Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. was born March 31, 1948 in Washington, DC, to Senator Albert Gore, Sr. and Pauline LaFon Gore. He graduated from Harvard University in 1969 with a B.A. in government. Gore's academic record at Harvard was mediocre. During his sophomore year, for instance, he earned a "D" in Natural Sciences and overall was in the lowest 20% of his class. As a senior, he earned a C-plus in Natural Sciences. On his college board achievement tests, he scored 488 (out of 800) in physics, and 519 (out of 800) in chemistry.
Gore enlisted in the Army in August 1969 and received an honorable discharge 21 months later. In May 1970 he married Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Aitcheson, whom he had met five years earlier.
First elected to the House of Representatives in 1977 from his home state of Tennessee, Gore in the 1980s opposed President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (though he supported Reagan's deployment of INF missiles in Europe); he advocated a freeze on America's development of nuclear weaponry; and he voted to slash the Reagan administration's defense budget. In 1991 Gore was one of the few Senate Democrats to vote in favor of a resolution endorsing the Persian Gulf War.
At one time in his political career, Gore opposed abortion. During his seven-year tenure in the House of Representatives, he voted "pro-life" 27 times and had an 84 percent pro-life voting record on abortion-related issues. In a May 26, 1987 letter to a constituent, he wrote: "During my 11 years in congress, I have consistently opposed federal funding for abortions. In my opinion, it is wrong to spend federal funds for what is arguably taking of a human life." In order to make himself politically viable as a member of the Democratic Party, however, Gore later reversed his position on abortion.
In 1988 Gore made a failed bid to win the Democratic Party's nomination for U.S. President, campaigning against Joe Biden, Dick Gephardt, Paul Simon, Jesse Jackson, and the eventual nominee, Michael Dukakis.
In 1992 Gore published Earth in the Balance, a book that offered a generally apocalyptic view of the damage that human industrial activity – particularly in the United States – was doing to the natural world. Likening mankind's abuse of the environment to the depredations of Nazi Germany, Gore wrote that global warming threatened to create "an environmental holocaust without precedent."
Also in 1992, Gore was elected Vice President of the United States on the Democratic Party ticket headed by Bill Clinton. Four years later, the Clinton-Gore team won re-election.
In 1994, Vice President Gore cast the tie-breaking Senate vote in favor of using corn for the production of ethanol as a fuel. While conservatives and libertarians argued at the time that subsidizing ethanol production made no economic or environmental sense, Gore and his green allies were certain that bio-fuels would solve the nation’s energy woes. Four years later, at a 1998 Farm Journal conference, Gore said the following about his role in subsidizing ethanol:
"I was also proud to stand up for the ethanol tax exemption when it was under attack in the Congress — at one point, supplying a tie-breaking vote in the Senate to save it. The more we can make this home-grown fuel a successful, widely-used product, the better-off our farmers and our environment will be."
In 2000 Gore ran for the presidency but was defeated by George W. Bush in the most controversial election in American history. The outcome of the tightly contested race hinged on the final vote tally in Florida. Though the media announced Bush as the winner on election night (November 7), Gore challenged that verdict. Soon it was learned that in Palm Beach County, there had been an unexpectedly large vote for third-party candidates, leading to questions about the validity of the county's allegedly confusing “butterfly ballots.” Meanwhile, large numbers of disqualified ballots, or ballots where no vote had been registered for president, were found in other counties. The Bush and Gore campaigns each sent teams of lawyers to Florida. The disputes and recounts that ensued would place the result of the election in doubt for more than a month, until December 13.
In September 2002 Gore expressed serious concerns about Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's ongoing efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction: “We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” That same year, Gore also stated: “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”
By this point, Gore was becoming an increasingly relentless and passionate critic of the Bush administration. In 2003 he publicly charged that the President was "engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate the facts in service to a totalistic ideology." At a pro-Democratic rally in February of 2004, an angry Gore shouted that President Bush had "betrayed his country," and he asserted that the war against Iraq had been "pre-ordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place."
