It's a shame the New York Times only allows subscribers to see their stories online (don't get any ideas, UK press moguls) because there was an absolute corker in yesterday's edition that's been sent round on email. Al Gore, when talking to columnist Nicholas Kristof, advocated a programme of direct action to tackle climate change:
"We are now treating the Earth's atmosphere as an open sewer," [Mr Gore] said, and (perhaps because my teenage son was beside me) he encouraged young people to engage in peaceful protests to block major new carbon sources. "I can't understand why there aren't rings of young people blocking bulldozers," Mr. Gore said, "and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants."
Is this the first sign of a change for the man who used to be the Next President of the United States? Will he shake off the mild-mannered lecturer schtick, going underground to lead troops of young activists into confrontation with police, power companies and politicians? Will there be a resurgence of grass-roots politics where our elected officials through off the trappings of state to take their lead from the people?
Nah, maybe not. Besides, I don't think a beret and beard would suit Al. Still, Kristof ended his column with a rather salient point:
Critics [of climate change] scoff that the scientific debate is continuing, that the consequences are uncertain - and they're right. There is natural variability and lots of uncertainty, especially about the magnitude and timing of climate change.
In the same way, terror experts aren't sure about the magnitude and timing of Al Qaeda's next strike. But it would be myopic to shrug that because there's uncertainty about the risks, we shouldn't act vigorously to confront them — yet that's our national policy toward climate change, and it's a disgrace.