Al Gore gets Orwellian on climate change skeptics; calls for punishment
by Ben Bullard
Every year, Al Gore pauses from his overscheduled itinerary of making a fool of himself at climate change speeches around the world to pause at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, where he drops by to make a fool of himself in front of hipsters, activists and a sizable jumble of uninterested partiers.
This year, the rhetoric got harsh — as in “punish-the-deniers” harsh.
While Gore was talking specifically about politicians who reject the idea that government should divert public funds to combat the effects of a changing climate, his tone toward anyone who thinks the jury’s still out on whether climate change is even a problem was especially condescending and totalitarian. According to the Chicago Tribune, Gore invoked Nature itself as a corroborating force in his call to action:
Former Vice President Al Gore on Friday called on SXSW attendees to punish climate-change deniers, saying politicians should pay a price for rejecting “accepted science.”
“We have this denial industry cranked up constantly,” Gore said. “In addition to 99 percent of the scientists and all the professional scientific organizations, now Mother Nature is weighing in.”
Gore suggested meting out punishment — or, in his words, a “price on denial in politics” — by shaming elected leaders who don’t share his agenda into legislating punitive cap-and-trade regulations that remove profits from the fossil fuel industry.
Gore’s more direct, ad hominem approach may be part of a coordinated marketing effort enjoined by the Obama administration. The White House released a March Madness-style “bracket” of lawmakers who oppose government action on climate change, attempting a public shaming of each with the promise that one eventually will be crowned a “champion denier.”