Gore’s real environmental record is nothing to be proud of

By Ben Cohen

Al Gore has become perhaps the world’s most renown environmentalist, cashing in on his time in politics to spread the word about a cause he has a clear passionate for. Having released the indispensable film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, Gore has done immeasurable good in highlighting the most pressing cause of our time.

However, Gore’s record in office is something the recent Nobel Laureate would rather people did not pay attention to.

Here is George Monbiot on Gore’s eerily similar performance at Kyoto in 1997 to the Bush Administration’s in Bali of this year:

By George Monbiot

“After eleven days of negotiations, governments have come up with a

compromise deal that could … even lead to emission increases. … The

highly compromised political deal … is largely attributable to the

position of the United States which was heavily influenced by fossil

fuel and automobile industry interests. The failure to reach agreement

led to the talks spilling over into an all night session …”(1)

These are extracts from a press release by Friends of the Earth. So

what? Well it was published on December 11th – I mean to say, December

11th 1997. The US had just put a wrecking ball through the Kyoto

Protocol. George W Bush was innocent; he was busy executing prisoners

in Texas. Its climate negotiators were led by Albert Arnold Gore.

The European Union had asked for greenhouse gas cuts of 15% by 2010.

Gore’s team drove them down to 5.2% by 2012. Then it did something

worse: it destroyed the whole agreement.

Most of the other governments insisted that the cuts be made at

home. But Gore demanded a series of loopholes big enough to drive a

Hummer through. The rich nations, he said, should be allowed to buy

their cuts from other countries(2). When he won, the protocol created

an exuberant global market in fake emissions cuts. The western nations

could buy “hot air” from the former Soviet Union. Because the cuts were

made against emissions in 1990, and because industry in that bloc had

subsequently collapsed, the FSU countries would pass well below the

bar. Gore’s scam allowed them to sell the gases they weren’t producing

to other nations. He also insisted that rich nations could buy nominal

cuts from poor ones. Factories in India and China have made billions by

raising their production of potent greenhouse gases, so that carbon

traders in the rich world will pay to clean them up(3).

The result of this sabotage is that the market for low carbon

technologies has remained moribund. Without an assured high value for

carbon cuts, without any certainty that government policies will be

sustained, companies have continued to invest in the safe commercial

prospects offered by fossil fuels rather than gamble on a market

without an obvious floor.

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Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.