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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman March 2, 2021

Fact-checking claims that Al Gore said all Arctic ice will be gone in the summer by 2013

If Your Time is short

  • In 2009, Al Gore loosely cited researchers and said there was a “75% chance” the ice could be gone during at least some summer months within five to seven years. 

  • He made similar statements multiple other times in the late 2000s.

Former Vice President Al Gore has been a vocal advocate for policies to reduce global warming, dedicating much of his post-White House work to the cause — and encountering a fair amount of ridicule along the way.

Now some social media users are sharing posts that claim Gore wrongly predicted in the late 2000s that all the Arctic ice would be melted in the summer by 2013. 

"The North Pole will be ice-free in the summer by 2013 because of man-made global warming. Al Gore, 2009," one Facebook post says. A photo below the quote shows a man covered in ice, with more in the background, and text that says, "2021 nope it’s still cold!" 

Gore didn’t say exactly this in 2009, but he made a similar statement.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

In a Dec. 14, 2009, speech at the Copenhagen Climate Conference, Gore suggested the possibility of the Arctic losing some or all of its ice in the summer months within five to seven years, citing researchers associated with the Naval Postgraduate School.

"Some of the models suggest to Dr. (Wieslav) Maslowski that there is a 75% chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years."

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Gore attributed the prediction to researchers, but it appears he misstated the findings.  

A day after the speech, Maslowski told the London Times that it was unclear "how this figure was arrived at … I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this."

The article said that Gore’s office "later admitted that the 75% figure was one used by Dr. Maslowski as a ‘ballpark figure’ several years ago in a conversation with Mr. Gore."

Gore made similar statements about Arctic ice in his 2007 Nobel prize acceptance speech and, in 2008, a video of the opening of a German museum captured Gore saying that "the entire North polar ice cap may well be completely gone in five years." 

In his Academy Award-winning 2006 documentary  "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore warned about the coming impact of climate change on the Arctic ice cap, but he said studies showed it would be gone in the summertime "within the next 50 to 70 years" — so by 2056 or 2076.

Our ruling

Posts claim Al Gore said in 2009 that the North Pole "will be ice-free in the summer by 2013 because of man-made global warming."

Gore said something similar. Citing researchers during a 2009 climate change conference, Gore  said there was a 75% chance that ice in the Arctic could be gone during at least some summer months within five to seven years. Reports indicate that he misrepresented the details of the research. 

The post is accurate but needs additional information. We rate it Mostly True. 

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Fact-checking claims that Al Gore said all Arctic ice will be gone in the summer by 2013

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