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    Al Gore accepts science at last: Corn ethanol "was not a good policy"
    By Hank Campbell | November 22nd 2010 11:26 AM | 3 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    Beginning in 1988, and until a Republican Congress approved mandates and subsidies for biofuels in 2005 (at which point every Democrat and environmental activist irrationality extolling ethanol must have realized there was something wrong), Al Gore insisted despite a lack of evidence that it was a viable solution to the fossil fuel issue.   He saw 'renewable' and didn't look any farther but he is older and wiser now.

    What the non-agenda-based section of science (people in the actual energy industry that is, science bloggers fawned over the stuff) knew all along was this would be an expensive boondoggle and accomplish nothing.

    And now Mr. Gore, former Vice-President, Oscar winner and Nobel laureate, agrees.   "It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol," said Gore at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.   "First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small."

    Here's the kicker, and I am shocked he admits it;   "One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."

    He was advocating an energy policy and only accepting certain science he wants to get elected?   What a shock.

    Yes, I am being critical of him but I always was - and now I am going to stop.  When this site first started, the science blogosphere was willing to believe anything Al Gore said, even when they knew it to be scientifically flawed and even when his supporters attacked real scientists who disputed errors he made, like implying that global warming caused Hurricane Katrina and got death threats and calls to be fired over it.  No one outside here came to their defense.

    Today, Gore has nothing more to prove to anyone, his place in history is set because he at least spearheaded climate issues, so he has the ability to be completely honest now and he is taking it, but it brings home a point I have often made;   the War on Science is not banning certain types of research and claiming it is one particular political party, the War on Science is politicians who engage in promotion of some data over other data because it suits their political or cultural agenda.   That is bad for everyone.

    So it isn't just Republicans or Democrats in a War on Science, it is any politician who is using science as a cultural resource to exploit.

    Comments

    rychardemanne
    Sir Francis Bacon advocated that science be an extension of the power of the state (or sovereign). As the godfather of the scientific revolution he also set up what would now be considered a high technology venture capital fund. Those (politicians) who see science as an extension of their sphere of influence are following a long tradition.

    The history of the so-called scientific revolution has been hugely distorted to strip out these mercantile and political dimensions. Hence we are shocked - we shouldn't be. Technology is not a consequence of science; it is the other way round. Sadly, perhaps, but truly... and deeply.



    Hank
    I was more shocked that any significant people ever believed his motivations were science related - and they rationalize it more by insisting the opposing party to his must be anti science.

    The mid-term election we just had is proof.   The only success the Democrats had was a guy whose campaign television ad was him taking a rifle and shooting a hole in the Cap&Trade bill Congress was considering, yet every media story has focused on how Republicans don't believe in global warming because they ran with the same idea.
    rychardemanne
    I'm not hugely interested in Gore per se, but just as an example that scientists think that arguing about the science is the only show in town when there are obviously other motivations in play which see science as merely a tool. Shooting the messenger may be the right target after all.

    I think looking at science in the same way as the law would make people wake up a bit! How many people trust lawyers? And why?

    Science is not so different to law and yet we do not have courts of science - science has to get dragged into libel courts instead, or patent disputes.