By Ben Geman - 02/27/10 10:57 PM EST
Al Gore said Saturday that public officials who fail to act on global warming don’t deserve to keep their jobs.
“Public officials must rise to this challenge by doing what is required; and the public must demand that they do so — or must replace them,” the former Vice President wrote in a New York Times column.
Gore said evidence of global warming has not been shaken by discovery of errors in a landmark 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or the now-infamous hacked climate science emails.
It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law.
But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes. What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists — acting in good faith on the best information then available to them — probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century, the speed with which the Arctic ice cap is disappearing and the speed with which some of the large glacial flows in Antarctica and Greenland are melting and racing to the sea.
His lengthy op-ed also hits back at skeptics who say the big snowstorms somehow disprove global warming; argues that the Senate’s failure thus far to pass a climate bill is preventing international action; and says cap-and-trade remains the most viable system for curbing emissions.