Saturday, January 20, 2007

What Al Gore says about his travels

William at Stoat doesn't like Al Gore's "jet-setting lifestyle," and my defense of Gore also didn't impress him. While looking for something else in the book version of An Inconvenient Truth, I found this on pages 136-139:
From Pole to Shining Pole

One can read field studies, talk to scientists, and scrutinize charts, but there's nothing like seeing things for yourself own journey toward understanding the crisis has also involved a literal journey to many hard-to-reach places where global warming is in clear evidence....I have been drawn to these excursions not only because of my hnger to learn as much as I can about the climate crisis, but also in part, I think, because they take me outdoors again and give me a chance to see many truly fascinating places...
I read that as saying he's travelled not just for the cause of fighting global warming, but acknowledges some personal reasons.
...The reasons for my two trips under the Arctic ice cap was to learn more about global warming and to convince the U.S. Navy to release top-secret data to the environmental scientists specializing in the study of global warming's effects on Arctic ice...the Navy has long used a special upward-looking radar to measure the thickness of ice above the subs as they make their long journey...It was that five-decade record of ice thickness, marked "top secret", that I was after....At first the Navy strenuously resisted...I worked with the Navy...Bruce DeMars...and President Reagan's CIA director, Bob Gates, were the ones who came up with an innovative solution...the information proved to be even more significant and alarming than the scientists had expected....

Since every journey took me back home, I have returned each time with a deeper conviction that the solution to this crisis that I have traveled so far to understand must begin here at home.
So he accomplished something with his trips, he doesn't claim to travel purely for altruistic reasons, and he says it helps renew his conviction to do something.

I expect that if Gore had never cared about warming and did the same travels just as a lark, no one would care. For all I know, maybe he could do a better job of avoiding travel, but I think the criticism is mostly misplaced.

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