Al Gore’s Exaggerated Truth

This morning New York Times reports that many scientists are concerned that Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth exaggerates many aspects of the global warming debate:

Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

For example, there are Gore’s five-alarm warnings about the link between global warming and hurricanes:

Still, Dr. Hansen said, the former vice president’s work may hold “imperfections” and “technical flaws.” He pointed to hurricanes, an icon for Mr. Gore, who highlights the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and cites research suggesting that global warming will cause both storm frequency and deadliness to rise. Yet this past Atlantic season produced fewer hurricanes than forecasters predicted (five versus nine), and none that hit the United States.

 And then there’s the fact that, even though it is warmer now than it has been in the recent past, we really don’t know what that means:

[A] report last June by the National Academies seemed to contradict Mr. Gore’s portrayal of recent temperatures as the highest in the past millennium. Instead, the report said, current highs appeared unrivaled since only 1600, the tail end of a temperature rise known as the medieval warm period.

Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said on a blog that Mr. Gore’s film did “indeed do a pretty good job of presenting the most dire scenarios.” But the June report, he added, shows “that all we really know is that we are warmer now than we were during the last 400 years.”

Are we in the middle of a recurring cycle or is this a long-term trend ? After all, as recently as the 18th Century, the Northern Hemisphere was in the middle of what has been referred to as a “mini ice age”, with blizzard-like storms a common occurrence in New England as last as April. As these scientists point  out the fact is that we really don’t know what we’re dealing with.

That doesn’t matter to Al Gore, though, it’s clear that, for him, global warming is a political crusade, not a scientific inquiry. Seen in that light, his shrill alarmism is entirely understandable.

  • Adam

    There is a very interesting video that aired in Britain I believe and was linked to on yesterday. Basically, it states all the things that Global Warming Alarmists conveniently leave out when they talk publicly.

    While I believe that we have serious environmental concerns, I do not believe that Global Warming is one of these. If you see the video I mentioned above you realize that many of the conclusions drawn about the CO2 Global Warming correlation are completely wrong.

    I think it is important that we let the scientists pursue this problem and keep politics out of it. Politics has a tendency to over simplify things into good and bad, left and right, with or against. The environment is an incredibly complex system that we understand only marginally. Keep creating tougher emission standards and searching for alternate sources of energy, but do not create a world wide panic.

  • Emily

    I think this whole global warrming thing is just some stupid theory that scientist came up with like when they thought the world was flat. Al Gore is a big fat jerk and nobody should listen to him. I agree with Roy Spencer even though I am just 13. It is just a natural process.

  • Otto

    Yes Emily a stupid theory that 5500 scientists came up with according to the report presented last week.

  • John

    Actually, Otto, Emily has a better grasp on the issue that you do. The ICCP is a political document that claims to be the scientific opinion of 2500 scientists (not 5500), but actually is an attempt to get as much money from governments ($4billion from the US government alone), non-profits and even corporations as possible for what has become it’s own industry. In fact, to get to the 2500 scientists that it claims, it had to include a number of scientists who didn’t agree with the final report, yet their names were listed anyway. At least one scientist actually had to threaten legal action to get the ICCP to take his name off the list.
    If you’re so smart Otto, perhaps you can explain to Emily and I why in the post-WWII period, when the amount of CO2 humans were putting into the air drastically increased, world wide tempatures actually fell for four decades straight?
    Perhaps you can also explain why, throughout Earth’s history, increases in CO2 in the atmosphere often lag behind behind increases in climate tempature? I mean, if the global warming religion is correct, shouldn’t it be the other way around?
    Perhaps you can explain why Al Gore refuses to debate this issue with Bjorn Lornborg or anybody else for that matter. I mean, if this is all so obvious, Al Gore should be able to handle these “deniers” pretty easily right?
    Perhaps you can…Oh, forget it Otto.

    Emily, you’re instincts are correct. Never trust liberals like Al Gore or their minions in the mainstream media. You (and everyone else) should watch this:

  • Mark

    Where do you get the number 5500 scientists Otto? I’ve read several stories covering this report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and nowhere do I see the figure of 5500 scientists mentioned. I did see “over 1000” and “approximately 2200” but no one mentioned 5500. Incidentally, is unreachable so I’m having trouble attempting to verify your claim myself. I guess we’ll have to take your word for it Otto. Also, nice job shooting down a 13 year old. Also, in the future, for credibility’s sake, trying posting your sources. It will make your wild claims that much more believable.

  • Brad Warbiany

    FYI, if you look at Al Gore’s predictions of the effects of global warming, it’s clear that he’s well outside the scientific “consensus” as described by the IPCC. He’s just as far away from the scientists as the “deniers”, he’s just more of an alarmist than the panel itself.

  • Skeptico

    See Broad Irony – the response to William Broad’s article from the climate scientists at RealClimate.

  • Skeptico

    Sorry – bad link. Try this: Broad Irony