Tuesday, March 13, 2007

An Inconvenient, Honest Attempt To Tell Truth

This story will set off spinning sufficient to cause hurricanes.

"Some of Mr. Gore’s centrist detractors point to a report last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that studies global warming. The panel went further than ever before in saying that humans were the main cause of the globe’s warming since 1950, part of Mr. Gore’s message that few scientists dispute. But it also portrayed climate change as a slow-motion process.

"It estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches — down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent."

Climate change alarmism is every bit as corrosive to public debates and public policy as climate change denial. Inattention to the truth, inconvenient or otherwise, is no better than propaganda.


Blogger Blazingcatfur said...

But you know and I know that Gore, Hollywood, a willing media et al will not stop the hype. The environments biggest problem is that it does not get to choose its friends. Many think of environmentalism in terms of organizations such as PETA - this is not the way to win friends and influence people.

4:01 AM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Get me rewrite!

Not one of Oscar's finer moments.


1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Gore's movie is not a documentary - it has so many factual errors and misrepresentations that it can only be called propaganda.

That he is trying to mobilize the world to being good stewards of our only environment is laudable, to create a lie based proxy campaign of fear is despicable and when the the truth comes out, the backlash against real environmental concerns will be catastrophic.

People do not like being lied to.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Jeeper creepers. Gore's film isn't that bad. The producers clearly made some mistakes, and the NYT did a good and balanced job of setting matters straight.

The point about alarmism is an important one. But aimed at Gore, it misses its mark.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Waterdragon: "Lots of good stuff over at MelaniePhillips.com"? Maybe, but a lot of tripe as well, on the climate change question. If Philips wants to purport some shadowy global conspiracy is behind it all, some evidence might help. If there were only some way of taking the extremists at both ends of this debate and locking them in a room until they reached a "consensus" . . .

8:43 AM  
Blogger Bill Doskoch said...

Those tut-tutting about Mr. Gore based on the NYT article might wish to read this post at RealClimate.org.

Here's the RealClimate review of the film.

You might want to read this AP story, in which some scientists say the IPCC report underestimates the impact of ice melt in Greenland and the Antarctic on rising sea levels.

In Gore's book, he cited a 2004 presentation by Sir David King, the UK's science advisor, who said a combination of melt or breaking off of Greenland and Antarctica could cause a sea level increase of 18 to 20 feet.

While precision as to when that might happen would be nice, I don't know if it's possible give it, especially in the constraints of a film.

In any event, the reality of climate change is bad enough.

The federal Conservative government's climate "plan" appears to be to let GHG emissions continue to rise. I would think that would deserve some comment and analysis too.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Got your point, Bill. But as for difficulties with the "precision" of forecast sea level rises, when you say "I don't know if it's possible give it, especially in the constraints of a film," it is actually easy to give it, within the constraints of a simple paragraph.

Here's Andrew Weaver of the IPCC:

"If world temperatures rise another 2.7 C this century, we could reach a tipping point that would see Greenland melt. Sea levels could then rise six to seven metres over several millennia. That's thousands of years. I repeat: Thousands of years. Plural."

As for the comment and analysis of federal policy you want, I've done my share:


and I'll be doing more soon.

12:38 AM  
Blogger Bill Doskoch said...

I really don't want to focus on this one point, but thousands of years still isn't precise (although it does put the figure in much more context than no time frame at all).

Now, what's the impact if we get to the high range of the likely scale from the fourth IPCC report -- 4.8 C? How about a 6.4-degree rise by 2100, which the report sees as possible?

Note: An Inconvenient Truth would have had to work with the third assessment in 2001.

Here is part of what it said about sea level rise, which was predicted to be 0.11 to 0.77 metres by 2100:

"The West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) has attracted special attention because it contains enough ice to raise sea level by 6 m and because of suggestions that instabilities associated with its being grounded below sea level may result in rapid ice discharge when the surrounding ice shelves are weakened. The range of projections given above makes no allowance for ice-dynamic instability of the WAIS. It is now widely agreed that major loss of grounded ice and accelerated sea level rise are very unlikely during the 21st century."

At the very least, Gore should have said this isn't a change we will see in our lifetimes or even within the next century. However, your commenters -- who seem to have more problems with the film than you do -- should know he didn't make the number up.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Bill said: "At the very least, Gore should have said this isn't a change we will see in our lifetimes or even within the next century. However, your commenters -- who seem to have more problems with the film than you do -- should know he didn't make the number up."

I say: Bingo.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

For anyone who still thinks that Melanie Phillips has got it right on this subject or that "The Great Global Warming Swindle" is somehow more credible that "An Incovenient Truth", or deserves to be taken seriously at all:

Be advised Swindle director Martin Durkin, suddenly a darling of the "right", has been a prevaricator extraordinaire since his days of fellow-traveling with the Revolutionary Communist Party. See Wikipedia here for starters:

12:46 PM  

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