Category Archive '“An Inconvenient Truth” (2006)'

19 Jun 2008

Albert Gore, the Opera

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Albert Gore’s life at college was reputedly the inspiration for Erich Segal’s Love Story. One would think that would constitute enough artistic immortality for anyone, but, no! The horror, the horror….

London Times (6/8):

La Scala in Milan has commissioned a musical version of An Inconvenient Truth, the apocalyptic eco-documentary presented by Al Gore, the former American vice-president.

Gore will be replaced on stage by a cast of tenors and at least one soprano as the story of man-made climate change is told. …

The music is being written by Giorgio Battistelli, whose past operas include works based on the Frankenstein story and on the writings of Jules Verne. The composer believes an operatic treament of Gore’s film will allow people to see the dangers facing the world in a new light.

“Opera makes you reflect. Artists make you see things differently,” he said. “When we see a painting by Francis Bacon or a film by Sydney Pollack, we get a very precise idea of the problems of our century.”

The work is scheduled to be performed in 2011 as part of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. “I thought it could be a good idea to deal on this important occasion with a subject that involves not only Italy but the world,” Battistelli, 55, added. “It will be about the tragedy of our present situation. It is a great challenge to write an opera on such an unusual subject. It is certainly not the story of Romeo and Juliet.”

Even the New York Times’ John Tierney is moved to satire.

Dear Mr. Gore,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my draft of “Verità Inconveniente.” Rest assured that I and the management of La Scala are committed to a serious presentation of your scientific work. I will try to adopt some of your suggestions, but I hope you appreciate the constraints faced by the composer of an opera that is already five hours long.

I agree it would “round out the résumé” of Prince Algorino in the opening scene if he were to sing about his creation of a communications network. But the “Mio magnifico Internet” aria you propose seems to me a distraction — and frankly out of place in an 18th-century Tuscan village. I believe the peasants’ choral celebration of Prince Algorino’s wisdom suffices to establish his virtues.

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Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

02 Sep 2007

An Inconvenient Debunking of Al Gore

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Kilimanjaro is a snow covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and it is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai “Ngàje Ngài,” the House of God. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a defeated liberal. No one has explained what the politician was seeking at that altitude.

Diagnosing Al Gore:

The shrinking of the snows of Kilimanjaro is another dramatic example. Scientists have noted this phenomenon for over a hundred years. A search of the scholarly literature immediately produced Georg Kaser’s 2004 article in The International Journal of Climatology on the subject. He states that all three of the major East African glaciers have seen significant retreat since the late 1800s. Kaser writes, “The dominant reasons for this strong recession in modern times are reduced precipitation and increased availability of shortwave radiation due to decreases in cloudiness”. This dryness began relatively abruptly around 1880. “In contrast to this ‘switch’ in moisture conditions, there is no evidence of an abrupt change in air temperature…. Temperature increases in the tropics on the surface and in the troposphere have been little in recent decades compared with the global trend.” The very shape of the glacier speaks out against Gore’s theory: melting from temperature rise “would round-off and destroy the observed features within a very short time, ranging from hours to days”. Indeed, a year and a half record from 2000-2002 showed that air temperatures never exceeded minus 1.6 degrees C (in fact, Gore’s friend Lonnie Thompson reports that the temperatures never rose above minus 2 degrees C during his research there), and permafrost extends far below the edge of the glacier. (Kaser et al, Int. J. Climatol. 24: 329-339 (2004)) In other words, not only is the recession of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s snowy peak probably not due to CO2-induced temperature rise, it isn’t even driven by temperature rise at all.

Hat tip to Scott Drum.

12 Aug 2007

Whoops! There Go Al Gore’s Record Temperatures

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I was watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (2006) (something I do for laughs) just the other day, and as usual I broke up when Gore got to the part where he claims temperature record since 1880 show that the ten hottest years ever measured in the atmospheric record all occurred in the last fourteen years, and that 2005 was the warmest year on record.

Some of Gore’s claims about temperature records were rejected even by scientists supporting Anthropogenic Global Warming theories when the movie came out, but as Mark Steyn notes, the status of those temperature records is getting worse.

Something rather odd happened the other day. If you go to NASA’s Web site and look at the “U.S. surface air temperature” rankings for the lower 48 states, you might notice that something has changed.

