Gore has no clue – a few million degrees here and there and pretty soon we're talking about real temperature

This is mind blowing ignorance on the part of Al Gore. Gore in an 11/12/09 interview on NBC’s tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, speaking on geothermal energy, champion of slide show science, can’t even get the temperature of earth’s mantle right, claiming “several million degrees” at “2 kilometers or so down”.  Oh, and the “crust of the earth is hot” too.

Screencap of Gore on The Tonight Show 11/12/09

Temperature of the sun’s corona: 1–2 million kelvin

Temperature of the sun’s photosphere:  6,000 kelvin

Temperature of the Earths mantle, more than “2 kilometers or so down”: between 500 °C to 900 °C (773 to 1173 kelvin)

Watching Gore make a complete scientific idiot of himself on national TV: priceless

Don’t believe me? Watch the video from NBC below:

Click for video – Gore’s statement on temperature is about 40 seconds in

For a faster presentation, without a pre-viewing commercial, here is the same video on YouTube

Oh…and here is a graph of the vertical temperature profile with drilling depth:

Earth's Crust Temperature Profile

Source Geohil AG (captions added)

And here is the temperature profile of the Earth’s crust, mantle, and core:

Geothermal Gradient

Source:  Electropaedia (Mpower UK) page on geothermal energy

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Wondering Aloud

This is one of the most lucid and accurate things he has ever said. Except for the temperature number it isn’t even stupid.

Paul Hildebrandt

Two km = 6,561 feet. Many oil fields are twice that depth and more… a million degrees? Mind boggling.


Damn, all those new models based on Gores 2,000,000 degrees will have to have their ‘settled science’ outputs modified by feedbacks now to keep their outputs consistent.

Keith Minto

Quite a blooper ! Using geothermal heat seems to work more in theory than practise. Here in Australia the listed companies have been testing the patience of their shareholders for years either loosing their drill bits or the ‘hot spots’ are in very remote locations away from the grid. Bit like the promise of wave energy, abundant, available 24/7,great idea but the engineering proved too difficult.
Remove the subsidies and they both collapse.

Stephen Brown

Why does any ‘respectable’ TV channel give this certifiable fool any air-time at all?
Doesn’t ANYONE check what piffle he utters? Why is this buffoon not mocked by journalists around the world?
“Several MILLION degrees” only two kilometres down from the earth’s surface???
What codswallop!!


One thing you can say, Al Gore sure isn’t a scientist. Not very smart either.

Looney tunes.

carrot eater

OK, you got him here. It did sound like he said million degrees.
That aside, geothermal energy is probably a bit underexploited. I think (not entirely sure) that the cost of digging holes has gone down, so the hot rocks needn’t be very close to the surface for the operation to be viable.

Ray Boorman

Thankfully Al baby is as wrong about Earth’s internal temperatures as he is about climate change. I guess he is too stupid to realise that if what he said was true than the ground would be a little too hot for us to risk putting our feet on it – like a million degrees or so.


Where does Gore get the idea that there is only 35,000 years of energy available? The use of geothermal energy causes no measurable depletion , excepting shallow, isolated geothermal pockets.

Dr A Burns

Wonderful to see the leader of the alarmist masses making a fool of himself.
Here’s a youtube link to the same video:

Ray Boorman

carrot eater, the cost of drilling may be less, but the difficulties in drilling over 5km into granite are huge. One company here in Australia had big problems drilling the first hole in their attempt to prove the concept & establish a demonstration power plant. That was months ago, they have not been in the news recently.


I like the bits that can withstand those million degree temperatures.


BTW, geothermal can be incredibly polluting if not done properly. And in many really hot spots, like Hawaii, the pollution was extremely difficult to control. Aerated heavy metals.

But but…. He is the President of the Planet!


In other news, the mainstream media are starting to go with the flow. I’m seeing more and more skeptical articles, particularly I think, in response to the avalanche of skeptical comments they keep getting in their warmist articles. I suppose it’s a kind-of democracy, isn’t it?

For some facts on geothermal energy.

Another geothermal energy fact source:


The sweet irony of this tiny glimpse of the real Gore, when ocntrasted with the propaganda piece by Newsweak, is delightful.
The cover story on Al Gore in Newsweak this week is, I kid you not:
” The Thinking Man’s Thinking Man”
Fiction cannot be stranger or more entertaining than fact, especially when bloviating self-declared genius con-artists are concerned.


This is more scary than funny. It just shows that Al Gore, author of an inconvenient truth understands NOTHING about basic physics. He just repeats what he has been told and he’s not even smart enough to do that right.


What a maroon.

A good illustration of the difference between “knowledge” and “intelligence.”
The former refers to the ability to remember facts, figures, and events. The latter refers to the ability to figure out what those facts, figures, and events actually mean: determining which are most relevant to testing hypotheses, drawing the proper logical conclusions from them, etc. If you can recite Pi to the 1000th digit, it doesn’t make you “smart” – it just means you have a good memory.
I don’t judge too much about a person from their ability (or inability) to remember exact figures off the cuff (same reason I think the reaction to Sarah Palin’s inability to cite a Supreme Court case she disagreed with was overblown – pretty easy to slip up like that when you’re speaking or put on the spot).
Now, if Gore’s mistake had been a written statement, we’d have a different issue on our hands: evidence of sloppy fact checking.


