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Unplugged

"Unplugged" Continued...

Issue: "Fixing Islam," June 16, 2007

A vigorous standing ovation accompanied Gore as he concluded his remarks and left the stage. Hundreds of audience members lined up for a scheduled book signing, many pressing the victor of the popular vote for president in 2000 on whether he planned to run again in 2008. "Thank you for feeling that way," he responded. "I'm not planning on it."

Back burner

Could efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions boost the war on terror?

Allan Kahane, co-founder of a sugar trading and ethanol development company in Brazil, believes alternative fuels are a critical part of the worldwide effort to reduce man-made climate change. He is overseeing a $300 million initiative to construct at least four sugar and ethanol mills that will generate 20 million tons of crushed cane per year, a significant boost to global biofuel production.

But Kahane considers his work far more important than merely making money or combating the planet's warming trend. He views it as an essential front in the war on terror. "We know that Iran and Saudi Arabia produce one-third of all oil reserves and 20 percent of all gas reserves," he said during an interview with WORLD. "By continuing to consume fossil fuels at the pace that we are consuming, we're strengthening Iran's hand in its negotiations with the West in relation to its nuclear ambitions. And we're not confronting its outsourcing of terrorism through organizations such as Hezbollah."

Kahane has taken his message to Washington, lobbying members of Congress to take seriously the connection between climate-change policy and terrorism. He says even a small reduction in foreign oil dependence would significantly drain the financial coffers of many terrorist groups. That belief stems from research Kahane conducted while writing his critically acclaimed bestseller Fire with Fire (Pyro Publishing, 2006), a novel exploring the roots and networks of Iranian terrorism.

President George W. Bush has publicly noted the country's addiction to oil and expressed his desire to achieve energy independence. But concern over climate change remains the primary political driving force behind discussions of alternative fuels and renewable energy, a line of argument that fails to energize the many politicians and citizens unconvinced that global warming presents an imminent crisis.

Kahane contends that national security presents a far more urgent and politically unifying reason to reduce fossil fuel consumption: "Of course the climate issue is serious, but a nuclear Iran is a much more immediate danger than global warming."

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