It's time to have a 2020 Presidential Election thread


Al Gore isn’t a scientist. Folks know that, right?


It is not news.


You’re right that it’s a weak attack, I’m just questioning the effectiveness of constantly (and mainly?) preaching to entrepreneurs who aren’t going to do anything. He’s certainly doing something, consistently, and maybe someone has to do it regardless.
Maybe I’m just too cynical.


Wtf is this supposed to even mean?


It means that Al Gore is not a scientist, and is not in any way an authority on climate change.

This isn’t to say that stuff he says it’s automatically wrong. He’s an advocate. He’s a politician. He brings celebrity to the cause.

But he’s not a scientist.


Of course he’s not a scientist. Why would you think anyone believes that?

That’s the point, an elected leader who is an advocate. We don’t have that and most candidates running right now aren’t advocates. A President isn’t going to be writing policy, that’s up to the Congress and their staff working in conjunction with scientists (one would hope) to develop policy that uses data to craft meaningful legislation.

But it’s up to leaders to remain advocates, and in an ideal world the President would be the leader of us all.


I guess from the way folks were talking about him, i was getting the impression that folks were considering Gore to be some kind of expert, where he’s really not.

He’s an advocate, and that’s fine. But he lacks even a general scientific background. By all accounts, he was actually bad at science and math in college.

He’s not someone who I consider to have any kind of ability to speak with authority regarding climate change at all.



  1. You’re inventing a spurious argument based on nothing anyone has posted because you want to debunk an argument that hasn’t been made


  1. You’re arguing that no politician can speak with authority on a scientific subject unless they’re a scientist in that subject who just so happens to be moonlighting as a politician. Ok.

Is this peak-Timex?


Aside from a handful of undergrad courses, I don’t have a scientific background either. Doesn’t mean I can’t understand ecological principles or feedback loops. Politicians don’t need to be scientists to understand the perils of climate change and passionately believe aggressive action is required. They do however need the ability to communicate that peril and Gore has demonstrated he can do that. (Gore’s not running though so this is largely moot)

But given your criteria is there any national politician who can speak with authority?




Little known fact: Balanced budgets reduced GHG emissions.



But is that a scientific fact, or one of the other kind?


Economic fact. That’s the same thing right?

(No offense to economists, I know it can be rigorous. )


Austerity tends to do that. It just does it by killing people instead.


Sure, but you wouldn’t consider yourself an expert in the field, right? I mean, you wouldn’t expect others to base policy on stuff you say.

Generally, no? I mean, that’s why politicians usually leverage the advice of experts. I’m not saying that every politician needs to be a scientist. I was just questioning statements like: Al Gore understands climate change better than almost anyone else who is not a climate scientist. I don’t see any reason to think that’s the case. I would suspect that there are in fact lots of scientists who aren’t specifically in the climate science specialization, who better understand various aspects of climate change than Al Gore, just because they better understand various scientific aspects of it.

That being said to answer your question, someone like Mark Kelly is an example of someone who likely has a greater ability to grasp complex scientific aspects of policy than your average layman.

When it comes to Congress, I actually feel that the lack of actual scientists is in fact a problem. A big part of the problem with policy making today, is that so few of our politicians actually understand complex scientific concepts. Not meaning that they simply lack super specialized knowledge of a particular specialized domain, but they lack the ability to really process scientific papers and reports. To many, the underlying studies aren’t informative, but are rather just things to be used as partisan cudgels. So you get guys who say that the vast majority of scientific studies suggesting problems stemming from AGW can be ignored. They don’t look at them as information, they look at them as talking points.

It’s not just climate change where this applies, either. It’s becoming an ever increasing problem with issues surrounding computer science, where policy is being driven by old men who barely understand how to operate computers as a user, much less grasp the complex issues they are legislating. They don’t even grasp the concepts to the extent necessary to understand their own ignorance and pursue experts who can inform them.


Oh my God, why are you writing on essay an an argument that literally no-one has put forward?


Because it’s an easy argument to win?


This was the specific statement which I referred to.


It’s pretty clear Gordon knows he isn’t a climate scientist.

As someone who studied a science at university: No, scientists outside a field absolutely aren’t automatically better equipped to be non-scientific experts on a subject than someone with no scientific background. Scientists are siloed/bunkered, you bloody well have to be to succeed and stay current. A scientific background is necessary for conducting original research and can be useful for analysing others’ research (mainly down to statistical methods). but it isn’t necessary to be an expert on something compared to 99% of the population.

That said, enjoy your strawmans.


In fairness, does it matter for the executive? CO2 dreadful, methane worse is about how much we need to know about the science. If you want to get fancy, you can say we need to do it quickly.
How to deal with it is about engineering, economics, political science and a bunch of other disciplines that aren’t as easily modeled and are constantly changing, not really science.

You’re right, of course, that politicians seem to be willfully (to be nice) ignorant about the world, but knowing how to read the generally very dense scientific papers is a bit more effort than can be reasonably expected from someone who has a lot to do in plenty of areas.