Former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore is one the world’s largest advocates of the global warming theory. Founder and chair of the Alliance for Climate Protection, Gore feverishly advocates that human greenhouse gas emissions have a detrimental effect on global climate. Gore's award-winning documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth," faced heavy criticism from experts on climate change and was ruled "propaganda" by a British High Court.
Beginning with his Congressional career, Al Gore first became politically involved with environmental issues in 1976. A freshman in the House of Representatives, Gore held the "first congressional hearings on global warming” as well as co-sponsored hearings on toxic waste.
Continuing those efforts well into the 1980s, Gore later became identified as an Atari Democrat, a politician “who sees issues like clean air, clean water and global warming as the key to future victories for their party.”
In the late 1990s, Gore advocated for the Kyoto Protocol (see international treaties), which if passed, would require a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The effort was unanimously rejected by the Senate which stated: “the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing as well as industrialized nations or would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States".
Despite the potential setback, Gore founded The Alliance for Climate Protection in 2004, eventually leading to the creating of The Climate Project in 2006. In 2006, Al Gore also became the topic of the film documentary An Inconvenient Truth which highlighted Gore’s efforts to educate Americans about the potential dangers of global warming.
In 2007, Gore organized and launched Live Earth, a series of benefit concerts and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his “efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”
In 2008, in further correlation with The Alliance for Climate Protection, the We Campaign (see Alliance for Climate Protection) was enacted in attempt to further push American citizens to help in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. During this time, Gore also launched the Repower America campaign (see Alliance for Climate Protection), which focused on energy efficient infrastructure and technology. In correlation with that effort, the Alliance for Climate Change Protection initiated the Repower at Home campaign (see Alliance for Climate Protection) in 2010, aiming to significantly lessen the amount of residential energy waste.
In 2011, at a forum sponsored by the Aspen Institute, Gore went on a profanity-laced tirade against dissenting opinions in the climate debate. Canadian journalist Rex Murphy viewed this rant as a sign that the climate change movement was running out of steam.
Al Gore faced heavy criticism for his global warming advocacy in November of 2009 after media began to circulate the news that an individual had hacked into emails and documents belonging to the University of East Anglia’s Hadley Climate Research Unit (CRU) and published them on the Internet. The information revealed that top scientists had falsified data that indicated global warming was caused by man-made action. The event was dubbed “Climategate."
Steve Hayward of The Weekly Standard commented on the Climategate stating:
“It is increasingly clear that the leak of the internal emails and documents of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in November has done for the climate change debate what the Pentagon Papers did for the Vietnam war debate 40 years ago—changed the narrative decisively. Additional revelations of unethical behavior, errors, and serial exaggeration in climate science are rolling out on an almost daily basis, and there is good reason to expect more.”
Gore was confronted about Climategate during a book-signing in Chicago for his work, “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.” According to conservative radio-host Alex Jones, We Are Change Chicago member Saad Ali approached Gore and asked: “Sir, can you comment on the emails and documents that were hacked [ClimateGate] that reveal… that the research was a fraud and that it was all manipulated?” Gore responded saying he had not heard of the event…and Gore’s security officers shortly escorted Ali out the door. Ali was quickly joined by fellow member Sati Word who, after attempting to ask why the IPCC hadn’t released reports on sunspot activity, was ushered out of the building. A member of We Are Change Ohio was also escorted out of Borders by security after giving Gore a petition signed by 31,486 scientists that claim the global warming theory holds no merit. Members of the press covered the incident including the "Chicago Sun Times", which reported that the WAC members were escorted by security after “shouting” at the former Vice President.
Gore has faced similar criticism from various journalists, scientists, and activists, yet he remains hesitant to address any statements of opposition. For example, according to Townhall.com commentator Tom Borelli, Gore was confronted about Climategate during a CNN interview where he “downplayed the meaning of the emails at the center of the controversy by saying, ‘Well, they took a few phrases out of context. These are private e-mails, more than 10 years old, and they've tried to blow it up into something that it's really not.'"
Additionally, Gore has consistently refused the opportunity to debate the merit of his climate change theories. The Heartland Institute held a six-month advertising campaign attempting to persuade Gore to debate with one of their environmental scholars on climate change. “We have tried, repeatedly, to contact Gore directly, with registered letters and calls to his office,” said Heartland President Joseph Bast, “[we] have never received a reply.” Therefore, whether the challengers are political scholars, activists, or environmental scientists, Gore generally refuses to argue for the validity of the global warming theory. The Heartland Institute also launched a "Gore in the Classroom" project which actively opposed the showing of An Inconvenient Truth in classrooms.
Gore has faced additional criticism in relation to his personal life, as many global warming opponents accuse Gore of hypocrisy. James M. Taylor, managing editor of Environment & Climate News for The Heartland Institute, pointed to Gore’s “gluttonous energy usage in his 10,000-square-foot mansion, his 100-foot-long luxury houseboat, and his private jet” as direct examples of how Gore does not practice what he preaches.
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