Thursday, October 15, 2009

Conveniently Untrue?

In the spirit of Blog Action Day (link). A repost.

Take a look at this video first:

Did Vice President Al Gore avoid Phelim McAleer's question? I think he did. Gore responded with a well rehearsed politico two-step. He avoided the larger question, which was whether some of the 'truths' in the his film An Inconvenient Truth, where stretched. He tried to change the discussion by appealing to the bleeding hearts. Who doesn't love polar bears? I mean look at them? (their numbers up?) (even the polar bear conservationists are unsure)

Here are the 'nine Inconvenient Untruths' that British High Court Judge Michael Burton ruled 'politically partisan and thus not an impartial scientific analysis of climate change. (

1. Mr Gore claims that a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting of either West Antarctica or Greenland "in the near future". The judge said: "This is distinctly alarmist and part of Mr Gore's "wake-up call". He agreed that if Greenland melted it would release this amount of water - "but only after, and over, millennia"."The Armageddon scenario he predicts, insofar as it suggests that sea level rises of seven metres might occur in the immediate future, is not in line with the scientific consensus."

2. The film claims that low-lying inhabited Pacific atolls "are being inundated because of anthropogenic global warming" but the judge ruled there was no evidence of any evacuation having yet happened.

3. The documentary speaks of global warming "shutting down the Ocean Conveyor" - the process by which the Gulf Stream is carried over the North Atlantic to western Europe. Citing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the judge said that it was "very unlikely" that the Ocean Conveyor, also known as the Meridional Overturning Circulation, would shut down in the future, though it might slow down.

4. Mr Gore claims that two graphs, one plotting a rise in C02 and the other the rise in temperature over a period of 650,000 years, showed "an exact fit". The judge said that, although there was general scientific agreement that there was a connection, "the two graphs do not establish what Mr Gore asserts".

5. Mr Gore says the disappearance of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro was directly attributable to global warming, but the judge ruled that it scientists have not established that the recession of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro is primarily attributable to human-induced climate change.

6. The film contends that the drying up of Lake Chad is a prime example of a catastrophic result of global warming but the judge said there was insufficient evidence, and that "it is apparently considered to be far more likely to result from other factors, such as population increase and over-grazing, and regional climate variability."

7. Mr Gore blames Hurricane Katrina and the consequent devastation in New Orleans on global warming, but the judge ruled there was "insufficient evidence to show that".

8. Mr Gore cites a scientific study that shows, for the first time, that polar bears were being found after drowning from "swimming long distances - up to 60 miles - to find the ice" The judge said: "The only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm."That was not to say there might not in future be drowning-related deaths of bears if the trend of regression of pack ice continued - "but it plainly does not support Mr Gore's description".

9. Mr Gore said that coral reefs all over the world were being bleached because of global warming and other factors. Again citing the IPCC, the judge agreed that, if temperatures were to rise by 1-3 degrees centigrade, there would be increased coral bleaching and mortality, unless the coral could adapt. However, he ruled that separating the impacts of stresses due to climate change from other stresses, such as over-fishing, and pollution was difficult.

Judge Burton ruled 'that errors had arisen "in the context of alarmism and exaggeration" in order to support Mr Gore's thesis on global warming' and 'declined to ban the Academy Award-winning film from British schools, but ruled that it can only be shown with guidance notes to prevent political indoctrination'. So there. Basically the film can be used to scare the life out of kids, but can not be shown in science class...???

National Geographic (Fact or hype)did a similar peek into Gore's An Inconvenient Truth in 2006. Their results were far more Gore friendly, but there was still a feeling of doubt that permeates throughout the report.

Here is a 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report). Read the (SPM) for some really good hard data on climate change and its projected global impact.

Here is a link to the (science behind) An Inconvenient Truth . Compare the science with the judicially deemed 'untruths'. Yes, my head is spinning too.

