A convenient lie

Al Gore may not be the sharpest croquet ball in the set, but he’s at least smart enough to know that if you want to get people to give you their money, you have to offer them a solution to a problem. It really doesn’t matter whether the problem is real or imagined, as long as the dollars they give you are the real kind. If you tell them there is no problem, then there is no money. Yes, we’ve talked about global warming before, but it’s kind of like one of those kids’ punching bags with the picture of a clown on the front. You knock it down and it just pops right back up, asking for another swat. And it never quits smiling. It enjoys getting smacked. But just to set the record straight, I want to point out that, in my last column about this subject, I admitted that I really do believe global warming exists, and that it’s happening right now, almost everywhere. I even tried to worry about it some, but I got distracted over Easter weekend, when the snow was piling up in Central Texas so deep kids were building snowmen and making snow ice cream. It’s hard to ponder the demise of earth due to excessive heat while you’re getting hit with snowballs in April. Of course, the fact that it snowed in Central Texas at Easter is not proof that global warming isn’t happening, any more than a heat wave in December is proof that it is. That’s just one of those strange things that happens in Texas sometimes, like Ann Richards being elected governor, or your sink drain stopping up. It’s unpleasant, but you have to deal with it and go on. What I don’t believe is that humans are causing global warming through blatant use of aerosol deodorant or gasoline exhaust or excessive belching or anything else. I think the cycle of gradual warming and cooling of the planet is caused by natural changes in ocean currents, which are affected by lots of factors, including fluctuation of salinity in the water. And I’m not the only one who thinks this way. William Gray, an emeritus professor at Colorado State University, agrees with me. Well, OK, to be totally honest the ocean current salinity thing was his idea to begin with, but I don’t see any need to split hairs here. The main thing is to stay focused on the problem, and what needs to be done about it. Which is, ah, nothing. Gray is the absolute top dog, head cheese, big enchilada in the entire US of A when it comes to predicting hurricanes and other major weather events. His annual hurricane forecasts are awaited with bated breath and crossed legs and tapping feet by the horn rimmed glasses and pocket protector crowd. There isn’t anyone who knows more about big storms than this guy. So I’m forced to bow to his expertise. At the recent National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans, Gray addressed the nation’s top meteorologists and emergency management specialists. He told them, basically, that Al Gore was full of guacamole. He called Al a ‘gross alarmist’ and said Al’s claim that storms have gotten worse since the 1970s isn’t true. So I guess he called Al a liar, too, although calling a politician a prevaricator is like saying the Mississippi River is damp. Not exactly a shocker. Al’s documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ claims earth is headed south on a greased pole. The idea is that humans are ruining the planet with greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide, and unless we do something about it we’re in deep trouble. But Gray, who evidently doesn’t hold a candle to Al in the fundraising department, says that’s a bunch of hooey. When asked about Al’s predictions of horrendous flooding and other disastrous weather events, Gray said, ‘He’s one of these guys that preaches the end of the world type of things. I think he’s doing a great disservice, and he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.’ So Gray is pretty critical of Al, but I don’t think he’s adequately considered the situation. Al is trying to win the Democratic nomination for the presidential race, and that takes money. And if you come out and tell folks everything is fine, they will inconsiderately fail to donate huge wads of legal tender to your campaign. And that doesn’t help anyone. Except maybe the citizens of the country, and who cares about them’ Gray says the current cycle of warming oceans, which is causing recent hurricane activity, is going to start going the other way in five to 10 years. But then, by that time we’ll all be on mopeds and bicycles, and smelling each other’s B.O., and Al will claim his movie caused the reduction of poisonous fumes, which in turn saved the planet. But, hey, Al’s a politician. Saving the planet is his job. Well, that and playing croquet’ ‘ Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who owns his own croquet mallet. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or jeep@verizon.net

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