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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 10/17/2007

An Inconvenient Truth, Part II

By Michael Dobbs


A British judge has questioned some of the statements in Al Gore's Oscar-winning movie.

"I don't understand why the Post is holding Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" up to the British High Court opinions alone. Are they the utmost authority on environmental issues, to the exclusion of all others?"

--Concerned Citizen, October 12, 2007
"Fire the "Fact Checker." Today. Please."

--Andy Lowry, October 12 2007.

Our post last Friday--the day Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize--on alleged errors in his movie "An Inconvenient Truth" stirred up a tornado of criticism. Many readers felt that the Post was being unfair to Gore. (That's putting it mildly, leaving out the profanity.) Others questioned the credibility and competence of a "bewigged" British judge in ruling on complicated scientific controversies. Some even posited a connection between the Fact Checker and Big Oil, because of the large number of advertisements from the likes of Exxon-Mobil that appear in the pages of the Washington Post.

So what does the Fact Checker have to say for himself?

The Facts

This excuse has been used many times before, but let's give it another whirl. "We were misunderstood."

This time, it's true. Really. We would like to clarify a few points from the outset:

  • We deliberately refrained from taking sides in this dispute. We viewed the judge's criticisms as a useful starting point for a debate about the accuracy of various assertions in An Inconvenient Truth, not the final word. We invited readers to participate in a reasoned, civilized debate.

  • We noted high up in the post that the judge described the movie as "broadly accurate," and permitted it to be shown in British schools.

  • We do NOT regard a ruling from a British judge, bewigged or otherwise, as the ultimate arbiter of complicated scientific matters.

  • We were NOT questioning the reality of global warming. We were hoping to start a discussion on the accuracy of certain, very specific statements in an Oscar-winning movie by a prominent American who has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • We made clear in our mission statement that "there will be many occasions when it is impossible to render a snap judgment because the issue is very complex or there are good arguments on both sides. In this case, we will withhold our judgment until we can gather more facts. We will use this website to shed as much light as possible on factual controversies that are not easily resolved."

  • It was always our intention to follow up with more detailed posts. Stay tuned.

  • The Fact Checker column is a new experiment for the Post, and we are still feeling our way. Our criteria for awarding snap Pinocchios or withholding judgment may strike some as confusing, even idiosyncratic. Our intention when we introduced the rating system was to devise a way to permit sophisticated debate on complicated matters that are not amenable to instant conclusions. We wanted to make our journalism more transparent and involve our readers, who represent an extraordinary pool of expertise on a wide variety of subjects, in the process of reaching a conclusion.

    We have invited Al Gore, and his environmental adviser, Kalee Kreider, to respond to the judge's criticism. Understandably, they have been swamped with news media requests over the last few days, but Kreider has promised a response later this week. When it arrives, we will publish it in full.

    In the meantime, we have been talking to several scientists including Martin Parry, co-chair of a working group at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel prize with Gore. Within the scientific community, IPCC is often described as representing the "mainstream consensus" on global warming issues. That does not mean they are always right, but their opinions are based on solid science.

    Here is Parry's quick reaction to the nine disputed points in the Al Gore movie. His comments are in italics.

    1. The judge disputed what he depicted as Gore's assertion that the melting of icecaps in Antarctica and Greenland could cause sea levels to rise by 20 feet "in the near future." [Although Gore implied that this could happen quickly, he did not specify a timetable.]
      Parry says that Gore is right that the melting of icecaps could cause a 20 foot rise in sea levels. He says this would likely take place over "several hundred years," (not millennia as the judge maintained.) However, the IPCC has concluded that "we could become committed" to such phenomena occurring in the next seven to ten decades. "Strictly speaking, it is not a near-term impact, but it is not avoidable," Parry said.

    2. Gore claimed that the disappearance of year-round snow from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa was attributable to global warming. The court was not convinced. According to the judge, the scientific "consensus" is that the reasons for the snow recession on Kilimanjaro cannot be established.

      According to Parry, "the judge is right on Kiliminjaro. It could well be part of a local warming trend. It could be connected to a global warming trend, but we just don't know at this point."

    3. Gore cited a scientific study showing that polar bears had drowned by "swimming long distances--up to 60 miles--to find the ice." Evidence backing up this claim was not produced to the British court. The judge wrote that the only scientific study shown to him indicated "that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm."

      On this issue, we consulted with Andrew Derocher, chair of the polar bear group at the World Conservation Union and one of the world's leading authorities on the subject. Derocher cited a 2006 study that found that four polar bears had died "possibly by drowning because the sea ice had retracted a great distance." He explained that polar bears, "while very capable swimmers, are not able to remain in water for indefinite periods," and that drowning will increase as a conservation concern as sea ice "continues to erode." In other words, there is a good chance that the polar bears died by drowning but no definitive proof. Storms and hypothermia are other major concerns.

    4. Gore attributed at least some of the destructive power of Hurricane Katrina to rising ocean temperatures and global warming. The judge found that there was "insufficient evidence to show that."

      According to Parry, the judge is "technically correct" on this one. The Hurricane Katrina devastation has not been firmly attributed to greenhouse gas emissions. However, some scientific papers have partially attributed hurricanes like Katrina to climate change. "We know that the frequency of hurricanes is related to warming trends of surface water in the Gulf of Mexico."

    5. The Gore movie depicted the drying up of Lake Chad as a prime example of the effects of global warming. Expert testimony in front of the British court suggested that "far more likely causes" were "population increase, over-grazing, and regional climate variability."

