An Inconvenient Truth dispenses w piffling equivocations

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    Martin W

      I’ve seen only little of An Inconvenient Truth, the documentary by Al Gore that’s done much to sharpen focus on global warming. Partly as I felt it was especially for US audience, with scepticism more prevalent than in many places, also read the science not always spot on tho good, and based on Powerpoint presentation – which in normal scheme of things means dull as dishwater.

      It’s now in the news again, after court case in UK, where a father with mystery financial backer took issue with UK govt planning to distribute copies in schools. A judge found that overall, An Inconvenient Truth is accurate, but noted nine errors.

      Some media – and especially idiots posting comments – have taken this to mean Gore’s picture re warming is wrong. Not so.

      Found what seems to me an excellent commentary on the issue, from Roger Harrabin, BBC Environment Analyst:

      I have spent much of the last two decades of my journalistic life warning about the potential dangers of climate change, but when I first watched Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth I felt a flutter of unease.

      Not because the central message – that climate change is happening and almost certainly caused by mankind – is untrue; but because in several points of the film, Mr Gore simply goes too far by asserting or implying facts that are contentious.

      This leaves the film open to attack by the ever-dwindling band of sceptics who do not want to accept that climate change is anything to do with humans, and indeed a successful attack is exactly what has happened in the UK.

      The film was made as a polemic, not an educational tool for children.

      The sceptics knew that they did not need to win the battle of climate facts, they just needed to keep doubt alive.

      Smoothing the wrinkles

      An Inconvenient Truth is a response to that often cynical campaign, attempting to put climate change beyond doubt and remove ambiguity from presentation of the scientific facts.

      The problem is that climate science is a massive and messy field; and although even the White House now accepts that the climate is changing and humankind is more than 90% likely to blame, there are still wrinkles in the science, signposts that point in the opposite direction to the one we expect.

      The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deals with these wrinkles by expressing its prognoses in bands of uncertainty: the climate is likely to warm by between 1.8C and 4.0C by the end of the century.

      But movies are not made of piffling equivocations like this, so Mr Gore dispenses with many of them.

      The heat and light in global warming

      Martin W

        Al Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), chaired by Indian scientist Rajendra Pachauri, who have been jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

        Congratulations to the two of them!

        – and how sad to see there’s sour grapes and sniping from right wing idiots; not even gonna bother linking to such stuff just now

        Martin W

          Another balanced piece on Gore and his Nobel, in Chicago Herald Tribune; includes:

          The scientific consensus on global warming looked much different when Al Gore left elective office in 2001 than it does today.

          Most of the remaining doubts some scientists harbored about the impact of human activity on global temperatures have disappeared in the last few years. Gore’s recital of climate facts in his movie “An Inconvenient Truth” contains some flaws, but most experts agree he is correct on the biggest point: The earth is on a path toward a perilously warm climate and the release of greenhouse gases is playing a key role.

          Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said he has mixed feelings about Gore’s approach. Emanuel said while Gore has helped persuade the public to take climate change seriously, his movie contains “some exaggerations that make climate scientists wince,”

          “There’s a lot of science in there that people have a hard time refuting,” said Jerry Melillo, director of the ecosystems center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, who helped author past Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.

          Science backs Gore’s premise

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