Why Won’t Al Gore Debate?

June 27, 2007
Joseph Bast

CHICAGO, IL: In recent months, former vice president Al Gore has become the world’s most recognized advocate of the theory that human greenhouse gas emissions are altering the world’s climate and could cause catastrophic damage if not arrested and reduced. He is getting hundreds of millions of dollars in free publicity from the press and from environmental groups that echo his warning.

But Al Gore refuses to debate those who say global warming is not a crisis.

Maybe it’s because climate alarmists tend to lose when they debate climate realists. Or because most scientists do not support climate alarmism.

Dennis Avery, coauthor of the best-selling book Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, is still waiting for Gore to respond to his April 16 formal debate challenge:

[Our two] books represent the two leading explanations for the earth’s recent temperature changes—and they conflict. If global warming truly is the most important public policy issue of our day, then it is high time the public got to hear the arguments from both sides matched up against each other. How else can people make informed decisions? Therefore, I formally challenge you to debate me at a public event, preferably to be televised or carried by a radio station, sometime in the coming months.

Avery is director of the Center for Global Food Issues and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. He holds awards for outstanding performance from three different government agencies and was awarded the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement in 1983. He travels the world as a speaker, has testified before Congress, and has appeared on most of the nation's major television networks. He is well-qualified to debate Gore ... and certainly at least merits the decency of a response to his challenge, which he has yet to receive.

Avery is not the only person to challenge Gore to debate. Lord Monckton of Brenchley, a former advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, issued the following challenge on March 14:

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley presents his compliments to Vice-President Albert Gore and by these presents challenges the said former Vice-President to a head-to-head, internationally-televised debate upon the question “That our effect on climate is not dangerous,” to be held in the Library of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History at a date of the Vice-President’s choosing.

Forasmuch as it is His Lordship who now flings down the gauntlet to the Vice-President, it shall be the Vice-President’s prerogative and right to choose his weapons by specifying the form of the Great Debate. May the Truth win! Magna est veritas, et praevalet.

Like Avery, Lord Monckton is eminently qualified to debate Gore—see here and here for his recent writing on global warming—and Gore thought highly enough of him to respond to one of his essays. Like Gore, Lord Monckton is a prominent figure in the global warming debate who is not a scientist or professional economist. He would seem to be an appropriate and worthy opponent.

But Gore refuses to debate Lord Monckton, just as he refuses to debate Dennis Avery and a growing list of prominent scientists, economists, novelists, and policy experts.

If the scientific debate over global warming is over, as Gore and other climate alarmists so often claim, why is Al Gore afraid to debate?

Is it because there is no scientific consensus on the causes or effects of global warming? Is it because a growing number of experts believe we should invest in adapting to global warming—whether it is due to natural or human causes—rather than spend hundreds of billions of dollars trying to stabilize or reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Whatever the reason, we believe Al Gore should debate his critics. If you agree, please ask Al Gore to accept Dennis Avery's challenge.

Dennis Avery can be contacted directly via email at cgfi@hughes.net.

For more information about Lord Monckton’s challenge to Al Gore, go to the Web site of the Center for Environment and Public Policy.

Lord Monckton can be contacted directly via email at monckton@mail.com.


The Heartland Institute is a 23-year-old national nonprofit research organization devoted to discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to public policy problems. For more information, please call Thomas Swiss at 312/377-4000 or contact him by email at tswiss@heartland.org, or visit our Web sites at http://www.heartland.org or http://www.globalwarmingheartland.org.