      "The judge is probably correct that the the drying up of Lake Chad has not been clearly attributed to a regional climate trend. There are long-term environmental trends at work."

    6. Gore suggested an "exact fit" between the rise in carbon dioxide levels and the rise in temperatures over a period of 650,000 years. According to the judge, scientists generally agree that there is "a connection," between the two phenomena, but claims of an "exact fit" cannot be established.

      "I would have thought that Gore is on reasonable grounds here. It may not be an exact fit, but it is a very close fit."

    7. An "Inconvenient Truth" claimed that citizens of some low-lying inhabited Pacific atolls "have all had to evacuate to New Zealand" because of the inundation of their islands caused by global warming. The judge said that he found no evidence of "any such evacuation having yet happened."

      "I think Gore is on to something here. Evacuations may have already happened in a very minor way, or are being planned to happen. He is not far out, but technically the words he used may not be quite correct."

    8. The movie suggested that global warming could shut down "the Ocean Conveyer," a process by which the Gulf Stream is carried over the North Atlantic to Western Europe. The judge cited a study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace prize, which concluded that it was "very unlikely" that the Ocean Conveyer would be shut down completely, although it might slow down.

      "The judge is correct on this one. According to IPCC studies, it might slow down not this century, but over the next century."

    9. Gore argued that coral reefs all over the world were bleaching because of global warming and other factors. The judge cited the IPCC view that it was difficult to separate the impact of stresses on coral reefs caused by climate change "from other stresses such as over-fishing and pollution."

      "There is widespread coral bleaching. There is no doubt that corals are being stressed by sea surface temperatures, but there is also a fairly extensive literature showing that rises in local sea levels have caused coral bleaching. Technically, the judge may be right, but if you have someone lecturing on a podium in front of a camera, this is an acceptable degree of generalization."


    Here are a couple of comments from several of our more informed readers, which might otherwise have got lost amid the tsunami of attacks on the Fact Checker.


    A coral reef scientist at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association wrote to say that he had "scores of of peer-reviewed scientific reports that show direct correlations between coral bleaching and rising water temperatures." He drew attention to NOAA's Coral Reef Watch which alerts coral bleaching events globally, and added. "This is just one piece of evidence that discounts the judge's ruling...of which I have several issues with. There are two sides to many stories and each side picks what they like best to prove their point."


    A wetland ecologist at a state agency criticized Vice President Gore and others for allegedly ignoring the "caveats that are inevitably included in science. They believe that the only way that they can get global action on reducing pollution (which is a laudable goal), is by exaggerating the causes and impacts of global warming. In other words, they believe that the ends (reducing pollution), justifies the means (vastly overstating global warming.)"
    He concludes, "To be perfectly honest, I find that as abhorrent as the corporate shills on the other side of the issue who are minimizing any risk at the behest of corporations. The problem, is that politicians should let the scientists do the science."


    Just to be clear, the Fact Checker does not necessarily endorse any of the above views either. We are still considering the evidence and await the Gore team's response.


    Some more useful websites:


    Unofficial transcript of An Inconvenient Truth


    Analysis of the British judge's assertions by realclimate.org.


    Analysis by British magazine New Scientist


    UPDATE: SEE VERDICT HERE.

    By Michael Dobbs  | October 17, 2007; 7:00 AM ET
    Categories:  1 Pinocchio, Environment, Video Watch  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Mitt and Rudy Show, Part II
    Next: An Inconvenient Truth: Team Gore Responds

    Comments

    Just admit you totally screwed up and move on. Maybe two or three people will be left to read this stupid feature.

    Posted by: Jim J | October 17, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

    Why cave in to the wackos? Your post about Gore got linked on a bunch of blogs, generating all that nonsense. If your going to post something, stand by it.

    Posted by: PowerBoater69 | October 17, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

    Hell will freeze over before Al Gore will debate his facts with scientists who disagree with him.

    Despite various offers, Al Gore hasn't responded to any -- mind you, not one! -- of the many requests for him to debate his global warming facts. The truth is that many of his findings are so skewed and false that they are simply indefensible, and he would be exposed as a demagogue and a fraud should he choose to debate.

    On the bright side, you've made my day! I let out a loud chuckle for your naivete on waiting for Al Gore to respond to your request to prove his facts.

    Posted by: TheOneWhoKnows | October 17, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

    I wish there had been this much discussion on Bushes Facts that took us to war. By the way , what is the carbon footprint of the war effort?

    Posted by: Ed | October 17, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

    If you can't take the heat, stay the heck out of the kitchen. In plainer terms, if you can't actually CHECK the facts, don't bother to write a column about them, 'kay?

    More advice: if you can't check the facts on BOTH SIDES of an argument, don't bother to criticize one side. It's neither far nor intelligent.

    Posted by: Judge C. Crater | October 17, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

    Sorry, I meant 'fair' not 'far.' Is a typo unintelligent?

    Posted by: Judge C. Crater | October 17, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

    I don't see what the big fuss was about. After reading the original post, I saw no semblance of an opinion. Just statements of fact with promises of more facts to come and a call for your opinions. I will say more often and more heartily than anyone I know that the global climate change debate is the most important one of our time, but I will also say that emotions and brash conclusions have no place in the debate. The speed with which people denounced the original post reminds me of two things. The view that anyone driving slower than you is stupid and anyone driving faster than you is a maniac. And the view that "My Jesus is better than your Jesus." Is global climate change happening? yes. Did a British judge rule on inaccuracies in Gore's movie? yes. Did Fact Checker report on these things that happened? yes. Did Fact Checker say the ruling was correct? no. So, again: What was the big deal?

