Friday, October 12, 2007

2007 Nobel Peace Prize: Al Gore and the IPCC

The Norweigian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to former US Vice-President Al Gore, Jr., and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This no doubt will make conservatives flip. I can't imagine how. Because conservative and conservation come from the same root. And it's the lack of the latter that, as the Committee points out, that's one of the biggest threats to global security that we face. The citation read in part this year's winners have been named so "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

The link between environment and peace has been true throughout history ... the winds of change in the air often precipitated political change whether in the short or long term. A slight change in air temperatures in one year, for instance, started the Irish Potato Famine -- which led to massive outmigration to Canada and the United States, and many of the political consequences can still be felt today here in North America as well as in the UK and the Irish Republic. More recently, the vast stripping of land resources in northeastern Africa has contributed in large measure to the drought there -- and is cited as one of the causes of the genocide in Darfur.

Here in Canada we've literally "paved paradise to put up a parking lot," as Joni Mitchell bluntly said. Only now the new parking lot is the land resources that feed us and give us energy. Forests are being stripped to access the tar sands -- and those trees which could have acted as sinks for carbon are now gone making the pollution from processing bitumen that much worse.
And certainly, the diamond industry is finally giving the Far North the shot in the arm it so desperately needs and will sustain growth in Northern Ontario in the next few years.

But what price progress? Is it worth stripping land like quarries just to get dust which in time will be -- well, even more dust?

Al Gore had it right all along. The key to stopping terrorism isn't to secure access to oil abroad, as Dubya was so keen to do. It's to stop buying that oil all together and state that America will harness what God has given us -- wind, air, earth and fire (the Sun); and manage the resources in a sustainable manner. All countries in fact, including Canada, have to do the same. This is a moral issue.

And while many conservatives also understand the link, those who are in power do not. So, a huge congrats, Al. But please don't quit your present day job -- you have more power outside the White House than you and Bill Clinton did in it.

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A Eliz. said...

He deserved it, I'm glad. Harper won't be too happy.

Poetryman said...

Go Green or Go Home

Local, city, county, state and the federal governments should be first to "go green." Politicians should not be elected to public office unless they agree to convert every government building and vehicle to renewable energy. There are at least three reasons why this should be so.

When all levels of government are taken into account, they control 40% of the economy. With that kind of economic incentive anyone who wants to sell to the government will hasten to meet the demands of its largest single buyer. Government will no longer have to pass laws to enforce cafe standards for instance. Rather the Government will simply tell auto companies, we want to replace our fleet of vehicles but will not buy anything that does get at least 50 mpg if it is gasoline based, or it must be a hybrid, or it must be fueled with renewable fuels.

Another reason Government should go green first is national security. Part of every oil dollar paid for Middle Eastern oil goes directly into the pocket of terrorists. If we convert to renewable fuels that we control, we defund terrorism and protect ourselves simultaneously.

Yet another reason to heed Al Gore’s clarion call on global warming is economic security. OPEC can not ruin our economy if we convert to renewable fuels that we control.

And finally, suppose Gore is right? When anyone hypes anything as much as AL Gore hypes global warming, I have my doubts. But I can’t see what is harmed by going green so why not? The military is doing some research on alternative and renewable energy. Whoever is the next president of the United States should institute a “Go Green or Go Home” policy for the military. Those who come up with energy saving devices or methods as well as those who implement alternative or renewable fuels should rise quickly through the ranks. Those who don’t should be encouraged to seek employment elsewhere. As resourceful as marines are, for instance, I would bet they could make surprising advances in fueling everything from jeeps to an entire base through alternative means if left to their own devices. The military has through it’s contractors developed the most effective weapons in the world. If this same level of effort is turned toward greening the military we will be a safer, more secure, and more independent nation. We will create new jobs and industries and the air and water will get cleaner as a benefit.