I think this fits right in with his previous statements about exaggeration being ok to achieve his goals. But it would seem he went more than a little overboard with this one. I wonder if he’s had a CAT scan recently?

Henry chance

RICH (14:43:08) :
What a maroon.
Why are you insultative to maroons?
One of my friends is a many times member of the 5 mile club. In Oklahoma many oil wells hit over 25,000 feet. The temps go up and at 70,000 feet are above boiling temp.

Kevin McGrane

The deepest mines worked by humans are 3.9km deep – Gold mines in South Africa. It’s pretty hot down there (rock face temperature 60 degC) and they need a lot of cooling – but millions of degrees?! The guy is just making it up.
The saddest part of this interview is the fulsome applause he gets at the end of the interview, which is just a shameless plug for his book anyway.


“the Russians drilled for more than 15 years to reach a crust depth of 40,226 feet, a record that’s never been broken.”
Why they stopped, I don’t know, but I don’t think it was because their drill bit melted.
See here for brief comparison with oil drilling depths, etc.


Geothermal is a bust because the power station removes heat from the rocks faster than heat can flow through the rock to replace it.
Odd how the people who refuse to believe a nuclear power station can be built safely by engineers then expect them to drill through to molten rock.

Henry chance

Just 2 more comments. In the Bakken field they send air down hole and do fire flooding to warm the oil and improve viscosity. Obviously the heat and pressure by injecting CO2 under a few thousand PSI also is used to push oil to the lift pump device. Of course Algore doesn’t know about energy.


hunter (14:37:32) :
“Fiction cannot be stranger or more entertaining than fact…”
Ahh, yes, but at least one can put the fiction back on the shelf and return to reality. But when reality bites, where is one to go? I wonder if maybe that’s not one reason man invented fiction to begin with?


“Temperature of the Earths mantle, more than “2 kilometers or so down”: between 500 °C to 900 °C (773 to 1173 kelvin)”44
So people have a problem with non-climatologists (but with a scientific background) commenting on AGW but Al Gore gets a free pass – amazing.
In a well we drilled on the North Slope of Alaska, at about 2 kms, the temp was a chilly 110 F , because the 1st 2000 ft are frozen solid in the permafrost (ie the temp at 0.67 km was zero deg C).
Typical geothermal gradients – outside geothermally active areas are 1.5 to 2.5 deg F per 100 ft. The gradient hangs off the mean surface temperature of where ever you ar on the Earth.[ ie subsurface temp = surface temp + (depth*gradient) ]
Do the math Al !

Looks like Big Al has gotten too used to looking at his bank statements and thinking in millions.


Give the guy a break. After all, he did invent the internet.


More irony: George W Bush has been using geothermal heat pumps on his Texas ranch for years

BC Bill

I understand geothermal is the largest alternate energy source and technologically mature. Having made the occasional mistake under pressure myself I can overlook fhe tempreature blunders. For once I fhink Gore had something useful to say.

Jon Jewett

Two points:
1. As far as “Green” goes, GW “walked the walk” while Al Gore only “talks the talk”.
2. GW was a leader in “green technologies” and his record gives lie to all of the things said about his care for the environment.
GW’s ranch house in Crawford Texas was designed to be energy efficient. It utilizes ground water at 67 degrees as a source of heat and heat sink FOR A HEAT PUMP and the total energy consumption has been rated at 1/4 the “normal household usage”.
The Goracle’s house on the other hand…….
I believe that wind power is useful only in very limited applications and subsidized mandates are a waste of my money. Never the less, GW made Texas the leader in wind power when he was Governor (see above link). He may have been able to do more as President if the Democrats hadn’t been so desperate to make him fail in everything he tried.
GW’s 2008 State of the Union Speech, relevant part here:

Or the whole speech here (worth listening to for a historical perspective):
On the other hand, see here:

Do you miss him yet?
Steamboat Jack


“The interior of the earth is several millions of degrees.” – Al Gore!!!
2012 SPOILER ALERT for the movie 2012!!!!
In 2012, the epic and awesome disaster movie to end all disaster movies, the Earth’s crust is heated up (by some nonsense) and starts melting and collapsing everywhere causing total destruction.
Al Gore just stated that the core of the Earth is several million degrees. Well, get ready for the crust to melt! 2012 is here!

D. King

Several million degrees.
His numbers were just a little off. In fact he…..

Perry Debell

Ye gods & little fishes. Old Fatty Gorblimey is digging his grave with his teeth.
In truth, I could not watch the clip to the end, because all that the creature represents is anathema to right thinking people. A pox on his house.