Then again, you might not. They’re not issuing any press releases about it. But they have quietly revised their All-Time Hit Parade for U.S. temperatures. The “hottest year on record” is no longer 1998, but 1934. Another alleged swelterer, the year 2001, has now dropped out of the Top 10 altogether, and most of the rest of the 21st century – 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 – plummeted even lower down the Hot 100. In fact, every supposedly hot year from the Nineties and this decade has had its temperature rating reduced. Four of America’s Top 10 hottest years turn out to be from the 1930s, that notorious decade when we all drove around in huge SUVs with the air-conditioning on full-blast. If climate change is, as Al Gore says, the most important issue anyone’s ever faced in the history of anything ever, then Franklin Roosevelt didn’t have a word to say about it.

And yet we survived.

So why is 1998 no longer America’s record-breaker? Because a very diligent fellow named Steve McIntyre of climateaudit.com (sic -should be .org) labored long and hard to prove there was a bug in NASA’s handling of the raw data. He then notified the scientists responsible and received an acknowledgment that the mistake was an “oversight” that would be corrected in the next “data refresh.” The reply was almost as cool as the revised chart listings.

Climateaudit.org has been down since early this month due to denial of service attacks.

04 Apr 2007

Why People Really Believe in Global Warming

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Holman W. Jenkins Jr., in the Wall Street Journal, notes perfectly accurately that they believe in it because it is apparent that a significant majority of the elite believes in it.

It would surprise the public, and even the Supreme Court, to know how utterly the science of global warming offers no evidence whatsoever on the central proposition. What fills Mr. Gore’s film, books, speeches and congressional testimony are scientific observations and quasi-scientific observations, all right. They concern polar bears, mosquitoes, hurricanes, ice packs and everything but whether humans cause global warming.

Some of this evidence may suggest, weakly or strongly, the existence of warming trends in particular parts of the world (such local trends, both cooling and warming, have been observed in many places and many times). More dubiously, some may indicate a generalized warming. But none offers any evidence that carbon dioxide is causing warming. Mr. Gore’s method is the equivalent of trying to prove that Jack killed Jane by going on and on about how awful it was that Jane was killed.

Polemicists in favor of human-caused global warming liken skeptics to tobacco lobbyists who denied the link between smoking and lung cancer. In fact, it makes a useful analogy.

Suppose the world consisted of exactly one smoker who could be observed only from a distance to test the theory that smoking causes lung cancer. If he died of cancer, it wouldn’t prove smoking causes cancer. If he failed to die of cancer, it wouldn’t prove smoking doesn’t cause cancer.

The link between smoking and cancer is made by observing millions of smokers and nonsmokers. Indeed, what led scientists to seek systematic evidence of a link in the first place was anecdotal evidence that smokers, of whom there have been millions, appeared to die in unusual numbers from lung cancer.

Nothing remotely similar has been involved in developing the hypothesis that carbon dioxide creates warming. The relevant observations are a mess: Measured global temperature has both risen and fallen for considerable periods during the past century, even as CO2 has risen steadily. The geologic record suggests the world was much cooler in the past despite CO2 concentrations higher than today’s. Unlike smoking and cancer, there’s no anecdotal observation for the hypothesis that CO2 causes planetary warming. It may or may not be true, but to believe it is a “scientific truth” is to make a leap of faith, not science.

The consensus that human activities are causing global warming is purely a social invention — there’s no way of showing it to be so, and no self-evident reason for preferring to believe it’s so. The “consensus” is, in truth, a product of itself.

Now we are prepared to get the joke. It came during last fall’s Supreme Court oral argument about global warming, when the learned Justices, allowing the word “consensus” to serve as evidence of manmade warming, devoted themselves instead to a solemn discussion of how many inches of sea-level rise, and thus how many square miles of coastal inundation, the EPA is guilty of failing to prevent by refusing to regulate U.S. tailpipe emissions (which account for just 8% of human CO2 output).

Sen. James Inhofe is notorious for saying the theory of manmade global warming is a “hoax.” Obviously we need a better theory than Mr. Inhofe’s of when head-counting is a useful way of estimating the validity of a factual proposition and when it isn’t. Until then, it’s perhaps sufficient to say that many people believe in manmade global warming because many people believe in manmade global warming; Al Gore believes in it because many people believe in it; many people believe in it because Al Gore believes in it; and so on, right up to the highest court in the land.

13 Mar 2007

He Turned His Attention to the Problem of Global Warming Right After He Invented the Internet

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Many older people like myself have no difficulty at all recalling that, back in the 1970s (when we were experiencing some colder winters), environmentalists were predicting a new Ice Age resulting from emissions produced by human industrial activity.