Speaking before MoveOn.org activists in May 2004, Gore charged that the Bush administration's “obscene abuses of the truth” had “led directly to the abuses of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison,” which he dubbed “Bush's Gulag.” Attacking Bush's domestic wiretapping program in January of 2006, Gore insisted that "the President of the United States has been breaking the law, repeatedly and insistently." He urged the appointment of a special prosecutor and supported Congressional hearings into what he called "serious allegations of criminal behavior on the part of the President."
In a February 2006 public appearance in Saudi Arabia, Gore claimed that Arabs in the United States had been "indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa or not having a green card in proper order, and held in conditions that were just unforgivable. "
On January 24, 2006, Gore's environmentalist film An Inconvenient Truth was released at the Sundance Film Festival. This high-profile production catapulted the subject of anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming to center stage in America's national consciousness, and went on to receive an Academy Award for “Best Documentary” in 2007. In October 2007, Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for "his strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books," to "strengthen[ing] the struggle against climate change." He shared the award with the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Gore received immense publicity and wealth as a result of his film, and he became the nation's most renowned exponent of the theory of man-caused global warming. Notably, however, Gore has repeatedly refused to debate scientists and other well-informed people with opposing views about global warming. Moreover, he has routinely denounced and mocked such individuals. In March 2008, for example, he told the CBS program 60 Minutes: “I think that those people are in such a tiny, tiny minority now with their point of view. They’re almost like the ones who still believe that the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona and those who believe the earth is flat. That demeans them a little bit, but it’s not that far off.” On another occasion, Gore called the issue of global warming “the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced.”
According to Bill Hobbs, former communications director of the Tennessee Republican Party, Gore, whose net worth is already estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars, “stands to make a lot of money from his promotion of the alleged ‘global warming’ threat, which is disputed by many mainstream scientists.” The engine that drives these profits is Generation Investment Management (GIM), a company that Gore and David Blood (former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management) co-founded in 2004 “to take financial advantage of new technologies and solutions related to combating global warming.” GIM deals in so-called “carbon offsets,” which operate as follows: First, a business calculates the degree to which its own atmospheric emissions of “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide (created by the burning of fossil fuels) contribute to global warming. This contribution is called a "carbon footprint." Next, the business aims to minimize or even “erase” this “footprint” by buying "carbon offsets," entities whose purchase price is used, in turn, to fund projects such as the construction of wind farms or solar panels, which produce clean energy and thereby, in theory, “offset” the environmental impact of the business's activities.
In November 2009, Gore minimized the significance of the so-called "Climategate" scandal that grew out of confirmed reports that the top scientists at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in England, possessor of the world's largest temperature-data set, had secretly and repeatedly manipulated scientific evidence in order to conceal or destroy data that contradicted their claims. When asked about the matter during a CNN interview, Gore said that opponents of the man-caused global warming hypothesis were taking the Climategate evidence “out of context” and were trying "to blow it up into something that it's really not."
In November 2010, Gore attended green energy conference held in Athens, Greece, where he spoke against the use of ethanol as a source of energy:
"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol. First-generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small. One of the reasons I made that mistake [of supporting ethanol] is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president. The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being [used for] first-generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices. The competition with food prices is real."
When Gore had cast his critical 1994 vote in favor of ethanol subsidies, the bio-fuels industry was producing about 1.4 billion gallons of ethanol each year from less than fifty plants. By 2009, as a direct result of government subsidies and tax breaks, more than 100 new corn ethanol plants had been built, and the amount of ethanol produced in the United States had increased to more than 10.5 billion gallons. Private investors had invested tens of billions of dollars to build a massive corn ethanol infrastructure, and the government had invested tens of billions more to ensure that it remained in place.
In October 2011, Gore expressed his support for the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street movement. Wrote Gore:
"From the economy to the climate crisis our leaders have pursued solutions that are not solving our problems, instead they propose policies that accomplish little. With democracy in crisis a true grassroots movement pointing out the flaws in our system is the first step in the right direction. Count me among those supporting and cheering on the Occupy Wall Street movement."
In a November 2012 interview with UBS Investment Bank president Robert Wolf, Gore boasted that the Clinton administration had done something very positive by raising tax rates on high earners during the 1990s, and that such a policy should be enacted again: “The single most popular proposal we had was to reduce taxes on working people, and lift the higher rate. Let’s give an incentive to work, and let’s ask the most fortunate in our society, including me and you, to do our fair share. And we ought to do that again.”
