How Successful Was Al Gore as Lobbyist?

Introduction

Al Gore is a very famous U.S lobbyist, Nobel Peace Prize winner, environmental activist, former journalist and the 45th Vice president of the United States of America under President Bill Clinton.

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Lobbying is a way of campaigning for the needs of interest group to be addressed by legislature. A lobbyist is likened to an activist who advocates for the position of certain interest groups to the governing body and he/she is usually paid for this. The work of a lobbyist is to campaign for his/her employer’s requirements. This is done by calling on the public to change their opinion through promotion campaigns or by manipulating the opinion of experts or top officials who have greater influence on the people. This therefore creates an environment that can allow change for transformation towards the interest of the group he is representing.

The name lobbyist was derived from the area in which the job is usually done, the anteroom at legislation buildings, or for a case point, a lobby hotel. In the U.S, K-street near Washington D.C has become very tantamount with lobbying activities. Lobbying is usually affected by bribery where one can easily get a bill he/she supports easily passed by bribing enough legislators. Some legislators may opt not to vie again and join another career as lobbyist where they meet ex- colleagues and publicize their current positions.

Lobbying in the U.S

In order to curb the problem of corruption in the lobbying trade, the U.S government demands official registration of all lobbyists who may be involved with governments legislative bodies. According to the Lobbying Disclosure Act, anyone paid to work as a lobbyist and interacts with the congress or other officials of federal government are required by the to record and file reports two times a year, or otherwise face illegal charges and cruel punishment (Geiger 2006). There are on going campaigns against lobbying activities and other organizations that dispute lobbying as infringing the rights to petition State officials a right that is assured by United States Constitution’s First Amendment (Geiger 2006)

A case presented to the Supreme Court of the U.S claiming that grassroots communication by congressmen as a form of lobbying was rejected. Other disputes involving congress declaration that gave authority to a committee to investigate all activities that manipulate, promote, support, or hold back legislative activities, closely identifies lobbying as direct contact with congress members or committees as opposed to broader definition of lobbying in the First amendments. The description of lobbying cannot therefore be broadened to cover other subjects that are outlawed. The exact persuasion of lobbyist on the U.S legislation has not been fully established. Private and non-profitable organizations have tried to track politics money and its consequence on elections and policy making to no avail. Al Gore (Albert Arnold Gore, Jr) has undertaken various fights as a lobbyist in the U.S since Joining the Congress at the age of 28

Al Gore’s lobbying activities

Capitalist Venture: Al Gore lobbied for capitalist venture as a partner in Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers. Being an associate at a venture capital business, Al Gore’s move to lobby for venture capitalist was criticized as an unselfish act of leadership. In his lobby advocated for all private investment into substitute energy source and the research on the green technology (The Spike 2007)  Al Gore explained this move as resulting from the fact that there is so much innovation and the field had a bright future that guaranteed greater chance. He explained that it was through private venture and free market that the real price advantage of green technology could be realized. Competition in the market place exposes consumers to a variety of products as they discover innovations made to meet unmet needs (The Spike 2007).

Al Gore’s undertaking in the capital market draws attention to the fact that environmentalism was a huge trade. A good number of research scientists earn their daily income from fact that global warming is a terrifying catastrophe that needed funding for research (Michael 2006). Consequently a lot more green technology and substitute energy industries depend on the climate change scam for them to gain market share. For each time that Al Gore called for Bio-fuel financial support, a green tax reimbursement, an environmental authorization, a lawful constraint or carbon offset it was quite obvious that he was selling his company Al Gore Inc and his associates KPCB (The Spike 2007). And protectionism favor for distorting markets and discriminating one group in favor of the other. (Coile, 2006)

Climate change: The British government hired Al Gore, the former Vice president, to address consequences of climate changes to the U.S government. The details of the deal were different in various news media. Al Gore became an environmental activist working on behalf of the British government and was quickly signed up by the government to give recommendation on environmental situation. Al Gore addressed the climate change issues covering the aspect of global warming and the need for alternative energy source (Coile 2006) & Eric 2006). In his campaigns, Al Gore made a documentary that exposed the effects global warming had on the economy (Thomas et al, 2005). This move by Al Gore was considered a traitor lobbying for a foreign government after serving as a vice president. On the other hand, the British were very contended with their choice of a lobbyist, In spite of political association or ideological inclination.

The reasons for Al Gore to engage in lobbyist seem to be for personal reasons rather than public interest. This is because in every move he made as a lobby was aimed at benefiting his company and those of associates. An example is the situation when he was lobbying for venture capitalism he wanted to have benefits because he wanted to benefit his Al Gore Inc and his associates.

In his life as a lobbyist Al Gore committed himself to addressing global warming issues which he referred to it as climate crisis. He carried out countrywide campaigns on climate crisis and wrote books on environmental disputes (Earth in the Balance: healing the Global Environment 1992). In 2006 he made a documentary; ‘the inconvenient truth’ that addressed the predicament of global warming (Booth 2006)

The Inconvenient truth:  this is a documentary film about global warming that was presented by Al Gore, the former U.S Vice president.  The inconvenient truth centers its attention on teaching the public about the relentlessness of climate predicament on people’s lives. In the film Al Gore makes predictions of the World Climate changes and prospective tragedy. All through the film, Gore expresses his presidential bid loss to Bush and his sister death from lung cancer as well as his early life at Harvard University. The film discusses scientific judgment on climate transformation. It a detailed account, Al Gore discusses politics, effects of global warming on economy and the results thereafter if greenhouse gases are not considerably decreased. All these campaigns were meant to benefit Gore who had invested in green technology in partnership with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. By August 2008 the Company had invested close to $1.2 million in what they call environment friendly companies. At the same time Al Gore is a founder member of a Generation Investment Management Company based in London and work in partnership with Kleiner Perkins in on the lookout for out shareholder maintainability. He also invested in this company. Gore’s global warming campaigns addressed issues that affected world climate and solutions, but concerning where the public was to put there money once the government enacted those rules regulating economy and how much greenhouse gas they would produce. Gore warned his investor category from venturing into certain trades while recommending others. He mentioned other companies that were not domestic names.

A part from the film, Al Gore also wrote a book by the same title. The book was released at the same time as the release of the documentary. The book contained mare information that included systematic evaluation and Al Gore’s recommendation on the subjects addressed. There is additional information in the 2007 documentary; an Update with Former Vice President Al Gore which discusses events that came later after the book and the film was released. This documentary covers the Katrina Hurricane, exhaustion of coral reef, glacial tremors on Greenland, wildfires, and methane gas associated with melting of permafrost.

Gore says he became concerned with global warming when he joined Harvard University and met Professor Revelle Roger. Later on when he joined congress, he got the chance to address the subject to congress. He addressed environmental issues in a book Earth in the Balance, tackling a number of solutions to the problems. As the vice President, Al Gore advocated for the realization of a Carbon tax transform incentives and to reduce organic fuel consumption. This was meant to reduce release of greenhouse gases into the environment in the short term solution. Gore also backed the financial support of a satellite called Triana, to enhance understanding of environment issues and take crucial steps towards generating solutions. In the 2000 presidential bid, Al Gore used the vow to approve the Kyoto Protocol as a campaign tool. After his defeat Al Gore resumed his anti-global warming campaigns where he revisited the works he had done earlier on compiled them in power point presentation. By the time he was doing the film, Gore projected that he had publicized the presentation to different audience a thousand times.

The oil Money: there have been many protests in opposition to the Occidental’s plan. Demonstrators have come forth to campaign against the company’s project and calling for immediate halting of the work. The former Vice President Al Gore has been accused of owning shares of the company’s stock. Later on it was discovered that the government support of the Occidental’s Colombia proposals extended far deeper than the Al Gores. The whole of the Clinton government was quietly assisting the company since it was a very important financier during the campaigns that lead to their win. This massage leaked to the people from Occipital lobbyist’s internal memos. Gore has a tight relationship with the Occipital Company, and by this virtue, the Government was able to manipulate the working of policy makers. Richardson the then Energy secretary appointed a former Lobbyist working for Occipital, to Energy Department, in a crucial international policy post.

Occidental has shown great interest in Columbian site. The Company is convinced that Samore was blocking $1.4 billion barrels of oil that would translate into about $36 billion. The occidental company asserted that it had a good track record on environmental management in Colombia. The Colombian Government was worried about attracting foreign ventures in its Moribund oil industry and supported the Occipital’s plans (Deanna 2008)

Al Gore’s Successes:  Al Gore has made some great achievements in his career as well as in Lobbying undertaking. He has received various awards including a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Some of other awards were presented for his participation in campaigns against greenhouse gases and the documentation film; primetime Emmy(2007), webby award (2005), price of Austrias award (2007) and an academy award (2007) (Hughes 2007)

Criticism: Al Gores work has received so much opposition and criticism over the years. Lindzen Richard in the Wall Street Journal of 2006 argues that Gore was using the climate crisis presentation for his own selfish gains capitalizing on the fears it created to the public. Spencer Roy has written to Gore disapproving his documentation on climate crisis affirming that the Arctic had a similar temperature in way back in 1930’s before the beginning of excessive emission of greenhouse gases begun. On the other hand Ball Timothy disputed Al Gores declaration that there had been a drop in thickness of the Artic ice cap from 1970 and confirmed that the information on Al Gore’s Documentary was only taken from isolated area of the arctic and for the period of cooling period.

An article in the New York Times reported that scientists had confirmed that some of the core points in the Al Gore film were so much exaggerated and mistaken. Gore’s argument on the rise of the sea level gives 20 feet rise not mentioning the time span contradicting the report by Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, which predicted 23 inches maximum rise. The immense Global Warming cheat documentary film in the U.K in 2007 presented a collective evaluation of climate scientists and others who opposed A Gore film. They claim that Al Gore had created the wrong idea about data in his film An Inconvenient of Truth and challenged the actual connection amid carbon dioxide levels and temperature changes, which they claimed to be the other way round (an increase in Temperature caused an increase in Carbon dioxide).

It has been predicted that implementing the Al Gore plan may leave a common person 30% poorer and therefore unable to deal with the problem in the current economic situation. Al Gore also mentions problems of malaria attacks in Nairobi, Kenya despite the fact that the world Health Organization has published dissimilar conclusions. Currently Nairobi has become almost free of malarial cases contrasting the 1920’s and 30’s when temperatures were little lower but malarial cases were high. The Al Gores waywardness is seen to assume very crucial facts about Antarctica. His movie was disputed as having collected the information about 2% of the warming part and practically neglecting the 98% of Antarctica. It’s claimed that he adopted the same method for reducing ice level of the Northern Hemisphere though there is reduction in the Southern hemisphere as well. There are predictions that about 2100 people in the U.K will die from global warming while at the same time Al Gore, mentions that 20 000 lives would be saved with reduction in temperatures. (Tapper, 2008)

On the side on the State involvement it was estimated that the project would cost over $ 553 Trillion. The decision to take the necessary steps towards solving the inevitable climate crisis of global warming was very critical. The issues of global warming on the other hand presented a challenging opportunity for research, technology innovation and entrepreneur investment (Corkburn & Clair 2000). This is because the government proposed regulation of the project included cost-benefit solutions rather than the ill-intentioned regulation type. Global warming has presented a situation like equilibrium. People do not take into account all the facts around the subject and hence consider the problem on wrong postulations (Corkburn & Clair 2000)

Global warming Controversy: the Al Gore’s Lobby for climate crisis on the U.S government presented a controversial perception of his intention in the involvement in the campaign. The film’s argument about global warming was that it’s real, and probably devastating.   Some of the facts he banked on were; the measurement of Carbon dioxide shown an increase, the reducing ice on the top of the mountains, the research by University of Bern revealed that there was an increase in Carbon dioxide concentrations compared to the past years, temperature record revealed that the last 14 years have been the hottest in history, and a Naomi Oreskes’ 2004 survey supported the fact that global warming was caused by man (Oreskes 2004)

The Anti-global warming campaigner Al Gore infuriated the Argentine campaigner of environmental conservation in 2007; they claimed that he was very insensitive to the introduction of bio Fuel Company in Argentina and the rest of Southern America. Al Gore proposed to introduce and support bio fuel production to the rest of Latin America. The benefit here was discovered that the Americans would ct down their reliance on oil from Middle East. This campaign was not received well but the Argentine environmental activists who held demonstrations, burnt the U.S flags, chanted Anti-U.S imperial slogans. The worry of the Argentines was necessary for stopping this U.S selfless lobby. Over 100 climate researchers were contacted on the authenticity of Al Gore’s basis of the campaign and only 19 out of the 100 climate scientists affirmed that the anti-global film was scientifically correct. Professor Soden Brian questioned Al Gore’s coverage of subjects that had no scientific support. He proposed that instead of Al Gore using the caption of Katrina he could have used other subject on which there was greater scientific consensus. However Al Gore has supporters like Eric Steig who is a climate scientist, he applauded the film saying that it was a much more informed presentation that could serve as an eye opener for Governments and research scientists.

