The Day I Argued With Al Gore

April 20, 2015

In January 2007, Chris and I attended the National Science Foundation conference in Boston. I am a freelance cartoonist specializing in medical, science, and office humor; I was published regularly in Psychology Today, Nursing Today, and several other medical and science industry magazines. 

 

This was right about the time that Al Gore's monumental documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" had hit the national consciousness and since the former VPOTUS was the keynote speaker at the convention that year, needless to say climate change was a hot topic of discussion. I was attending as one of the only science-minded cartoonists in the country at the time, and was fortunate to be invited to take part in the "official" discussion regarding the labeling and presentation of the science behind the subject. 

 

The hot topic was what to call the phenomenon; NASA had been calling it "inadvertent climate modification" for years. The phrase "climate change" had been first coined in 1956; "global warming" was first used in a paper in 1975. The topic was bantered back and forth quite heatedly for several days BEFORE the meeting, and over two hours inside the room itself. The big names in climate science wanted to call it "global warming" because... and this phrase was actually used... it "sounded sexier." 

 

I rose to my feet, introduced myself as a person who made a good living "translating" the science from the technical language to the everyday language of the average layman, and made it funny in the process. I said, "If you insist on calling it 'global warming,' everyone in this room understands what that means; but sure as shootin', when the weather starts to swing to the extremes that we all know is coming, senators and congressmen who take money from Big Business are going to point to record snowfalls and shout you down and say you don't know what you're talking about." Al Gore himself said, "We are all educators in this room. We'll TEACH them the truth; we can teach them what the phrase 'global warming' REALLY means." So they decided to call it "global warming" rather than the more accurate "climate change;" all because it sounded SEXIER.

 

How's that working out for you, cupcake?

 

In this photo, I'm standing to the right of the photographer as he snapped this photo of Chris (on the right) and our friend Abby from the New London (Connecticut) Science Center (in the middle.) I was wearing my brightly-colored Looney Tunes tie (c'mon, I'm a cartoonist) and even though Al Gore is a big man, I'm even bigger with a ponytail, and a beard and mustache. He kept looking at me with a concerned glance... smile at the camera... and look back at me with a slightly worried look.

 

 

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