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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Gore Speaks at IOP, Describes Plans for Environment

* Vice President cites global warming, population growth as problems

By Richard M. Burnes and Jenny E. Heller, CRIMSON STAFF WRITERSs

Balancing a grave discussion of global warming with a playful deadpan wit, Vice President Al Gore '69 gave the inaugural address of the Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs on Friday afternoon in the ARCO Forum.

Speaking to a room packed with dignitaries and lotteried ticket-holders, Gore opened a weekend symposium addressing global, environmental and security issues.

Gore's speech, which made ample use of fold-out charts and graphs, was littered with numbers and arcane scientific theories.

But the Vice President's message was both clear and urgent.

"What we now know for sure that just ain't so is that the earth is so big that we can't have an impact on it," Gore said, adapting the familiar words of former New York Yankee Yogi Berra.

Gore put the earth's environmental problems into perspective when he unbuttoned his coat and stepped out from behind the podium to show a history of the world's population growth with his finger.

Gore walked across the whole stage with his hand near his waist, tracing the graph. Only when he got to the far end did he shoot his hand above his head to a point representing 5 billion, a rough estimate of the world's current population.

The Vice President emphasized that such tremendous population growth is having a substantial impact upon the earth.

Gore told audience members that they now breathe six times as many chlorine atoms as they did 30 years ago. While Gore acknowledged that such numbers are not entirely harmful, he said that the change in itself is frightening.

"If that amount of chlorine, in only a half a century, can change by a factor of six, then we have the power to change," he said.

Gore said that the chlorine concentrations, escalating carbon dioxide levels and rising global temperatures are all part of a mixture of problems that many have come to accept.

"This is beginning to have demonstrable effects," he said, noting melting ice he saw during a recent trip to Montana's Glacier National Park. "Pretty soon, people are going to be calling the park known as Glacier the park formerly known as Glacier."

Gore's message came at a time when environmental groups have been pressuring him not to back down from his strong stance on reducing worldwide pollution, while others have been criticizing him for having too extreme a viewpoint on the issue.

Before he began elaborating on environmental challenges, Gore spent five minutes buttering up the crowd with a sense of humor that some said had the scent of Gore speech-writer and former Crimson editor Andrei H. Cherny '97.

With a sarcastically stern face, Gore shifted quickly from routine recognitions of Harvard faculty members to a litany of facetious, self-effacing comments before his audience and hosts, including staff from the Institute of Politics (IOP).

"The IOP has spent a good deal of time studying the presidency, but not so much time studying the vice presidency," Gore lamented.

Yet, not completely discouraged, Gore explained that during January's inauguration, a long-winded singer allowed him to become president for five minutes after Bill Clinton's first term expired.

"It was a very special five minutes," Gore said, beaming. "It was special for my family, and if I may be so bold, special for the country."

Gore elaborated for several minutes on his short-lived administration's record of complete success. He noted that during the Gore administration, the nation was at peace, fewer crimes were committed than under any other president and two police officers ("Teddy and Dwayne") were put on the beat.

Senators' Efforts Honored

Following Gore's speech, many of the invited dignitaries moved over to the Taubman Building for an event celebrating Senators Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) for their contributions to American security.

"They are examples of Congressional leaders standing up and taking action and our lives being better for it," said Graham T. Allison '62, director of the Belfer Center, in his introduction.

Based on theories conceived at the Kennedy School of Government (KSG), Nunn and Lugar in 1991 introduced the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program to their congressional colleagues.

The legislation, which was passed in 1992, provided money and aid to the states of the former Soviet Union to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of rogue states and terrorists.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of the legislation, Ashton B. Carter, the moderator of the Friday event, brandished pieces of an SS19 ICBM missile that was destroyed as a result of the bill.

Carter presented the senators with framed pieces of the ICBM, as well as small glass globes mounted on gold stands and inscribed "for their contributions to U.S. and global security."

In an informal setting, amid bursts of applause, members of the Department of Defense and professors who previously worked in the government praised the senators' work.

"Senator Lugar is known as a voice of reason grounded in analysis and reflection," Carter said.

Kennedy School Dean Joseph S. Nye said the two senators are unusual among politicians in linking both academic and political discoveries.

"Both of them paid attention to ideas and what was happening outside," he said. "Both of them kept looking for ideas..... This is rare."

Lugar and Nunn talked briefly about the program itself and the development of the idea.

Lugar said he first worked with Nunn during arms control negotiations when Mikhail S. Gorbachev was still president of the Soviet Union.

Lugar explained that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he and Nunn were concerned about the nuclear weapons left unaccounted for there.

The collapse of the Soviet Union "was a remarkable opportunity in history but one fraught with enormous peril," the life-long hoosier told his audience.

Lugar said he and Nunn encouraged discussion in Congress and traveled to Russia to participate in negotiations between the two countries.

