Al Gore visited NBC’s Today show this morning and was challenged by Matt Lauer to defend selling out to Al Jazeera, which was financially backed by Qatar’s oil and gas money. Gore refused to acknowledge any hypocrisy, however. Via the Washington Post:
“Today” displayed a quote from Gore’s new book “The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change.” It reads, “Virtually every news and political commentary program on television is sponsored in part by oil, coal and gas companies…” So Lauer asks Gore if his sale of Current TV to a network owned by the emir of an oil-earnings-fueled Middle East country (Qatar) doesn’t smack of a contradiction. To which Gore had a lame response. “I certainly understand that criticism. I disagree with it. Because I think Al Jazeera has obviously long since established itself as a really distinguished and effective news gathering organization. And by the way, its climate coverage has been far more extensive and of high quality than any…”Lauer came back at him, citing possible hypocrisy. Gore essentially repeated his first response.
To be fair, Qatar did host the last UN conference to discuss climate change in Doha. A conference that Bjørn Lomborg writes was a failure:
PRAGUE – The Doha meeting continued 20 years of failed climate negotiations, since the original Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. There, countries pledged to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000; the OECD countries fell short by almost 9%. The Kyoto Protocol from 1998 has almost entirely failed. And the effort intended to save the world in Copenhagen in 2009 collapsed spectacularly.
Ironically, as Lomborg points out, Doha hosted talks on global free trade 11 years ago and it’s free trade that would alleviate poverty, not money on more failed climate ideas:
Really? Climate policies so far have proven to be extremely costly ways of helping very little – and very far in the future. This is especially true for the world’s poor. Maybe we should start thinking about the other Doha negotiation that started 11 years ago, on global free trade, which could help the world’s poor many thousands of times more.
Models from the World Bank show that even the least ambitious agreement to liberalize trade further and reduce agricultural subsidies would generate substantial benefits. The classic argument for free trade holds that specialization and exchange benefits everyone, because goods are produced where they are produced best. The Bank’s models show that this so-called static benefit could increase annual global GDP by several hundred billion dollars by the end of the decade, with perhaps $50 billion accruing to developing countries. Toward the end of the century, the annual benefit would reach $1.5 trillion, with half going to the developing world.
But, over the last two decades, a growing number of studies have demonstrated that this is only a small part of the argument. History shows that open economies grow faster. Examples include South Korea since 1965, Chile since 1974, and India since 1991; all recorded markedly higher growth rates after liberalization.
You know, the same type of open economy enjoyed by Al Gore when he sold his cable channel and made $100 million.