By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Environmental Editor
Thursday 29 March 2007
Al Gore is really doing it, bringing climate awareness to the doorsteps of opinion makers and forcing them to consider all of its implications. Of course, no good deed ever goes unpunished in this country.
Aside from all the sniping about his annual home power bill (which turns out to be so high partly because he spends an extra five grand or so to buy windpower and might also have something to do with a vice president's security needs), lots of the usual "free market uber alles" types are accusing him and all green-minded folks of forcing them to wear the dreaded "hair shirt" of mandatory reductions in their energy use.
Incredibly, those who aren't complaining about the sacrifices are indignant about Gore making it all seem too easy. In Robert J. Samuelson's New York Times editorial last week titled "Hollywood's Climate Follies," he accuses Gore of painting the issue as "saints vs. sinners" and failing to acknowledge that: "The lifestyles that produce greenhouse gases are deeply ingrained in modern economies and societies.... Those who believe that addressing global warming is a moral imperative face an equivalent moral imperative to be candid about the costs, difficulties and uncertainties."
It's hard to tell exactly what triggered Samuelson's outrage, but it seems to be a line from Gore's Oscar acceptance speech where he said: "We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act. That's a renewable resource. Let's renew it.
But what will it take to renew that resource? Everywhere the conventional wisdom is that Americans will never give up their big cars, big houses, air conditioning set at 65 degrees on hot summer afternoons and incandescent light bulbs blazing throughout the house. This is the American way of life, and the idea that it cannot last seems to drive some people into hysterical fits. Don't just do something, panic! Al Gore and the greenies want to send us back to the 1970s!