“Today the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin. We are still reluctant to believe that our worst nightmares of a global ecological collapse could come true; much depends on how quickly we can recognize the danger. [- Al Gore, Earth in the Balance (1992)]
“Every night on the TV news is like taking a nature hike through the Book of Revelation,” Al Gore told the New York Times last year. The Times reporter noted: “The past few weeks have him even more worried than usual.” Really?
Gore’s rhetoric today is toned toward hope that new technology will save the day. “We know how to fix this,” Gore told the Times:
We can stop the temperatures going up worldwide with as little as a three-year time lag by reaching net zero. And if we stay at true net zero, we’ll see half of the human-caused CO2 coming out of the atmosphere in as little as 30 years.
Net zero fantasies aside, Gore pulls out his old trump card of “the survival of the human civilization,” such as his recent comment on ExxonMobil’s CEO participating at COP28.
From the late 1980s until today, Al Gore is singing the same tune. Here is a sampling of his otherworldly statements.
“Earth’s Fate Is the No. 1 National Security Issue,” Washington Post (May 14, 1989)
Humankind has suddenly entered into a brand-new relationship with the planet Earth. The world’s forests are being destroyed; an enormous hole is opening in the ozone layer. Living species are dying at an unprecedented rate.
To date, the national-security agenda has been dominated by issues of military security…. Many of us hope that the global environment will be the new dominant concern.
Similarly, the effort to solve the global environmental crisis will be complicated not only by blind assertions that more environmental manipulation and more resource extraction are essential for economic growth…. It will call for … a Strategic Environment Initiative.
Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992)
“[The] global environmental crisis is rooted in the dysfunctional pattern of our civilization’s relationship to the natural world.” (p. 237)
“It ought to be possible to establish a coordinated global program to accomplish the strategic goal of completely eliminating the internal combustion engine over, say, a twenty-five-year-period.” (pp. 325–26)
“We now know that [the automobile’s] cumulative impact on the global environment is posing a mortal threat to the security of every nation that is more deadly than that of any military enemy we are ever again likely to confront.” (p. 325)
“Adopting a central organizing principle—one agreed to voluntarily—means embarking on an all-out effort to use every policy and program, every law and institution, every treaty and alliance, every tactic and strategy, every plan and course of action—to use, in short, every means to halt the destruction of the environment and to preserve and nurture our ecological system.” (p. 274)
“Minor shifts in policy, marginal adjustments in ongoing programs, moderate improvements in laws and regulations, rhetoric offered in lieu of genuine change—these are all forms of appeasement, designed to satisfy the public’s desire to believe that sacrifice, struggle, and a wrenching transformation of society will not be necessary.” (p. 274)
“I hope and trust we will all find a way to resist the accumulated momentum of all the habits, patterns, and distractions that divert us from what is true and honest, spinning us first this way, then that, whirling us like a carnival ride until our very souls are dizzy and confused.” (p. 367)
“Modern industrial civilization, as presently organized, is colliding violently with our planet’s ecological system. The ferocity of its assault on the earth is breathtaking, and the horrific consequences are occurring so quickly as to defy our capacity to recognize them, comprehend their global implications, and organize an appropriate and timely response.”
“We are now, in effect, corruptly imposing our own dysfunctional design and discordant rhythms on future generations, and these persistent burdens will be terribly difficult to carry.” (p. 236)
“Our civilization is, in effect, addicted to the consumption of the earth itself. This addictive relationship distracts us from the pain of what we have lost: a direct experience of our connection to the vividness, vibrancy, and aliveness of the rest of the natural world. The froth and frenzy of industrial civilization mask our deep loneliness for that communion with the world that can lift our spirits and fill our senses with the richness and immediacy of life itself.” (pp. 220–21)
“We have become so successful at controlling nature that we have lost our connection to it.” (p. 225)
“The world’s ecological balance depends on more than just our ability to restore a balance between civilization’s ravenous appetite for resources and the fragile equilibrium of the earth’s environment. . . . We must restore a balance within ourselves between who we are and what we are doing.” (p. 12)
“Our ecological system is crumpling as it suffers a powerful collision with the hard surfaces of a civilization speeding toward it out of control.” (p. 42)
“The potential for true catastrophe lies in the future, but the downslope that pulls us toward it is becoming recognizably steeper with each passing year. . . . Sooner or later the steepness of the slope and our momentum down its curve will take us beyond a point of no return.” (p. 49)
“Now warnings of a different sort signal an environmental holocaust without precedent. . . . Today the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin. We are still reluctant to believe that our worst nightmares of a global ecological collapse could come true; much depends on how quickly we can recognize the danger. (pp. 177–78)
An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It (Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2006)
“The underlying reality is that we are colliding with the planet’s ecological system, and its most vulnerable components are crumbling as a result.” (p. 8)
“In every corner of the globe … the world is witnessing mounting and undeniable evidence that nature’s cycles are profoundly changing.” (p. 8)
“Not only does human-caused global warming exist, but it is also growing more and more dangerous and at a pace that has now made it a planetary emergency.” (p. 8)
“The climate crisis is, indeed, extremely dangerous. In fact, it is a true planetary emergency.” (p. 10)
“Global warming, along with the cutting and burning of forests and other critical habitats, is causing the loss of living species at a level comparable to the extinction even that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.” (p. 10)
“This time it is not an asteroid [like 65 million years ago] colliding with the Earth and wreaking havoc; it is us.” (p. 10)
“Today, we are hearing and seeing dire warnings of the worst potential catastrophic in the history of human civilization: a global climate crisis that is deepening and rapidly becoming more dangerous than anything we have ever faced.” (p. 10)
“At stake is the survival of our civilization and the habitability of the Earth.” (p. 11)
Renewable Energy Speech (2008)
“Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years…. To those who say 10 years is not enough time, I respectfully ask them to consider what the world’s scientists are telling us about the risks we face if we don’t act in 10 years.”
“It is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling for more oil ten years from now.”
“When people rightly complain about higher gasoline prices, we propose to give more money to the oil companies and pretend that they’re going to bring gasoline prices down.”
“If you want to know the truth about gasoline prices, here it is: the exploding demand for oil, especially in places like China, is overwhelming the rate of new discoveries by so much that oil prices are almost certain to continue upward over time no matter what the oil companies promise. And politicians cannot bring gasoline prices down in the short term.”
Quotations About Al Gore
Gore calls our consumption habits an “addiction.” Civilization is termed clinically “dysfunctional.” His opponents are in psychological “denial.” The politically ambivalent electorate has grown psychologically numb in order to “anesthetize their conscience.” Businessmen and politicians are called “enablers.” In sum, society is sick, and only a therapist-in-chief can cure it. Stuart Smalley, meet the Unabomber. (Jerry Taylor, 2000)
Al Gore was right about one thing in his rant at the World Economic Forum in Davos: CO2 emissions have continued to climb and show no sign of being affected by “climate policy”. (Holman Jenkins, 2023)
Mr. Gore will continue his angry prophet act. Politics will continue to fuel a sacred pork scramble. The climate press will balance on its noses whatever memes are tossed its way. And humanity will adapt to the climate it gets, which the best current guess says will probably be another 1 to 2 degrees Celsius warmer over the next century. (Holman Jenkins, 2023)