Gore blimey! Former VP attacks Obama's climate change record

"President has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the crisis."

File under "With friends like these". This is what former Vice President Al Gore has had to say about President Obama's record on climate change:

[Obama] has simply not made the case for action. He has not defended the science against the ongoing, withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community, including our own National Academy, to bring the reality of the science before the public.

In a 7,000-word article for Rolling Stone, Gore maintained that the President "has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis". Ouch. The piece is equally, if not more, critical of the media and of America's law makers in Congress but Gore does not stint in his criticism of Obama and in particular his inability to make the case for action.

While acknowledging the nature of the task in hand ("Those of us who support and admire President Obama understand how difficult the politics of this issue are in the context of the massive opposition to doing anything at all") Gore nonetheless concludes that Obama has "failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change". Gore adds:

After successfully passing his green stimulus package, he did nothing to defend it when Congress decimated its funding. After the House passed cap and trade, he did little to make passage in the Senate a priority.

And for good measure:

He has also called for a massive expansion of oil drilling in the United States, apparently in an effort to defuse criticism from those who argue speciously that 'drill, baby, drill' is the answer to our growing dependence on foreign oil.

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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Munich shootings: The bloody drama where everyone knows their part

A teenage gunman murdered nine people in Munich on Friday night. 

At time of writing, we know only certain facts about the gunman who shot and killed nine people and wounded many more at a shopping centre in Munich.

He was 18 years old. He was German-Iranian. He was reported to have shouted: "I am German." After murdering his innocent victims he killed himself.

We don't know his motive. We may never truly understand his motive. And yet, over the last few years, we have all come to know the way this story goes.

There is a crowd, usually at ease - concertgoers, revellers or, in this case, shoppers. Then the man - it's usually a man - arrives with a gun or whatever other tool of murder he can get his hands on. 

As he unleashes terror on the crowd, he shouts something. This is the crucial part. He may be a loner, an outsider or a crook, but a few sentences is all it takes to elevate him into the top ranks of the Islamic State or the neo-Nazi elite.

Even before the bystanders have reported this, world leaders are already reacting. In the case of Munich, the French president Francois Hollande called Friday night's tragedy a "disgusting terrorist attack" aimed at stirring up fear. 

Boris Johnson, the UK's new foreign secretary, went further. At 9.30pm, while the attack was ongoing, he said

"If, as seems very likely, this is another terrorist incident, then I think it proves once again that we have a global phenomenon now and a global sickness that we have to tackle both at source - in the areas where the cancer is being incubated in the Middle East - and also of course around the world."

On Saturday morning, reports of multiple gunmen had boiled down to one, now dead, teenager. the chief of Munich police stated the teenage gunman's motive was "fully unknown". Iran, his second country of citizenship, condemned "the killing of innocent and defenceless people". 

And Europe's onlookers are left with sympathy for the victims, and a question. How much meaning should we ascribe to such an attack? Is it evidence of what we fear - that Western Europe is under sustained attack from terrorists? Or is this simply the work of a murderous, attention-seeking teenager?

In Munich, mourners lay flowers. Flags fly at half mast. The facts will come out, eventually. But by that time, the world may have drawn its own conclusions.