Gore's Dangerous Call for Environmental Civil Disobedience

As the case of Yasser Arafat shows, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee does not revoke laureates' prizes even when they go astray, turning from peacemakers to promoters of violence. If that was not the case, members of the committee would have been well advised to keep a watchful eye on the statements coming from 2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Al Gore. Last month, in a speech before the Clinton Global Initiative, he called for young people to engage in "civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration." This was not the first time such calls came from the man who used to be the "next president of the United States." Last year he told New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof: "I can't understand why there aren't rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants."

Gore's call to arms is typical of his environmental conduct: asking others to do what he himself wouldn't -- sacrifice. His massive carbon footprint, his frequent use of private jets, and his inflated electricity bill -- more than 20 times the national average -- have all been widely reported. Calling for young climate activists to engage in unlawful, albeit non-violent, action takes the hypocrisy to a whole new level. Unlike the symbol of non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi, who led millions of freedom seekers and who spent years in prison for his convictions -- Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times but was never awarded -- or civil rights activists who through their personal sacrifice won equality for blacks in South Africa and the U.S., Gore prefers to send young activists to chain themselves to bulldozers and potentially spend their best months, if not years, in prison while he himself continues to tour the world and attend carbon-neutral Hollywood parties.

Gore's anti-coal campaign is a threat to our economic well-being as it inspires activists all over the world to deny working families the cheapest source of base load electricity. Earlier this month a British court cleared six Greenpeace activists of causing more than $50,000 of criminal damage to a coal-fired power plant. In the U.S., anti-coal activists have derailed scores of coal-fired power plant projects in 2007 alone. For the greens this is stunning success, but for the rest of us it is trouble in the making.