Columnist fires back that Gore is 'falsifying the record'

Former US vice president turned environmental crusader Al Gore weighed in on "Climategate" Wednesday, saying the emails at the center of the row were being taken out of context.

"Well, they took a few phrases out of context. These are private e-mails, more than 10 years old, and they've tried to blow it up into something that it's really not," Gore said in an interview with CNN.

However, a conservative blogger is accusing Gore of falsifying the record.

The emails, intercepted from scientists at Britain's University of East Anglia, a top center for climate research, have been seized upon by skeptics as evidence that the experts twisted data in order to dramatize global warming.

Some of the thousands of messages expressed frustration at the scientists' inability to explain what they described as a temporary slowdown in warming and discussed ways to counter the campaigns of climate naysayers.

Gore firmly took the side of the authors, who say their private emails were sometimes flippant or ironic and were being distorted to suit climate change denialists.

"If you take one little thing from 10 years ago out of context and describe it inaccurately, then it becomes a controversy without any real substance," Gore said.

"Is there any substantive reason to worry about them? No. Does the noise machine of the climate deniers blow them out of proportion and fool some people into thinking they have substance? Well, that's another matter," he said.

"This was an open process in which the studies that were being argued about actually were fully included and openly discussed and analyzed. So this was an example of people who don't want to do anything about the climate crisis taking things out of context and misrepresenting them."

Gore, whose counsel was sought Monday by Barack Obama ahead of the president's trip to the Copenhagen climate change conference next week, said the emails were also outdated as evidence of global warming was now obvious.

"There's an air of unreality about the discussion of arcane points from emails from long ago," he said.

"The north polar ice-cap is melting before our very eyes. It's been the size of the continental United States for most of the last three million years and now suddenly 40 percent of it is gone and the rest of it is expected to disappear within five, 10, 15 years."

Gore was upbeat about the ongoing climate conference in Copenhagen.

"They're close to getting a final agreement. It will will probably be finalized next year after the political agreement that's expected next week," he said.

Blog: Gore 'falisifies the record' on 'Climategate'

Andrew Bolt, an Australian reporter and conservative columnist, sarcastically complains in a Herald Sun blog that Gore examined the emails with "his typically rigorous eye and dismissed them as mere piffle."

Bolt notes that Gore said the fuss was all about "10-year-old e-mails" when "one Climategate email was from just two months ago. The most recent was sent on November 12 - just a month ago. The emails which have Tom Wigley seeming (to me) to choke on the deceit are all from this year. Phil Jones’ infamous email urging other Climategate scientists to delete emails is from last year."

"How closely did Gore read these emails?" Bolt asks. "Did he actually read any at all? Was he lying or just terribly mistaken? What else has he got wrong?"

This video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast Dec. 9, 2009.

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(with AFP report)