Politics and Global Warming
There was a great interview on Democracy Now the other day with science journalist Chris Mooney, who has a new book called Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics and the Battle Over Global Warming. He looks at how the administration of George W. Bush has meddled with government scientists working on hurricane forecasting, global warming and other environmental issues to further political ends. It also looks at the involvement of conservative corporations and religious groups in blurring the global warming debate, comparing their concerted effort to influence public opinion to the historic efforts of the tobacco industry.
The interview also makes reference to the other side of the current political environmental movement - represented in great part by Al Gore and his recent Live Earth concerts. In a speech at one of the concerts, which were held July 7 on seven continents, Al Gore outlines concrete steps the American public and the government should take to curb global CO2 emissions, including sign an international treaty to reduce emissions of developed countries by 90 percent in a generation.
Anyone who has followed Gore's involvement in the environmental movement since his academy award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth knows that his efforts to stop rising tempertures have also drawn criticism about his motives and authenticity. Reporters questioned Gore in the lead-up to his most recent event about the concert's carbon footprint, the environmental record of some of the sponsors, as well as the extravagant lifestyles of some of the performances (check out NPR's "Gore Brings Global Warming Crisis to the Stage", Spiegel's "Daimler Chrysler Kisses Green Goodbye" and BBC's "Monsters beat Live Earth on US TV").
Few people on the planet can boast a flawless environmental track record when put to such intense public scrutiny. But Al Gore should serve as a cautionary tale for politicians and everyone looking to join the anti-global warming crusade. Those making the most noise about global warming should also carry the most evidence of positive change in their own lives.
[With thanks to Gronk for the Spiegel link]