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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Would you trust your energy policy to this guy?

John Derbyshire takes apart Al Gore's assertion that the temperature at the "interior" of the earth is "several million degrees" and thus is an excellent source for geothermal energy. Derbyshire comments,
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. (Links in the original)
Mark Steyn piles on,
Al Gore's being a little more than merely innumerate when he breezily asserts that the temperature of the earth's interior is "several million degrees". His entire, highly lucrative shtick rests on the proposition that a one-degree increase in surface temperature in the course of a century imperils not merely the poor old polar bear, not merely the planet itself, but is "altering the balance of energy between our planet and the rest of the universe". But he's so insouciant about "several million degrees" boiling away a couple of miles under his loafers that he can't even be bothered getting it right to within three figures.

It makes you wonder whether even he believes any of this stuff.
Yup, this is the guy whose movie should be required viewing in all schools. Sheesh!


Pat Patterson said...

Wait a minute, according to the Truthers the steel in the Trade Towers shouldn't have melted, unless helped, because only the earth's core, at a million degrees or so, would be hot enough to forge the steelmillion degrees. So that can answer the question of where all this non-melting steel girders came from.

Freeven said...

Gores's movie is being presented as "fact" in our local high school, with no contradictory evidence presented. My friend's kid had to watch it multiple times in high school, then again in college.

David said...

"the balance of energy between our planet and the rest of the universe"..this is not a scientific statement at all, but rather a particularly air-headed kind of mysticism.

In C S Lewis's "Screwtape Letters," a devil hopes for the rise of "the materialist magician" among humans. With the "progressive" Left--believers in magical crystals, a conscious Gaia, Al Gore with his "balance of energy," etc--he's getting his wish.

tfhr said...

Gore is supposed to be so smart and yet he cannot find the inclination to question how Buddhist monks could find the means to hand him large sums of money when he was raising campaign funds!

Gore isn't a scientist, unless you want to accept the concept of a political scientist. Gore is nothing more than a washed up politician that has learned that he can raise money peddling his hysterics.

Old Retired Petty Officer said...

The man never did know his ass from deep center field, did he? That is how my Dad would have said it.
Even his claims are contrary to known physics.

LarryD said...

And geothermal energy is not a silver bullet anyway, unless you're Iceland.

American environmentalists are trying to shutdown geothermal research sites even as Gore spoke; their excuses aside, geothermal energy is site limited everyplace except Iceland, is about as expensive as hydro (still more expensive than nuclear), and still has research needed.

tfhr said...


I once ate at a restaurant in the Canary Islands that cooked their fare over a volcano. It was fun as long as you don't like to linger over your meals and have really thick soled shoes or boots. I don't recommend the salads.

I recommend that Al Gore should eat three meals a day on top of that volcano from here on out. It has a reasonable view of the Atlantic and from that vantage point Gore could keep us appraised of rising sea levels while keeping a watchful eye out for swarms of angry icebergs heading to and fro. But something makes me think he's more likely to send the jet over to KeflavĂ­k for some Icelandic salmon or the limo out for pizza.