Al Gore, Hustler

Gore Hustler

Al, as he is portrayed by the climate change skeptic community. He has no one to blame but himself.

I have mixed feelings about Al Gore. On one hand, I have great compassion for the man, as one of two Presidential candidates in our history to win more popular votes than his adversary, still lose the Presidency, and fail to take the office in a subsequent attempt. I know that would make me angry, bitter and perhaps a little crazy, and in that respect, Al has handled his misfortune well.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t trust Al Gore to deliver a birthday card to John Edwards. Back when I was running a struggling national health care promotion and education non-profit, Senator Gore was the organization’s patron saint, giving us endorsements, opening doors to corporate contributors, and generally bolstering our efforts. I was warned, though, by one of his staffers, not to get too dependent on Gore’s passion. “The Senator likes to find the hot issue and lead it,” she told me. “But he’s been on health care for a while now, and if history is any measure, he’ll move on to something else soon. Don’t rely on his support.” Sure enough, Gore became the herald of “the information super-highway,” later known as the internet, shortly thereafter, and dropped my organization and the health promotion issue flat, without a warning or a good-bye. He just stopped answering our calls.

Gore finally found his perfect hot issue, literally in this case, as the front man for global warming. He has made millions from the issue and the notoriety it brought him, which is fine; he also greatly contributed to public awareness of the issue, which is a good thing: any public awareness of any real public policy issue is an improvement. On the minus side, Gore failed to follow through on his responsibilities and obligations as a spokesperson for climate change policies. He never educated himself on the science of climate change sufficiently to avoid making embarrassing gaffes, and he has continued to over-hype the topic, making apocalyptic pronouncements, treating projections and models as more conclusive than they are, making irresponsible and factually misleading statements,  and generally imitating the technique of the Bush Administration regarding Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction.”

He was at it again this week, conclusively affirming that he has crossed the line from advocate to hustler. In an interview with uncritical liberal Washington Post interviewer Ezra Klein (the Post would have done Gore a a favor by assigning the job to an objective or even an adversarial reporter), Gore delivered at least two embarrassing whoppers:

  • Discussing the always contentious question of the extent to which global warming is responsible for violent weather events, Goer said “Would there be a storm anyway? Maybe so. Would there be hurricanes and floods and droughts without man-made global warming? Of course. But they’re stronger now. The extreme events are more extreme. The hurricane scale used to be 1-5 and now they’re adding a 6.” This, in legal terms, would indeed be evidence that something significant had changed in the climate. There is no “6” however;” no six has been added, or been seriously proposed. Now this–error? Lie? Fantasy? Misunderstanding?—doesn’t mean that Gore isn’t right about storms, but it successfully destroys his credibility. He’s hyping,making up facts, and misinforming the media and the public. That means he’s not a reliable spokesman.
  • I thought this one was even less forgivable:  discussing his polemic documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which was fairly criticized for dozens of inaccuracies and misrepresentations, Gore said,

“You mentioned my movie back in the day. The single most common criticism from skeptics when the film came out focused on the animation showing ocean water flowing into the World Trade Center memorial site. Skeptics called that demagogic and absurd and irresponsible. It happened last October 29th, years ahead of schedule, and the impact of that and many, many other similar events here and around the world has really begun to create a profound shift.”

As James Taranto correctly points out:

“The reference is to Hurricane Sandy, a Category 2 storm when it struck the Northeastern U.S., flooding parts of New York and New Jersey, including downtown Manhattan. (Sandy peaked in the Caribbean as a Category 3 storm. By comparison, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina went as high as Category 5 and made landfall at Category 3.) But if we roll the film–we find that what Gore predicted in “An Inconvenient Truth” was something far direr than a storm and a flood. He predicted that lower Manhattan–along with vast and heavily populated swaths of Florida, California, the Netherlands, China, India and Bangladesh–would be permanently submerged owing to higher sea levels.

“Think of the impact of a couple of hundred thousand refugees when they’re displaced by an environmental event,” Gore intoned in the movie. “And then imagine the impact of 100 million or more.” And then keep imagining. While Sandy caused severe temporary disruption and wrought an unusual amount of damage because it happened to hit a population center, it was not different in kind from other natural disasters. Lower Manhattan was soon dry again.”

This is worse than hyping, in my view. This is intentional deception. Gore knows the difference between predicting that the East Coast would be submerged for good after the polar ice melts, and the temporary results of a storm-caused flood. He’s lying.

At this point, it is climate change policy advocates who should be criticizing Gore, not the skeptics. Gore makes the skeptics look good. He epitomizes the kind of sloppy, doctrinaire, “everyone knows this is true and you’re an idiot if you don’t agree,” pseudo-science that undermines the credibility of real science and genuine research on climate change. The closer Gore is associated with the climate change advocacy, the more he undermines the position’s legitimacy by playing fast and loose with the facts; it is simple cognitive dissonance.  Again, Gore hasn’t done his homework  or applied the due diligence necessary if he is going to be a figurehead of  climate change advocacy. He isn’t brilliant, but he got C’s at Harvard: he’s smart enough to have a sound layman’s understanding of the real science. He’s been too lazy, too arrogant, or too busy making money to do it, and he is harming his own issue, and his own allies, as a result.


