An Inconvenient Scandal: Climategate sideswipes Al Gore
(Posted December 10, 2009) Sometimes being the leading light of the most important environmental movement of our time isn't all it's cracked up to be. Just ask Al Gore. The former US Vice-President has become the face of the global warming movement over the past ten years through his award-winning documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth". According to the anthropogenic (i.e. human made) global warming thesis (AGW) that Gore espouses, the world is warming as a result of carbon-based fossil fuels and will cause widespread environmental destruction and economic dislocation unless carbon emissions are reduced. The world was looking to Gore for continued leadership on this issue as he planned to deliver an important speech at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen from December 7-18.
But all that has seemingly changed with the hacking of e-mails from the Climate Reseach Unit in East Anglia, England on November 17-19. These stolen or leaked e-mails from prominent climate scientists revealed apparent data manipulation, destruction of data, refusal to share data, denial of Freedom of Information requests, blacklisting of journals and silencing of researchers who did not share the consensus view of global warming. Over the next week, knowledge of the content of these e-mails circulated on the internet and were eventually picked up by the mainstream media, first in the UK and then in the US. The Daily Show's Jon Stewart scooped the indifferent US networks when he first addressed it on December 1: "Poor Al Gore, global warming completely debunked via the very internet which you invented. Oh, the irony."
While some media outlets have ignored or minimized the significance of the hacked e-mail controversy, so-called "Climategate", it has become an embarrassment to many involved in this issue including IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri, George Monbiot, the leading British advocate for AGW, and even the White House where the Obama administration has dismissed its implications. Most of all, it has created confusion among the public as skepticism about global warming is now rising and approaches 50% in the US and UK. For his part, Al Gore has gone as far as cancelling his speech at Copenhagen and is no doubt feeling the sting of these e-mails as he fields probing questions from curious interviewers. Most of the key players have assured the public that these unethical and corrupt scientific practices represent only a few rotten apples in an otherwise upstanding scientific community and that the basic thrust of the science is still "settled" and reliable. Nonetheless, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that at least some of the scientific foundation of AGW is now suspect. As a result, the public trust in the impartiality of the scientists themselves has suffered and threatens to undermine any sustained legislative efforts down the road to control carbon emissions through various forms of public policy and taxation. Clearly, Climategate has come at a very inopportune time, just as world leaders were supposed to hammer out an agreement for the reduction of carbon emissions in Copenhagen.
Al Gore's horoscope serves as a compelling "proxy" for the problems of the global warming thesis at this time. From the bi-wheel chart, you can see that Gore has two very difficult transits occurring at the moment. First transiting Mars (25 Cancer) is conjunct his natal Saturn-Mars conjunction. By itself, this isn't necessarily bad news since Mars can often indicate times are high levels of activity and decisive action. But here Mars is debilitated in sidereal Cancer and hence more likely to cause harm to the significations of Mars and Saturn. A potentially bigger problem is that transiting Mars is slowing down ahead of its retrograde station on December 20. And this station will occur exactly conjunct Gore's natal Mars at 25 Cancer. This seems like too much Mars energy and likely indicates a heightened combativeness and aggression which could produce impulsive behaviour and deception.
Gore's other big transit problem is that Saturn is forming a partial square (4th house) aspect with his natal Moon and his Jupiter. Although the aspect is not a "full strength" aspect by Vedic reckoning, it is nonetheless significant because 1) it is still 75% strength by dik bala calculations and; 2) the aspect is very close to his Moon (just one degree off) and; 3) like Mars, Saturn is slowing down ahead of its retrograde station on January 13 and so it is that much stronger by virtue of its slowing velocity. The Moon represents emotions and the mind as well as the public image of a person. In Gore's chart, the Moon is doubly important because it rules his first house (Cancer) and therefore the Moon's condition is very much tied to his whole persona, both physically through health and through the image he projects to the public. The Saturn influence here greatly undermines all that, since Saturn is symbolizes loss and misfortune and often causes hardships through its aspects. Saturn may even be more damaging to Gore since it is lord of the malefic 8th house (Aquarius) in his chart. We should note that this aspect will be very close for the next two months or so since the station occurs at 10 Virgo (exactly square Gore's Moon) and it will only move backwards very slowly after that and will stay within range of the Moon until February. So while the transiting Mars may cause headaches, awkwardness and conflict for Gore for a few weeks, the slower-moving Saturn has the capacity to knock Gore's image and status down a few notches for several months. By extension, we can infer that the consensus view on global warming will likely come under continued attack for much of this time.
