Gore applauds shivering students, demands U.S. schools cut the heatby Faye Bluhr
Dec. 7, 2011, New York, NY— Polar bears could be saved from hunger and drowning if more schools would shut off their furnaces, former Vice-President Al Gore said today as he praised British students who shivered through the coldest day of the winter Monday when their head teacher cut the heat to save the planet.
Gore won an academy award for a 2006 mockumentary that convinced many viewers that the burning of fossil fuels was leading to a catastrophe, heating the planet so quickly that polar bears stranded on melting ice floes would die of hunger and drowning.
"I'm happy somebody is still concerned about global warming," the former Democrat presidential nominee said. "With all the record cold and freezing temperatures the last couple of winters, some people were ignoring my warnings of an impending global heating disaster.
"The facts are simple: If we don't stop using gas-powered lawnmowers and if can't refrain from heating or cooling our homes with natural gas or fuel oil, polar sea ice will melt, the sea will rise 20 feet, New York, Miami and New Orleans will be under water, and a lot of humans and polar bears will drown.
Gore said the world needs more heroes like Head Teacher Rob Benzie and his young students,who sacrificed comfort to ensure the future survival of the world's largest land carnivore.
"I demand that American school principals follow Mr. Benzie's lead and turn off their school furnaces," he said.
Global warming expert Professor Melton A. Whey said Benzie's actions probably had no measurable impact on the environment but called it a success, saying it drew attention to artificial warming of the earth.
"I would like to see all schools turn off their furnaces and air conditioners every single day, not just the coldest and hottest days of the year," he said. "That still might not be enough to affect the climate, but it's worth a try."
University of Vermont Climatology Professor Warren Floods Cumming, often quoted for predicting apocalyptic environmental disasters, noted that efforts to measure human-caused impacts on global warming require instruments and mathematical computations that currently are unavailable.
"The earth naturally produces 24,000 times as much global warming gases as are produced by all mankind," he said. "And so even if we reduced human-caused carbon dioxide emissions to zero, it's hard to say if we could save a single square foot of sea ice, let alone an entire polar bear."
Polar bear expert Harry N. White said his group, the Policy for Independent Groupthink Strategy (PIGS) predicts that polar bears could become extinct if temperatures in the arctic stop cooling every winter, which could happen if schools continue to produce heat with furnaces that run on coal, natural gas, fuel oil or even electricity, most of which is generated by coal-fired generators.
"Don't be confused by data that polar bears have increased in number the past 20 years," he said. "If global warming gets as bad as some people think, polar bears will be in trouble.
"That's why it's important for school children to wear extra sweaters and insulated boots and gloves to class. Otherwise, the only polar bears they will ever see will be in zoos."
Meanwhile, the California Regional Atmospheric Province has announced plans to ban school buses that rely on fossil fuels in an effort to reduce global warming. CRAP Director Deese L. Burner said he was particularly concerned over Wyoming grizzly bears.
Because grizzly populations have tripled in Wyoming since the 1970s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had taken the bears off the threatened species list. But a federal judge on a record cold day in November overruled FWS biologists, returning grizzlies to the threatened list. He cited a decline of whitebark pine trees because of increase of beetle infestations that have been blamed on global warming.
"It was our duty to park the school buses," Burner said. "We don't have any nuclear-powered or electric school buses, so we cannot in good conscience transport schoolchildren in vehicles that might contribute to global warming. If a bus heats up the planet, and that causes pine beetles to thrive, which in turn allows the beetles to eat pine trees, and that reduces the dietary choices of grizzly bears, the choice is really quite simple. Kids will just have to walk to school. And don't any of you parents start driving your kids to school, or we'll make a rule against that, too."
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