If you receive all of your information from Glenn Reynolds, you would get the idea that the current food shortage/crisis/panic is the fault of Al Gore. Reynolds links to a dishonestly framed New York Sun article headlined, “Food Crisis Starts Eclipsing Climate Change Worries.” The reporter, Josh Gerstein, writes “Ethanol was initially promoted as a vehicle for America to cut back on foreign oil. In recent years, biofuels have also been touted as a way to fight climate change, but the food crisis does not augur well for ethanol’s prospects.” But I don’t see a great deal of environmentalist support for corn ethanol. Bill McKibben is my go-to-guy on environment and specifically on climate change (he also has a localist/Reactionary Radical sensibility). He says that corn ethanol is “maybe the worst idea of all time.” In reality the Republican congress passed and George W. Bush signed the 2005 energy policy act which is repsonsible for the current round of ethanol subsidies.
The Sun article states that “Mr. [Benjamin] Senauer said climate change advocates, such as Vice President Gore, need to distance themselves from ethanol to avoid tarnishing the effort against global warming. ‘Crop-based biofuels are not part of the solution. They, in fact, add to the problem. Whether Al Gore has caught up with that, somebody ought to ask him,’ . . .”; creating the impression that Gore is a prime supporter of corn ethanol. But the Sun refers to a Popular Mechanics interview with the former veep in which he distances himself from corn ethanol: he supports developing the next generation of celluose based ethanol and expressed concern about food pressures.
In response to an “irate” email that I sent, Reynolds put up a disclaimer:
. . .the above is tongue-in-cheek, a mockery of certain lefties’ overuse of terms like “crimes against humanity” and their eagerness to resort to international law against people they dislike for political reasons.
It’s also worth noting that Al Gore — now that he’s no longer running for anything — has in fact distinguished between food-based ethanol and ethanol from more practical sources like waste biomass.
Yes, I understand that he was “joking.” But a joke needs some basis in truth to be funny, unless it is aimed at fellow partisans who find any insult of political enemies to be funny. His belated admission that Gore doesn’t uncritically support corn ethanol undermines the premise of the joke.
Reyolds has a history of supporting dubious attacks on the former veep, which is odd since there are plenty of genuine skeletons in Gore’s political closet. Four years ago he linked to a flagrantly dishonest Boston Herald editorial and sanctimoniously opined, “I was once a big Al Gore fan, but my attitude toward him has gone beyond disappointment. Now it’s something more like horror. He’s lost it.”
More recently, he shed crocodile tears when a Gore daughter served endangered Chilean Sea Bass at her wedding, which turned out not to be endangered after all.