We can also see how Gore's popularity and success would be compromised around this time through his dasha sequence. Gore is currently running his Rahu-Mars dasha which began November 4, 2009 according to Krishnamurti ayanamsha, just two weeks before the e-mail hack occurred. Rahu is not the issue here since it has been very good to him as he became Vice-President when he first entered his Rahu dasha in November 1992. Rahu is very well placed in Gore's 10th house of power and status and receives a wide aspect from benefic Jupiter. While major dasha periods form a sort of background influence, subperiods are most commonly implicated in the ups and downs of life and Mars as subperiod lord would appear to fit the bill here. In his natal chart, Mars is debilitated in Cancer in the first house closely conjunct the 8th lord Saturn. This is a very powerful pattern which denotes a great capacity for energy and action, but the downside of all that malefic energy will never be too far away. The 8th house is often associated with obstacles and embarrassments so Mars inherits some of this energy by virtue of its close conjunction to Saturn. Perhaps the most significant placement here is that the Mars natal placement was being triggered by the transit of Mars exactly to its natal position. It is important to note that his Mars subperiod will not inevitably produce negative results. Indeed, Gore has enjoyed the positive side of his Mars as he became US Senator under the Mars major period in the late 1980s. As always, astrology is about the confluence of planets and their energies. The bad side of Mars was released here because the Mars-to-Mars transit conjunction coincided with the Mars subperiod in an unfortunate cosmic feedback loop. In that sense, the Mars-Mars transit served to punctuate or underline the negative side of the ongoing Mars subperiod.
Al Gore is likely to suffer considerable loss of prestige and respect as a result of Climategate and these Mars and Saturn transits. But what does the future promise? The short term looks quite difficult for him since Mars will stay in Cancer (his first house) until May 2010 and Saturn will be in aspect with the Moon and Jupiter until September 2010. It's quite possible that Gore's situation could actually worsen in early 2010 as the lingering effects of those transits eventually manifest as events rather than simply psychological states such as stress. It seems a safe bet to assume that Gore will suffer further from Climategate as it is likely to continue to undermine his crusade to save the world from CO2 and global warming. More generally, it seems likely that the "consensus view" on global warming will come under increased scrutiny in the months ahead as voices of dissent may gain more traction in the mainstream media. Any climate agreement to reduce carbon emissions is therefore very unlikely to make any headway in the US Congress. The problematic Mars subperiod lasts until November 2010 so that will likely preclude any improvement in Gore's situation until it's over.
On the plus side, he begins his main Jupiter period in November so that could change up the energy significantly. Jupiter is well placed in Sagittarius conjunct the Moon in the 6th house, so that may indicate some success in legal affairs or advocacy situations that involve confronting opponents. Jupiter is debilitated in his D10 chart representing status, so perhaps Gore will not quite be able to recapture his previous levels of success. New dashas can sometimes indicate that a person follows a new path or finds new interests as the planetary energy points him in a new direction. Therefore, I would not rule out Al Gore leaving global warming behind and pursuing a new cause once his Jupiter dasha begins. Gore's natal chart features that very idealistic Moon-Jupiter conjunction in Sagittarius. He has a strong sense about what is right and just and he needs to fight (6th house) for it to feel completely alive. As for the future of the consensus global warming view, perhaps further information could be found in an analysis of the charts of other main advocates such as George Monbiot, Michael Mann, or Phil Jones. So many charts, so little time.
Addendum (Posted Dec 15, 2009): Mars continues to cause problems for Al Gore as he has been found to be quoting outdated and inaccurate information about Arctic ice data at the Copenhagen climate conference. Gore claimed that the Arctic would be ice-free in five years but recent data show that Arctic ice cover is now increasing. Here is the report from the Times.