(CNSNews.com) – Former Vice President Al Gore told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday that if action is not taken by the United States to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the world as we know it could disappear.
“If we stop global greenhouse gas emissions today, according to some scientists, we will see an increase in temperatures that many scientists believe would be extremely challenging for civilization,” Gore testified on Capitol Hill. “If we continue at today’s levels, some scientists have said it can be an increase (in global temperature) of up to 11 degrees Fahrenheit.
“This would bring a screeching halt to human civilization and threaten the fiber of life everywhere on the earth,” Gore said. “And this is within the century, if we don’t change.”
Using a power point presentation, Gore showed charts and graphs that, he said, reveal how global warming is causing glaciers to melt around the world, depleting water supplies. He also said rising temperatures already are responsible for natural disasters in the United States, including forest fires, drought, and insect infestations that are killing trees.
But Pat Michaels, senior fellow in environmental studies at the libertarian Cato Institute and author of “Climate of Extremes; Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know,” said Gore’s prediction about the end of civilization is precisely why he wrote his new book.
“That is an example of what I call the climate of extremes,” Michaels told CNSNews.com.
Michaels said Gore’s prediction of an 11-degree increase in global temperatures is the highest increase predicted in the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which also says that “observed warming” of the planet is consistent with the lowest increases in global temperature.
At the hearing, Gore told the committee, chaired by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), that if global warming goes unchecked it will also cause the sea to rise, creating what Kerry and Gore called “climate refugees.”
“You mention the issue of climate refugees, Mr. Chairman,” Gore said. “Scientists indicate that for each one meter of sea level rise that there are roughly 100 million climate refugees.”
“This committee, with its distinguished tradition and expertise, knows full well the destabilizing and tragic impacts of very large flows of refugees,” Gore said.
Gore’s power point also showed photos of houses sliding into the sea and a photo of an island that he said is becoming uninhabitable because of global warming and that “100 percent of the population” is trying to find another place to live.
Michaels called Gore’s claims “absurd extremism” and noted that even if Gore’s remarks about the shrinking of the north polar cap are true, his testimony did not include scientific evidence that the southern polar cap has expanded in recent years.
He said this is in keeping with Gore’s reputation for reporting the most extreme scientific findings and ignoring the rest. Michael also said that Gore’s testimony and the work of the committee may have more to do with politics than compassion and concern for the earth and its inhabitants.
“What Gore is doing is resorting to the climate of extremes in order to achieve his political agenda,” Michaels said, adding that one item on that agenda is legislation to set up a cap and trade system. Under this system, a company’s pollution level is “capped.” If it exceeds that cap, it can purchase (“trade”) a pollution credit (or carbon credit) from a green-friendly, less-polluting company.
Gore and committee members also spoke about the importance of passing the economic stimulus package backed by Democrats and President Barack Obama because of the funds in the package that would go to develop green industries and create jobs in those industries.
The hearing was also held to mark the start of what was billed as “the road to Copenhagen,” in reference to an international environmental conference taking place in the Danish capital in December 2009.
Gore said he hoped the United States would sign onto a global environmental treaty in Copenhagen similar to the Kyoto Protocol, which was signed by Gore in Japan in 1998. However, the Clinton administration never submitted the protocol to the Senate for ratification.
“We need to sign a treaty this year,” Gore said, “not next year.”