Roger L. Simon

Vaclav Klaus vs. Al Gore

As I have written several times before, I am a global warming agnostic. Even though I rather suspect my scientific background is at least equal to Al Gore’s (whose academic career was, shall we say, “checkered”), I do not consider myself qualified to opine. (And, yes, I do favor conservation, anti-pollution measures and energy independence… duh… it’s anthropogenic global warming we’re discussing here.)

But… you knew there’d be one, didn’t you… I was fascinated by the dialog on the subject between Czech President Vaclav Klaus (an economist whose academic career was anything but “checkered”) and readers of the Financial Times. Klaus writes well in his second language, a lot better than almost all American politicians (including Gore) in their first language, so perhaps I am seduced by his literacy and learning. But Klaus does seem to make a number of strong points from the point of view of a professional economist with some scientific background, points that most of our politicians (in the present “religious” cllimate) do not dare to make, even if they agree with them.

I wonder if Gore would debate Klaus. I doubt it. There’s no profit in it for Al. The Czech Republic is a small country, after all, and Al is after bigger game. Why risk having your arguments eviscerated?

But I don’t think it’s the US Presidency that Al’s after. I think it’s the Nobel Prize. Reason: there’s more money for him in the Nobel. And I think money (and fame) is a lot of Al’s goal at the moment. Can you imagine how much he’s making touring the world as the Apostle of Environmental Armageddon? Tens, maybe even hundreds of millions. Why give that up? Why put that at jeopardy with pesky facts – or worse, with the inevitable clamor for full IRS disclosure were he to run for office?