Only re­li­gion of the ‘green kind’ taught in schools

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Suzanne Fields

Ann McEl­hin­ney’s low­bud­get doc­u­men­tary re­fut­ing the glob­al­warm­ing hype and hys­te­ria ar­rives in Wash­ing­ton just in time to break Al Gore’s crys­tal ball. “Not Evil Just Wrong,” the fea­ture-length film she made with her hus­band Phe­lim McAleer, coolly re­veals how Mr. Gore’s dis­guise of hot fa­nati­cism as cold fact ar­rives as the Se­nate be­gins to gear up for de­bate on “cli­mate change” leg­is­la­tion.

“We know you can’t teach re­li­gion in school,” Ms. McEl­hin­ney says. “But there is a re­li­gion be­ing en­forced, a green re­li­gion.”

Her film il­lus­trates just how school­child­ren have been in­doc­tri­nated with fear, loathing and fore­bod­ing, as Mr. Gore’s film at­tempts to re­cruit them as tiny prophets of doom.

Her cam­era shows chil­dren in North­ern Ire­land de­scrib­ing how the sea level rises when the ice caps melt and po­lar bears drown. “It may [hap­pen] here and we will all die,” says a lit­tle girl on the verge of tears, try­ing hard to look as though she un­der­stands what she has been taught. Pipes up an earnest lit­tle boy: “And most of us can’t even swim.”

The emo­tional abuse of the chil­dren in the film, first shown to an au­di­ence the other night at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, il­lus­trates the fright­en­ing tac­tics em­ployed by cer­tain en­vi­ron­men­tal groups. Pres­i­dent Obama joins the hys­te­ria from time to time, as in his dooms­day re­marks in Septem­ber at the eco­nomic sum­mit in Pittsburgh: “Ris­ing sea lev­els threaten ev­ery coast­line. More pow­er­ful storms and floods threaten ev­ery con­ti­nent. More fre­quent droughts and crop fail­ures breed hunger and con­flict in places where hunger and con­flict al­ready thrive. On shrink­ing is­lands, fam­i­lies are al­ready be­ing forced to flee their homes as cli­mate refugees [. . .] the time we have to re­verse this tide is run­ning out.”

But lately, even some en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists think the facts, like the chil­dren, have been abused by the pol­i­tics of what now must be called “cli­mate change,” since the globe is in­con­ve­niently cool­ing, not warm­ing.

Gerd Leipold, a leader of Green­peace, de­fends the tac­tic of “emo­tion­al­iz­ing is­sues” to get pub­lic at­ten­tion, but con­cedes that mis­takes were made, as in the claim that Arc­tic ice will dis­ap­pear by 2030.

Al and his like-minded co­horts in­sist that the ar­gu­ment is over, but it isn’t. The mis­treated facts have been re­sist­ing Mr. Gore’s dis­guise and oc­ca­sion­ally get a lit­tle re­lief. In 2006, a Bri­tish court char­ac­ter­ized Al’s Os­car-winning doc­u­men­tary as rid­dled with ex­ag­ger­a­tion and er­ror, and said the film could not be shown to school­child­ren without coun­ter­ar­gu­ments and bal­anc­ing ev­i­dence.

The judge cited nine sig­nif­i­cant er­rors and mis­lead­ing state­ments. Po­lar bears, for ex­am­ple, hardly face ex­tinc­tion, as Mr. Gore sug­gested, and their num­bers have ac­tu­ally in­creased five-fold over the last half-cen­tury.

“Not Evil Just Wrong” demon­strates how the pol­i­tics of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism di­rectly af­fects the lives and liveli­hood of men and women who live less stylishly than the so­phis­ti­cated bi­coastal greens who have made Al Gore their icon.

Ann McEl­hin­ney’s film fo­cuses on peo­ple (not po­lar bears) whose pay­checks and fam­i­lies are de­pen­dent on coal-gen­er­ated en­ergy, and whose in­ter­ests are usu­ally ig­nored in ab­stract statis­tics.

One mother proudly shows off her new house at the edge of a small town in In­di­ana, and wor­ries that her good for­tune is threat­ened by en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivism that will de­stroy jobs and raise prices for gaso­line and elec­tric­ity. “I’m not the one trav­el­ing in a pri­vate jet,” she says. “When I have to go some­where, I get in a car.”

The cam­era fol­lows her when she drives to Al Gore’s man­sion out­side Nashville to de­liver a let­ter to tell him her side of the story.

Elitism is the tar­get this film hits with sav­age in­sight. It’s about who makes what sac­ri­fices. Richard Lindzen, pro­fes­sor of me­te­o­rol­ogy at the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy and an out­spo­ken critic of what he calls the sloppy sci­en­tific ev­i­dence of global warm­ing, ob­serves wryly that en­vi­ron­men­tal “ex­perts” col­lect lots of fre­quent flyer miles de­liv­er­ing lec­tures telling oth­ers that they shouldn’t fly.

The mak­ers of “Not Evil Just Wrong” have by­passed the Hol­ly­wood dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem by or­ga­niz­ing grass­roots, pri­vate show­ings in homes, churches, schools and think tanks. On open­ing night they screened their doc­u­men­tary 6,000 times in 27 coun­tries.

Ann McEl­hin­ney tells me how she was trans­formed from “re­ally lib­eral” to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tive when she saw mind­less poli­cies de­stroy­ing lives in the de­vel­op­ing world.

The film de­scribes the tragedy of DDT, the mir­a­cle in­sec­ti­cide that al­most erad­i­cated the mos­quito that car­ries the malaria virus. But DDT was banned af­ter pub­li­ca­tion of Rachel Car­son’s 1962 best-seller, “Si­lent Spring.”

Mil­lions in Africa have died of malaria since, and af­ter the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion lifted the ban, con­clud­ing that it had acted on un­sci­en­tific sci­ence, the in­ci­dence of malaria plum­meted. Hys­te­ria has wounded the facts, but the wound may not be mor­tal.

Suzanne Fields is a syndicated colum­nist.

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