Tom Yulsman ventures back into the political dangerous terrain left by another Al Gore exaggeration on climate change:
In an interview with the Guardian yesterday, the Nobel prize winner said business leaders are realizing that action is required on climate change because they are “seeing the writing on every wall they look at. They’re seeing the complete disappearance of the polar ice caps right before their eyes in just a few years.”
When I talk to university classes about the climate science-politics-policy interface, I use Gore as an example, pointing out that he mostly gets the science right, but sometimes (as in the case of hurricanes and the iconic logo for his film, for example) emphasizes outliers at the expense of the bulk of the science on which he builds his case.
The examples I could cite here increase in number. This concerns me.
As Gore obviously knows that the quoted passage is literally not correct, either he was misquoted or it was a verbal slip. In this case, he could have been trying to refer to the clear signs of sharp melting that have become unmistakable at both poles in the last few years.
Gore gets interviewed a vast amount. People who talk that much to the media will make slips of this sort from time to time. Politicians will typically try to minimize such slips by speaking in generalities as much as possible, but Gore is not in a position to take that approach.
I’m not saying such incidents should go unreported, but let’s keep things in perspective. Gore or the reporter should make a correction for the record, and we should all move on. This is not a big problem IMHO.
I’m with John on the examples increasing in number. Concerning, since it doesn’t do the cause of action on climate change any good. Quite the opposite.
I kind of doubt that it was a misquote, although that certainly remains a possibility. In my post I speculate that Gore might have wanted to say something about Arctic sea ice. But even if he had restricted himself to that, he would have been exaggerating, as my post points out — with mention of a study published today in Nature Geoscience finding that Arctic sea ice in September could be gone by 2100. Some folks say sooner, like 20 years from now. Even so, it’s a far cry from complete deglaciation and 230 feet of sea level rise in a few years, and sea ice being gone in September 90 years from now.
He would be wise to be more careful.
I responded on your blog, Tom (held up in moderation BTW), but speaking of careful that paper wasn’t any sort of prediction. Of course I would prefer that Gore never make mistakes, but realistically they’re going to happen sometimes.
Pingback: Another day, another Gore supporting science journalist fretting about Al Gore’s lies | GORE LIED