Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gore Re-Gored

Al Gore's film may have inadvertently done us all a favour: by making itself a home for all the main global warming nostrums and a lightning rod for global warming enthusiasm -- attracting worldwide bouts of almost religious enthusiasm, including local cheerleaders from Helen Clark to John Key, whose "buttons," he said had all been pushed -- it has attracted to it as well high-voltage bolts of criticism that demolish his primary thesis.

Two authors in particular have been carrying serious water debunking Al Gore's celluloid fits of fantasy.

Writing in the UK's Sunday Telegraph, Christopher Monckton even attracted Al Gore himself to fire off a broadside defending himself and his science. A scathing Monckton has just fired off his return salvo [pdf].

You can see the whole series here -- and you owe it to yourself to get to grips with the arguments:
1. Christopher Monckton (5 Nov.): The Sun is Warmer Now Than for the Past 11,400 Years
2. Christopher Monckton (12 Nov.): Wrong problem. Wrong Solution
3. Al Gore's response (19 Nov.): At Stake is Nothing Less Than the Survival of Human Civilisation
4. Christopher Monckton: Gore Gored: A Science-based response to Al Gore’s Global Warming Commentary in London’s Sunday Telegraph, 19 November 2006. [PDF]
And Marlo Lewis offers his 'Skeptics Guide to An Inconvenient Truth,'which you would have seen here in draft format, now updated into an online book, a powerpoint display, and a series of short online videos:
A Skeptics Guide to an Inconvenient Truth - online book
Inconvenient Truths for Al Gore - Videos
Inconvenient Truths for Al Gore - Powerpoint presentation
This is a goldmine. If for example you know teachers who are using Gore's film as a 'teaching tool,' as many are unfortunately doing, then send them Lewis's Powerpoint presentation [ppt] as a counter-balance.

Now as you would expect, both Monckton and Lewis make similar criticisms of the main points of the film. Monckton quotes Senator James Inhofe’s list of some of Gore’s scientific errors or exaggerations, which gives you a convenient short list of the main points of both in summary form:
  • · Gore promoted the now-debunked “hockey stick” temperature chart for the past 1,000 years in an attempt to prove man’s overwhelming impact on the climate, and attempted to debunk the significance of the mediaeval warm period and little ice age (for discussion and references, see the full discussion in the online book [pdf]).
  • · Gore insisted on a link between increased hurricane activity and global warming that most scientist believe does not exist (for discussion and references, see the full discussion in the online book [pdf]).
  • · Gore asserted that today’s Arctic is experiencing unprecedented warmth while ignoringthat temperatures in the 1930’s were as warm or warmer (NCDC, 2006);
  • · Gore said the Antarctic was warming and losing ice but failed to note, that is only true of a small region and the vast bulk has been cooling and gaining ice (see my first article).
  • · Gore hyped unfounded fears that Greenland’s ice is in danger of disappearing (for discussion and references, see the full discussion in the online book [pdf]).
  • · Gore erroneously claimed that ice cap on Mt. Kilimanjaro is disappearing due to global warming, though satellite measurements show no temperature change at the summit, and the peer-reviewed scientific literature suggests that desiccation of the atmosphere in the region caused by post-colonial deforestation is the cause of the glacial recession (see my first article).
  • · Gore made assertions of massive future sea level rise that is way out side of any supposed scientific “consensus” and is not supported in even the most alarmist literature (for discussion and references, see the full discussion in the online book [pdf]).
  • · Gore incorrectly implied that a Peruvian glacier's retreat is due to global warming, while ignoring the fact that the region has been cooling since the 1930s and other glaciers in South America are advancing (see Polissar et al., 2005, for an interesting discussion of glaciers in the tropical Andes).
  • · Gore blamed global warming for water loss in Africa's Lake Chad, though NASA scientists had concluded that local water-use and grazing patterns are probably to blame (Foley and Coe, 2001).
  • · Gore inaccurately said polar bears are drowning in significant numbers due to melting ice when in fact 11 of the 13 main groups in Canada are thriving, and there is evidence that the only groups that are not thriving are in a region of the Arctic that has cooled (Taylor, 2006).
  • · Gore did not tell viewers that the 48 scientists whom he quoted as having accused President Bush of distorting science were part of a political advocacy group set up to support the Democrat Presidential candidate, John Kerry, in 2004.
Now, go do your homework.
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RELATED: Global Warming, Science, Politics-UK, Politics

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6 Comments:

Blogger MikeE said...

