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Saturday, February 24, 2007

An Inconvenient Exaggeration

This Sunday, Al Gore will probably win an Academy Award for his global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, a riveting work of science fiction. The main point of the movie is that, unless we do something very serious, very soon about carbon dioxide emissions, much of Greenland’s 630,000 cubic miles of ice is going to fall into the ocean, raising sea levels over twenty feet by the year 2100.

Where’s the scientific support for this claim? Certainly not in the recent Policymaker’s Summary from the United Nations’ much anticipated compendium on climate change. Under the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s medium-range emission scenario for greenhouse gases, a rise in sea level of between 8 and 17 inches is predicted by 2100. Gore’s film exaggerates the rise by about 2,000 percent.
It amazes me what counts as a documentary these days. I once thought that a documentary was a fact finding expose that digs for the truth surrounding an issue or an event. Seems like now as long as a movie is about or contains real people as themselves that it counts as a documentary.

So it seems it doesn't matter if there are half truths, exaggerations or outright fabrications, if the message is the right one and it is presented like a documentary then it is one. I've written several times how this movie is a partisan attack on the American lifestyle. The continuing theme of the global warming crowd (known as climate change during the winter because no one will believe in warming when it is cold outside) has been redistribution of wealth to pay for perceived sins against the environment.

Every time we got ice and snow this year many of us would comment that this shows that there is no global warming. Of course one storm proves nothing yet Al Gore's introductory comment to promote this film was how Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans proved that global warming existed AND that it was caused by humans.

Al Gore takes many liberties with the information he presents in his film and anyone with a scientific approach to climate study can easily point these out.

The science has shown that there are many causes for the climate generally getting warmer. Variations in the Sun's output, wobble in the tilt of the Earth, decreased cosmic radiation affecting cloud cover, and green house gases. The majority of these causes are natural. Even fluctuations in greenhouse gases are natural. But the message is that western humans are the problem and western humans should pay for it.

Al Gore criticizes the US for not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol yet while he was VP, he and Bill Clinton made no effort to present the pact to Congress.
It would be nice if my colleagues would actually level with politicians about various “solutions” for climate change. The Kyoto Protocol, if fulfilled by every signatory, would reduce global warming by 0.07 degrees Celsius per half-century. That’s too small to measure, because the earth’s temperature varies by more than that from year to year.
The thing is that all Kyoto does is penalize member countries financially without affecting any real change.

I do not begrudge Al Gore his Oscar. I do disagree completely with his premise. I just wish the film had been classified more appropriately as fiction, docudrama or fantasy.

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