Gore's Facts Don't Match Up

Everybody ought to appreciate former Vice President Al Gore's passion and his willingness to put his considerable prestige on the line. But passion isn't the same as truth, inconvenient or otherwise. Mr. Gore says global warming will raise the seas by 20 feet, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says 23 inches, tops. Mr. Gore forecasts more hurricanes, but the World Meteorological Organization won't back him up. Neither will the UN's World Health Organization support his prediction for plagues of malaria. They know, and evidently he doesn't, that people can catch malaria anywhere -- even including freezing Siberia -- because the disease follows poverty, not temperatures.

Here's something else to know. The former vice president forecasts a future based on the past, but the past is a head-scratching mystery even to real climate scientists. Last summer, National Academy of Sciences President Ralph Cicerone was asked in a hearing about temperatures and CO2 observations covering the 400,000 years. Under oath, he said that 'the only evidence that seems clear is that there were times when the warming preceded the CO2 and the cooling preceded the loss in CO2, but they were nearly linked in time.'

More worrisome is the fact that Mr. Gore matches exaggerated warnings with oppressive solutions: Higher taxes to dim the lights and slow the traffic, and a freeze on your CO2 emissions. This is where it gets personal. Each human being emits roughly 0.2 tons of CO2 a year, so a literal tax-and-freeze on global warming would mean no new jobs, no new cars and, in effect, no new people. Somehow that seems unlikely.

Fortunately, we're already acting in ways that would make sense even with no global warming. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 set in motion broad requirements for more efficient use of electricity in heating, cooling, appliances, lighting and buildings; more fuel-efficient cars, especially including hybrids and fuel-cell cars; better designed cities, with an emphasis on mass transit and renewables; and carbon-capture technology that's as good at the carbon-capture rhetoric. We can do more, but when we do, let's actually improve the environment, keep the lights on, and save American jobs.