Al Gore, however, must be getting senile. A New York Times article, devoted to brushing away scientific criticism of Gore’s exaggerated claims of imminent doom (“…in terms of the big picture, he got it right.”), admiringly quotes Gore’s self-deprecatory assessment of his own performance:

He said that after 30 years of trying to communicate the dangers of global warming, “I think that I’m finally getting a little better at it.”

Actually, though the weather began getting milder after the late 1970s, awareness of a “Global Warming” crisis dates back only to 1988, when NASA scientist James Hansen testified to Congress of a “cause and effect” relationship between human emissions and a warming climate.

Of course, though Gore would have been working to avert Global Cooling, not Global Warming, 30 years ago, by a curious coincidence, he was undoubtedly advocating precisely the same solutions: bigger government, higher taxes, more regulation and restriction of energy consumption.

Hat tip to Frank Dobbs.

28 Feb 2007

Unconstrained Energy Consumption for Me, But Not for Thee

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Al Gore’s light bill is $1200 a month.

Wow! And I thought I left too many lights on all the time. Memories of my father finding a superfluous light on in my childhood, and demanding indignantly: “What do you think? Have you got shares in the PP&L?” often bring a smile, and I’ve sometimes thought of buying a few shares of PPL, just so I could rhetorically justify my irresponsible habits in my own mind.

A day after a film about his efforts to combat global warming won an Oscar, former Vice President Al Gore was called a hypocrite by a Tennessee group that said his Belle Meade home is consuming too much energy.

The home’s average monthly electric bill last year was just under $1,200, according to bills that The Tennessean acquired from Nashville Electric Service.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk (the) walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, identified as a free-market think tank.

Al Gore’s house.

But Al Gore is rich enough, you see, to justify himself in even better and more creative ways.

Gore purchased 108 blocks of “green power” for each of the past three months, according to a summary of the bills.

That’s a total of $432 a month Gore paid extra for solar or other renewable energy sources.

The green power Gore purchased in those three months is equivalent to recycling 2.48 million aluminum cans or 286,092 pounds of newspaper, according to comparison figures on NES’ Web site.

But this greenie site points out that Gore is buying those credits from his own firm.

So, where does Gore buy his ‘carbon offsets’? According to The Tennessean newspaper’s report, Gore buys his carbon offsets through Generation Investment Management. a company he co-founded and serves as chairman:

Gore helped found Generation Investment Management, through which he and others pay for offsets. The firm invests the money in solar, wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe…

As co-founder and chairman of the firm Gore presumably draws an income or will make money as its investments prosper. In other words, he “buys” his “carbon offsets” from himself, through a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to himself. To be blunt, Gore doesn’t buy “carbon offsets” through Generation Investment Management – he buys stocks

Cool! Albert Gore takes some money out his right pocket, buys some carbon offsets from himself, and then puts the money in his left pocket, and voila! he has saved enough of the planet by that clever transaction to immunize himself from Don Surber‘s description of him as some kind of an alleged:

born-to-the-manor, overfed, limousine liberal who consume(s) 22,000 kilowatts of electricity each year* in just one of his three homes.

* More than 20 times the National average.

27 Nov 2006

Al Gore Told Us: Hurricanes Will Increase Due to Global Warming

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2006 was predicted by the climatologists who believe in Global Warming, and by the climatologists who don’t believe in Global Warming, to be a humdinger of a year for storms, as “Global Warming of the oceans” spawned more vigorous and more numerous storms, or simply as the regular climatic cycle ticked round to a period of greater storm activity.

But, as the Tampa Tribune observes, all those predictions failed to pan out.

It was not the hurricane season we expected, thank you.

With cataclysmic predictions that hurricanes would swarm from the tropics like termites, no one thought 2006 would be the most tranquil season in a decade.

Barring a last-second surprise from the tropics, the season will end Thursday with nine named storms, and only five of those hurricanes. This year is the first season since 1997 that only one storm nudged its way into the Gulf of Mexico.

Still, Florida was hit by two tropical storms, Alberto and Ernesto. But after the pummeling of the previous two years, the storms barely registered on the public’s radar.

So what happened? Lots.

Storms were starved for fuel after ingesting masses of dry Saharan dust and air over the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists say the storm-snuffing dust was more abundant than usual this year.

