Goracle: Too extreme for his own guru
posted at 12:07 pm on April 30, 2007 by Bryan
The apprecentice didn’t heed the words of his mentor:
He was the author of the influential 1982 Scientific American article that elevated global warming on to the public agenda. For being “the grandfather of the greenhouse effect,” as he put it, he was awarded the National Medal of Science by the first President Bush.
Roger Revelle’s most consequential act, however, may have come in his role as a teacher, during the 1960s at Harvard. Dr. Revelle inspired a young student named Al Gore.
Dr. Revelle would change Gore’s life, particularly since the climate-change field had become cutting edge, with Dr. Revelle adding to the excitement by giving his students advance notice of the fruits of his research.
“It felt like such a privilege to be able to hear about the readouts from some of those measurements in a group of no more than a dozen undergraduates,” Gore later explained. “Here was this teacher presenting something not years old but fresh out of the lab, with profound implications for our future!”
So there’s your set-up: the Goracle learned at the feet of professor Revelle. Which makes this part interesting:
While Gore in the late 1980s was becoming a prominent politician, loudly warning of globalwarming dangers, Dr. Revelle was quietly warning against taking any drastic action.
In a July 14, 1988, letter to Congressman Jim Bates, he wrote that: “Most scientists familiar with the subject are not yet willing to bet that the climate this year is the result of ‘greenhouse warming.’ As you very well know, climate is highly variable from year to year, and the causes of these variations are not at all well understood. My own personal belief is that we should wait another 10 or 20 years to really be convinced that the greenhouse is going to be important for human beings, in both positive and negative ways.” A few days later, he sent a similar letter to Senator Tim Wirth, cautioning “… we should be careful not to arouse too much alarm until the rate and amount of warming becomes clearer.”
In 1991, Revelle wrote a cautious article on global warming along with two other prominent climatologists. The article stated that it might take decades of research before the science on climate change could settle, and that taking drastic action before the science was solid would be “reckless.” That didn’t stop Gore from touting what has become the new orthodoxy:
Three months after the Cosmos article appeared, Dr. Revelle died of a heart attack. One year later, with Al Gore running for vice-president in the 1992 presidential election, the inconsistency between Gore’s pronouncements — he claimed that the “science was settled” then, too — and those of his mentor became national news. Gore responded with a withering attack, leading to claims that Dr. Revelle had become senile before his death, that Dr. Singer had duped Dr. Revelle into co-authoring the article, and that Dr. Singer had listed Dr. Revelle as a co-author over his objections. The sordid accusations ended in a defamation suit and an abject public apology in 1994 from Gore’s academic hit man, a prominent Harvard scientist, who revealed his unsavory role and that of Gore in the fabrications against Dr. Singer and Dr. Revelle.
So the Goracle isn’t just a whack-job, but a smear artist as well. That explains much, including how Gore could promote war with Iraq in 2002 and turn against it in on the eve of that war in 2003.