posted on October 12, 2007 07:47
Mr. Justice Barton, British High Court Judge, ruled on October 10 that the film An Inconvenient Truth, which had been distributed to about 3,500 British schools, had to be accompanied by a disclaimer informing the students that the film was controversial and contained nine significant errors of scientific fact.
These are the errors Barton listed:
Error 1: Mr. Gore asserted that a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting of ice sheets “in the near future.”
Court: “This is distinctly alarmist,” and will only occur “after, and over, millennia.”
Error 2: Low-lying Pacific atolls have already been evacuated.
Court: There was no evidence of any evacuation having yet happened.
Error 3: The Gulf Stream, that warms up the Atlantic, would shut down
Court: It was “very unlikely” it would shut down in the future, though it might slow down
Error 4: Graphs showing a rise in CO2 and the rise in temperature over a period of 650,000 years showed “an exact fit.”
Court: There was a connection, but “the two graphs do not establish what Mr. Gore asserts.”
Error 5: The disappearance of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro was due to global warming.
Court: It cannot be established that the recession of snows on Mt Kilimanjaro is mainly attributable to human-induced climate change.
Error 6: The drying up of Lake Chad is a prime example of a catastrophic result of global warming
Court: Insufficient to establish the exact cause
Error 7: Hurricane Katrina blamed on global warming.
Court: There was “insufficient evidence to show that.”
Error 8: Polar bears were being found that had actually drowned “swimming long distances – up to 60 miles – to find the ice.”
Court: Only four polar bears have recently been found drowned, because of a storm.
Error 9: Coral reefs were bleaching because of global warming and other factors.
Court: Separating the impacts of stresses due to climate change from other stresses, such as over-fishing and pollution, was difficult.
This encouraging event was initiated by Kent school governor Stewart Dimmock, who claimed the film was unfit for schools. As reported in the world press, however, the story has taken on a different perspective. The judge is depicted as being biased, as not having sufficient scientific background to understand the problem presented by global warming, or as having only pointed out some relatively minor inconsistencies in an otherwise great film.
Now that Gore has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just a day later, the British High Court finding may get lost in the woodwork. This is especially distressing, because the film contains many more than just the nine errors identified by the court. Here is a listing of all the actual errors contained in Al Gore’s film. In addition to these errors, the film contains many additional exaggerated, misleading, one-sided, or speculative statements.
- Claims that glaciologist Lonnie Thompson’s reconstruction of climate history proves the Medieval Warm Period was “tiny” compared to the warming observed in recent decades. It doesn’t. Four of Thompson’s six ice cores indicate the Medieval Warm Period was as warm as or warmer than any recent decade.
- Calls carbon dioxide the “most important greenhouse gas.” Water vapor is the leading contributor to the greenhouse effect.
- Claims that Venus is too hot and Mars too cold to support life due to differences in atmospheric CO2 concentrations (they are nearly identical), rather than differences in atmospheric densities and distances from the Sun (both huge).
- Claims that scientists have validated the “hockey stick” reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere temperature history, according to which the 1990s were likely the warmest decade of the past millennium and 1998 the warmest year. It is now widely acknowledged that the hockey stick was built on a flawed methodology and inappropriate data. Scientists continue to debate whether the Medieval Warm period was warmer than recent decades.
- Assumes that CO2 levels are increasing at roughly 1 percent annually. The actual rate is half that.
- Assumes a linear relationship between CO2 levels and global temperatures, whereas the actual CO2-warming effect is logarithmic, meaning that the next 100-ppm increase in CO2 levels adds only half as much heat as the previous 100-ppm increase.
- Claims that the rate of global warming is accelerating, whereas the rate has been constant for the past 30 years – roughly 0.17°C per decade.
- Blames global warming for Europe’s killer heat wave of 2003 – an event caused by an atmospheric circulation anomaly.
- Blames global warming for Hurricane Catarina, the first South Atlantic hurricane on record, which struck Brazil in 2004. Catarina formed not because the South Atlantic was unusually warm (sea temperatures were cooler than normal), but because the air was so much colder it produced the same kind of heat flux from the ocean that fuels hurricanes in warmer waters.
- Claims that 2004 set an all-time record for the number of tornadoes in the United States. Tornado frequency has not increased; rather, the detection of smaller tornadoes has increased. If we consider the tornadoes that have been detectable for many decades (category F-3 or greater), there actually has been a downward trend since 1950.
- Blames global warming for a “mass extinction crisis” that is not, in fact, occurring.
- Blames global warming for the rapid coast-to-coast spread of the West Nile virus. North America contains nearly all the climate types in the world – from hot, dry deserts to boreal forests to frigid tundra – a range that dwarfs any small alteration in temperature or precipitation that may be related to atmospheric CO2 levels. The virus could not have spread so far so fast if it were climate-sensitive.
- Cites Tuvalu, Polynesia, as a place where rising sea levels force residents to evacuate their homes. In reality, sea levels at Tuvalu fell during the latter half of the 20th century and even during the 1990s, allegedly the warmest decade of the millennium.
- Claims that sea level rise could be many times larger and more rapid “depending on the choices we make or do not make now” concerning global warming. Not so. The most aggressive choice America could make now would be to join Europe in implementing the Kyoto Protocol. Assuming the science underpinning Kyoto is correct, the treaty would avert only 1 cm of sea level rise by 2050 and 2.5 cm by 2100.
- Accuses ExxonMobil of running a “disinformation campaign” designed to “reposition global warming as theory, rather than fact,” even though two clicks of the mouse reveal that ExxonMobil acknowledges global warming as a fact.
- Claims that President Bush hired Phil Cooney to “be in charge” of White House environmental policy. This must be a surprise to White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chairman James Connaughton, who hired Cooney and was his boss at the CEQ.
- Claims that the European Union’s emission trading system (ETS) is working “effectively.” In fact, the ETS is not reducing emissions, will transfer an estimated £1.5 billion from British firms to competitors in countries with weaker controls, has enabled oil companies to profit at the expense of hospitals and schools, and has been an administrative nightmare for small firms.
- Claims U.S. firms won’t be able to sell American-made cars in China because Chinese fuel-economy standards are stricter, even though many U.S.-made cars meet the Chinese standards.
Had this kind of misinformation appeared in a documentary produced by a conservative political group, the world press would have been all over it, identifying it for what it was: a piece of poorly researched political propaganda. Unfortunately, this Oscar winning sham has now won its creator a share of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007.
The information in this article is available to anyone who takes the time to do the research. Even more compelling, however, is the overwhelming evidence concerning how our climate is really controlled by the sun.
Nevertheless, Gore can now place his Nobel Prize alongside his Oscar on the mantle of one of his carbon-neutral fireplaces in his 10,000-square-foot Tennessee mansion, and take a great deal of satisfaction in having first benefitted the world by inventing the Internet, and then saving the world from itself with An Inconvenient Truth.