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This review appears in the April 21, 1992 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Gore's New Book Sets Agenda for Environmentalist Dictatorships

by Margaret Sexton

Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit
by Sen. Al Gore
Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1992
407 pages, hardbound, $22.95

When Senator Al Gore's new book hit the bookstores a few weeks ago, media reports stated that he hoped to put environmental issues on the 1992 presidential campaign agenda. But it is far more likely that Gore's environmentalist diatribe is actually intended to help set the agenda for the so-called "Earth Summit" to be held in June in Brazil.

That summit is designed to bring the underdeveloped nations, as well as the industrialized nations, to heel behind the policies promulgated by such "development" agencies as the International Monetary Fund, which call for technological apartheid, forced depopulation, and supranational environmentalist dictatorship. In his book, the Democratic senator from Tennessee calls his version a "Global Marshall Plan," and describes it as: "a plan that combines large-scale, long-term, carefully targeted financial aid to developing nations, massive efforts to design and then transfer to poor nations the new technologies needed for sustained economic progress, a worldwide program to stabilize world population, and binding commitments by the industrialized nations to accelerate their own transition to an environmentally responsible pattern of life."

To soften the reader up for accepting his Global Marshall Plan, Gore spends most of his book laying out, as if they were facts, scientifically unproven hypotheses on such topics as global warming, and the ozone hole (see Science & Technology). He attacks the "Green Revolution" in scientific agriculture, and high-tech industry, including education for producing that high technology. And, he offers New Age spiritualism for changing man's attitudes and his relationship with Earth as the way to get broad acceptance of his ideas.

Accept the hypothesis, not the facts

Earth in the Balance is full of examples of Gore's substitution of unproven hypothesis for fact. On page 57, Gore mentions the role of volcanoes in creating the ozone hole. (It's not man-made chlorofluorocarbons that cause ozone depletion; in fact, volcanoes also spew tons of chlorine into the atmosphere and may reduce the amount of ozone there.) Gore says, "The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 ... had a significant but short-lived global impact, cooling the earth and temporarily masking the much more powerful warming caused by human civilization, and temporarily accelerating ozone depletion."

Then, in the same chapter, Gore attributes the 14th-century Black Death to "four years of poor weather and crop failures"; the 19th-century Irish potato famine to "the Little Ice Age [that created] wet and warm climate conditions conducive to potato blight"; and the 1930s' Dust Bowl to "unwise land use, which heightened the vulnerability of the land and its people to unexpected climate changes." A reading of history that is not in Gore's book, shows that the Black Death was a catastrophe because the society failed to use surplus wealth to generate new technologies that could meet the challenges of changing climate, because that surplus was sucked up by the usury of the major Lombard banks—a policy today called economic liberalism; and that the monoculture agriculture blamed for the potato famine, was imposed on Ireland by British colonial policies. The Dust Bowl wouldn't have happened without the Great Depression's economic collapse which stopped farming.

Gore also uses graphs that are cleverly designed to make his points; one shows a temperature fluctuation of 1° Celsius over 100 years with that 1° measured in tenths of a degree, making it appear to be huge. Projecting the drastic changes in climate that go along with the global warming hypothesis, Gore writes such statements as: "Although the sea level has risen and fallen through different geological periods, never has the change been anywhere near as rapid as that now expected as a consequence of global warming. Nations ... will be devastated if the projections now being made by scientists turn out to be accurate" (p. 104, emphasis added).

Then on page 105, Gore writes, "Two of the leading experts on glaciers, Lonnie and Ellen Thompson of the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, reported early in 1992 that all mid- and low-latitude mountain glaciers are now melting and retreating ... and that the ice record contained in these glaciers shows that the last 50 years have been much warmer than any other 50-year period in 12,000 years. One sign that this is true appeared in 1991, when the '4,000-year-old man' was discovered in the Alps; he was suddenly revealed when the ice retreated for the first time since he died" (emphasis added). In Gore's book, the projections, the hypotheses he offers, are the only explanations the reader gets, whether they turn out to be true or not.

'Soft-core' environmentalism

For all its soft-core environmentalism, Gore's book seems even more dangerous than other environmentalist bibles such as Christopher Manes's Green Rage, which explicitly calls for rapid depopulation by means such as famine. Such baldly genocidal proposals are apt to make the average person pause. Gore, by contrast, calls for responsible birth control and education, prenatal health care and well-child care. Few would oppose the suggestions so phrased. But in fact, Gore wants to reduce the population in poor countries just as much as Manes, but by "soft cop" means.

Thus, Gore correctly states, on page 127, that "with the scientific revolution in the 17th and 18th centuries, the human population began surging, and for the first time it seemed possible that the population might soon outstrip the ability of the environment to yield enough food. This fear was articulated at the beginning of the 18th century by the English political economist Thomas Malthus; that he was wrong has been due to a series of remarkable innovations in the science of agricultural production."

But then Gore goes on: "Malthus was right in predicting that the population would grow geometrically, but he didn't foresee our ability to make geometric improvements in agricultural technology. Even today, with several countries in the world suffering massive famines, there is little doubt that a commitment to use more land and newer agricultural methods could vastly increase the amount of food produced on earth. The problem we now face is therefore more complicated than the one Malthus identified. In theory, the food supply can keep up with the population for a long while yet, but in practice, we have chosen to escape the malthusian dilemma by making a set of dangerous bargains with the future worthy of the theatrical legend that haunted the birth of the scientific revolution: Doctor Faustus."