Robinson (14:35:33) : “In other news, the mainstream media are starting to go with the flow. I’m seeing more and more skeptical articles, particularly I think, in response to the avalanche of skeptical comments they keep getting in their warmist articles. I suppose it’s a kind-of democracy, isn’t it?”
That particular article is a setup. As Leif will tell you (oh, about two dozen times) TSI hasn’t changed significantly over the past 100 years. There’s a chance that temperatures will not take a drastic turn downward due to lower sunspot numbers. The article takes an either-or stance–either recent warming (such as it is, given GISS ‘corrections’ and ‘homogenizations’ and whatnot) is due to solar maximum or it’s due to CO². But there are other, better possible causes. We just don’t know at this point.

Michael T

Crikey, it’s time for a little reality here…As a geologist, mainly working in sedimentary basins (that’s right – hydrocarbon exploration) a rough rule of thumb is that temperature increase with depth is about 3.5 C per 100 metres in a basin with a normal gradient. So, at a little less than 3,000m (~10,000 ft) depth we are just above boiling point of water, i.e. 105 C or 212 F. At 70,000 ft (~21,000m), ref. Henry Chance, we should expect to see a temperature of c. 750 C (1,375 F). Hot! but not millions…..

Michael T

Whoops! 105 C should read 100 C


@Sandy – Geothermal works where the conditions are right. Calpine’s Geysers geothermal plant is probably their most valuable asset. Its just that there are not a lot of places around that you can arbitrarily plop a plant and think you are going to get much power out of it. In that I will agree with you. It is also interesting that some of the attempts at geothermal power generation in mainland Europe have been halted because the thermal contraction of the rock due to the extraction of energy has appeared to have produced some minor earthquakes. They are holding off until they understand things better. Sometimes unintended side effects really ruin the whole show. This one may be one of them. But that said, geothermal cooling does have some advantages at least in the NE. In those areas where you can extract water from some number of feet down, the water is reasonably cool. Flow it over the condenser of the air conditioning unit and return it and the efficiency of your heat pump goes up quite a bit. You could probably save more energy that way in summer than you could produce with geothermal in the more general case.


The juxtaposition of this story with the Monckton is about the best commentary I have seen about AGW in a long time. Pure accident I am sure. Uh huh.

Allen Ford

No wonder Al runs away from the prospect of openly debating Lord Monckton on AGW! LM would crucify him.


BC Bill,
I think if it were mature and going to work, it would be working right now.
I would certainly like it be practical.
It is not as environmentally damaging as windmills.
At least the heat source does not set every everning, like solar.
It takes up vastly less space than either.
But it is not widely used for a reason. I am certian the reason has to do with the corrosive nature of deep hot places, and the problem of tapping heat out of a region too quickly. Added to that problem of moving power from remote places where it is produced to where it is wanted, and I am betting the problems are very significant.


That particular article is a setup. As Leif will tell you (oh, about two dozen times) TSI hasn’t changed significantly over the past 100 years. There’s a chance that temperatures will not take a drastic turn downward due to lower sunspot numbers. The article takes an either-or stance–either recent warming (such as it is, given GISS ‘corrections’ and ‘homogenizations’ and whatnot) is due to solar maximum or it’s due to CO². But there are other, better possible causes. We just don’t know at this point.

Indeed, but the point I’m making is that the MSM are at least exploring alternatives and presenting the views of dissenters to an extent, whether or not their counter-view is actually the correct one. It’s not something I would have seen this time last year.

Mike McMillan

Is that a toupee ?
Yes, always on topic and adding that extra bit of insight, but appropriate in this case because that’s the only significant thing gleanable from the video. Makes me glad that Bill Clinton stayed healthy.
I’m guessing the areas near rifts would be the hottest, since that’s where the crust is thinnest.


The smug delivery here makes it worse, but being off by three orders of magnitude is just very, very bad in itself, betraying a complete lack fundamental understanding of whatever the subject is.
“‘Cause New York is extremely far away from Los Angeles, three million miles…”
“‘Cause Denver has an extremely high elevation, five million feet…”
“Cause Al Gore was extremely overweight, 125 tons…”


Is it any wonder that Gore refuses to debate any anti-AGW scientists or other skeptics in a public forum? He would get his head handed to him! Heck, who needs someone on the other side of the debate? Just let him talk and he’ll provide the rope to hang himself. It’s pitiful, really.


A year or two ago, sitting in the barber shop, waiting my turn, I was leafing through a Pop. Science or Pop. Mechanics and found an article about a working, sizeable, low temp. geothermal power plant powering a large resort in Alaska. The plant was designed and built by the Trane Co. using an air conditioning fluid as the working medium. The energy came from a warm aquifer, well below boiling temp. and a cold aquifer. The temp diff. was enough to drive a gas turbine that drove a generator. They said it eliminated a $100K/mo. diesel fuel bill. THe article also stated that the hot waste water coming from many oil wells was sufficient to power the oil well. I’ve seen or heard nothing about it since. I think I’ll give Trane a Google.