    Posted by: Austin | October 17, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

    Why in the world should Gore respond to you? You have no credibility - all you did was spread the GOP talking point smears.

    Media hack.

    Posted by: JD | October 17, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

    GOP talking points smears? From the British High Court? yeahhh..... Did you even read this article?? And as far as checking facts, what facts are there to check? British court ruled. That's a fact. Gore was pleased. That's another fact. Here's a new fact: IPCC's judgment on the British court's ruling. And now we see it posted. If you want Fact Checker to present "facts" about global warming, then maybe you need to learn a little about the way science works.

    Posted by: Austin | October 17, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

    Mr Dobbs, perhaps I can clarify the issue for you:
    1. You added the word "significant".

    Dobbs:"At the same time he also listed nine significant errors in the movie which, he said, reflected a general context of "alarmism and exaggeration" surrounding climate change"

    The article:"A British judge has ruled that Al Gore's Oscar-winning film on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," contains "nine errors." ...
    the judge did not disagree with the film's main point -- that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are causing serious climate consequences."

    Your characterization is not supported by the reporting.

    2. The timing of your column and its widely perceived editorializing (#1 above)
    are highly suspect. I put it down to capitalizing on the headlines of the day to draw clicks, but others are not so charitable.

    Posted by: zukermand | October 17, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

    ps - if you are going to quote someone accusing Gore of believing it is justified, in other words intentionally, "vastly overstating", perhaps you ought to ask for an example to support such an inflammatory charge. Your correspondent sounds unreliable.

    Posted by: zukermand | October 17, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

    I believe that the issue of climate change is much more complex then Al Gore, and some of the members of the IPCC would lead us to believe. To have a true debate on this, in addition to Al Gore's response, you should get a response from someone like Steven Milloy of the Competitive Enterprise Institute or Dr. William Gray from the University of Colorado.

    Posted by: Bill | October 17, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

    Here's another "fact" you overlooked, courtesy of The Guardian (UK):

    "The school governor who challenged the screening of Al Gore's climate change documentary in secondary schools was funded by a Scottish quarrying magnate who established a controversial lobbying group to attack environmentalists' claims about global warming....

    "The Observer has established that Dimmock's case was supported by a powerful network of business interests with close links to the fuel and mining lobbies. He was also supported by a Conservative councillor in Hampshire, Derek Tipp."

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2190770,00.html

    I think you need to find a new day job. Fact checking isn't your forte.

    Posted by: cab91 | October 17, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

    In reply to cab91, I fail to see what the "network of business interests" behind the plaintiff in this case has to do with the accuracy or inaccuracy of the judge's conclusions, or the accuracy or inaccuracy of Al Gore's movie.

    Please see our mission statement:

    "We will stick to the facts of the issue under examination and pay no attention to ad hominem attacks. The identity or political ties of the person or organization making a charge is irrelevant: all that matters is whether their facts are accurate or inaccurate."

    Posted by: The Fact Checker | October 17, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

    "you should get a response from someone like Steven Milloy of the Competitive Enterprise Institute or Dr. William Gray from the University of Colorado"

    Bill, this is not helpful.

    Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

    Good lord, why does this topic bring out the weirdoes the way it does?

    The REAL consensus among actual scientists is that global warming is real, the human contribution is real, and we need to do as much as we can as soon as possible to help ameliorate the effects even if it helps very little in the end. There is simply no way to know a priori how effective our efforts will be, but we MUST undertake the challenge.

    Lefties: let the corporate shills yell themselves horse. The debate is over.

    Righties: see above.

    Posted by: Mobedda | October 17, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

    I'll try another way.
    Dobbs:"...he also listed nine significant errors in the movie ..."

    Main Entry: sig·nif·i·cant
    Function: adjective
    Date: 1579
    ...
    2 a: having or likely to have influence or effect :

    WaPo: "...the judge did not disagree with the film's main point -- that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are causing serious climate consequences..."

    Mr Dobbs, your characterization puts you among interesting company, indeed. Perhaps you ought to Google Gore+significant+error. You'll find the responsible news organizations run out before the bottom of the first page. Then we find the sort who agree with you as to the significance of the errors the judge cites. You may find it enlightening.

    Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

    Executive Summary: Fact Checker I on this issue was guilty of the same types of fact-slating and hyperbole as Gore is accused on using. If the article had been reasonably written, it would have emphasized the agreement of the British judge with the thesis of An Inconvenient Truth, while questioning why the judge ordered the film to be preceded by a disclaimer because of questions about minor points of fact in the film.

    Bottom Line: You blew it, Michael.

    Now be a man and admit it.

    Posted by: Mister Methane | October 17, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

    It's a drag that when I rake leaves in my yard this year, I raise a cloud of dust.

    Just a coincidence, I know.

    Anyway, glad to see some journalism in your contact with Parry. Too bad the polar bears didn't keep journals, so we could be sure.

    Posted by: gringo | October 17, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

    While gringo may have significant particulate matter in the air of his yard due to leaf-raking, it cannot be conclusively termed a "cloud of dust."

    Posted by: British judge | October 17, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

    A better resource than a British Judge might have been the British Royal Academy of Science.

    http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=6229

    Posted by: 4Caster | October 17, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

    Misunderstood?

