Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Al Gore has been threatening us with environmental apocalypse for more than a quarter-century. Why should we believe him this time?
Joanne Nova has unearthed an opinion piece written by Al Gore that appeared in the New York Times back in 1989. That was the year Microsoft Office made its debut and the Berlin Wall crumbled. Margaret Thatcher was Britain’s Prime Minister and George Bush Senior had just moved into the White House.
But even though it was such a lifetime ago that Milli Vanilli was at the top of the music charts, Al Gore’s activist drumbeat was monotonously similar. Readers of the Times were advised that the “worldwide ecological system” was in “immediate and grave danger.” An “environmental holocaust without precedent” was about to crash down upon them. Then, as now, Gore employed the addiction metaphor
Just as a drug addict needs increasing doses to produce the same effect, our global appetite for the earth’s abundance grows each year.
and insisted on drawing parallels with World War II
In 1939, as clouds of war gathered over Europe, many refused to recognize what was about to happen.
Then, as now, Gore libeled humanity wholesale. We were self-indulgent, complacent, delusional vandals. And he was our saviour. If the entire world would just stop in its tracks and take the advice of this senator from Tennessee, all would be well.
Please note that the components of Gore’s planet-saving 1989 “agenda” were not suggestions to be discussed and debated. In his wisdom, the great man had already determined what actions “must” be taken:
The 1990’s are the decade of decision. Profound changes are required. We must create a new global compact for sustainable development…
So did humanity achieve the “Rapid reductions in carbon dioxide emissions” he declared must happen? Nope.
Was non-recyclable packaging banned within five years as he said it must be? No.
Were chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) banned worldwide within those same five years? Since China still had six facilities producing them in 2007 – eighteen years on – the answer to that question is also negative.
No, the world did not nosedive straight into oblivion after we failed to heed the prognostications of the Goracle. Despite his do-as-I-say-or-we-all-perish ultimatum, the planet wasn’t in immediate danger.