Al Gore, Endangered Humans, and Endangered Chilean Sea Bass

Al Gore, speaking in Aspen, warned that humans are facing a planetary emergency:

“There’s an African proverb that says, ‘If you want to go quick, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ We have to go far quickly,” former Vice President Al Gore told a packed, rapt house at the Benedict Music Tent Wednesday. With many scientists pointing to a window of less than 10 years to moderate the effects of global warming, he said, meaningful change is still possible, but “It is a race.”

The size of the climate problem? Worldwide atmospheric carbon has jumped from 280 to 383 parts per million in the last century; the polar icecaps are melting three times faster than anyone’s direst prediction; China is on the verge of surpassing the United States for greenhouse gas emissions; bark beetles and wildfires are sweeping across Western forests; temperatures are climbing, sea levels rising, glaciers vanishing. By some estimates, humans must pull 30 gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere to have a shot at reversing such effects.

“What we’re facing worldwide really is a planetary emergency,” Gore said. “I’m optimistic, but we’re losing this battle badly.” Gore, interviewed by business luminary John Doerr, spoke at the Aspen Institute’s Greentech Innovation Network summit — a gathering of world innovators hoping to boost the development of green technologies.

Gore warned that, “The habitability of this planet for human beings really is at risk.” The habitability of the planet for Chilean sea bass, or Patagonian toothfish, is also at risk. Reports yesterday in The Daily Telegraph suggested that Gore further endangered the species by serving it a rehearsal dinner prior to his daughter’s wedding. The Telegraph corrected their report today, showing that the meal was green after all:

But the fish enjoyed by the Gores were not endangered or illegally caught.

Rather, the restaurant later confirmed, they had come from one of the world’s few well-managed, sustainable populations of toothfish, and caught and documented in compliance with Marine Stewardship Council regulations. The Gores’ spokesman, Kalee Kreider, admitted that the fish has been on the menu, but said: “The Gores absolutely agree with this humane society and the rest of the environmental community about illegally caught Chilean sea bass.

“The problem is huge. This is unfortunate, we have been in touch with the society today. The really important thing is that people become more aware of this issue.”

George Bush, Christian Crusader

David Brooks recently interviewed George Bush and noted that Bush is defending the war based upon religion:

“It’s more of a theological perspective. I do believe there is an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to all is freedom. And I will tell you that is a principle that no one can convince me that doesn’t exist.”

With the collapse of the justification for the war based upon WMD and terrorism it is no surprise that Bush is falling back on religion. After all, George Bush believes God chose him to be President and advised him to go to war in Iraq. If Bush wasn’t such a shallow thinker, he might see the problems in this view. While he learned the hard way that he cannot use the word “Crusade,” he is behaving more as a Christian Crusader than the leader of a modern republican when he justifies war based upon religion. Imagine the reaction if a leader of a nation such as Iran were to argue for going to war based upon spreading their nation’s religious and ethical ideals.

If Bush weren’t such a shallow thinker, he might also see another problem in justifying the war based upon his religious views. Many religious leaders have condemned the war as immoral but that doesn’t bother him. President Bush is so much like Lil’ Bush in the Comedy Central show brushing off God when God promotes views contrary to his own narrow views.

Fortunately for George Bush, he is too shallow a thinker to be bothered by the ramifications of his theological argument–which is quite unfortunate for the rest of us.

Clinton Joins Richardson in Defending Medicinal Marijuana; McCain Joins Giuliani in Opposing

The Marijuana Policy Project reports that Hillary Clinton has called for an end to harassment of physicians who attempt to prescribe medicinal marijuana in states where it is legal but opposed by the Bush administration.

Two prominent presidential contenders have moved in opposite directions on the issue of federal attacks on medical marijuana patients, as America’s second largest cancer charity, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, came out strongly for protection of medical marijuana patients. Democratic frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) called for an end to federal raids in states where medical use of marijuana is legal, while Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) backtracked on an earlier promise to end the raids.

During a Manchester campaign on July 13, Len Epstein, a volunteer for Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana (GSMM), told Sen. Clinton, “Twelve states allow medical marijuana, but the Bush administration continues to raid patients,” to which she responded, “Yes, I know. It’s terrible.” Epstein then asked, “Would you stop the federal raids?” Sen. Clinton responded firmly, “Yes, I will.”

The following day in Claremont, Sen. McCain held a town hall meeting at which he was asked about his stance on medical marijuana. When asked in April about ending the medical marijuana raids, McCain had responded, “I will let states decide that issue.”

Bill Richardson has previously demonstrated his support for legalization of medicinal marijuana, while Rudy Guiliani has opposed it. John Kerry supported legalization of medicinal marijuana in 2004. Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate that I’m aware of taking a stand against the drug war while at least two of the four leading Democratic candidates have defended medicinal use of marijuana.