Gore Effect

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The Gore Effect is an informal and satirical term which alleges a causal relationship between unseasonable cold weather phenomena and global warming activism,[1][2][3] with particular emphasis on events attended by former Vice President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Al Gore.[4][5] Usage started when a speech of Al Gore on a global warming rally held in New York City met extremely cold winter weather in January 2004[1][6] and according Andrew Bolt after another Gore speech took place on a strikingly cold day in Boston in the same year.[7]

While Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly called focus on the claim "insulting",[8] CNN metereologist Rob Marciano describes use of the effect as a mere running gag among weather forecasters: "It's the Al Gore effect. I mean that - that's - in the weather community, we kind of joke about it. It's just a bad timing. Every time there's some big weather climate conference, there seems to be a cold outbreak. ... But, globally, we are still warming.[9]"


The Toronto-based national newspaper Globe and Mail defined the term in 2007 quoting a user's submission to the online Urban Dictionary website as "the phenomenon that leads to unseasonably cold temperatures, driving rain, hail, or snow whenever Al Gore visits an area to discuss global warming."[10] According to an article at the Politico website: "The so-called Gore Effect happens when a global warming-related event, or appearance by the former vice president and climate change crusader, Al Gore, is marked by exceedingly cold weather or unseasonably winter weather."[11]


"Climate skeptics" use the term "half-seriously"[2] in relation to the weather conditions at global warming venues.[1][7][12] German authors Daniel Rettig and Jochen Mai described the effect in 2012 in a popular science book about psychological mechanisms and memes.[3][13]

Reported global warming related events attended by Gore combined with striking temperature minima respectively unexpected snowfall include visits in Australia, Italy and Peru.[13] An opinion column in the Ottawa Citizen then stated "Mr. Gore arrived in the late antipodean spring, together with a remarkable cold front and a late-season boon for the ski resorts."[6] A Gore lecture at Harvard University on an October day 2008 with exemptionary low temperatures is frequently mentioned.[1][13][14] When Gore testified about global warming before the Senate committee in January 2009 the local schools had a snow day.[14] The Gore effect is mentioned as well at events without attendance of Gore, so when Nancy Pelosi had to cancel an appearance at a global warming rally in March 2009 due to a snowstorm[14][15] and when the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference coincided with a severe snow storm in Denmark.[16][17] During Gore's July visit to Australia in 2014, meteorologist Joe Bastardi noted that his presence coincided with Brisbane recording its coldest temperature in over one hundred years.[18]

Harald Martenstein in Die Zeit introduced the term to German audiences, describing the effect as "Gore's private climate disaster". The general use of the expression is, according to Martenstein, only half ironic, since local cooling occurs in the presence of the Warming Prophet, Gore, too often to be discounted, proving that God has a sense of humour.[13] A Competitive Enterprise Institute spokesperson and The Washington Times editorial staff have expressed a similar view.[19][1]

Lack of distinction between weather and climate

Curtis Brainard of the Columbia Journalism Review has called coverage of the Gore Effect "asinine", noting the distinction between short-term weather and long-term climate.[20] Michael Daly criticized a mere delight in noting coincidences between events relating to Gore's favorite subject and severe winter weather."[14] and environmentalist A. Siegel has called the jokes a "shallow observation" from "those who don't get that weather isn't climate".[21] "Gore Effect" phenomena are "chalked up as coincidence", according to Joe Joyce, a weather forecaster and environmental reporter.[15] Media Matters for America quoted Patrick J. Michaels, a sceptical climatologist and commentator with the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington with the observation that "the predictable distortion of extreme weather goes in both directions."[22]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "EDITORIAL: The Gore Effect". The Washington Times. March 4, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lovely, Erika (November 25, 2008). "Tracking 'The Gore Effect'". politico.com. Politico. Archived from the original on June 13, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2010. For several years now, skeptics have amusedly eyed a phenomenon known as “The Gore Effect” to half-seriously argue their case against global warming. […]The so-called Gore Effect happens when a global warming-related event, or appearance by the former vice president and climate change crusader, Al Gore, is marked by exceedingly cold weather or unseasonably winter weather. […] While there’s no scientific proof that The Gore Effect is anything more than a humorous coincidence, some climate skeptics say it may offer a snapshot of proof that the planet isn’t warming as quickly as some climate change advocates say.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ich denke, also spinn ich: Warum wir uns oft anders verhalten, als wir wollen, Daniel Rettig, Jochen Mai, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 2012, Chapter Gore effect, p. 47 ff, reception of the book see [1]
  4. Waller, Martin (December 26, 2009). "The year of living precariously". The Times. United Kingdom: News Corporation. Retrieved June 10, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Peckham, 2007, p.126
  6. 6.0 6.1 Warren, David (November 2, 2008). "Save us, please, from those who would save the earth". Ottawa Citizen. p. A.14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bolt, Andrew (November 17, 2006). "Al Gore rains on his party". Herald Sun. Melbourne, Australia.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Benen, Steve (November 25, 2008). "Political Animal: 'The Gore Effect'". The Washington Monthly. Retrieved June 8, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Transcript, "American Morning" program, January 5, 2010, CNN, retrieved June 13, 2010.
  10. Cowen, Peter (March 31, 2009). "The New Climate Almanac". The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Canada: CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. Retrieved July 1, 2010. It happened in Canada this year, sort of, when tickets to a Feb. 21 speech by Mr. Gore at the University of Toronto went on sale – on the coldest Feb. 7 on record for downtown Toronto.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Erika Lovly, "Tracking 'The Gore Effect'," Politico.com 25 Nov. 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  12. Smith, Ron (January 8, 2010). "Temperatures drop, alarmism heats up". Baltimore Sun. The Baltimore Sun. p. 1. Retrieved June 8, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Kältetote in Peru Unser Kolumnist enthüllt Al Gores persönliche Klimakatastrophe, by Harald Martenstein, Die Zeit, March 13, 2009
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Daly, Michael (December 20, 2009). "The Gore Effect brings snow to New York City". Daily News. New York.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.0 15.1 Joyce, Joe, "Fun Stories That Make You Go…”Hmmm.”, March 4, 2009, New England News Channel website, for Joyce's identification of post with WBZ-TV, see Web page titled "Bios/Weather/Joe Joyce", both Web pages retrieved June 13, 2010
  16. http://fairvaluesforamerica.com/research/200912180013 The Gore Effect – Nature strikes back at a charlatan, July 23, 2013 Jonathan DuHamel, Arizona daily independent
  17. Blizzard Dumps Snow on Copenhagen as Leaders Battle Warming, By Christian Wienberg - December 17, 2009 Bloomberg
  18. Joe Bastardi (July 16, 2014). "Two Simple Questions for Al Gore". The Patriot Post. Retrieved July 21, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Dufour, Jeff; Patrick W. Gavin (January 27, 2009). "Yeas & Nays: If it's Al Gore, it's cold". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved January 8, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Brainard, Curtis (November 26, 2008). "Global Cooling, Confused Coverage". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved June 8, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Siegel, A. (March 2, 2009). "Fire and Ice..." The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 10, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Right-wing media seize on snow at Copenhagen conference to deem climate change a "fraud", December 18, 2009, Media Matters for America

Further reading