Thursday, October 15, 2009
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. (Telegraph.co.uk):
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.