At the other end of the global warming debate are folks like (Global Warming is a Farce), (Climate Realists) or (Not Evil Just Wrong). The best site for global warming deniers that I have found would be the Global Warming is a Farce site, it offers up a ton of links and even references real science (WOW!). The Climate Realists would have one believe that CO2 has no effect on climate change, that climate change is in fact a myth. Read their (science disproves global warming), hmmm funny how there isn't a lot of hard data shown. There are examples of more snow on Brazilian mountains, that tree rings might provide evidence of a similar warming trend a thousand years ago, talk of scientists that refute that CO2 causes global warming, but no numbers, no graphs, more opinion than science. When did science come down to sticking one's head out the door and deducing whether or not it is cold out. Ye gads, it snowed in October, global warming is a farce. Sketchy.

As for the Not Evil Just Wrong lot, what have they got? Fingers crossed that they have some science. Hell, I gave them the opening word in this debate. Yep, Phelim McAleer is Not Evil Just Wrong's guy. Upon reviewing their site, it seems they are low on science but high on right wing catch phrases. Sorry kids, but I am not at all comfortable supporting a group that uses 'cinematic tea party movement' and 'tell Al Gore and the elites that you are fed up with taxes and restrictions that threaten jobs across the country.'. This appears to be nothing more than shameless promotion for their film and thus quickly loses any real legitimacy in my eyes. SCIENCE! Where is the goddamned science? If you are going to attack Al Gore and climate change you better come with a little more than a right wing agenda against liberal elites or taxation. Taxes, hell I will pay a few extra bucks to ensure that our friends the polar bears and hell Prince Edward Island survives the next 100 years. Prove me wrong, by PROVING Al Gore and his science wrong. Do that, don't pony up to the rabid right wing hordes and you will have a fan.

But where was I? I started out staring Al Gore in the eyes and asking him to explain why a British judge had issues with 9 of the 'truths' in An Inconvenient Truth . I allowed science to weigh in. I then dug a little into the agenda of the deniers. The anti-Gore forces are going to lose this debate if they can not come up with some stronger science. Hard data, graphs. They come off as right wing loons. Al Gore's numbers may be slightly skewed, he might have added emphasis (which, yes is lamentable) to strengthen his cause, but his argument is heavily backed up by science.

Politics always loses to science. Yes Al Gore is a political figure, so yes there is good reason to look into any of his claims with due skepticism. Countering Al Gore and climate control with politics and not science just does not work. So Phelim McAleer journalism is in fact not dead. Nor is the climate control debate, but it will be if such a debate dwells primarily in left versus right politics. Climate control and global warming are scientific issues. Politics be damned.



  1. The Global Warming Theory makes me wish I had the time and money to go to school to learn how to test for this stuff. I've read valid information that seems to support both sides and quite frankly I am left confused. What I would like to really see, is for a group to be formed of leading scientist from both sides work together and do some real testing and use a checks and balances to ensure the information is correct. For me, it's too hard to see through the bullshit to see the truth.

  2. Politics be damned is right. I just don't understand what the so called 'left wing climate change agenda' would stand to gain by lying? Let's see, let's tell everyone the sky is falling and turn the world upside down so we... can... um... get cars off the road! Make houses more energy efficient! WAIT! I SEE IT NOW!! IT'S A CONSPIRACY OF THE INSULATION MANUFACTURERS AND PRIUS PEOPLE!!OMG IT WAS RIGHT THERE ALL ALONG!!

    Well, obviously that's a little over the top, but honestly. One can see who benefits from the status quo.... The IPCC seems rather too conservative and huge and representative to be full of shit.

  3. I hear you Val. What comes down to for me is this; yes I believe we are making an awful mess of things. Are we headed quickly towards a global climate apocalypse? That I am not so sure. My feeling is, why not be as neat and tidy as possible? That would be the polite way to go about things.

  4. Yay, I was thinking about talking to you before (cr8tveCandy) before taking this whole thing on. I am not an environmentalist. I care, but I am really not all that informed. Sadie is in Philly, you coulda really helped a fella out. I hope I didn't butcher the whole thing...???

