Feature

Gore

On a mission to save the planet.

Al Gore is back, said David Remnick in The New Yorker, if not necessarily by popular demand. In recent weeks, the man who nearly became president in 2000 has returned to the limelight, this time to promote a new documentary about global warming—and Al Gore. A popcorn movie, this ain't. The film, An Inconvenient Truth, depicts 'œa possibly retired politician giving a slide show about the dangers of melting ice sheets and rising sea levels.' That may sound dreadful, but the subject matter is so compelling, and the supposedly boring Gore is so convincing, that the film is actually a 'œlucid, often riveting attempt to warn Americans off our hell-bent path to global suicide.' It's easy to ridicule Gore, as the first President Bush did when he labeled him 'œozone man.' But now that our planet is starting to feel the effects of the climate changes Gore has been warning about for years, it's worth asking who, exactly, should feel ridiculous.

I certainly feel scared, said Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times—really, really scared. Of course, that's the point. Gore's new movie is part of a concerted 'œgreen scare' campaign meant to sow alarm about a problem whose severity is far from clear. The fact is, climatologists are not sure about either the causes or the long-term consequences of the slight rise in global temperatures we've experienced. But Gore and his allies don't want to debate the issue; they want to terrify us into accepting their draconian remedies, such as severe reductions in carbon dioxide emissions that would wreak havoc on our economy. But it could be even scarier. Instead of going around hyping documentaries, Gore could be running for president again.

The American people could do a lot worse, said Richard Cohen in The Washington Post. In fact, we have. 'œYou cannot see this film and not think of George W. Bush, the man who beat Gore in 2000.' The contrast could not be starker. 'œGore—more at ease in the lecture hall than he ever was on the stump—summons science to tell a harrowing story.' Bush, of course, never lets science get in the way of his 'œcomfy dogma,' whether he's dissing global efforts to curb greenhouse gasses or impeding stem-cell research. Gore insists he's done with electoral politics, though clearly 'œhe is a man on a mission.' Having been frustrated in his bid to win the U.S. presidency, 'œhe has raised his sights to save the world. We simply cannot afford for Al Gore to lose again.'

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