Jonah Goldberg

Meet Al Gore, scaremonger. In 2004, Gore denounced President Bush for "playing on our fears." Today, he is at the forefront of a "green scare" about global warming intended to terrify Americans into submitting to his environmental policies.

Consider the trailer for "An Inconvenient Truth," Davis Guggenheim's documentary about Gore's green crusade. It promises to be the most adept piece of scaremongering ever captured on film, making "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" seem like "Toy Story 2." The movie's poster shows penguins walking across a desert. The trailer says, "If you love your planet ... if you love your children ... you have to see this movie." In case you're thick in the head, the producers spell it out for you: "By far, the most terrifying film you will ever see!" And: "You will soil your pants!" (OK, I made that last one up).

Of course, Gore is not alone. A host of new environmental scare books are out or on the way. Last month, Time magazine's cover warned, "Be Worried. Be Very Worried." Those renowned climatologists who make up Vanity Fair's editorial board have unveiled a "green issue" that informs us that "green is the new black" and that global warming is a "threat graver than terrorism." It says so right there on the cover, above Julia Roberts' hip. And she's dressed like a forest nymph, so it's got to be true.

Now, it's true that Earth has gotten warmer - one degree since the 19th century - and it will probably get warmer still. And it's probably true that human activity plays a significant part in all that. But it's also true that we don't have a clear picture of what's happening now, never mind what will happen. Just ask the 60 climatologists from around the world who wrote Canada's prime minister that "observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future." But that's all beside the point to Gore & Co., who say the time for debate is over. And if you disagree, get ready for the witch-hunt. Major news media have gone after scientists who argue there's still time to study global warming rather than plunge into some half-baked environmental jihad that could waste possibly trillions of dollars.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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