    I think some of the anger, quite justified, was due to the presentation of the feature just below the actual breaking story of a fellow American and a widely admired statesman sharing the Nobel Prize. Then, like the proverbial turd in the punchbowl, there's this inane feature making a mountain range out of a few molehills in a way that seemed deliberately designed to question Mr. Gore's integrity, as well as the seriousness of climate change. Maybe you meant well, but the acclamation of the mouth breathers and assorted kooks spoke volumes about the effect of your feature and its placement on the front page. This is especially true given the frankly suspect behavior of this newspaper's editorial staff in regards to fair presentation of facts that conflict with its agenda of thwarting progressive change.

    Posted by: gator | October 17, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

    Posted by: The Fact Checker | October 17, 2007 10:34 AM

    Surely you jest.

    If the "network of business interests" had not become involved, this movie in all likelihood would never have come before the judge.

    You're not living up to your mission statement. You need to find something else to do.

    Posted by: cab91 | October 17, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

    I guess that stoking the "freak show" is the key part of the mission statement for this column. If facts get in the way of the editorializing slant the show goes - smear and more smear that brings the clicks.

    Posted by: Julian | October 17, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

    cab91 - you are quite the ultramaroon.

    Posted by: dc | October 17, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

    If you are going to post a fact checker, perhaps you could check the facts?

    Posted by: George | October 17, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

    dc, you apparently believe name calling substitutes for discourse, but you are mistaken.

    Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

    What irked me about this ruling and about the Post's initial coverage of it was that the original suit, filed in England because of their more-lax free speech laws, was an attempt to 'play up' minor factual inconsistencies as a method of collaterially attacking global warming. By focusing on the minor facts that are not consistent with scientific consensus, you are inadvertantly creating a message that movie is based on a false-premise.
    I know this is not what your column explicitly or implicitly said, but the redux version, as it will be repeated over and over again, is what matters in the bigger scheme.

    Posted by: William Smith | October 17, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

    Funny that there's so much analysis here of a single English judge's reasons for judgment, when the SCOTUS won't have a bar of decisions even by the highest British court, the House of Lords

    Posted by: Stumblng Tumblr | October 17, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

    I wave my private parts at your aunties, the lot of you.

    An avowed intellectual who views the Current Occupant with disgust and the host of An Inconvenient Truth as a ninny for shying from Clinton during his campaign, I must say that I found the Fact Checker's original article on this both timely and balanced.

    I saw none of the slant -- to EITHER side -- that's been asserted and don't quite understand where the vitriol is coming from.

    Well, that's not quite true: it's obvious the right-wing blogosphere is at it again because there are not currently any sick kids to torment or working parents to insult.

    DC, I totally concur with your assessment of Cab91.

    And, yes, your typo implies lack of intelligence, judge.

    Now get a grip and let the FC do his job.

    Posted by: Bush -- not related | October 17, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

    It's time to pack this column in, you obviously don't have the judgement to render verdicts in serious debates such as the climate crisis. A cubicle at the Washington Post doesn't confer wisdom or credibility on you automatically, you're in over your head kid. Quit now.

    Posted by: AJ | October 17, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

    Fact Checker, you should underline your comment that consensus does not indicate that something is either right or wrong. In fact, consensus plays no role in science and is nothing more than an informal opinion vote. Did you read the article the other day by Tierney in the NYTimes about how consensus led Dr. Koop down the wrong path with respect to dietary fat? If not, look it over and note the similarities to the current global warming "discussion."

    What is missing in your "Facts," the IPCC's comments, and reader's feedback is the simple fact that there are no verified climate models. In fact, the current models actually predict temperature changes in the upper atmosphere taht are completely contrary to measurements! Consequently, take all of the projections and throw them out the window. To be sure, I doubt that anyone disagrees with the claim that the earth is warming. It has been doing so at a fairely linear rate since the little Ice Age 150 or so years ago. As a result, Londoners no longer ice skate on the Thames (but one day will do so again).

    So, where is the disagreement? Simply stated, in part because of poor reporting by the media, the phrase "global warming" has come to mean not only warming of the earth and climate change but also that man is largely responsibile. STOP. These are two independent questions - is the climate changing and is man affecting or forcing that change. One can verify that climate is changing and temperature is increasing with some simple instruments such as a thermometer. As a result, few if any dispute that the earth is warming.

    The next question - man's influence - is totaly up in the air because we don't have verified climate change models that can inform us as to the amount of change that can be attributed to man. Look at the IPCC's report in which they show the spread of predicted temperature increase by 2100. The predictions are all over the map, although all show an increase unlike the critical upper atmosphere predictions. However, in order to satisfy their government bosses who want a definitive answer now, government appointed scientist average things and come up with a number. Is it realistic? Without verfied models nobody knows if such averages are even in the ballpark.

    Why is all this stuff important? Simply because it is used to make political decisions. If one buys into the Gore panic and the conclusion that man is the prime factor forcing climate change then one could easily justify spending zillions on CO2 reduction technologies and practices that would definitely have a significant impact on the economy, standard of living, etc. But this would be worthwhile if, as Gore claims, it is a matter of "life or death."

    On the other hand, if man is not a major factor in climate change one might easily go down a different route that at the same time helps the CO2 "problem." For example, Congress could legislate more fuel efficiency which would simultaneously address the reality of a finite hydrocarbon resource and at the same time CO2 reduction. Certainly a more economic and probably more meaningful than panic CO2 reduction schemes or perhaps even worse Gore's carbon trading ponzi scheme.