So, for Gore, Malthus was wrong, but mankind proved him wrong by making a pact with the devil—by developing scientific agriculture that has not only prevented starvation, but vastly increased the living standards of the world's population, something that in the Judeo-Christian tradition, is devoutly to be wished.

Then, under Gore's global economy, "wealthy nations can no longer insist that Third World countries pay huge sums of interest on old debt even when the sacrifices necessary to pay them increase the pressure on their suffering populations so much that revolutionary tensions build uncontrollably." But what Gore has in mind is not debt moratoria, or lending poor nations money to build infrastructure such as water and sewer systems that could stem deadly outbreaks of cholera or other water-borne epidemic diseases; rather, what Gore intends is "debt for nature" swaps—if you don't cut down that rain forest, we'll postpone foreclosing on your IMF loans for another six months. In fact, Gore claims that "half of all Third World debt has been accumulated in order to purchase weapons with which to wage wars among themselves," citing for example Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. He does not mention countries like Brazil, which incurred massive debt burdens as they tried to build up their domestic heavy industries, and, frequently, their nuclear power industry, not to "wage wars."

And we should also not be deceived that Gore and his ilk respect sovereign nation-states. In Gore's "Marshall Plan," nations are defined by their "ecological" diversity, not their national boundaries. The technologies to be transferred to these poor nations are "environmentally helpful," designed to "achieve a stable population and a new pattern or sustainable economic progress." The industrialized nations must also change to a "healthier and more balanced pattern." Simply put, this means lowering industrial production, lowering consumption, and lowering living standards.

Global Marshall Plan

If the reader has made it all the way through the chapters on "eco-nomics," global warming, ozone holes, and spiritual dysfunction, he comes to Gore's Global Marshall Plan. Gore calls first of all for stabilizing world population; for rapid creation of environmentally appropriate technologies; for "sustainable" economic progress without the "concurrent degradation of the environment"; a change in the economic rules of the road, which "assigns appropriate values to the ecological consequences of both routine choices in the marketplace by individuals and companies, and larger macroeconomic choices by nations"; environmental education, "social and political conditions most conducive to the emergence of sustainable societies—such as social justice ... a commitment to human rights; adequate nutrition, health care, and shelter; high literacy rates; and greater political freedom...." Of course, Gore favors allowing abortion, and scores the Catholic Church on the issue of birth control, while mildly condemning use of abortion as birth control, and the People's Republic of China for coercive abortion.

Gore also calls for developing a Strategic Environment Initiative to change industrial and energy policies, to become what he calls a national focal point in the effort to "heal the global environment." In addition to phasing out "inappropriate" technologies like CFCs, the senator calls for using tax incentives for an Apollo-style crash research and development program for enviro-technologies, and for training of new environmentally educated planners and technicians. Gore would give a tax credit for reduction of CO2 emissions, and would set up an Environmental Security Trust Fund, into which money would be deposited, based on the amount of CO2 in atmosphere.

After spending a couple of chapters to attack the "Green Revolution," Gore calls for "sustainable agriculture," with "low-input" methods of little or no fertilizer, pesticides, irrigation, and plowing; of course, he also embraces the mass planting of trees, and praises the notion of shutting down the U.S. timber industry.

For an energy policy, based on the notion that "greenhouse gases" must be reduced, Gore calls for eliminating the internal combustion engine. Usefully, he does propose increasing mass transit, using magnetic levitation and superconducting technologies. But he would accept nuclear power only if "passively safe designs" were developed, and nuclear waste could be safely disposed of. Given how unlikely that is in the current climate, Gore is ready, proposing use of solar energy, photovoltaic cells, and windmills for electricity production, reducing the amount of fossil fuels burned; fixing leaky eastern Europe natural gas pipelines, recovering methane from landfills, and of course, reducing the amount of waste modern industrial society produces, and recycling it. Gore would also impose a virgin materials fee, charging industries such as paper mills for using nonrenewable virgin materials, but would offer a tax credit for recycling, and lower utility rates for energy conservation. Conserving energy should be no problem in Gore's world, because so little energy will be produced, and certainly not enough to support heavy industry.

The senator is also ready to change "eco-nomics" with proposals such as changing the way Gross National Product is calculated to include depletion of natural resources, and adding in environmental costs and benefits to calculations of productivity, in order to "quantify effects of our decisions on the future generations who will live with them." Gore would halt subsidies or provision of funds by agencies such as the World Bank for "environmentally destructive" economic activities, such as building a road through a rain forest, or growing sugar cane in the Everglades.

Gore's "eco-nomic" policies bear a great resemblance to the "shock therapy" austerity of his Harvard brother Jeffrey Sachs: It is clear that Gore and his kindred spirits need them to be adopted at an Earth Summit such as the one planned for June 1992. To gain the consensus required for such a supranational restructuring, which many developing nations are strongly resistant to, Gore needs the new world order's policeman, the United Nations. For Gore, putting in place global environmentalist dictatorships begin with the current Montreal Protocol to ban CFCs, and international interference in nations' policies, to prohibit cutting of rain forests.

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