Foreign Policy Blogs

Al Gore

Let's presume you have not just returned from an interplanetary expedition and have been unable to access any Earth media over the past several years.  Then you know that former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has been leading a very public fight to apprise people of the reality and dangers of global warming.  The documentary featuring him and his extraordinary slide show, "An Inconvenient Truth", released last May, has reached millions of people and won him and the filmmaker an Academy Award on February 25.  Gore has a website devoted to climate change,, and heads up The Alliance for Climate Protection. 

Now Al Gore is a big boy and can take care of himself and so the inevitable backlash, some might call it swift-boating, that has evidently begun will neither surprise nor intimidate him.  He may perhaps even welcome it as a further and perhaps brighter spotlight is brought to bear on his concerns and activities. 

On March 13, the weekly Science section of the "NY Times" featured this article:  From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype by William J. Broad.  It quoted a number of researchers as saying that Gore's message was, in a word, overhyped. Other scientists, as prominent and widely respected as James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer, defended Gore's message and work.  A storm broke out.

See this from the Center for American Progress the day after the article appeared:  Media — New York Times Baselessly Lambasts Gore, Cites Discredited Skeptics. (You have to scroll down the webpage a bit for this item.)  See also these letters in response in the Times.  For example, the president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science wrote:  "if you feel obligated to publish what are simply opinions, please use the opinion pages rather than the science section."  Ouch.  To be entirely fair to the "NY Times," it must be noted that their coverage of global warming has been broad and generally excellent.  I devoted my entry from March 9 to their terrific special section on the Business of Green.

See also this then from the "Wall Street Journal" from March 19:  Whose Ox Is Gored?  This is starting to get real personal and is coming perilously close to hitting below the belt.

Gore appeared on Capitol Hill yesterday before both Senate and House committees.  He delivered cogent testimony.  He took both praise and some lumps. But he's a big boy, as I said.  (I know, very big.  So he's put on a few pounds.)

Returning to the Center for American Progress, see also this from them from yesterday:  Global Warming – A Hero And A Target.  This is, to be sure, a partisan organization, but I think, from my perspective, that they have landed a good number of punches, and all according to the Marquess of Queensbury rules.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change