Congress is in the middle of its August recess, so it was up to Al Gore to provide a little light relief in Washington this week. He didn’t disappoint. The Washington Post’s soft lefty blogger Ezra Klein asked the former Vice President some easy questions last week, and once again Mr. Gore made it clear why he’s seldom let out of his box without adult supervision. He claimed that “in quite a few countries in the world and some parts of the United States we’ve crossed that threshold” where electricity produced by windmills and solar panels is cheaper than from coal. (Which is, I guess, why President Obama wants to make wind and solar tax subsidies permanent.)
Mr. Gore sees a number of signs and portents that the global warming debate is shifting in favor of the alarmists’ energy-rationing agenda. For one thing, “The appearance of more extreme and more frequent weather events has had a very profound impact on public opinion in countries throughout the world.”
That may be true, but Mr. Gore doesn’t stop there. He goes on to claim: “There has been a 100-fold increase in the number of extreme, high-temperature events around the world in the distribution curve. And people have noticed for themselves — the rain storms are bigger, the droughts are deeper and the fires are more destructive…. Every night on the news, it’s like a nature hike through the book of revelations. Eleven states today are fighting 35 major fires!”
According to Mr. Gore, the “leading scientists” now agree that “every extreme weather event now has a component of global warming in it.” Furthermore: “The extreme events are more extreme. The hurricane scale used to be 1-5 and now they’re adding a 6. The fingerprint of man-made global warming is all over these storms and extreme weather events.”
Even the Union of Concerned Scientists saw that “adding a 6” to the hurricane scale was making the fantasy a little too specific and thus open to contradiction by a simple fact check. So UCS’s Gretchen Goldman gently corrected the former Vice President’s little mis-statement, while adding that “the rest of the interview included accurate and important information and it’s unfortunate that this blip made its way in.”
For the record, rather than a “100-fold increase” there has been no upward trend in hurricanes or other extreme weather events. The increased number of catastrophic fires in the West is due almost entirely to criminally negligent federal mismanagement of our National Forests. See my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis’s recent summary of current climate science to see how very far from reality are Mr. Gore’s claims.
And as he always does, Mr. Gore couldn’t resist making some nasty comments about his opponents. He likened the “raging deniers” (as in Holocaust deniers) to racists who supported apartheid and earlier opposed the abolition of slavery and to homophobes. Mike Bastasch’s piece on the Daily Caller asked several “deniers” (including me) for reactions to Gore’s attack. Wesley Pruden mounts a rhetorically brilliant counter-attack in his Washington Times column.