    Bottom line, forget about any arguments based on consensus, encourage support of climate change research, encourage governmental actions aimed at fuel efficiency and the reality of a finite hydrocarbon reserve, and get one of the main public opinion forming forces, the media, to get their act together and promote an unbiased, rational discussion (worldwide I should add).

    Posted by: Hank | October 17, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

    No matter which side of the argument one comes down on, I am surprised that everyone seems to assume that a warmer climate is bad. From the viewpoint of humans scraping out a living on this planet which is better - heat or cold? If the past is any indication, we will have the opportunity to experience both as time goes by. Newsweek ran an op-ed piece a month or so ago that argued the odds of the world getting its act together and doing something meaningful that might affect temperature is quite small. Looking a Congress I have to agree. So, Newsweek, argues, stop messing around and concentrate of adapting to change. Sounds like a mature, responsibile thought.

    Posted by: John Grey | October 17, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

    Good point, John. I also have read, for example, that warmer is less harmful than cold, resulting in fewer deaths. No doubt there would also be the need to adapt in a variety of areas such as farming. Along these lines, a program last night on PBS, Germs, Guns, and Steel, pointed out that ancient peoples in the Middle East adapted to a 1,000 year drought and that was without a single SUV being driven.

    Posted by: Ellie | October 17, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

    "...adapted to a 1,000 year drought..."

    Hmmm, what percentage of the overall population died before that adaptation was successful?

    "...adapting to change. Sounds like a mature, responsibile thought."

    How many people might die in the next monster hurricane? In the spirit of 'mature,' purely cerebral consideration of the consequences of global warming, would you volunteer yourself to be one of these abstract casualties you so blithely choose to overlook?

    Sticking your head in the sand didn't work before you admitted that global warming was real; why does trying to do it afterwards seem like a logical strategy?

    Posted by: Judge C. Crater | October 17, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

    Wow, you're taking a beating for exposing misinformation imbedded in An Inconvenient Truth, misinformation that even the IPCC acknowledges. The problem is that once dogma become religeon, objectivity is lost. Mr. Gore will not debate the issues, because he can not defend his personal carbo foot-print, let alone his dubious science.

    Posted by: Jay Nickell | October 17, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

    "Hmmm, what percentage of the overall population died before that adaptation was successful?"

    More than if they did not adapt.

    "...adapting to change. Sounds like a mature, responsibile thought."

    "How many people might die in the next monster hurricane?"

    Fewer if proper planning (a form of adaptation) took place.

    "Sticking your head in the sand didn't work before you admitted that global warming was real; why does trying to do it afterwards seem like a logical strategy?"

    Ellie is right. Adaption should be a major part of our strategy. Not doing so, as you would like, is truly sticking one's head in the sand.

    Cheers.

    Posted by: Justice GotItRight | October 17, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

    "More than if they did not adapt."

    Gee, thanks for the non-answer. Did you begin typing with the full realization that you were going to contribute nothing or did that just now dawn on you?

    "Adaption should be a major part of our strategy."

    Or perhaps preventing global warming would turn out to be cheaper than the price of thoughtless ignorance. You might begin by calculating the cost of (1) a few thousand square miles of coastline; (2) rebuilding countless bridges and roadways and (3) insurance payouts to those millions of homes near thoses coastlines. Or is that, like trying to think about how to prevent global warming, too hard for you?

    "Not doing so, as you would like..."

    Is completely missing someone's point part of your job description? The data certainly suggests that you've had a lot of practice.

    Posted by: Judge C. Crater | October 17, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

    Sigh...

    Upper atmosphere temperatures did appear to show an opposite trend to that predicted, but there turned out to be an (admitted) algebraic error in the calculation. The trend is in fact as predicted. Global temperatures have not risen monotonically in the past 150 years. The rate of increase does appear to be accelerating. Climate models are not perfect, but they do a decent job. They predict the cooling effects of volcanic eruptions rather well. When used to model the effects of different forcings separately, the effects of anthropogenic CO2 dominate the current global climate signature, strongly suggesting human influence. Has the world endured CO2 levels this high before? yes, but the levels rose over tens of thousands of years. Not hundreds. Biodiversity, which is crucial to a robust, resilient biosphere is dropping at an alarming rate. In other words, evolution can't keep up with the changes. The population of the earth surpassed, by some estimations, the capacity of the planet's resources some decades ago. Take all this as fact or not. Better yet, fact check it, and learn a few things for yourself.

    Posted by: Texas | October 17, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

    "Hmmm, what percentage of the overall population died before that adaptation was successful?"

    The program did not mention, but those people did come through that period. I wonder how many judges would survive such a long drought.

    "...adapting to change. Sounds like a mature, responsibile thought."

    How many people might die in the next monster hurricane?

    Many, I am sure, if the preparation by city and state organizations is as bad as it was or is in New Orleans.

    "In the spirit of 'mature,' purely cerebral consideration of the consequences of global warming, would you volunteer yourself to be one of these abstract casualties"

    Judge, you don't help yourself with such non-thinking responses. What exactly are the consequences and how do you know that with such certainty?

    "Sticking your head in the sand didn't work before you admitted that global warming was real"

    Only the ignorant denied that global warming was real and has been known "forever." Only the stupid are certain it is due in large part to man.

