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Does a national leader, rather, does anybody, have the right to misstate the facts in order to move us to do what we should do?
There are scientists who have said that former Vice-President Al Gore has misstated some facts in “An Inconvenient Truth”, the award-winning documentary (docudrama?) which I watched recently. There are other scientists who say that, regardless of the misstatements, Gore is right in trying to move us to do what we should do.
What conclusions might be drawn?
· The science is complex because Earth is a complex system. For those who would argue that taking chemistry, biology, and physics in high school and college would help a student understand the debate, I raise a Vulcan brow and exhale an “Oh?” The science is too complex and the facts received by us the public are unreliable, for reasons stated in the essays “Is Everybody ‘LOCO’?” and “How Little We Know”, at www.mymontebello.com.
· Should we not be concerned that the same companies which controlled fossil fuels in the twentieth century are poised to control alternative fuels in the twenty-first century? Has anyone not heard about British Petroleum signing a half billion dollar research contract with the University of California, Berkeley, earlier this year? If that is not enough, see which business behemoths are involved with UC Davis and UC Irvine. Google the university name and “alternative fuels”.
· If we take the chance that global warming be misstated, inadvertently or intentionally, and that millions of people would not be displaced and other millions would not starve because of climate changes, we still would not have rid ourselves of the nagging notion that we must conserve and pursue alternative fuels without hesitation or delay. Why? China is growing industrially and is becoming a competitor for fossil fuels. We do not need to confront the Chinese over resources as we did the Japanese in the Thirties and Forties. We do have an alternative in alternative fuels.
· There is a question over how long fossil fuels will last. A different question comes to mind: should not fossil fuels be seen as a prudent reserve, a rainy day reserve, in case a volcanic eruption or a nuclear explosion so cloud the atmosphere as to cause major climate changes and prevent us from harnessing solar energy to grow crops and run our offices and factories? If “yes”, we should stop consuming, and start storing, fossil fuels immediately.
· If you have seen “An Inconvenient Truth”, you know that, global warming notwithstanding, Gore points to a truth when he says that we humans are like frogs in that we endure slow pain instead of trying to rid ourselves of the pain. Thus, while asthma and other pulmonary illnesses strike children and adults, we, like frogs, do not demand an immediate switch from fossil fuels to alternative fuels.
Might it be more patriotic to lead a domestic crusade for alternative fuels than a foreign crusade for fossil fuels?
If you answer the multiple-choice questions below and e-mail to email@example.com with “Lesson answers” in the subject field, you will be credited toward a “certificate of recognition in community affairs” to be awarded in 2007 by a local nonprofit organization.
1. With regard to global warming,
(a) we could and should investigate and judge the science supporting and denying the phenomenon.
(b) the complexity of the science is such that we are left to ask, “Whom do we trust to tell the truth?”
2. If global warming were, as some claim, a big scam,
(a) we still should prioritize alternative fuels because there are compelling reasons to do so.
(b) we should stay the course in securing as many sources of fossil fuels as possible in order to keep our economy robust.
March 29, 2007
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