    I think the right she climate change as something the left uses to scare people into voting for them. Sorta like the right and their reliance on the fear of terrorism and security.

    Politics be damned. I am in the same boat as Val. I want the truth. I wanna know if the planet is fucked, if it can be saved, if this is all much to do about nothing, etc.

  5. Let me friendly, because I am. Hence: no comment.

  6. Fair enough. There was no way I was gonna live up to your high standards on this one. I was doomed from the start.

  7. deverse, I love your individuality and your unique opinions, however, you must learn to be a little more constructive then "no comment"...

    You weren't doomed Joe; you did your best. It's a tough subject, many different facets, and If we don't all start really discussing this constructively and keep an open mind, we really are all doomed.

    We require non-partisan comments!

  8. Of course I joke. Partisan comments are welcome too. It's a free country (after taxes anyway..)

  9. Thing is David, deverse, or Ndege or Derek, had a vision for this post which focused on the science and the science alone. Fair enough, he held me to a standard that I could not met. I am not a scientist, I am barely a journalist... this is but a blog post. One that I hoped would get folks talking. It has, so in my eyes it is a success.

  10. Hey, TWD, you weren't around, when Joe and I discussed this post via dozens and dozens of Tweets. Good Joe - I hope - knows exactly what I think about this particular subject: content as well as purpose of this post as well as, well, also ethics.

    I am pretty sure, you know for a fact that I am quite constructive; I at least try to always come up with reasons - and with alternatives. I did so in this case too.

  11. And Huzzah to you. I just think that you deserve more credit then you give yourself. And also, Derek's vision cannot be translated through another writer's work...ultimately a shift in the vision and opinion will occur...Derek must write his own version...

    You ARE a journalist, and a writer. You want to be one, right? First you have to believe it. People read you, and like you, and respond to you. That means a lot brother. Don't take it for granted, or sell yourself short. You deserve the NAD Pulitzer!

    Sermon over!

  12. Well, Joe, again I must - in all friendliness - disagree; I had no 'vision'.

    I merely think, if you write publicly about scientific stuff, especially about something of such great importance, especially when 'questioning' a Nobel Peace prize winner (and author of many, many good and interesting books) you do it from a perspective of knowlegde, otherwise... you are not adding anything (constructive) to the debate, but just one more piece of (confusing) noise.

    Be this 'just' a blog, or not - and I certainly do not like the 'just' in that context; as if you are worth less as a person with an opinion than anyone else with one - if you have something to add, please do! but do it because you have something to add, not because you also 'have a voice'. Not you, anyway.

    The same is true for 'getting people talking': if just for the sake of noise-making... why? Why on Earth, why? - If you want to get people 'talking' - especially if you want them to do that successfully - why not for real? For real reasons? Becoming the issue? Because you added something worth talking about? Enriching? Insightful? Special? (All of which you, Joe, easily could!)

    In relation to the standard, that I, as you say, applied: it is your standard, put forth by your writing so far; not mine.

  13. Anonymous, I know you can be quite constructive, of that there is no doubt. you have Joe saying he "can't live up to your standards" and this bothers me, because I like Joe, and he's a good writer and journalist. And he's a good friend. I suppose that makes me biased, and therefore, a bad journalist!

    But I am glad for one thing Anonymous; you are a good catalyst for a good debate. So thank you.

  14. I actually have to thank Derek, he helped me focus my energy on this post. The discussions we had earlier this afternoon where frustrating, he had me close to tearing my hair out (good thing I shaved my head yesterday) and I nearly scrapping the whole thing. He had me doubting my ability to take on this issue. Add to the fact that the baby was grouchy and the kids was a helluva an afternoon to write. But I did it, Derek and children be damned :P

    And David, thank you for the kind words and over abundant praise. You are an awesome source of confidence.

    The two of you are like the angel and the devil on each shoulder. Thanks.

