Well, here's a climate professor's take on the movie--and it isn't that great.
"An Inconvenient Truth" is billed as the scariest movie you'll ever see. It may well be, but that's in part because it is not the most accurate depiction of the state of global warming science.
Based on his whole essay, that's classic understatement.
Update, 5/26/06 6:22 pm: Here's more on Gore.
Update, 5/28/06 9:16 am: And more from the "conservation for me, but not for thee" crowd:
A LOOK AT GREENHOUSE HYPOCRITES AND THEIR GULFSTREAMS, over at Hot Air. More background from Gregg Easterbrook here, and an account of Al Gore's carbon consumption on his film tour here.
If you don't fly commercial, don't talk to me about greenhouse gases or conservation.
Before we jump to government energy-planning, let's look at the track record of the sky-is-falling crowd. Didn't we hear in the 1960s that the "population bomb" would cause food riots in American cities and mass starvation globally? Didn't the Club of Rome in the 1970s predict the end of mineral resources by now? Wasn't global cooling the scare before global warming? Isn't it suspicious that the problem is always individual behavior, and the solution is always government action?
Read more at the Houston Chronicle.
Yep! I remember "Global Cooling". We solved that problem with "Global Warming" and people are STILL complaining.
What next? A movie about a secret conspiracies in the Vatican?
Exactly what opinion did I offer, other than a link to comments by a climate professor--who, I might guess, knows more about the topic than you do?
I don't care if you see the movie or not. I don't care if it gets an Academy Award. It still won't impact my life one iota.
Watching about Al Gore would be even less than having all the fluid drained out of my eyeballs with a very blunt needle.
It's not even out yet, and Al-Gore is already
saying it's okay to lie about the issue.
No morals, ethics or principles whatsoever.
I'm from Warroad, Minnesota, and I still had to wear a stocking cap when I went jogging last week. Global warming? Up here, we're saying, "Let's give it a try!"
30 years is a grain of sand in Universal terms. To think that warnings of the potential of global warming have any impact over a period as short as 30 years points more to the ignorance of the listener than of the speaker.
Sorry, but the Earth has been around longer than either you or I can comprehend, so measures so short have no place in discussions like that.
Besides, why would you support global warming?
Anthony, I'm having some difficulty following your point. So that you don't have the same difficulty with me, let me endeavor to be clear:
I don't doubt that temperatures may be rising planetwide. What I do question is whether or not these temperature changes are natural phenomena or manmade. I often point out that we've been through a few mini-ages within the last couple millenia, and we know that millions of years ago there were tropical areas in what are today cold areas of the planet.
Greenhouse gases? I remember when Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted, and reading that it emitted more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than man has in his entire history as a species. And that's just one volcano.
So I'm not so quick to jump on the anti-capitalist bandwagon that the global warming alarmists would have us ride to hell.
I hate to sound stupid, but when I was in high school during the last gas crisis, I distinctly recall the media hyping the message that the "next Ice Age was on the way." Since Pixar didn't exist at that time, I think they meant the geologic kind not the animated movie. I have heard many theories. One of the most interesting ones came from my daughter's Physics teacher. He noted that the poles have switch positions periodically throughout time. With the changing of the seasons, and down here I can tell you that whereas our coldest months used to be December and January, that has shifted in the last ten years to Late January through early March, I wonder if that might not be what is happening. It would certainly explain some disruptive weather patterns the past couple of years including drought, hurricanes and other odd phenomena. Just a thought.
As for Mt. Pinatubo, that was minor compared to Krakatoa. The series of paintings known as "The Scream" were designed to capture the horror of people in northern Europe over the atmospheric change wrought by that eruption. Not to mention the gases produced by the eruptions in Mexico. If you want to really get nervous, try googling "Supervolocano" and see where the biggest one in the world is resting....(one of my students let me in on this nugget of information.)
If I may be so bold to say it in this forum, I kind of like Al Gore, and think he is right about this .. that said, I'd rather claw out both my eyes with a blunt interest than sit in a movie theater in the summer and watch this!
