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Brainwashing Children, Environment, American Politics

Political gimmickery


By —— Bio and Archives--October 22, 2007

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As was pointed out in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was not awarded to the Burmese monks who have defied the military junta in their country and have had the whole world watching their plight. Nor to Morgan Tsvangirai and other Zimbabwe opposition leaders who were arrested and in some cases beaten by police earlier this year while protesting against the murderous policies of dictator Robert Mugabe. Nor to Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest in Vietnam arrested this year and sentenced to eight years in prison.

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The award of the Prize went to Al Gore and the UN’s climate panel. This has already, and quite rightly, prompted a chorus of criticism from sceptics of the pop eco-science Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth propounds, and the legions of eco-theocrats profess.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus went so far as to cast doubt on Gore’s contribution to the cause of peace, the ostensible purpose of the Norwegian prize. In a statement, Klaus said he was “a bit surprised that Al Gore has received a peace prize because the connection between his activities and world peace are vague and not very clear”. Indeed.

Vague and not very clear but politically very correct. In Norway, the main opposition party expressed its surprise at the decision. Gjermund Hagesaether, of the Progress Party, said: “We believe it is strange to give the prize to Al Gore for having made a film on climate that is subjective, one-sided and full of one-sided assertions.”

In France, criticism was heard even from the left as former Socialist education minister and award-winning geochemist Claude Allegre weighed in. He brushed off last Friday’s announcement as “a political gimmick”, saying: “The amount of nonsense in Al Gore’s film! It’s all politics, it’s designed to intervene in American politics. It’s scandalous. There’s a presidential election upcoming in the United States, and it’s well known that Gore wants to run.”

Bjorn Lomborg, founder of the Copenhagen Consensus, said: “The Nobel Prize committee should have focused on the other great forgotten problems like malnourishment, malaria, the lack of free trade in farming, rather than climate change.”

And one of the world’s foremost meteorologists called the theory that helped Al Gore win a share of the Nobel prize the product of “people who don’t understand how the atmosphere works”. Dr William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, spoke to a packed lecture hall at the University of North Carolina and said humans were not responsible for global warming. “We’re brainwashing our children,” said Gray, 78, a longtime professor at Colorado State University. “They’re going to the Gore movie and being fed all this. It’s ridiculous.”

Global warming theory has been in political and scientific trouble for some time, but who knew it had sunk so low it needed a boost from the Nobel Peace Prize committee?

But rewarding the absurd has been a Nobel keystone for the past few years. Never more so than in 2005 when it was awarded to Saddam apologist Mohammed el-Baradei the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. And the danger in it all is that it encourages other snake-oil road shows.

On the very day of the Gore announcement Ville-Marie borough Mayor Benoit Labonte trumpeted that our center city’s cleanliness” has improved a lot,” he said. “It’s been a lot of work from the top to the bottom of the borough but we can say this summer’s effort has been a big success.” The effort he was talking about was an unprecedented number of fines for new regulations that are strangling Montrealers. In typical Gore-ian fashion however he failed to mention how the “situation” has improved, or substantiate his claims that downtown was cleaner. In fact just last year Montreal was named one of North America’s cleanest cities by McKinsey & Co., surpassing even Toronto and Boston before this recent cleanliness campaign even began.

Labonte took pride in his borough inspectors strong-arm tactics. “Over the past five months, our inspectors issued 1,248 tickets for assorted offences,” said the mayor, “compared with only 178 tickets issued over the previous 12 months. We’re serious about cleaning up the city.” Labont


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Beryl Wajsman -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Beryl Wajsman is President of the Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal editor-in-chief of The Suburban newspapers, and publisher of The Métropolitain.

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