  15. How am I not being constructive by getting people talking about climate change? I am not have filled my post with graph and proof that the sky is falling, or the opposite that the sky is not falling. I felt it important to write a piece that took on the fact that there is a growing movement of climate change deniers out there, that are attacking Al Gore and his An Inconvenient Truth documentary.

    By the end of my post, I sided with science and for the most part Gore. I am not a denier, nor am I anti-Gore. I am also not a scientist and I do not have weeks and weeks and weeks to come up with a new perspective on climate change. If I am adding to the noise, and not being constructive, I am sorry. I did my best. I thought I was fair.

  16. Don't you DARE call David the devil; I won't stand for it! He's puppyboy, as well you know.

  17. I'm going to try to be as neutral as possible while I tell you all my opinion.

    I am a hardcore Gore fan, but he was VP to one of the biggest liars in the presidential office, second only to G.W Bush. Of course, he picked up some tricks.

    I don't know if this Global Warming Theory is true or not, but the weather is not like it was when I was little. Hurricane Katrina and these tsunamis were a rarity. If there is something that could be done to change that and Gore's advocating that. I'm all for it.

  18. I'd rather be prudent environmentally then sit on my hands. If it only means that the water is cleaner, there are less habitats destroyed, or that my daughter has clean air to breath. So be it. Why live like slobs?

  19. Just to go off topic on a very interesting debate. I have a problem with some of the writer's grammar on this site. There is an grammatical error made by more than one of the contributors that is continuously repeated, to the point that I am compelled to comment. There seems to be confusion with the use of the words then and than. "Then" relates to a period of time, i.e. I walked down the road, then stopped. "than" implies choice, I'd rather be healthy than sick. Too often in example two writers are using then rather than the proper (than).
    Just saying is all.


  20. HA. The grammar game is a nasty one, it can never be won. If it's not a than or a then, an it's or an its, it's a there, their, or they're. We try our best. Some posts are better edited than others.

  21. What about the hockey stick graph Al Gore used in his movie???
    Complete fraud - Michael Mann wouldn't release the raw data to prove or disprove his findings - it took Steve McIntyre 10 years to finally obtain some data to work with....

    I think the real problem is not that Science isn't available to support the claims made, but that the "science" is being tampered with to promote a bias. Get the raw data out in the open for real Scientests to analyze. Put the whole thing on trial as per the US Chamber of Commerce reccomends.

    Also, where a Government agenda is obviously tied to the research funding for the science, it is not a had stretch to see how the truth can be distorted. If your job depended on coming up with the predetermined answer... what would you do???
    Is it possible that we are barking up the wrong tree? Chasing carbon dioxide because we need a scapegoat to make ourselves feel like we have control.
    Maybe we should take a step back and take a long hard look at the things we are pushing down the prority list - things which can actually preserve the earth and our way of life.
    Most of the ones we call "deniers" are concerned for their future as well. They are worried we are going to effectively bring an already weak economy to ruin. They are also worried that we will not be able to provide enogh electricity with alternative energy sources to replace what we have already, and also that our energy prices will needlessly skyrocket. There are plenty who cannot afford energy right now - how will they afford it at double or triple the present price??
    Do you really think it is a great idea to be so resolved to such a questionable solution with such far reaching forseeable problems???

  22. Thanks for the comment. I agree with much of what you have written. I too would love to see independent, non-partisan study into the climate issue. It is obvious that Gore's film was political in nature. I do not believe it should be shown in science class. In debate class sure. Gore pumped up the numbers, he had us believe that the sky was falling, and fast!

    But how fast? Are we doomed already?

    If we are on the environmental tipping point like many 'credible' environmentalists suggest, than I am sorry, the economy and heating prices be damned. The planet is more important than human institutions. We don't own the place, we are just renting. But if this is nothing more than political hot air guised as environmental science, then yes, put a stop to the madness, rethink everything. Independent study. Science not politics!