Reel Fanatic, if you're always going to be so entertaining when you write, PLEASE be so bold as to say it on this forum!
Darren Said: "I don't care if you see the movie or not. I don't care if it gets an Academy Award. It still won't impact my life one iota."
That it won't impact your life and make you change your habits is why it will impact the lives of my children and their children.
How can anyone question whether man-made pollutants are causing a change in the planet. Obviously none of you live in Houston, Texas or Los Angeles, Ca.
Don't be so dramatic, 40, or even disingenuous. Of course humans are having an impact. Whether Earth hangs "in the balance", or whether man is causing ice caps to melt, has yet to be proven to me.
So what is your proposal? Just sit back and wait until it's too late?
Or wait until a conservative-Republican makes a movie... oh yeah, that'll never happen. Too worried about making money for corporate interests... like Oil Companies.
There's some misconceptions here, and I hope you won't mind my taking up a bit of your commentspace in order to try to deal with them. I want to thank you in advance for reading.
The first and most important misconception I see is that Gore is somehow "anticapitalist". That would be a funny trait for someone who has formed his own investment capital firm. Gore believes that the market can solve global warming through investing in technologies that pollute less. His film and his life reinforce that message. He’s not a ‘turn your car into a planter’ environmentalist.
What I like about Gore’s message is that it’s fundamentally optimistic. He’s not like the doom-and-gloom peak oilers who say we’re going to run out of energy and civilization will inevitably collapse. He says, here is a problem we’re facing, and here is how we’re going to solve it, through changing market incentives.
This leads into the second misconception, the "conservation-for-thee-but-not-for-me" charge:
"The Gores and all the employees of Generation lead a ‘carbon-neutral’ lifestyle, reducing their energy consumption when possible and purchasing so-called offsets available on newly emerging carbon markets. Gore says he and Tipper regularly calculate their home and business energy use – including the carbon cost of his prodigious global travel. Then he purchases offsets equal to the amount of carbon emissions they generate. Last year, for example, Gore and Tipper atoned for their estimated 1 million miles in global air travel by giving money to an Indian solar electric company and a Bulgarian hydroelectric project."
This is from the latest WIRED profile on Gore. If you're not familiar with carbon offsets, they're a way of negating your carbon emissions by paying someone to remove carbon from the system, or to avoid releasing pollution in the first place. They're pretty new, so you can read more about them here.
Third, the scientific consensus on global warming is sharply that it exists and that we are playing a role in it. Here's a Wikipedia article on the subject, and here's a from a group of actual climate scientists. Short version? They think the movie handles the science "admirably" and that "Gore gets the science right." I would encourage you if you're skeptical on the subject to look with an open mind and exclude anyone from either side who you feel is partisan. If you take away the environmentalists, the hippies, the liberal haters, and the oil-funded climatologists, you will still find that the overwhelming majority of disinterested, apolitical scientists support the same general view Gore has articulated.
A lot of the criticism I've seen of this film and of Gore is really criticising someone who isn't Gore. It's criticising someone who says we should give up cars and air travel and capitalism in order to save the planet, which we can't do anyway because it's too late. This is all the opposite of what Gore believes. He believes that we can see the problems on the horizon, and that we can invent our way out of them and create a better world. That's something I believe in, too.
Green technologies and the drive to create them are going to make us rich, make America and the world cleaner, make our kids smarter, and make us more productive and more efficient. Some people would rather we enrich oil sheiks and pay higher oil prices to get by in a dirtier, dumber world. I hope that maybe you'll think about these two visions and which one you actually prefer. Thanks for listening!
I'm curious, 40--what kind of car do you drive? How much plastic do you have at your house?
I thought so.
Dan, thank you for your comments. I appreciate the civil way you presented your views.
I think there's a new "big lie" out there, one that if repeated enough will become true, and that is that there's "consensus" among scientists that man is causing global climate changes--primarily through so-called greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, I keep running into scientists who don't accept that theory, and point to natural climate change as a more reasonable culprit.