    Posted by: Ellie | October 17, 2007 8:05 PM | Report abuse

    Here's something the Post can check on without having to go to scientists for help. It would also involve fact checking an article that appeared in their own Outlook section. Bjorn Lomborg's article on October 7, entitled "Chill Out" is one example of the argument Big Oil is making against the Kyoto Accords. Is it possible -- as some suggest -- that Mr. Lomborg is funded, directly or indirectly, by organizations that might benefit from certain results? And I'd like to see some of the responses to his argument and his scientific statements by the same scientists whom the Post has interviewed about Gore.

    Posted by: john b. | October 17, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

    Excuse me, Ellie. I'd like to believe you are capable of intelligent discourse, and you begin in that fashion. But to call proponents of anthropogenic climate change "stupid" is uncalled for. Many of the best and brightest minds in the world fall into this category. I guarantee that many of them are smarter than you. As for my own perspective, climate science is difficult, complicated, and largely untestable. But the evidence that we are able to collect strongly points to human origins. Am I certain humans activity is to blame? no. Am I willing to chance that the evidence is wrong and continue living an unsustainable lifestyle? Absolutely not.

    If your child may have polio, do you hope for the best and get ready to buy a wheelchair and custom van, or do you seek medical attention immediately?

    Posted by: Texas | October 17, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

    These blogs tend to be a wonderful source of incomplete or misinformation that are at the same time both right and wrong but are always "chiseled in stone." Of course, they also serve little purpose because I doubt that the opinion of more than a handful is ever changed (so why am I wasting my time here?).

    The troposphere measurements were indeed corrected around 2005 but the recalculated rate of warming was too small to confirm the models. After the corrections were made the CCSP published a report and did say in the Executive Summary that the problem had been resolved. However, the issue lives on because those that go beyond the superficial summary and critically review the report found that the charts clearly show the surface-troposphere trend difference. Why the difference between the summary and data? I don't know.

    The linearity of the temperature rise since the little ice age has been widely discussed. Linearity is to some extent in the eyes of the beholder and a matter of what one chooses for granularity and error band. That being said, the important thing is that there is no dispute regarding the fact that temperatures increased since that period. I agree that some may feel uncomfortable calling the trend linear but on average it certainly is increasing. However, claiming that temperature is increasing at a more rapid rate in recent years flies in the face of reality and is beyond the granularity issue. Temperatures rose from the early 1900s into the 40s, declined into the 70s, rose into the late 90s, and a flattened since then. Obviously, no correlation with "SUVs."

    As for the models, one cannot disagree that they are not perfect. Most importantly, they certainly have not been verified which is exactly the problem. Just look at the output of the 12 models used in the IPCC report. To draw anything but the most general conclusion from them smacks of purposeful distortion. Given that state of affairs, it is at best a leap of faith to assume that their output is useful for defining man's contribution to climate change. Along the same lines, the rate of change of CO2 in the atmosphere since the late 40s is a red herring. All else being equal, the CO2 increase should have produced even more warming than has been observed. Of course, this assumes that the small observed changes were in fact due to CO2 and not natural forcings.

    Without verified models claiming causality is simply delusional and a poor basis for actions.

    Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

    Instead of taking indirect swipes at Lomborg by suggesting his source of funding is big oil, why don't questioners simply contact him at U of Aarhus in Denmark. He is not hiding and neither is a record of his funding sources.

    The issue of funding raises some interesting questions. First, is it a fact that scientists adjust their results to reflect the views of the supporter assuming that they are known. Should we question the integrity of scientists on the basis inuendo a la McCarthyism? Are we to accept the failed strong arm attempt a few months ago by Snowe and Rockerfeller to get Exxon to fall into line as the new norm? Frankly, I don't think this type of argument belongs in a serioius discussion, but then maybe that's where we are, as evidenced by such behavior by two senior Senators.

    Secondly, for those who are concerned about scientists being supported by big oil, are they also concerned about scientist being denied funding because they have spoken out against the belief that man is causing global warming?

    Posted by: Julian | October 17, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

    If you don't like "stupid", Texas, choose another word but all fall under the big tent of global warming religion.

    Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

    Thanks so much for this article. This is exactly what the Fact Checker section should be. Using an IPCC scientist is a totally appropriate way to check climate change facts, and I applaud your willingness to revisit your original -- and flawed -- piece.

    Posted by: Dave | October 17, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

    To Bush - not related, Mobedda, Austin and other clear-minded individuals:

    I could not have said it better than you. I appreciate the discussion the Fact Checker has started here, and what better time to do it than now, when Gore has won a prize he could very well deserve. I read and reread the Post's entry here, and cannot see the bias that these crazy extremists (cab91m "judge" crater, zuckermand, Mister Methane etc) read in to it. All of you who are actually contributing intelligently to the debate: thanks. The points you make are fascinating, and I read them with great interest. Those of you who aren't intelligent to understand Mr.Dobbs' discourse, please just don't bother us with your comments. You are wasting our time. Imploring Fact Checker to find another job just makes you look stupid.

    Posted by: hilda | October 17, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

    Hilda,

    Some of us can see through the haze of fact and pseudo fact to discern the motivation that colors and selects the facts. I can't help it if your BS detector is myopic or colorblind.

    My sympathies for your disability....

    Posted by: Mister Methane | October 17, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

    Mr. Methane,
    Your words are nice, but to say that you can "discern motivation" of others is arrogant, and so stupid. How about producing some real info that people can read, like others here. "Discerning motivation" is not your place. Anything you have that can further the discussion would be welcome.

