Speaking at a symposium in Aspen this weekend, former Vice President Al Gore discussed his views on the purported dangers of manmade climate change and its impact on Colorado and the globe. Gore used the opportunity to address global warming’s impact on forests and to issue a call to action.
Sponsored by local nonprofit For the Forest, “Forests at Risk: Climate Change and the Future of the American West” featured the Nobel Laureate as its keynote speaker.
Gore drew parallels between the pine beetle epidemic currently hitting some Colorado forests and a warming globe. This was contrary to the position previously reported by the Colorado State Forest Service and other entities.
He spoke of camping trips he took to the nearby White River National Forest decades ago and how the forest today is not what it was then. “If you love the forest and you care about what’s happening to them, the No. 1 connection that’s happening to them is warmer temperatures,” Gore told the compliant crowd.
Utilizing a slideshow to demonstrate his point, Gore said, “The linkage these scientists have referred to over and over again with global warming is something some people resist but it’s a fact.”
Using the common refrain that significant weather events are related to man’s actions affecting the climate, Gore pointed to recent flooding in Brazil and Australia and last year’s flooding in his home state of Tennessee as evidence of this.
This correlation between weather and global warming is one which is greatly debated. Snowstorms in the northeastern United States last winter season and in recent months have stoked the discussion. Gore recently wrote on his blog that, “Increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming.”
This goes counter to analysis completed by NOAA’s Climate Scene Investigators (CSI). NOAA reported, “They found no evidence — no human ‘fingerprints’ — to implicate our involvement in the snowstorms. If global warming was the culprit, the team would have expected to find a gradual increase in heavy snowstorms in the mid-Atlantic region as temperatures rose during the past century. But historical analysis revealed no such increase in snowfall. Nor did the CSI team find any indication of an upward trend in winter precipitation along the eastern seaboard.”
Gore’s attempts to draw parallels between weather and climate change have gotten him into trouble in the past. He was forced to pull images from his popular presentation two years ago that showed an increase in natural disasters when it was found it could not be proven. NASA’s top climate scientist Dr. James Hansen has rebuked Gore saying he needed to be more “careful” in his claims.
He remains undeterred however warning Sunday that, “It could be a cold winter in one geography while the world as a whole is continuing to get warmer. There can be more extremes of both heat and cold. There can be more volatility in weather patterns.”
The symposium also provided Gore with an opportunity to defend the scientists involved in the Climategate scandal, many who work at UCAR and NCAR in Colorado. Despite evidence of collusion among the scientists to hide data and frustrate those seeking to verify claims about global warming, Gore said, “I think the mistakes were blown way, way out of proportion.”
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