Sources: Wall Street Journal, Politico, Washington Post, Commentary

Graphic: Climate Change Dispatch


13 thoughts on “Al Gore, Hustler

  1. It appears that Al Gore may have been misquoted on the “category 6” thing.

    Also, you complain that no one on the left calls Gore on stuff like this. But Samenow at the Washington Post was the first to criticize Gore on “category 6,” and my impression was that he’ s a Democrat. The Union of Concerned Scientists’ Gretchen Goldman also publicly criticized Gore.(Now they’ve both issued retractions, since it appears Gore may have been misquoted.)

    • Really? You’re citing ThinkProgress to back a claim that The Goricle was “misquoted”?

      I would take MSNBC’s word before I would accept a citation from ThinkProgress (or MediaMatters).

      If you can find me one since source that doesn’t use them to back the claim, I’ll accept that he may have been misquoted.

      Until then, I’m going to assume that Erza isn’t so incompetent (and please understand how much it pains me to say that) as to fuck up a quote from someone with such massively well-funded attack dogs as Al Gore.

    • “At this point, it is climate change policy advocates who should be criticizing Gore, not the skeptics.” Saying that Gore’s own side should be criticizing him does not imply that they aren’t or won’t. It’s a straightforward statement, and true.

      I’ll believe that the Post misquoted Gore when it retracts the statement. It’s pretty funny that a Far Left blog cries misquote and the two progressives you cite as proof of common sense and integrity immediately back off.

      As I said, the second of Gore’s misrepresentations was the worse of the two by far, an intentional one. The #6, if he said it, is just inexcusably sloppy, but typical.

      • In defense of Al, if Spinal Tap felt it necessary to have amps that go to eleven, because “it’s 1 louder than 10!”, I don’t see why Gore can’t use a nonexistent storm category that is 1 worse than 5. How much more scary is a category 6 storm? (It’s 1 scarier than a category 5!) Al Gore couldn’t pass a high school physics test; nor could his acolytes. Beware of liberal arts majors using numbers, even single digits. They crave the illusion of certainty and legitimacy that quantifying bullshit allows them.

  2. Al Gore on geothermal (which I installed at great financial, personal, and existential disrupt, though not on his recommendation):

    GORE: “It definitely is, and it’s a relatively new one. People think about geothermal energy – when they think about it at all – in terms of the hot water bubbling up in some places, but two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, ’cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot …”

    Oscar winning schlockumentary slide show “An Inconvenient Truth” can’t be shown in the U.K. without 9 disclaimers depicting his ascientific methods and BS “findings.”

    Anyone that remains unconvinced about what a moronic POS twit Gore is ought give left-leaning’s Jeffery St. Clair & Alexander Cockburn’s blistering treatise “Al Gore: A Users Manuel” a read. It’s pre Global Warming but chronicles a long history of taking the low road.

    Still undecided? Ask the residents of East Liverpool, OH. Or a snail darter, if you can find one.

  3. 1) Okay, when you said they “should” be doing something, you didn’t mean to imply that they weren’t already doing it. Okay, fair enough. I apologize for misunderstanding you.

    2) The retraction – which was more of a “I can’t be positive he’s wrong, and I think he may be right” – first came in Ezra Klein’s column in the Washington Post. It was Thinkprogress who picked it up from the WaPo, not the other way around. The original interview now contains a link to the update.

    3) The reason I linked to the Thinkprogress article is it contains links to Scientific American, and other places, establishing that there are indeed experts who are discussing the possibility of adding a “6” category.

    4) I’ve never once quoted Gore about climate change on my blog, read his book, or seen his film. I don’t think he has a lot of relevance anymore. If Al Gore and all his works disappeared tomorrow, the case for trying to mitigate climate change would be just as strong.

    But I do think the difference between truth and not-truth matters, and it seems less than clear that the “category 6” claim you make in your post is, in fact, true.

    • I’m sorry, Barry, but more skepticism, which you use well most of the time, is due here. It looks to me like this a classic clean-up act by Gore’s staff, with Klein, loyal Democrat lapdog that he is, complying by doubting his own senses. (Klein’s equivocal doubts are here.)

      • From Klein:

        The temperature has increased globally and there’s now 4 percent more water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere than 30 years ago

        In fact, temps are not up globally, and haven’t been for years. The fact that ice sheets are expanding, temps are dropping, and we have actually had a decrease in storms is something the likes of Al Gore can never admit, because to do so would be to admit that ever. Single. Model that they have ever used is not just wrong, but entirely fucking wrong.

        their models can’t even use historic data to give us CURRENT predictions – that is to say, they can’t use old data to give us what last year’s temps and such were.

        If your model can’t tell you CURRENT readings, why the fuck should we ever assume they can give accurate predictions?

          • Lobbying for peace among the brethren – suggesting (but not selling, since any of us could make these ourselves, or others like them):

            Post bumper stickers (or better – to better prove intentional vandalism – inside-of-windows stickers) that say:
            “EMBRACE Global Warming”
            “CELEBRATE Climate Change”
            “Shoot Al Gore – into the sun”

            I know, all that is Pollyanna, cynical and futile.
            But it spends my money before someone’s government gets to.
            Which is about as cynical and defiant as I can get.

            Just a thought.

            • I’ve said for many years now…

              Global Warming: I’m for it.
              Staying in that last Ice Age would be a real drag.


  4. You have to wonder at this point what will be Algore’s next “hot issue” after he’s milked Global Warming/Climate Change for all it’s worth. He may already have done so, by the look of things. Suggestions for Al. Killer asteroids. The Yellowstone thermal plume. Airliner-swallowing black holes. The impending collision between the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies. Take your pick, Al!

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