    Posted by: Hilda | October 18, 2007 7:21 AM | Report abuse

    To the "fact checker" at 9:34 pm, bravo for checking some of my facts. You certainly are better read in the topic than I. However, I would add that the issue of the earth being too cool as compared to climate models is an interesting one. One particular source of the cooling is contrails left by airplanes. These wispy trails left by airliners have a distinct, proven cooling effect. How is it proven? In the days after 9/11, all flights were grounded. And the data are clear. Which is why I have a bigger issue with automotive efficiency standards than the growing air travel industry. Fascinating topic, isn't it?

    As for climate models. They really are poor in some respects. But brilliant in others. The signatures of individual forcings that I mentioned are rather striking. In any case, whether you believe them or not, they did a pretty good job calculating the effects of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991. And they're the best tool we have for making predictions. As for verification, how do you propose we verify any of the models? The only real way to do it would be to gather a century's worth of data and compare. Obviously, we can't do that.

    If the lack of a verified model and the absence of an indisputable causal link between human activities and climate change are not good reasons to enact change, how about economics? We're due to hit (or already passed, depending who you ask) peak oil. From here on, oil is only going to get harder to extract and more expensive. We've got coal, sure, but there are environmental issues with mining it and so on. And even that supply will run out one day. So, what's wrong with clean power from the sun? We're not set up for a solar power grid, sure. But that's like me saying I can't be a doctor because I haven't gone to med school. Let's not be afraid of a bit of work and sacrifice. The payoffs are potentially tremendous. Energy independence! What nation wouldn't want that??

    Posted by: Texas | October 18, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

    Texas: I think ur right that every country would want energy independence, and that the economics of clean sustainable energy should push us in that direction. Do you remember the oil embargo of the early 1970s? We were all gung ho on becoming energy efficient and independent then - this is 40 years later. We are no closer - maybe a little closer in terms of research. We can't seem to cross that threshold.

    Posted by: Hilda | October 18, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

    I like monkey science from someone who flunked out of two graduate programs. Someone give chicken little his doctorate, please.

    Posted by: Buckwheat | October 18, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

    I am not a scientist, nor do I have a background of strong scientific education. Please inform me if this is possible: the expected disruption of the Atlantic conveyor would be somewhat mitigated by the increased volatility of arctic ice pack volume? Three factors: 1. Overall, warmer surface water increases in salinity and density, sinking; 2. More melting, then freezing, seasonally subtracts fresh water, increasing salinity in the winter, so seasonal sinking is increased; and 3. Increased area of surface water (result of shrinking ice cap) increases evaporation, making surface water more saline, denser, so it sinks.

    Posted by: Doug Kahn | October 18, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

    "We were hoping to start a discussion on the accuracy of certain, very specific statements in an Oscar-winning movie by a prominent American who has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."

    Call me a skeptic. What is your motivation for this enterprise? When the movie came out, there was broad agreement by most credible reviewers that, while the film almost certainly contained a few errors, inaccuracies, oversimplifications, or even exaggerations, overall the film did a very good job of providing a fair, generally accurate, and understandable explanation of a very complicated subject that scientists continue to struggle to fully understand. Sure, among the hundreds of facts the movie tries to piece together to show a coherent whole, some will turn out to be wrong. I don't think Al Gore ever denied that. The judge seems to have reached approximately the same conclusion. There is no meaningful controversy here.

    Let me suggest an alternative topic. To date, no credible or conclusive evidence has proven or disproved that the Fact Checker beats his wife. Without reaching a final conclusion on the matter, let us have a civil and honest discussion of the facts surrounding the possibly violent and misogynistic nature of a prominent columnist in a leading American newspaper.

    Posted by: d whitney | October 18, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

    Piss-poor defense when less than half will read this than did the first. If you really believe your own excuses then change the name of your column from "Fact Checker" to "Lively Debate Moderator."

    Posted by: slavin | October 18, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

    I am a green citizen and I LOVE the fact checker's article on An Inconvenient Truth, Part II. Among the myriad of conflicing view points, the fact checker attempted to look at the FACTS and dispell the myth. This in turn opened the dialogue for Gore's team to respond. I think blogger who are critical are extremely short-sighted. If it was all happy clappy, they would be preaching to the choir--this has afforded an opportunity for those who still think global warming is a mystic theory unfounded on science to see where science applies. I applaud you!!

    Posted by: NJB | October 18, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

    if nobody learns anything else today maybe they could learn that hurling insults and vitriol doesn't make you right or your argument more appealing. "mouth breather"? Clearly if they disagree with you they must be an 'idiot'

    We get it, this is emotional for some people.

    Posted by: rightorwrong | October 18, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

    The ironically named TheOneWhoKnows wrote:
    "Hell will freeze over before Al Gore will debate his facts with scientists who disagree with him."

    Scientific disputes aren't decided by debates. They are decided by new data. NO ONE who disputes global warming has produced any data, just mounds of blather.

    "Despite various offers, Al Gore hasn't responded to any -- mind you, not one! -- of the many requests for him to debate his global warming facts."

    That's a good decision. Those who doubt him should do science and publish their data.

    "The truth is that many of his findings are so skewed and false that they are simply indefensible, and he would be exposed as a demagogue and a fraud should he choose to debate."

    If that were true, the new data produced by those who doubt him would be much more effective. Your problem is that those who dispute global warming aren't producing any new data.

