City of Roses
|Although there are indeed some pundits from the right who seem to assume global warming is merely hype because Al Gore believes the issue is real, I do happen to believe this truly is a non-partisan issue and majorities among all political ideologies believe global warming is "probably happening" (about 80% polled recently believe it is probably happening, with 49% believing it is definitely happening) thus I believe most that are traditionally more on the right side of the aisle are far more fair-minded and flexible on the issue than some of these water-carriers in the establishment are.
I regret that this thread has become more about Al Gore than about global warming. However, one interesting point was brought up which I feel is worth responding to.
Post Gazette: August 3, 2006
It is curious, I believe, that many of the most outspoken detractors of both Al Gore and global warming in general are linked to oil companies and lobbying firms associated with them. Take, for instance, a YouTube video that surfaced last August spoofing Al Gore, characterizing Gore as a penguin and raising a "penguin army" in brainwashing Americans about the issue of global warming, suggesting that the Middle East crisis and Lindsay Lohan's anorexia are to be blamed by global warming.
Interesting details of the creator's background are revealed via the link above:
"The video's maker is listed as "Toutsmith," a 29-year-old who identifies himself as being from Beverly Hills in an Internet profile.
In an email exchange with The Wall Street Journal, Toutsmith didn't answer when asked who he was or why he made the video, which has just over 59,000 views on YouTube. However, computer routing information contained in an email sent from Toutsmith's Yahoo account indicate it didn't come from an amateur working out of his basement.
Instead, the email originated from a computer registered to DCI Group, a Washington, D.C., public relations and lobbying firm whose clients include oil company Exxon Mobil Corp.
A DCI Group spokesman declines to say whether or not DCI made the anti-Gore penguin video, or to explain why Toutsmith appeared to be sending email from DCI's computers. "DCI Group does not disclose the names of its clients, nor do we discuss the work that we do on our clients' behalf," says Matt Triaca, who heads DCI's media relations shop.
Dave Gardner, an Exxon spokesman, confirms that Exxon is a client of DCI. But he says Exxon had no role in creating the "Inconvenient Truth" spoof. "We, like everyone else on the planet, have seen it, but did not fund it, did not approve it, and did not know what its source was," Mr. Gardner says."
Even if we can take and accept Gardner's word for it they weren't directly involved in the creation of the ad, the lobbying firm is nonetheless heavily linked to the attempted debunking of global warming:
"DCI is no stranger to the debate over global warming. Partly through Tech Central Station, an opinion Web site it operates, DCI has sought to raise doubts about the science of global warming and about Mr. Gore's film, placing skeptical scientists on talk-radio shows and paying them to write editorials."
Washington Post: November 24, 2006
Then there's the hypocrisy highlighted in the above editorial, where the National Science Teachers Association rejected the offering of DVD's of "An Inconvenient Truth" to use in their classroom studies because they didn't want to offer a "political" endorsement of the film, yet they've been frequently affliated with ExxonMobil, which has outspokenly denied global warming and has even offered to pay scientists if they reversed their position on global warming:
"That's the same Exxon Mobil that for more than a decade has done everything possible to muddle public understanding of global warming and stifle any serious effort to solve it. It has run ads in leading newspapers (including this one) questioning the role of manmade emissions in global warming, and financed the work of a small band of scientific skeptics who have tried to challenge the consensus that heat-trapping pollution is drastically altering our atmosphere. The company spends millions to support groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute that aggressively pressure lawmakers to oppose emission limits."
"And it has been doing so for longer than you may think. NSTA says it has received $6 million from the company since 1996, mostly for the association's "Building a Presence for Science" program, an electronic networking initiative intended to "bring standards-based teaching and learning" into schools, according to the NSTA Web site. Exxon Mobil has a representative on the group's corporate advisory board. And in 2003, NSTA gave the company an award for its commitment to science education."
"In the past year alone, according to its Web site, Exxon Mobil's foundation gave $42 million to key organizations that influence the way children learn about science, from kindergarten until they graduate from high school."
It gets more interesting still:
"NSTA's list of corporate donors also includes Shell Oil and the American Petroleum Institute (API), which funds NSTA's Web site on the science of energy. There, students can find a section called "Running on Oil" and read a page that touts the industry's environmental track record -- citing improvements mostly attributable to laws that the companies fought tooth and nail, by the way -- but makes only vague references to spills or pollution. NSTA has distributed a video produced by API called "You Can't Be Cool Without Fuel," a shameless pitch for oil dependence.
The education organization also hosts an annual convention -- which is described on Exxon Mobil's Web site as featuring "more than 450 companies and organizations displaying the most current textbooks, lab equipment, computer hardware and software, and teaching enhancements." The company "regularly displays" its "many . . . education materials" at the exhibition. John Borowski, a science teacher at North Salem High School in Salem, Ore., was dismayed by NSTA's partnerships with industrial polluters when he attended the association's annual convention this year and witnessed hundreds of teachers and school administrators walk away with armloads of free corporate lesson plans.
Along with propaganda challenging global warming from Exxon Mobil, the curricular offerings included lessons on forestry provided by Weyerhaeuser and International Paper, Borowski says, and the benefits of genetic engineering courtesy of biotech giant Monsanto."
Guardian Unlimited: February 2, 2007
And, as mentioned earlier, the attempt to pay scientists so that they would reverse their positioning on the global warming issue:
"Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.
Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.
The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft last year and invited to comment.
The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees."
This relates exactly to what I was talking about earlier; how Washington has become corrupted by special interest groups and lobbyists, and while the Democratic Party establishment has become hijacked and corrupted by organized labor activists and such in particular, the GOP establishment has become hijacked and corrupted by energy company activists and big oil interests, and so the GOP establishment has distanced itself from its core principles and roots of conservation and environmentalism. Richard Pombo is out, but you still have ghosts of Pombo resonating in the likes of James Inhofe and Mitch McConnell and John Doolittle and Deborah Pryce and Saxby Chambliss just to name a handful.
It is saddening, and I truly believe most Republicans today hold values and ideals that differ from these interests, and rather go hand in hand with the conservation of both our traditions, ideals and environment. Ergo, I am optimistic that these genuine conservatives will take back the party from these interests and again practice what they preached in previous decades championing conservation, but sadly they still have some ways to go.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"