I don't know anything about the scholarly nature of Wired magazine, but I listened to Al Gore talk about the movie The Day After Tomorrow--and what a serious movie it was. I had to stop reading Earth in the Balance. I don't know if Wired was doing a puff piece or revisionist history on the man, but I do not accept the Saint Al storyline.
And as for your final comments, perhaps you should use the search engine on this blog, type in "solar", and see what I've written before to determine which of your dichotomy of visions I support. I have no problem drilling in ANWR, but my beliefs are just a little deeper than that. I hope you weren't assuming otherwise.
Darren - I have a 2002 Honda Accord. My wife has a 4 cynlinder Saturn that is paid off.
I have probably an average amount of plastic in my house.
Does that help you in some way, shape or form?
If you would like to know what my next car will be? I can answer that as well...
Honda Civic Hybrid.
And as for buying plastic... every children's toy under the sun is packed with it. We have tons of them. But, my wife has purchased them off a website called Kingwoodyardsales.com. It's a place where you can buy other people's junk. I find that it has not only saved us a ton of money, but my wife and I feel great about that junk not going to the local land fill. When my son is finished with the toys we'll put them up for sale for a few dollars and 'recycle' them once again.
But none of this matters and I am sure you won't even read it. You were just trying to give me a lesson in American-ology and how as an American we aren't supposed to conserve, recycle, reuse, and reduce. Believe me when I say that I do.
In my classroom there are 3 posters that focus on this issue. And I have a large bin for paper that has a huge recycle poster above it. My students will learn why it's important. Each spring we do a big Earth Day project.
Anything else you'd like to know about my practices? Give me a shout. firstname.lastname@example.org
Better than I expected, but ok.
My car gets about 30mpg city, more on the highway--but I don't often drive anywhere that merits getting on the freeway. When I do, it gets better mileage.
I also have a Honda Elite 250 scooter (see it at http://rightontheleftcoast.blogspot.com/2006/04/great-way-to-spend-day.html), which gets 65 mpg. The vast majority of the light bulbs both inside and outside my house are fluorescent--one of them is about 15 years old. Seriously. They use less energy than standard bulbs.
One doesn't have to agree with Al Gore to want to reduce energy consumption, and with it, pollution.
Also, a review of my 5-part series Environmentalism and the Skeptical Mind seems due. Type that into the search engine and you can read posts on the topic from last year.
A couple of questions...
First, I know that their are a few celebrities that spout off in support of environmental causes, but how many of them actually put this into practice? If former VP Gore and his family do this, then props for them! But to think that all conservatives are driving around in Hummers is to ignore the fact that for the most part these vehicles have become the vehicle of choice for many hiphop and rap artists. In addition, how many times do you hear stories about celebrities traveling on small planes or in limos to events? Does this seem fuel and energy concious? Or do they do it for the MONEY? Time being money in a celebrity's life, I would say that they bite the bullet and waste just as much in their business as the average office does.
Also, there was a very interesting debate in the Dallas Morning News regarding the actual efficiency and cost-effectiveness of hybrid cars vs. conventional four cylinder cars. It seems that the actual mileage achieved isn't all that the car makers post on the window. In fact, many people are getting mileage not much better than with conventional cars because over a certain speed the motor kicks in. There's also the issue of what happens to these cars down the road. In nine or ten years, the battery is going to have to be replaced at a cost of $3K, plus you will have a pretty much used up four cylinder engine. So most dealers don't know what the resale will be down the line. In addition, few autoshops are trained and equipped for handling the hybrids and emergency crews are leery of how to handle possible car wrecks when they have to deal with not only the possiblity of gas fires, but of gas fires ignited by electic sparks. So although it may seem like a good idea, the jury is still out on the whole hybrid issue. As for the hydrogen fuel cells----have you seen photos of the Hindenburg? Until they have a way to stabilize and encapsulate the hydrogen and make sure that on impact it will not turn drivers into toast, there's no way I will drive or even get near one. It makes the Corvair look safe in comparison.
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