Gore Pockets Up to $100 Million from Sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera
On January 2, 2013, Gore, who had been board chairman and a part owner of Current TV for several years, joined with his fellow owners to sell the television station to Al-Jazeera, the Pan-Arab news channel that had previously struggled to acquire space on American cable television, for an estimated $500 million. Gore owned 20% of Current TV, meaning that the payout he received in the sale transaction was approximately $100 million. The deal boosted Al Jazeera's reach in the U.S. to approximately 40 million homes, a nearly ninefold increase. In a statement confirming the sale, Gore said that Al-Jazeera shares Current TV’s mission "to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling." Owned by the government of Qatar, Al Jazeera planned to gradually transform Current into a network called Al-Jazeera America.
According to the New York Times, Gore had hoped to sell Current TV before the start of 2013, so his $100 million payout would not be affected as much by a newly passed tax increase approved by Congress and signed by President Obama at the end of 2012.
Two things in particular are significant about Gore's transaction with the Qatar-based Al Jazeera. First, there is the issue of the oil-derived wealth of the Qatari Emir whose money literally created, and continues to fund, Al Jazeera. As of 2011, Qatar's GDP per capita was $99.800, higher than that of any other nation in the world. Qatar's wealth (and, by extension, the Emir's wealth) derives mostly from oil (15 billion barrels of proven reserves) and natural gas (14% of the world's total reserves). Gore has long criticized oil – because of the carbon emissions associated with its use as an energy source – as a leading contributor to environmental destruction and global warming. Yet he nonetheless sold Current TV to an outfit heavily funded by oil money.
A second consideration is the fact that Qatar – i.e., the Emir and the government he heads – has long had noteworthy ties to Islamist terrorists. For example:
In a January 29, 2013 interview with Charlie Rose, Gore said that the "propaganda" of "Fox News and the right-wing talk radio" had created "a very hostile environment for progressive ideas." He added that the billionaire financier George Soros is "a wonderful guy" who Gore would like to see have "more influence" in American politics.
During a March 2013 panel discussion in Austin, Texas, Gore was asked about his recent sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera: “You just sold your TV network to Al Jazeera, which is owned by a government and that government is basically a big—nothing but an oil producer. And they’re producing exactly the kind of fuel you think is a terrible danger to the planet. How could you do that?” Gore replied:
“Okay, I knew when I made that decision with my partners—I had obligations to my investors, but that didn’t drive the decision. I knew that my principle obligation was to do business in a way that makes the world a better place. You have heard me be very critical of American television journalism. I think that the addition of a very high-quality, 24-7, honest-to-goodness news channel that covers international news as well as national — that covers climate, that covers poverty, that cover issues that are ignored today — has the potential to be disruptive in a creative and positive way, and raise the game for television journalism here in the United State of America."
In an August 2013 interview, Gore derided people who were skeptical about the reality of anthropogenic global warming as regressive, reactionary, ignorant, and willfully blind:
"I remember as a boy when the conversation on civil rights was won in the South. I remember a time when one of my friends made a racist joke and another said, hey man, we don’t go for that anymore. The same thing happened on apartheid. The same thing happened on the nuclear arms race with the freeze movement. The same thing happened in an earlier era with abolition. A few months ago, I saw an article about two gay men standing in line for pizza and some homophobe made an ugly comment about them holding hands and everyone else in line told them to shut up. We’re winning that conversation.
"The conversation on global warming has been stalled because a shrinking group of denialists fly into a rage when it’s mentioned. It’s like a family with an alcoholic father who flies into a rage every time a subject is mentioned and so everybody avoids the elephant in the room to keep the peace. But the political climate is changing.... The ability of the raging deniers to stop progress is waning every single day.
In April 2014, Gore likened polluters who maintained that humans are not to blame for climate change, to tobacco companies that, in past years, hired actors to pose as doctors who denied that cigarettes were dangerous to people's health. “That’s immoral, unethical and despicable,” Gore said of both.
At various times during his professional career, Gore has been a visiting professor at such schools as Middle Tennessee State University, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Fisk University, and UCLA.