Last week at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Wisconsin, former Vice President Al Gore took questions from journalists about global warming for the first time in years. I attended to ask him about factual errors in his movie, "An Inconvenient Truth."
You wouldn't know it from the sparse media coverage, but the British High Court found so many errors in Gore's movie in 2007 that British schools no longer can show the film without the equivalent of a health warning.
I asked Gore if he intends to correct the record. He dodged the question, and the so-called reporters defended his right to be evasive by shutting off my mic.
The encounter was disappointing but not surprising. I served years of hard time as a liberal journalist in Europe and learned that covering the environmental beat meant toeing the line of extremism — no inconvenient questions allowed.
But it is now time for journalists, and the consumers and businesses that will pay the ultimate price, to start questioning the conventional wisdom about global warming and exposing its true cost. If alarmists like Al Gore get their way, millions of American families will watch as their dreams of a prosperous and pleasant future disappear.
The evidence of environmentalism run amok abounds in Europe. Spain believed the spin that environmental regulation can create "green jobs" and boost the economy. Now the country has 18% unemployment. Britain could suffer blackouts because of policies that require the country to replace coal with fuels like solar and wind power that aren't readily available or reliable.
Unfortunately for Americans, many of the lawmakers who represent them in Congress seem unwilling to learn from Europe's mistakes.
The Senate is now considering a bill that Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., co-authored to create a European-style "cap and trade" system for carbon dioxide emissions, and he just won the endorsement of a key swing senator. International pressure on the United States to adopt such legislation also will increase in December at climate talks in Copenhagen.
That's bad news for taxpayers. The Obama administration reluctantly admitted last month that cap-and-trade would cost the average American family $1,761 a year.
That is a rosy prediction. A Heritage Foundation analysis pegs the cost at an average of $2,979 a year and as much as $4,600 a year by 2035. Jobs will disappear, energy prices will skyrocket, and the American Dream will become an unattainable fantasy for many.