Al Gore spoke at the Alumni Association meeting

The former Vice President has evolved into an evangelist of climate change

Al Gore The former US Vice President Al Gore spoke on Wednesday at the Alumni Association meeting in the Great Hall of the University of Helsinki. Gore has dedicated the past few years to lecturing about climate change research.

Al Gore said that he was really fascinated with scientific facts as a teenager, in the 1960s. When making a career in Tennessee and United States politics he was constantly astonished by the bull-headedness with which his powerful colleagues chose to overlook the warnings and objective facts provided by scientists.

Gore distances himself from the current US administration by pointing out that it should be preparing for other things as well as terrorism. If Greenland melts, the WTC will be the least of New Yorkers’ problems, Gore says.

The former Vice President has evolved into a preacher man[or “into an evangelist”] who spurs on those who have already seen the light and tries to convince the sceptics that climate change is a gigantic fact, albeit an unpleasant one, that challenges each and every one of us.

So Al Gore is a man of science. The approximately one thousand peer-reviewed environmental studies from the past 15 years are unanimous. Zero per cent of the scientists in his sample questioned the reality of climate change, but more than half of the articles and stories in the press expressed opinions that they saw fit either out of convenience or being pressured by wealthy lobbyists, said Gore.

Chancellor Kari Raivio was also eloquent in his welcoming words to the preacher man. The likes of Al Gore is what scientists really need now, Raivio said. Determination, charisma and stature are the right weapons in the campaign for improving scientists’ popularisation skills and drawing the obvious conclusions.

The irony and digs at his fellow countrymen with which Gore peppered his speech seemed to work for the audience. An impressive array of politicians were present, including Sirpa Asko-Seljavaara, MP for the Coalition Party, Elisabeth Rehn and Eva Biaudet, MPs, of the Swedish People’s Party, and Heidi Hautala, Oras Tynkkynen and Erkki Pulliainen, of the Green League.

Text: Virve Pohjanpalo
Photo: Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services/ www.algore04.com
8.9.2006
www.helsinki.fi/digitalcommunications

Translation: Valtasana Oy


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