Al Gore: Earth's Interior 'Extremely Hot, Several Million Degrees'

November 18th, 2009 10:27 AM

For several years as uneducated sycophants in the media gushed and fawned over every utterance from former Vice President Al Gore, NewsBusters has informed readers of just how absurd the junk science he's peddling really is.

Last Thursday, NBC "Tonight Show" viewers got a perfect example of how the Nobel Laureate basically makes things up, and that his poor grades in college were quite an indicator of just how little he understands about science.

So egregious was his departure from reality that the following clip should be mandatory viewing for all his fans in the media who seem to be just as scientifically-challenged (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Hot Air):

CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST: Now, what about ... you talk in the book about geothermal energy...

O'BRIEN: ...and that is, as I understand it, using the heat that's generated from the core of the earth ...

GORE: Yeah.

O'BRIEN: create energy, and it sounds to me like an evil plan by Lex Luthor to defeat Superman. Can you, can you tell me, is this a viable solution, geothermal energy?

GORE: It definitely is, and it's a relatively new one. People think about geothermal energy - when they think about it at all - in terms of the hot water bubbling up in some places, but two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, 'cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot ...

On Tuesday, National Review's John Derbyshire noted:

The geothermal gradient is usually quoted as 25-50 degrees Celsius per mile of depth in normal terrain (not, e.g., in the crater of Kilauea). Two kilometers down, therefore, (that's a mile and a quarter if you're not as science-y as Al) you'll have an average gain of 30-60 degrees - exploitable for things like home heating, though not hot enough to make a nice pot of tea. The temperature at the earth's core, 4,000 miles down, is usually quoted as 5,000 degrees Celsius, though these guys claim it's much less, while some contrarian geophysicists have posted claims up to 9,000 degrees. The temperature at the surface of the Sun is around 6,000 degrees Celsius, while at the center, where nuclear fusion is going on bigtime, things get up over 10 million degrees.

If the temperature anywhere inside the earth was "several million degrees," we'd be a star.

The physics and astronomy website Physlink also contests Gore's absurd claim:

It is approximately 4000°C at the centre of the Earth. To put this in context:

1. The centre of the Sun is approximately 15 million°C
2. The surface of the Sun is 5500°C
3. Iron melts at 1535°C (when at atmospheric pressure)
4. Water boils at 100°C (when at atmospheric pressure)
5. Human skin is comfortable with temperatures up to about 60°C
6. The highest temperature recorded on the Earth's surface is 58°C (Libya 1922)

It is not possible to directly measure the temperature at the centre of the Earth and four thousand degrees is nothing more than our most well-established piece of guesswork to date. Most modern calculations rely on the fact that we believe the inner core to be made up of iron and nickel that is just about at melting point. It is under a lot of pressure, which prevents it from melting, even at such high temperatures. There is also a lot of evidence regarding how the outer core of the Earth convects and that helps to establish the temperature. However, recently British scientists have suggested that the temperature of the Earth's core may in fact be as high as the surface of the Sun, so the question is still open.

As such, whether it's 4,000 or 6,000 degrees, Gore's claim of "several million" is absurdly preposterous and not based on ANY scientific fact.

As Ed Morrissey observed Wednesday:

[A]nyone who followed the controversy over Gore's piece of cinematic fantasy An Inconvenient Truth knows that Gore tells a lot of very convenient untruths in his quest to create a market for his carbon-trading company. However, this is just flat-out ignorance that with any other person in any other context would destroy their credibility. This is worse than Tom Cruise telling Matt Lauer that he can debunk the entire psychiatric field because he's read a few books. If Gore can't get this rather basic fact right, why should he be believed on anything else in the energy field? 

This raises an obvious question: in a world where media fact-check a comedy skit and a book written by a former governor, shouldn't they equally scrutinize statements being made by a man who's actively pushing for the passage of economically impactful legislation currently before Congress?

Or is that asking too much from so-called journalists? 

Consider that if Gore was a Republican, his numerous departures from fact would have so discredited him years ago that he would now be considered a total joke.

By contrast, because he's a Democrat who preaches liberal gospel, he can say whatever he wants without any regard for its accuracy and not only receive media's praise for his inexcusable errance, but an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize to boot.

As the Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff was famous for saying years ago, America -- what a country! 

*****Update: NewsBusters reader Eric Peterkofsky pointed out at Facebook that Newsweek recently called Gore "The Thinking Man's Thinking Man."

Yep -- a guy with THIS report card, who thinks the Earth's interior temperature is "several million degrees," is the thinking man's thinking man!