Image: Al Gore at AGU
Jeff Chiu  /  AP
Former Vice President Al Gore gestures to the audience before speaking at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco on Thursday.
updated 12/15/2006 1:42:39 AM ET 2006-12-15T06:42:39

Former Vice President Al Gore said Thursday there was a "temptation" to suppress scientific findings that don't agree with policy and urged scientists to take a more active role in communicating research with the public.

Without specifically naming the Bush administration, Gore lamented at a gathering of Earth and space scientists that policymakers used to take science into account in their decision-making, but not anymore.

"Earth science has been singled out" and ignored by government, particularly work dealing with climate change, he said during an hourlong speech at the American Geophysical Union meeting.

"There is a greater temptation to ignore inconvenient truths, to set aside knowledge that might challenge a prevailing policy," said Gore, who was greeted with a standing ovation.

Gore cited a recent article by The Associated Press, which reported that new rules at the U.S. Geological Survey required the screening of scientific papers or prepared talks by agency scientists.

Earlier this year, prominent NASA climate scientist James Hansen accused the Bush administration of trying to silence him after a speech he gave on global warming. Two federal agencies last month launched an investigation into whether the administration tried to prevent government scientists from speaking freely about climate change.

Some scientists and climate models are predicting that unchecked human-caused global warming over the next century is expected to raise sea levels and cause extremes in temperatures.

Gore, who stars in the global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," urged scientists to educate the public about what he calls the "climate crisis" and to summon the courage to fight back when "important truths are being ignored, resisted or censored."

Gore did not take questions from scientists or reporters.

Gore, who lost his 2000 White House bid to President Bush, recently stepped back into the spotlight, crisscrossing the country to promote his book and movie and fueling speculation of another run in 2008. Gore has said he has not completely ruled it out.

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