Throwing the earth on the mercy of the market
Al Gore appeared before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on global warming on March 21. The star of "An Inconvenient Truth" was told by Cong. Joe Barton of Texas: "You're not just off a little -- you're totally wrong." In the afternoon Gore testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, during which the former vice president was told by Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma: "You've been so extreme in some of your expressions that you're losing some of your own people."
These members of Congress know the facts of economic life in the United States. Fighting global warming is a threat to the principal human generator of it -- corporations -- who avail themselves of the best congress members money can buy to keep government regulations as weak as can be.
Does Al Gore know the same facts of American economic life? Of course, but you would have a hard time discerning that from his film. It's as cowardly in dealing with the corporations as Gore was in fighting the theft of the 2000 election. In the film's hour and a half, the words "corporations" or "profit" are not heard. The closest he comes to ascribing a link between the rape of the environment and the incessant corporate drive to optimize profits is a single passing mention of American automakers' reluctance to increase car gas mileage. He discusses the link between tobacco and lung cancer, as an example of how we have to "connect the dots" on environmental issues, with no mention of the tobacco corporations or their gross and deliberate deception of the American people. He states at another point that we must choose the environment over the economy, without any elucidation at all. Otherwise, the film's message is that it's up to the individual to change his habits, to campaign for renewable energy, and to write his congress member about this or that. In summary, the basic problem, he tells us, is that we're lacking "political will".
It would be most interesting if Al Gore were the president to see how tough he'd get with the corporations, which every day, around the clock, are faced with choices: one method of operation available being the least harmful to the environment, another method being the least harmful to the bottom line. Of course, Gore was vice-president for eight years and was in a fantastic and enviable position to pressure the corporations to mend their ways and Congress to enact tougher regulations; as well as to educate the public on more than their own bad habits. But what exactly did he do? Can any readers enlighten me as to what extent the man used his position and his power then in a manner consistent with the image and the word of his new film?
But could Gore be elected without corporate money? And how much of that money would reach his pocket if he advocated (choke, gasp!) free government-paid public transportation -- rail, bus, ferry, etc.? That would give birth to a breathtaking -- or rather, breath enhancing -- reduction in automobile pollution; easily paid for by ceasing America's imperialist wars.
 Washington Post, March 22, 2007, p.2William Blum
April 15, 2007
Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" fails to mention man's biggest contribution to global warming: