With all of the news yesterday focused on the main argument of Sir Nicholas Stern's report on the economic impact of climate change, one element of the story was overlooked by many media outlets: the British government has hired former Vice President Al Gore. The details are sketchy and even a little confusing: yesterday's Irish Times claimed that Gore will work as a lobbyist charged with making the case for addressing climate change to the US government, while the Guardian said on Monday that "...the government has already signed up former US vice-president Al Gore to advise on the environment," and that Stern himself would be serving as the lobbyist in Washington. The Nation's Tom Engelhart used both terms. Of course, the political blogs started weighing in almost immediately: Meteor Blades at Daily Kos called Gore's hiring "a move sure to rankle the D.C. know-nothings - yes, Senator Inhofe, I'm talking about you," while Amy Ridenour, president of the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research, blogged that "...it is a little disconcerting to think of any former president or vice president becoming a lobbyist for a foreign government."
Regardless of your political persuasion, this is an interesting move in interesting times (in the Confuciun sense). We'll certainly be watching closely to see how Gore's role develops in the near future, especially after next week's election. Despite party affiliations or ideological leanings, it's hard to imagine a better person than Gore to serve as an advisor to the British government. If he's going to be lobbying in Washington, we've got to admire him for taking on a genuine challenge.