In the season’s peak, storms were curving right like errant field goals. High pressure that normally hunkers near Bermuda shifted far eastward, and five storms rode the clockwise winds away from Florida.

Finally, a rapidly growing El Nino, a warming of water over the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifted winds high in the atmosphere southward. The winds left developing storms disheveled and unable to become organized.

As they say about the stock market: Past results are no indication of future performance.

Take off the bedsheet, and come down from the roof, Al! The world isn’t ending after all.

12 Oct 2006

Global Warming: Intellectual Dishonesty and Outright Lies

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Looking for the text cited in that Senate Environment Committee news release this morning, I also came upon this review by Professor Robert M. Carter of Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth.

Carter delivers a devastating critique of the film.

Those raw scientific facts that Mr Gore chooses for use in An Inconvenient Truth are mostly correct. Indeed, much of the material could have been drawn from elementary university courses in meteorology, geography or geology, though one would hope that university treatments would be presented in a more balanced and critical way.

Overall, the film is a compelling account of various natural earth phenomena that have the potential to impact humanity disastrously, and therefore a graphic illustration of the fact that we live on a dynamic planet. Were the film to be stripped of its sententious script, we might be watching an episode in David Attenborough’s recent TV series, Planet Earth.

Hence, presumably, the appeal to audiences: who often break into spontaneous applause at the end of a showing, and thereby reveal both their gullibility to emotional messages and their lack of scientific understanding.

For the problem with An Inconvenient Truth is that it is well-made propaganda for the global warming cause rather than well-made climate science. Nowhere does Mr Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet. Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change. This is not surprising, for no such evidence yet exists.

During his movie, Mr Gore asserts that climate change is now a moral rather than a scientific issue. He is right, though not in quite the way that he might have imagined.

The moral issue concerns the way in which much of today’s environmental “science” – including that regarding climate change, as typified by this film – is presented to governments and the public. Mr Gore clearly believes that his presumed morally superior ends justify any means, including distortion of evidence, and in consequence he nails his colours firmly to the climate alarmist mast.

But then I came upon an example of what struck me as impossible-to-believe exaggeration.

Indeed. And the intellectual dishonesty involved in this is not restricted to Mr Gore’s film, but has become all pervasive.

For example, professional sociologists at the London-based Institute for Policy Research urge that “the task of climate change agencies is not to persuade by rational argument. … Instead, we need to work in a more shrewd and contemporary way, using subtle techniques of engagement. … The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken“.

Wonderfully damaging material, I thought, but much too good to possibly be true. So I started searching to find if there was the slightest basis for any of this at all, and I immediately found this Institute for Public Policy Research handy how-to publication: Warm Words: How Are We Telling the Climate Story and Can we Tell It Better?


One explanatory diagram

Many of the existing approaches to climate change communications clearly seem unproductive. And it is not enough simply to produce yet more messages, based on rational argument and top-down persuasion, aimed at convincing people of the reality of climate change and urging them to act. Instead, we need to work in a more shrewd and contemporary way, using subtle techniques of engagement.

To help address the chaotic nature of the climate change discourse in the UK today, interested agencies now need to treat the argument as having been won, at least for popular communications. This means simply behaving as if climate change exists and is real, and that individual actions are effective. The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken.

What is significant here is that this discourse is immune to scientific argument, since it is simply constructed in a different way. Its currency is not science but ‘common sense’. The prevalence of this repertoire in public media underlines that the task of climate change agencies is not to persuade by rational argument but in effect to develop and nurture a new ‘common sense’.

Much of the noise in the climate change discourse comes from argument and counter-argument, and it is our recommendation that, at least for popular communications, interested agencies now need to treat the argument as having been won. This means simply behaving as if climate change exists and is real, and that individual actions are effective. This must be done by stepping away from the ‘advocates debate’ described earlier, rather than by stating and re-stating these things as fact.

The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken. The certainty of the Government’s new climate-change slogan — ‘Together this generation will tackle climate change’ (Defra 2006) — gives an example of this approach. It constructs, rather than claims, its own factuality.

Where science is invoked, it now needs to be as ‘lay science’ — offering lay explanations for what is being treated as a simple established scientific fact, just as the earth’s rotation or the water cycle are considered…

Opposing the enormous forces of climate change requires something superhuman or heroic. Science is not enough — especially when scientists argue among themselves. What is needed is something more magical, more mythical. Many strong and successful brands have a kind of myth at their core — they appear to reconcile things that are normally impossible to reconcile.


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