Published December 15, 2009
| London Times
There are many kinds of truth. Al Gore was hit by an inconvenient one yesterday.
The former vice president, who became an unlikely figurehead for the green movement after narrating the Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," became entangled in a new climate change row.
Gore, speaking at the Copenhagen climate change summit, stated the latest research showed that the Arctic could be completely ice-free in five years.
In his speech, Gore told the conference: "These figures are fresh. Some of the models suggest to Dr. [Wieslav] Maslowski that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years."
However, the climatologist whose work Gore was relying upon dropped the former vice president in the water with an icy blast.
"It's unclear to me how this figure was arrived at," Dr. Maslowski said. "I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this."
Gore's office later admitted that the 75 percent figure was one used by Dr. Maslowski as a "ballpark figure" several years ago in a conversation with Gore.
The embarrassing error cast another shadow over the conference after the controversy over the hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, which appeared to suggest that scientists had manipulated data to strengthen their argument that human activities were causing global warming.