Published February 26, 2010
Al Gore won a Nobel Prize and an Oscar for his film, An Inconvenient Truth. But in the last three months, as global warming has gone from a scientific near-certitude to the subject of satire, Gore -- the public face of global warming -- has been silent on the topic.
The former vice president apparently finds it inconvenient even to answer calls to testify before the U.S. Senate. You can call him Al . . . but he won't call back.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe -- a prominent skeptic of global warming theory and the Republican leader of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee -- issued a request for Gore to come testify on global warming. In an interview with FoxNews.com, Inhofe said he wants Gore to appear because "it will be interesting to ask him on what science he based his movie," a film the senator considers "science fiction."
Gore has yet to respond, but that didn't prevent him from causing a stir at Apple's shareholder meeting Thursday. According to CNET, Gore was seated in the first row while several stockholders bashed his high-profile views on climate change. One reportedly said Gore "has become a laughingstock. The glaciers have not melted."
Gore did not reply, and he has not commented on his blog or Twitter feed.
Inhofe says he hopes Gore will address the recent Climate-gate scandals that have besmirched the science, scientists and politicians who back the theory of manmade climate change. Last fall, news outlets in the United Kingdom exposed a scandal in which leading global warming scientists conspired in e-mails to hide data that contradicted "proof" of manmade global warming. Then the world's leaders failed to reach a deal on climate change policy in Copenhagen. And the U.N.'s climate change research body admitted flaws in its report that concluded that the Himalayan glaciers were melting, the Arctic ice cap was fading away, and the Amazon rainforest was in imminent danger.
Since his appearance at the Copenhagen climate summit in December, Gore has been reluctant to talk to the media, making only a handful of public appearances.
On Jan. 16, he spoke at the American Library Association conference at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, and he signed copies of his newest book, Our Choice: How We Can Solve the Climate Crisis.On Feb. 22, at the IBM Pulse Conference in Las Vegas, Gore commented on how the environment was a fantastic business opportunity.
"We are in the presence of one of the greatest opportunities in the history of business to become much more efficient and eliminate waste, pollution and losses all at the same time," he said.
The media, meanwhile, have started to ask why the world's most famous advocate of all things green remains mute on the growing chorus of opposition.
"The godfather of climate hysteria is in hiding as another of his wild claims unravels -- this one about global warming causing seas to swallow us up," the editors of Investors Business Daily wrote on Tuesday. "We've not seen or heard much of the former vice president, Oscar winner and Nobel Prize recipient recently as the case for disastrous man-made climate change collapses."
After days of calls and e-mails by FoxNews.com to the "Al Gore Support Center" -- located online at algoresupportcenter.com and in the real world in Carthage, Tenn -- a spokeswoman for Gore declined to comment on the matter.
"Thank you for your kind request," wrote Kalee Kreider. "Unfortunately, Mr. Gore's schedule is extremely overbooked and we're unable to offer any availability. It's very difficult to decline invitations such as yours, but it's an unfortunate inevitability of the growing influence of the climate-crisis message and the demand on Mr. Gore's time. We do apologize, but thanks for your interest."
Inhofe says it's important that Gore testify before the Congress and tell the full story.
"First Climate-gate happened, before Copenhagen, and everything unraveled on the global warming front," the senator said. "It appears that the scientific community has been deliberately falsifying science for years, whether it's the melting of the Himalayas or the melting of the polar ice. All of that was in his movie. So we tried to reach him."
"When his movie came out," Inhofe added, "parents of small children told me their kids had to go to the psychiatrist over bad dreams about global warming. We owe it to the public to find out where the science came from. This is the greatest scientific scandal of our generation."
Others in the environmental community agree on the need for a hearing, and for the star witness to appear. "Al Gore absolutely needs to testify," said Paul Driessen, a senior fellow with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a non-profit that focuses on energy, the environment and international affairs.
Inhofe said global warming science is still being used by the Obama administration to support regulations to rein in emissions, despite indications that Britain's official weather office may redo all of its data, and indications that the U.N. will anounce changes in reaction to Climate-gate. He said he believes that global warming legislation could not generate more than 20 votes in the Senate right now.
He said he has issued calls for the inspectors general of the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to come to his committee and testify. He said criminal law may have been broken in the U.K. when scientists there refused to comply with requests for information in a timely fashion, and he worries that untoward acts may have been committed in the U.S. as well.
"What other kinds of unethical or criminal things have happened?" he asked.
But Inhofe's critics said the senator's demands reflect his own agenda. "Senator Inhofe will never stop working to protect Big Oil by denying that global warming exists, and frankly he's an embarrassment to the United States Senate and the nation," said Kert Davies, research director for Greenpeace.
"This is just a continuation of his 15-year-plus smear campaign and clearly not a serious effort to discuss the increasingly urgent warnings from climate scientists about what is happening to our planet."