Various campaigns have been carried out to question the Al Gores involvement in the promotion of bio fuel as method of solving the global warming issue. In promotion on bio fuel, Al Gore says that it would provide an alternative means of obtaining energy that is less affecting the Ozone layer. The Argentine government has accused Al Gore as a man who prompted the necessity to address global warming to the world as having malicious intention as he was involved in a bio fuel production controversy. (Fehrenbacher, 2007) Argentina however started the production of bio fuel from sugar cane to produce ethanol from locally grown sugar cane. The volumes produced by the project are for Argentina’s domestic use and have lead to increased prices of sugar and practically leading to cultivation of one crop (sugarcane) seen by the thousands of hectares covered by sugar cane fields. This could be a serious tragedy of crop letdown waiting to take place. The result of the investment in the bio fuel could be worse if the Al Gore’s campaign to substitute petroleum oil with bio fuel is enacted. Most countries consider energy conservation as a fundamental part of government projects that the world uses to decrease their carbon release track record (Hughes 2007)

The major problem of investing in bio fuel that has not been fully addressed is that, lack of skills and innovative technology in the field could create a culture of mono-cropping, and as a consequence, retail prices of common commodities would greatly increase. The U.S intention of using the Latin America for the growth of bio fuel quota in order to maintain their uneconomical way of living was seen as a different type of the United States of America’s imperialism of the area. Argentine’s claim that Al gore never held enough consultations before launching such venture. The pre-Columbian traditions and cultures have been seen to emphasize so much on food crop cultivation. The Columbian people have so much respect for their food crops that the long lasting campaign by the European Christian Dominion has been unable to suppress the Latin Americans love for food crop cultivation compared to cash crops. This has been ascertained to be the most important rationale as to why they largely oppose bio fuel large scale production by means of the crops meant to be their staple food. Leaders have joined hands in opposition to the Al Gores venture in bio fuel (Fehrenbacher 2007), they are; Chaves Hugo, Venezuelan president; and the then Cuban president Fidel Castro, they term Al Gore’s move as the reincarnation of the United States Imperialism at best.

Conclusion

The methods used by Al Gore to lobby for Climate crisis on U.S, a Nobel peace prize and venture in bio fuel were perceived to have selfless intent and raised eye brows all over the world. Al Gore’s benefits from the campaigns seemed to be masked by the debates that arose both in support and in opposition of the documentary on climate crisis. Politically the campaign seemed successful and the current U.S president received it well claiming that the current situation was not to question whether the greenhouse gas crisis was man made or not rather, the people should find technology innovative solutions that would give better life quality as well as protecting the environment. The documentary; An Inconvenient Truth is the greatest achievement Al Gore made as a lobbyist. The documentary has received so much attention and even being included in some schools curriculum.  However some reject it on the grounds that it would corrupt students minds and also for being sub standard. It has been found that lobbyists’ interest are always the same whether they work for a country or an organization.

References

Booth W (2006) Al Gore, Sundance’s Leading Man; Washington Post

Coile Z (2006) the Senator Fights the Tide, Calls Warming By Humans a Hoax. San Fransco Chronicl: Retrieved on 11th November 2008

Corkburn A & Clair J.S (2000) Al Gore: A Users Manual; Verso 2000

Deanna G (2008) Lobbying and Advocacy; Winning Strategies, Resources, Recommendations, Ethics and Ongoing Compliance for Lobbyists and Washington Advocates. The Capital Net2008, Lobbying and Advocacy.com

Eric S (2006) The Al Gore’s Movie: Real Climate. Retrieved on 11th November 2008

Fehrenbacher K (2007) Al Gore joins Kleiner, Becomes a Clean Tech Venture Capitalist. Giga Omni Media Inc. WordPress.com

Geiger A (2006) E.U Lobbying Handbook, A Guide to modern Participation in Brussels; Helios Media GmbH. (http://www.helios-media.com/de/information/lobbyin.php

Hughes S (2007) Al Gore Lobbying for the Nobel Peace Prize; Retrieved from www.changingworldviews.com on 12th November 2008

Michael S (2006) The Flipping Point: How the Evidence for Anthropogenic global Warming has converged to cause this environmental skeptic to make a cognitive flip; a Scientific American retrieved on 11th November 2008

Oreskes N (2004) Beyond the Ivory Tower; The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

Tapper J (2008) Anti-lobbyist Pledge Makes its Way to Washington D.C; Political Punch. ABC news

The Spike (2007) Al Gore Lobby for Venture Capitalists. Hosted by The Hivemind Networks; Retrieved from http://www.ivo.co.za/2007/11/21/the-al-gore-lobby-for-venture-capitalists/

Thomas, F. et al. (2005) Stable Carbon Cycle Climate Relationship During the Late Pleistocene; Science

 

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