Cashing In on an Inner Peace Prize

Thursday, December 6th, 2007 2:20 pm by Neal

Holman W. Jenkins Jr. has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Al Gore’s politically-based “peace” prize, the fallibility of scientists who “believe in global warmism only because everyone believes in global warmism,” and how Gore must avoid political office so he and his eco-opportunists can cash-in before the whole fraud collapses.

The first part of the editorial, The Science of Gore’s Nobel, notes that the “consensus” of global warming is based on “availability cascade” — the theory of a prior Nobel recipient. The last part, however, posits why Gore has to be a prophet instead of a president, and why he might as well cash in on that reality:

Now let’s suppose a most improbable, rhapsodic lobbying success for Mr. Gore, Mr. Khosla and folks on their side of the table–say, a government mandate to replace half the gasoline consumed in the U.S. with a carbon-neutral alternative. This would represent a monumental, $400 billion-a-year business opportunity for the green energy lobby. The impact on global carbon emissions? Four percent–less than China’s predicted emissions growth over the next three or four years.

Don’t doubt that this is precisely the chasm that keeps Mr. Gore from running for president. He could neither win the office nor govern on the basis of imposing the kinds of costs supposedly necessary to deal with an impending “climate crisis.” Yet his credibility would become laughable if he failed to insist on such costs. How much more practical, then, to cash in on the crowd-pleasing role of angry prophet, without having to take responsibility for policies that the public will eventually discover to be fraudulent.

Public opinion cascades are powerful but also fragile–liable to be overturned in an instant when new information comes along. The current age of global warming politics will certainly end with a whimper once a few consecutive years of cooling are recorded. Why should we expect such cooling? Because the forces that caused warming and cooling in the past, before the advent of industrial civilization, are still at work.

No, this wouldn’t prove or disprove a human role in warming, only that climate is variable and subject to complicated influences. But it would also eliminate the large incentive for politicians to traffic in doom-laden predictions–because such predictions would no longer command media assent and would cease to function as levers to redistribute resources.

Mr. Gore would have to find a new job.

Read the whole thing here.

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