More Inconvenient Facts (An Inconvenient Truth = more climate change lies)
Al Gore's film has an adoring press writing glowing reviews. The mythology and blatant misrepresentations that permeate Gore's fiction illustrate just how dangerous such propaganda can be in its influence on an unsuspecting public.
Documentary: noun, a movie or a television or radio program that provides a factual record or report.
Inspired by Al Gore's recent An Inconvenient Truth, I'm going to coin a new term.
Docufiction: noun, a movie or a television or radio program that provides a fictional record or false report designed to create the illusion of reality.
The July 2006 issue of NewsMax Magazine (pages 16-30) contains an excellent article Global Warming Controversy/Legitimate Threat or Hot Air? in which Gore's docufiction (An Inconvenient Truth) is examined along with the claims of the "Chicken Little" crowd that promotes the theory that humans are creating significant global warming. The article reveals how Gore used Michael Moore propaganda techniques to misrepresent truth in an effort to create graphic illusions of the impact of Gore's purported human-induced global warming.
Among the most egregious distortions of truth in Gore's docufiction are:
Fiction 1: Gore shows satellite images of the Aral Sea drying up and implies it is due to global warming.
The truth: the Aral Sea is drying up because the former Soviet Union diverted the rivers that flow into the sea, removing the source of water needed to replenish losses by evaporation and other means. There is no basis whatsoever for Gore's claim that human-induced global warming is drying up the Aral Sea. Yet that is precisely the impression with which Gore wishes his audience to leave the theater.
Fiction 2: Gore cites disappearing snow on Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro as proof that global warming (caused by humans, of course) is dramatically changing the planet.
The truth: Snow cover has disappeared on the mountain's peak since 1970, however, it has nothing to do with global warming (human-induced or not). In fact, satellite data confirm just the opposite is true - the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro is actually colder than it was in 1970 when it had a large snow cover. Why has the snow disappeared? Because farmers have removed large areas of forest around the base of the mountain. Those forested areas held the moisture that allowed the clouds to form that created the local snow event at the peak. Without the forests to supply sufficient moisture, the cycle that produced the snowy peak has been broken. But it has nothing to do with Gore's crusade against fossil fuels and CO2.
The current hue and cry about "global warming" (generally failing to distinguish between human-induced warming with natural warming) is nothing new. Shrill media voices have promoted hysteria about global climate change and its purported disastrous consequences to humans for nearly 100 years! An excellent piece Fire and Ice presented by the Business & Media institute describes the media's many flip-flops on global climate change ("Journalists have warned of climate change for 100 years, but can't decide whether we face an ice age or warming"). The BMI article details these classic media flip-flops:
Following the ice age threats from the late 1800s, fears of an imminent and icy catastrophe were compounded in the 1920s by Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan and an obsession with the news of his polar expedition. As the [New York] Times put it on Feb. 24, 1895, "Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again."
Those concerns lasted well into the late 1920s. But when the earth’s surface warmed less than half a degree, newspapers and magazines responded with stories about the new threat. Once again the Times was out in front, cautioning "the earth is steadily growing warmer."
After a while, that second phase of climate cautions began to fade. By 1954, Fortune magazine was warming to another cooling trend and ran an article titled "Climate – the Heat May Be Off." As the United States and the old Soviet Union faced off, the media joined them with reports of a more dangerous Cold War of Man vs. Nature.
The New York Times ran warming stories into the late 1950s, but it too came around to the new fears. Just three decades ago, in 1975, the paper reported: "A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable."
That trend, too, cooled off and was replaced by the current era of reporting on the dangers of global warming. Just six years later, on Aug. 22, 1981, the Times quoted seven government atmospheric scientists who predicted global warming of an "almost unprecedented magnitude."
In all, the print news media have warned of four separate climate changes in slightly more than 100 years – global cooling, warming, cooling again, and, perhaps not so finally, warming.
There is much more in the article, but the above gives a pretty good picture of how the uninformed media have jumped on false bandwagons before and they are doing it again, though with a new bandleader in the person of Al Gore.
In the style of a previous generation of propaganda films, Gore substitutes vivid images of the alleged effects of global warming for an accurate account of the scientific debate. We see glaciers calving into the sea, giant storms sweeping through resort areas, burning deserts, even a cartoon polar bear swimming aimlessly, searching for a place to rest.
But all of the events in this movie have been occurring since before human activities could possibly have caused them. Glaciers have broken off into seas for millions of years; storms obviously predate modern civilization and its emissions, and real-life polar bears know better than to head into open water during the Arctic summer. At any given time in earth's history, some glaciers have been expanding while others were shrinking.
... we see ice melting in the Arctic, Greenland and the Antarctic. More evidence of global warming? Not necessarily. Scientists say temperatures in the Arctic were higher during the 1930s and the current melting is probably part of a natural cycle caused by ocean currents, not greenhouse gases. And only small parts of Greenland and the Antarctic are melting: Snow and ice are accumulating as rapidly in other parts, for a net loss of around zero.
Gore ignores these inconvenient facts because, he says, the only people who disagree with him are oil-company stooges. At one point, he compares scientists who disagree with him to apologists for the tobacco industry.
So what are we to make of Tim Ball at the University of Winnipeg, Robert Balling at Arizona State, Sallie Baliunas at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Bob Carter at James Cook University in Australia, Randall Cerveny at Arizona State, John Christy at the University of Alabama, Robert Davis at the University of Virginia, Christopher Essex at the University of Western Ontario, Oliver Frauenfeld at the University of Colorado, Wibjörn Karlèn at Stockholm University and Christopher Landsea at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?
And David Legates at the University of Delaware, Henry Linden at IIT, Richard Lindzen at MIT, Ross McKitrick at the University of Guelph, Patrick Michaels at the University of Virginia, Dick Morgan at the University of Exeter, Tim Peterson at Carleton University, Roger Pielke Jr. at the University of Colorado, Eric Posmentier at Dartmouth, Willie Soon at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center, Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama and Boris Winterhalter at the University of Helsinki?
All are respected authorities on climatology, working at respected universities, who appear regularly in peer-reviewed science journals. Some, like Lindzen, are undisputed leading thinkers in their fields. Yet all dispute Gore's alarmist claims.
So much for "consensus" on significant human-induced global warming.
A few more inconvenient facts for Mr. Gore:
Much is made of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. But the fact remains, the level of atmospheric CO2 was much higher during the last Ice Age. The simplistic model of the greenhouse effect and how it warms the planet has been grossly abused by Gore and his fellow travelers down the path of doom and gloom. Greenhouse warming is far more complicated than the simple equation "more CO2 means global warming" that is simply assumed by Gore and his followers.
Solar activity has been highly correlated with warm climate periods. The recent significant warm spell noted in the latter part of the 1990s coincided with an unusually high solar maximum.
Climate change is a very complex science that is poorly understood. There are many factors that interact to bring about global climate changes. Such changes have been recurring for a least as long as life has existed on Earth and probably much longer. To suggest that a modest increase in CO2 from human activity is responsible for significant climate change is to ignore the many other climate change influences that are poorly understood but that likely have far greater impact. Since dramatic climate change is nothing new and has been a reality far before the earliest humans ever set foot upon the Earth, it is foolish to suggest that humans are responsible for any modest change in climate experienced during the past few decades.
Docufictions like Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth do nothing to enhance knowledge about climate change. In fact, the misrepresentations in that propaganda piece serve to do just the opposite.
Bob Webster, a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.