Got about 2/3 of the way through it before turning it off, after he claims what he says is fact v theory.

I love it how he says that as CO2 has increased with warming that CO2 must cause warming. As opposed to, I dunno, warming increasing plant growth and increasing CO2 output (which he refers to earlier).

The movies a fucking Sci Fi film.

11/23/2006 04:26:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

I don't understand why most politians attended Gore's lecture at Auckland University earlier this month. First, Gore is not a scientist. Second, reputable scientists from overseas do make regular scholar visit to New Zealand to hold lectures in their specific fields. I am a regular attendee in most of those scholarly lectures and have never seen any politician in those REAL science lectures. So, Al Gore's pseudo-science is more important than real science. We all know what sort of government we are in for, if politicians are interested in pseudo-science & faith-healers rather than real science.

11/23/2006 06:09:00 pm  
Anonymous Rezwan said...

Global warming, whatever. The real issue here is the utter lack of discussion of nuclear fusion options. Few people have a clue about how many there are.

Nuclear power without nuclear weapons: It's closer than you think. Much closer.

For more details, check out my post on daily Kos.

And, just in time for the holidays: fusion fashions.

11/24/2006 09:39:00 am  
Anonymous hemi said...

First, Gore is not a scientist.

Well, neither is Christopher Monckton, but PC seems happy to use him as an authority.

11/24/2006 10:18:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Hemi said...
[Well, neither is Christopher Monckton...]

I don't think that our politicians will flock to see Christopher Monckton if he tours New Zealand to promote his website, even he is a non-scientist exactly as Gore. There is the difference, our politicians should be going to their respective electorates in their spare time to talke to the people, instead of going to see a psychic (Al Gore). Our politicians shouldn't have gone to see the likes of Gore including Chris Monckton if he tours NZ.

11/24/2006 05:04:00 pm  
Anonymous Sam Vilain said...

One key thing I think missed in this criticism is the fictional description of global warming presented by the movie. You have this picture of, light comes in, get trapped by carbon, surface heats up. I don't think anyone has seriously thought this to be the case in the last 100 years of the CO₂ climate forcing theories. It's not even what the IPCC model states. Gore doesn't even have the story from his own side of the debate straight! But, if you were to tell people that the IPCC model includes two speculated knock-on effects - that increased anthropogenic CO₂ emissions cause the biomass to release more CO₂ and that in turn causes more H₂O to go into the air - without causing significant extra cloud cover - would they be so "dedicated" to the cause?

That being said, there are some recent data points that suggest the overall trend in the poles is of melt. This nature piece is worth reading - in particular the map of Antarctic ice melt. Also NASA has some data to say that the Greenland Ice Sheet is slipping and that Antarctica is losing mass, too. But is it anthropogenic?

There is a much simpler explanation - that warming and cooling happens like the ebb and flow of the tides. There are lots of data points to suggest that the earth has been warmer in recent (<2,000 year) history than it was in 1998, the hottest year to date. eg, to pick a few released in the last couple of weeks, from caves in Africa and even elephant seal corpse distribution in Antarctica.

On the subject of scientific consensus, a UK research scientist tries to reproduce the study cited in the movie of "all 928 papers" (despite there being ~12,000 papers published in the field over the time period), and found it to be flawed.

On a lighter note, there's also the amusing observation that Gore basically made up all that stuff at the beginning of the movie about what happened with the Apollo mission - his account differs wildly from the NASA version. It includes a link to a picture of the Earth from Space, fully illuminated once a day, updated every 2 hours :). Of course that's nothing to do with Climate Change per se, but goes to show the general level of quality control and fact checking that went into this tripe.

11/27/2006 03:05:00 pm  

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