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An impossible plea for change

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I just read Al Gore’s piece on sustainable capitalism in the Wall Street Journal, a subject I’m sure is near and dear to your baby boomer clients. It appears next to a story entitled “Business braces for cooler climate.” While that headline refers to the business climate in light of a Democrat takeover and cooling economy, it’s an interesting juxtaposition none-the-less. Given the state of the economy, Gore senses (correctly) that timing is everything. While chock-full of vague, high-minded rhetoric, he makes yet another impassioned plea to take action against man-made climate change.

“We need to internalize externalities — starting with a price on carbon,” he writes. Gore has a significant stake in a carbon credit business, so it’s easy to understand this urgency. But it’s his repetition, yet again, of one of his more fanciful goals that undercuts his remaining credibility — that America generate 100 percent carbon-free electricity within 10 years. Even his supporters have told him to back off this one. At best we’re estimated to produce about 4 percent of our electricity needs from renewable resources by 2018, according to Energy Information Administration statistics reported by the always indispensible Bret Stephens.

It appears Gore considers himself a latter-day John Kennedy (did he happen to watch T.V. on Tuesday? Someone else has that mantle). Except Kennedy challenged us to fly to the moon in a rocket before the decade was out. Al Gore’s challenge is akin to us flapping our arms in the hopes we somehow get there. Argue the climate change data all you want, but Gore needs to convince a still-skeptical population of the supposed detrimental affects of man-made climate change. Looney-tune predictions like this don’t help. It’s for this reason that I really hope Obama is the new kind of leader he says he is, one with a bit more sense.


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