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.