One of the more egregious of Gore's follies while serving his country came about in the late 1990s when the Clinton administration was debating whether or not to back the largest international environmental pact in history, the Kyoto Protocol. Mr. Gore, the big "enviro", despite common belief, was the one most responsible for Clinton's derailment of the landmark accord.
Seems contradictory, I know. Here's the most popular environmentalist speaking out about the fact the Earth is rapidly warming, indeed pointing out that humans are at least partially to blame, yet when he had the power to do something significant at the governmental level, he refused to act. In fact Gore's culpability in enviro degradation goes well beyond his family's past ownership in Occidental Petroleum, where they owned over a quarter of a million dollars in the company while Gore sought the presidency in 2000.
It was the winter of 1997 when Vice President Gore, who was in direct control of Clinton's environmental policies, flew to Japan to address the international delegation about the US's position on the Kyoto Protocol. Gore and Clinton had just come off an election victory and it was time to pay back the big oil and gas companies who had handed over $6 million to their party the year prior.
As Gore put it then, "Signing the Protocol, while an important step forward, imposes no obligations on the United States. The Protocol becomes binding only with the advice and consent of the US Senate."
Gore soon returned to Washington only to reiterate his message that the Clinton administration would not put the Kyoto Protocol before the Senate. "As we have said before, we will not submit the Protocol for ratification without the meaningful participation of key developing countries in efforts to address climate change," he said.
It was at that moment when Clinton and Gore ruined any chances of the Kyoto Protocol being honestly debated in Washington. Later in November of 1998 Gore "symbolically" signed the accord, likely to appease his environmental pals like the Sierra Club's Carl Pope, a close friend of Al's.
But the Vice President's tepid gesture couldn't have carried less weight. The Clinton administration, with Gore's guidance, refused to allow the Republican controlled Senate to decide on the Kyoto Protocol for themselves. Gore advised Clinton not to send the Protocol to the Senate to be ratified. The blame could have burdened the Republican Party, not the Democrats and the Clinton administration. But instead the buck stopped with Al Gore and Bill Clinton. Predictably, President Bush followed their lead.
And there you have it. It was Mr. Global Warming himself who first tried to kill off the Kyoto Protocol.