[Vision2020] Rolling Stone, June 22 2011: Gore Criticizes Obama for Record on Climate
starbliss at gmail.com
Sat Jun 25 15:43:40 PDT 2011
Gore's Rolling Stone article *"Climate of Denial: **Can science and the
truth withstand the merchants of poison?"* can be read in full at website
NY Times article on this Rolling Stone article:
Gore Criticizes Obama for Record on Climate
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Al
lacking leadership on climate
a magazine essay published online Wednesday, saying his policies had
little more effective than those of President George W. Bush.
In the 7,000-word article in Rolling
Mr. Gore said that Mr. Obama clearly understood the threat to the planet
posed by global warming and that he had appointed a number of committed
environmental advocates to key positions.
But Mr. Gore said that in the face of well-financed attacks from fossil fuel
industries and denial and delay from Republicans in Congress, Mr. Obama had
failed to act decisively to alter the nation’s policies on climate change
Addressing climate change on national and international levels will require
forceful American leadership, Mr. Gore said.
“Yet President Obama has never presented to the American people the
magnitude of the climate crisis,” he wrote. “He has simply not made the case
for action. He has not defended the science against the ongoing, withering
and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the
scientific community — including our own National Academy — to bring the
reality of the science before the public.”
A White House spokesman defended Mr. Obama’s record in a written statement.
“The president has been clear since Day 1 that climate change poses a threat
domestically and globally, and under his leadership we have taken the most
aggressive steps in our country’s history to tackle this challenge,” said
Clark Stevens, a White House press officer.
Under Mr. Obama, Mr. Stevens said, the United States has spent billions of
dollars on clean-energy technology, imposed tough new emissions standards
for cars and trucks and taken the lead in international talks on climate
Mr. Gore’s extended outburst of frustration signals a public turning point
for him, and perhaps for other environmental advocates who have been quietly
seething for months over what they view as the administration’s timidity.
Mr. Gore, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize for his climate advocacy, praised
some of the president’s actions, including the new vehicle standards and the
investments in green technology. But in recent months he has told friends
that the president has been too passive on climate change and has not been
sufficiently supportive of Lisa P. Jackson, the Environmental Protection
Agency administrator, who has tried to advance greenhouse gas regulation
against stiff Congressional opposition.
Much of Mr. Gore’s essay is devoted to criticism of the news media as
failing to report accurately on the scientific consensus that climate change
is real and that it is most likely caused by human activities. He said the
media had been cowed by an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign
financed by the oil, gas and
or had presented ideological entertainment in the guise of news
Mr. Obama has tried to move the country away from fossil fuels, and has made
the connection between oil imports and national security, Mr. Gore wrote.
“But in spite of these and other achievements, President Obama has thus far
failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate
change,” he said. “After successfully passing his green stimulus
he did nothing to defend it when Congress decimated its funding. After the
House passed cap and
he did little to make passage in the Senate a priority.”
Paul Bledsoe, a former energy aide in the Clinton White House and now senior
adviser at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said: “I entirely disagree with
Gore here. Obama has consistently made a compelling case for climate action
based on the science and has fought in Congress and internationally for
robust policies to cut emissions and promote clean energy. The
administration’s failing on climate has in fact been political.”
Mr. Gore also turned to public officials of both parties. “Many politicians,
unfortunately, also fall into the same two categories: those who cheerlead
for the deniers and those who cower before them,” he wrote. “The latter
group now includes several candidates for the Republican presidential
nomination who have felt it necessary to abandon their previous support for
action on the climate crisis; at least one has been apologizing profusely to
the deniers and begging for their forgiveness.”
Mr. Gore does not name them, but Mitt Romney, a former governor of
Massachusetts; Jon M. Huntsman Jr., a former governor of Utah and ambassador
to China; and Tim Pawlenty, a former governor of Minnesota, have backtracked
on their support for state and federal action to address global warming.
Near the end of the article, Mr. Gore acknowledged that he might be hobbling
a president trying to do the right thing in a difficult environment.
“All of his supporters understand that it would be self-defeating to weaken
Obama and heighten the risk of another step backward,” he wrote. But he said
he felt compelled to speak out because the stakes were incalculable.
“The climate crisis, in reality, is a struggle for the soul of America,” Mr.
Gore concluded, using the voice of prophet and teacher that he has assumed
on this topic for more than 20 years. “It is about whether or not we are
still capable — given the ill health of our democracy and the current
dominance of wealth over reason — of perceiving important and complex
realities clearly enough to promote and protect the sustainable well-being
of the many. What hangs in the balance is the future of civilization as we
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