"This is an on-going debate, and it will not be automatic," Lugar said, referring to discussions about the legislation and need for the measures in the bill.

Nunn said the key is to "stop [the danger] at its source."

The United States must cooperate with the Soviet Union to ensure security. At home, the government must use research and development to detect the location of the nuclear weapons, he said. In Russia, it must work with local officials to locate them.

In the future, according to Nunn, the government must continue to strengthen its defense programs.CrimsonJoshua H. SimonA LONG WAY FROM HOME: Two protesters from Westboro Baptist Church picket Vice President Al Gore's speech at the ARCO Forum Saturday.

Gore told audience members that they now breathe six times as many chlorine atoms as they did 30 years ago. While Gore acknowledged that such numbers are not entirely harmful, he said that the change in itself is frightening.

"If that amount of chlorine, in only a half a century, can change by a factor of six, then we have the power to change," he said.

Gore said that the chlorine concentrations, escalating carbon dioxide levels and rising global temperatures are all part of a mixture of problems that many have come to accept.

"This is beginning to have demonstrable effects," he said, noting melting ice he saw during a recent trip to Montana's Glacier National Park. "Pretty soon, people are going to be calling the park known as Glacier the park formerly known as Glacier."

Gore's message came at a time when environmental groups have been pressuring him not to back down from his strong stance on reducing worldwide pollution, while others have been criticizing him for having too extreme a viewpoint on the issue.

Before he began elaborating on environmental challenges, Gore spent five minutes buttering up the crowd with a sense of humor that some said had the scent of Gore speech-writer and former Crimson editor Andrei H. Cherny '97.

With a sarcastically stern face, Gore shifted quickly from routine recognitions of Harvard faculty members to a litany of facetious, self-effacing comments before his audience and hosts, including staff from the Institute of Politics (IOP).

"The IOP has spent a good deal of time studying the presidency, but not so much time studying the vice presidency," Gore lamented.

Yet, not completely discouraged, Gore explained that during January's inauguration, a long-winded singer allowed him to become president for five minutes after Bill Clinton's first term expired.

"It was a very special five minutes," Gore said, beaming. "It was special for my family, and if I may be so bold, special for the country."

Gore elaborated for several minutes on his short-lived administration's record of complete success. He noted that during the Gore administration, the nation was at peace, fewer crimes were committed than under any other president and two police officers ("Teddy and Dwayne") were put on the beat.

Senators' Efforts Honored

Following Gore's speech, many of the invited dignitaries moved over to the Taubman Building for an event celebrating Senators Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) for their contributions to American security.

"They are examples of Congressional leaders standing up and taking action and our lives being better for it," said Graham T. Allison '62, director of the Belfer Center, in his introduction.

Based on theories conceived at the Kennedy School of Government (KSG), Nunn and Lugar in 1991 introduced the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program to their congressional colleagues.

The legislation, which was passed in 1992, provided money and aid to the states of the former Soviet Union to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of rogue states and terrorists.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of the legislation, Ashton B. Carter, the moderator of the Friday event, brandished pieces of an SS19 ICBM missile that was destroyed as a result of the bill.

Carter presented the senators with framed pieces of the ICBM, as well as small glass globes mounted on gold stands and inscribed "for their contributions to U.S. and global security."

In an informal setting, amid bursts of applause, members of the Department of Defense and professors who previously worked in the government praised the senators' work.

"Senator Lugar is known as a voice of reason grounded in analysis and reflection," Carter said.

Kennedy School Dean Joseph S. Nye said the two senators are unusual among politicians in linking both academic and political discoveries.

"Both of them paid attention to ideas and what was happening outside," he said. "Both of them kept looking for ideas..... This is rare."

Lugar and Nunn talked briefly about the program itself and the development of the idea.

Lugar said he first worked with Nunn during arms control negotiations when Mikhail S. Gorbachev was still president of the Soviet Union.

Lugar explained that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he and Nunn were concerned about the nuclear weapons left unaccounted for there.

The collapse of the Soviet Union "was a remarkable opportunity in history but one fraught with enormous peril," the life-long hoosier told his audience.

Lugar said he and Nunn encouraged discussion in Congress and traveled to Russia to participate in negotiations between the two countries.

"This is an on-going debate, and it will not be automatic," Lugar said, referring to discussions about the legislation and need for the measures in the bill.

Nunn said the key is to "stop [the danger] at its source."

The United States must cooperate with the Soviet Union to ensure security. At home, the government must use research and development to detect the location of the nuclear weapons, he said. In Russia, it must work with local officials to locate them.

In the future, according to Nunn, the government must continue to strengthen its defense programs.CrimsonJoshua H. SimonA LONG WAY FROM HOME: Two protesters from Westboro Baptist Church picket Vice President Al Gore's speech at the ARCO Forum Saturday.

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