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Honouring a panic-monger
National Post ^ | October 13 2007 | David Frum

Posted on 10/13/2007 7:34:07 AM PDT by knighthawk

Giving Al Gore the Peace Prize has subordinated science to hype

And so Al Gore joins the list of the Nobel Peace laureates, alongside such immortals as Baroness Bertha von Suttner, Karl Hjalmar Banting, Emily Greene Balch and Eisaku Sato.

To do justice to the former U.S. vice president, he certainly represents a big improvement over such past winners as Yasser Arafat and Rigobertu Menchu. Menchu, a propagandist for the leftist Guatemalan guerrilla movement, won the prize in 1992 on the strength of her heart-rending personal testimony, I, Rigobertu Menchu. Menchu's story later proved fabricated, leading to calls for the rescission of her prize. As we shall see, Gore often traffics in hysterical exaggeration--but at least he does not consciously invent.

Gore even represents an improvement over the previous American winner, former president Jimmy Carter. Like Menchu, Carter also suffers from serious integrity issues. In his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Carter plagiarized maps drawn by former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross for Ross's own books, and then presented the work as Carter's own.

Worse, Carter systematically misrepresented conversations with Syrian president Hafez Assad, to create a false impression that Assad was more conciliatory than he really was. The note-taker at Carter's meetings with Assad, Kenneth Stein, resigned in protest from his post at the Cater Center after the publication of Peace Not Apartheid. Gore may twist data, but at least he does not act as a PR agent for dictators.

Still -- the choice of Gore is more than bad enough in its own way.

Posit for the time being that man-made climate change is occurring. Posit again that this climate change is harmful -- that is, that the probable negative effects (more flooding of low-lying lands) outweigh the probable positive effects (longer growing seasons in Canada, Russia, Chile and Argentina). Posit, third, that these harmful effects pose risks to world peace, by aggravating territorial conflicts like those in Sudan. Even if all this were true, it still would not establish Gore's credentials as a peacemaker, let alone a Nobelist.

Gore shares his award with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But while that body has tried to spread awareness of genuine risks, Gore brings to his work all the objectivity and balance of a Hollywood screenwriter.

The IPCC estimates that climate change might raise the world's sea levels by at most 23 inches over the next 100 years -- troubling enough. Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, depicts sea levels rising by 20 feet, 10 times the scientifically supported worst-case scenario.

Gore says that we are experiencing the highest temperatures in a millennium. But in fact temperatures were higher through most of the Middle Ages than they are today. (Hint: That's why the Vikings called Greenland, "Greenland.")

The real data shows that as environmental problems go, man-made climate change is among the least dangerous and most costly to address. The annual global costs of complying with Kyoto have been estimated at between $150-billion and $380-billion. As the environmental economist Bjorn Lomborg points out, that's more than seven times the amount of all development aid now provided to poor countries. The costs of Kyoto exceed UN estimates for the cost of eliminating malaria and providing clean drinking water to every human being on earth--combined.

Gore describes climate change as a "planetary crisis." Few scientists use such language. But then, Gore is anything but a scientist. His latest book, The Assault on Reason, describes a modern world in which emotionalism and sloganeering displace reasoned judgment. But reading through his work, one begins to sense that Gore has decided: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." He himself is now the world's best known and most lavishly rewarded practitioner of the panic-mongering he purports to condemn.

The last time the Nobel Peace Prize went to someone best known for scientific inquiry was 1970, when it was awarded to Norman Borlaug. That award was one of the most deserved and distinguished in the very uneven history of the prize. Borlaug was the agronomist whose research into high-yield grains made possible the so-called "Green Revolution." Few individuals have done more to alleviate want and hunger than Norman Borlaug.

This is the kind of scientific achievement that deserves international honour. If the Nobel committee had wanted to sound a warning on the climate, the award to the IPCC would have done the job. By joining Gore to the prize, they have subordinated science to hype, service to Hollywood. Agreed that the Nobel committee has often done worse, I think we are all entitled to wonder: Why did it not do better?

David Frum

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: algore; frum; nobelprize

1 posted on 10/13/2007 7:34:09 AM PDT by knighthawk
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To: MizSterious; Nix 2; green lantern; BeOSUser; Brad's Gramma; dreadme; Turk2; keri; ...


2 posted on 10/13/2007 7:34:32 AM PDT by knighthawk (We will always remember We will always be proud We will always be prepared so we may always be free)
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To: knighthawk
The Left rails on about this Administration’s assault on science then goes out and passes this fraud off as the truth absolute.

Unreal. Coulter was right when she talked about the Left’s pseudo religious beliefs. This is one of them and Gore is their beloved Pope.

3 posted on 10/13/2007 7:47:48 AM PDT by misterrob (Five down, 14 more til the Pats win the SB again.)
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To: knighthawk

Gore screaming: “I have played on your fears! I have betrayed you!”

4 posted on 10/13/2007 7:55:07 AM PDT by Road Warrior ‘04 (Officially Fredbacker1 but don't know how to change my name)
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To: knighthawk; Alberta's Child; albertabound; AntiKev; backhoe; Byron_the_Aussie; Cannoneer No. 4; ...


5 posted on 10/14/2007 1:28:58 PM PDT by Clive
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