Or as The New York Times columnist Gail Collins recently wrote, "The Europeans have a perfect right to look down on the United States since they've set much more ambitious targets for reducing global warming. While they do not appear to be likely to meet any of them, it's the thought that counts."
Collins summed it up: In We-ville, it is the thought that counts. Support new technologies, and you're a global warming goodie. Say you believe, buy an eco-friendly light bulb, and you've begun to do your part. Denounce non-believers for standing in the way of progress, and you don't have to make progress. If you're rich, you can buy carbon offsets. If you're not, grouse about the price of gasoline (which is prompting Americans to cut back on their driving) and demand that Washington spend more to develop new technologies later.
Once again, I have to wonder whether Gore really believes that global warming is the imminent threat he says it is. After all, his Palo Alto-based Alliance for Climate Protection could spend its many millions hectoring people for driving to work alone or not unplugging their electronics -- and urge each individual to cut his or her energy by, say, 10 percent today. Or Gore could show some leadership by pushing the affluent -- who by definition use more energy -- to not fly in private planes, to live in smaller and fewer homes, and to find bigger ways to save energy than token gestures like limiting their use of toilet paper, as rocker Sheryl Crow famously suggested. It's called leading by example.
Instead, it seems, ads with Pelosi, Gingrich, Robertson and Sharpton -- designed to ask Americans to push Washington for innovations that may help in the future -- are what global warming gurus see as the best use of an expected $300 million. Apparently, We are in no hurry.