"I'm like Punxsutawney Phil, but do you know what it means when I see my shadow? It means the earth is dying. Have you been outside today? It's 60 degrees in late November. I mean there's a Christmas tree in front of this building and guys are wearing flip-flops. You can't say this isn't real." - Al Gore on Saturday Night Live, November 2009
It was all laughs for Al Gore last November when he hit the media circuit to promote his new book and educate the ignorant masses about the imminent threat of catastrophic climate change. He had the rapt attention of the politicians and the pundits and the celebrities. He'd won an Academy Award! The former Vice-President and presidential hopeful had built a new career as the voice of the Green Movement, and business was booming. What a difference three months makes.
In the face of the embarrassing Climategate scandal and an unprecedented winter season that has for the first time ever delivered measurable snowfall to all 50 states, Al Gore's absence from the public stage has been conspicuous. Perhaps he's taken a page from Punxsutawney Phil's playbook and is hibernating in hopes of a sunnier forecast come April.
All kidding – and snowstorms – aside, recent events have caused many to doubt the veracity of Al Gore's award-winning claims about man-made global warming and the "settled science" behind climate change. In the aftermath of "Climategate" – in which several e-mails revealing manipulative and unethical behavior by some of the main scientists responsible for gathering and analyzing global temperature data were exposed – the scientist at the center of the controversy has admitted that his method of handling the raw temperature data used to compile climate reports is "not as good as it should be," and furthermore has conceded that there has been no "statistically significant" warming of the earth in the last 15 years. This is a fascinating revelation, considering that global warming alarmists have been prophesying the imminent ruin of Planet Earth for over three decades.
The bottom line is that intelligent, responsible people are getting tired of being made to feel guilty for every carbon credit consumed and every mile-per-gallon burned, especially when it's becoming more and more clear that the current climate change hysteria is being fueled less by solid scientific evidence than by an extreme Green ideology that – much like Agent Smith in the Matrix movies – views humanity as a virus, a plague upon the earth that must be contained and ultimately eradicated. For the extreme enviro-ideologues, mankind's devastating impact on the earth is a foregone conclusion; the appeal to "science" is simply a clever public relations tactic.
There aren't many fields of scientific inquiry where the level of negligence, irresponsibility, and carelessness that characterizes the study of global climate trends would be allowed to prevail. Scientists take pride, above all, in their dedication to The Method. In order for a hypothesis to gain any traction, it much be researched, tested, replicated, and analyzed. Any 8th-grader will tell you that sloppy work in setting up your experiment, failure to account for relevant variables, or insufficient presentation of data will get you an F on your end-of-semester project. Yet somehow the entire globe has been taken captive by an ideology driven by shoddy science.
Meanwhile, the number of people who would claim that mankind has made zero impact on the environment in the last century is understandably small. Most reasonable, sensible individuals – regardless of their party affiliation or their penchant for Birkenstocks and IMF protests – will agree that there are many ways in which we can do better. Investing in renewable energy technologies, modifying our personal habits to diminish our impact on the environment, and supporting efforts to achieve energy independence are all worthy and achievable goals.
Instead of hyper-politicizing the issue and promoting sloppy, unproven science, why not recast the issue in light of the human vocation of stewardship? When God created human beings in His image and gave us dominion over the beast of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, He did not install us as despots, entitled to consume all the earth's resources for ourselves. He bestowed upon us a sacred trust. We are "stewards" – mere caretakers of creation – with the responsibility of managing the earth's resources not only for ourselves, but for future generations.
One day we will render an account for our stewardship. Here's hoping that we will be found faithful.