11 October 2007

ok, now I'm confused


What the fuck. Have we all gone stupid? What exactly does making a movie have to do with efforts for world peace?

In other news. Al's movie is under siege because the Brits wanted to show it in schools. This idea was immediately sued over because the movie contains a few factual scientific lapses and several people found it a clear cut case of brainwashing rather than an educational debate into the problems with human pollution (ie anthropogenic global warming).
The court found the following issues:
1) Sea levels will rise 20 ft in the near future. Most scientists agree that if this were to happen because of melting ice, it would happen over several millenia. Not several years or even decades.
2) Inhabited atolls in the Pacific are being inundated because of global warming. No evacuations have taken place, and none are planned. See issue 1.
3) Ocean conveyor (the premise behind the hilarious movie Day after Tomorrow) is being shut down. No scientific body has claimed this. It's possible that it could be slowed down, but stopping altogether or reversing.. not so much.
4) rises in Co2 levels exactly match rises in temperature over a 650000 yr period. They clearly do not. Even if they do, it's not at all clear that co2 levels are rising and causing temperature to rise, or the reverse is true. A correlation is not causation.
5-6-7) Mt Kilimanjaro's snow was receding because of human activity, coral reef bleaching and Lake Chad drying out. It's not at all clear what's causing this beyond changes in temperature and climate. Since those two things are perhaps linked to human activity, and perhaps mixed with lots of other factors, it's unclear what blame can be laid on humans. For coral, there are a number of factors at work which can be blamed on humans but most of them have less to do with global climates and more to do with other human behaviors, such as water pollution or fishing.
8) Katrina. The hurricane experts have no idea what causes hurricanes to cycle the way they do, but it does appear that the global warming system has little to do with when, where, and how strong hurricanes are. Not to mention how many of them there are. This was a fun political claim to make, but aside from the clique of weathermen who want to make the impression that they know what they're talking about by banishing the ones who 'don't know what they speak of', no serious weather or climatologists make this connection.
9) Gore claimed polar bears were drowning because of excessive swim distances. No scientific study has shown the bears to be drowning for this reason. Data suggests that if the polar ice continues on its trend that some will drown for this reason, but not so far. And again, it's not at all clear that human activity can reverse the trend or is responsible for it in the first place.

I commend Gore for caring about the environment and trying to compel others to do the same. But his methods require several changes. One, doomsday approaches get people's attention but not in the desired fashion. Most reasonable people know the world is not about to end and instead tune out Gore's drumbeat of impending doom. Practice what you preach. Come talk to me when Gore's personal activities include patterns of conservationism not the 3 card monte scam of carbon credits. Use factual information and demand actual factual studies into the climate system rather than demand studies which preserve the holy writ of global warming. If it's true in any form, we do need to know. There are human behaviors which undoubtedly have impacts on our environments; this much is obvious. But the extent of that impact and the long-term nature of it is unclear. Until it is making factual errors to support a case of extreme action to correct what may be minor or even irrelevant problems is not a method I can get behind. It is not at all clear what Gore's projected solutions can or will do to resolve the problems while it is easily clear what they will cost; far too much to be worth the price.
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