07/08/2007 02:36 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Al Gore, Not the Rightwing, Is the Economic Conservative on Global Warming

Let's first consider this: what is so bad about global warming? On a planetary basis, it may be arguable. The earth has heated and cooled over the millenia, and the planet has adjusted to those shifts. True, large deaths and dislocations of various species occurred, water levels have risen to engulf what had been land, natural "bridges" between continents have disappeared, and evolution (yikes!) has proceeded along paths that otherwise would not have occurred.

There is, however, a big difference now. The world economy has been built around, and thus has a vested interest in, current temperatures, rainfall, sea levels, gulf streams' effects. Radical changes in those parameters will cause massive dislocations of people, and major economic disasters. Just one source for this: the Bush Administration's own Pentagon that concluded in 2003 that global warming was a greater threat to the United States than terrorism, a report that was, of course, ignored and buried, but covered widely overseas. The recent UN report agreed.

With minor exceptions now, the radical righties have conceded that global warming is a bad thing for the world, and thus the US, economy. But, they say, the major contribution to global warming is not human activity, but something else:

1. The sun is getting hotter. Assume that is true. If global warming is bad, and the sun is getting hotter, then we need to set even more aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gases so that the increased heat from the sun is reflected back into space at even greater levels than occurs now.

2. Gases released due to ice melting in Siberia is far greater than what human activity contributes. Assume that is true. Same inexorable conclusion as #1: if there is another contribution other than human, then our need to contribute EVEN LESS is paramount if we are going to save the world economy, i.e., more stringent standards, and more aggressive goals.

A classic New Yorker cartoon shows a roomful of dinosaurs with a dinosaur speaker at a podium, with the caption: "The climate is changing, the mammals are eating our eggs, and we have brains the size of walnuts".

To follow the radical rightwing's beliefs on global warming would argue for even greater regulations and tougher controls and standards than does Al Gore's scientifically-driven analysis that human activity is the major culprit.

Al Gore is the economic conservative on global warming. The radical righties are the dinosaurs.