists against the interests of the rest of us.

Karl June 30, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Do you own a 401K or any mutual funds? Then you too are a traitor making money off “corporate funded, fossil fuel corporate apologists.”

William Yeatman July 1, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Krazy Karl–Thanks for the assist!

Comrade Roth–I assure you I am no “class traitor.”

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