    Posted by: John | October 18, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

    The UK government defended the showing of "An Inconvenient Truth" with environmental experts of its choosing. After hearing both sides, the judge cited nine errors. He permitted the film to be shown in the schools as part of a climate change pack but only if it is accompanied by fresh guidance notes to balance Mr. Gore's "one sided" views.
    He said Mr. Gore's sea-level rise claim for the near future was incorrect. Is it Gore's position we will no longer have global coolings as we have for eons?

    Posted by: Robert McNulty | October 18, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

    Here's a better factual response to this lazy and stupid "fact check" from the Post.

    Gore takes the prize; British judge less impressed
    Category: climate
    Posted on: October 12, 2007 7:02 AM, by James Hrynyshyn

    Instead of celebrating the news that my man Al Gore is sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the thousands of scientists who supplied the raw material for the slide show that made him "the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding" of climate change, I am compelled to address a list of alleged errors in said slide show. Thank you High Court Justice Michael Burton. No really. Thanks.

    As a member of Gore's Climate Project, the team our new Nobel laureate has entrusted to present his slide show, I could take umbrage at the mere notion of inaccuracies therein. But I won't, because the problems identified by the British judge are worth examining. They actually shed a good deal of light on the science of climate change and the scientific process.

    So what are the errors? The anti-Gore blogosphere has kindly made the list readily available.

    1. The film claims that melting snows on Mount Kilimanjaro evidence global warming. The Government's expert was forced to concede that this is not correct.

    Good point. Several months ago, I removed any reference to Kilimanjaro from my version of the slide show precisely because of the lack of evidence tying the mountain's melting ice to global climate change. But good evidence that unrelated natural cycles in the Indian Ocean and East Africa may be to blame only came out earlier this year. Prior to that, it was fair to assume that Kilimanjaro was suffering from the same problems afflicting countless other glaciers and mountain ice caps around the world. Gore's presentation contains so many examples of glacial retreat, in fact, that many Climate Project members are forced to edit out most of them for time.


    2. The film suggests that evidence from ice cores proves that rising CO2 causes temperature increases over 650,000 years. The Court found that the film was misleading: over that period the rises in CO2 lagged behind the temperature rises by 800-2000 years.

    Now, that's not fair. Gore only associates CO2 levels and temperatures. The fact that CO2 sometimes lags behind temperature is irrelevant. As any competent climatologist will tell you, the fact that they are intimately linked is the problem -- change one and the other will follow, possibly setting off rapid feedbacks. Looks like the judge didn't bother to consult the RealClimate post titled "The lag between temperature and CO2. (Gore's got it right.)"


    3. The film uses emotive images of Hurricane Katrina and suggests that this has been caused by global warming. The Government's expert had to accept that it was "not possible" to attribute one-off events to global warming.

    Wrong. Gore actually makes it clear that isolated cases prove nothing, and only long-term, widespread trends are scientifically relevant.

    4. The film shows the drying up of Lake Chad and claims that this was caused by global warming. The Government's expert had to accept that this was not the case.

    Wrong again. Gore doesn't claim Lake Chad's fate is solely because of climate change. The consensus is perhaps half can be traced to climate change. And in any case, Lake Chad is used to illustrate the potential human consequences of increased demand for dwindling fresh water supplies, not as evidence for climate change.


    5. The film claims that a study showed that polar bears had drowned due to disappearing arctic ice. It turned out that Mr Gore had misread the study: in fact four polar bears drowned and this was because of a particularly violent storm.

    Fair point. But since the film was released, we have had several solid reports painting a grim picture of the future for the species, so I keep the polar bears in my presentation.


    6. The film threatens that global warming could stop the Gulf Stream throwing Europe into an ice age: the Claimant's evidence was that this was a scientific impossibility.

    Well, it could. And two years ago, when the film was made, many scientists were worried about the possibility, although most did not think that scenario was probable in the near future. Since then, however, those fears have been relegated to the margins, and again, I have removed that sequence from my presentations. Another example of how science evolves.


    7. The film blames global warming for species losses including coral reef bleaching. The Government could not find any evidence to support this claim.

    Then they should have looked harder. Many marine biologists are worried about the fate of corals in a warming, and lower pH ocean.


    8. The film suggests that sea levels could rise by 7m causing the displacement of millions of people. In fact the evidence is that sea levels are expected to rise by about 40cm over the next hundred years and that there is no such threat of massive migration.

    Wrong again. Yes, the film does suggest that -- but makes no time-frame prediction. Using outdated studies, the IPCC says that will happen, in more than a 1000 years. But since then, data on melting Greenland and West Antarctic ice packs have shortened the time involved. Jim Hansen says several meters within a century is a real possibility.


    9. The film claims that rising sea levels has caused the evacuation of certain Pacific islands to New Zealand. The Government are unable to substantiate this and the Court observed that this appears to be a false claim.

    Wrong yet again. The film does not claim that evacuations are already underway, only that they are being planned, and possibly imminent.

    So when we eliminate the issues on which the judge was simply wrong, we are left with three issues in which either Gore's claims were not entirely supported by the science at the time, but subsequently have proven warranted, or Gore's claims were right at the time, but later proven unwarranted. More or less.

    When you think about it, that's just about what you would expect from a science-based presentation about a rapidly evolving subject like climate change, delivered by a well-informed non-scientist. I'd have been surprised if everything Gore had said were still valid, and I'd be even more surpised if none of the science had changed since Laurie David and David Guggenheim filmed his presentations almost two years ago.

    Apparently, the Nobel committee agrees with me. So I remain proud to be zero degree of separation from at least one of the recipients of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. (I have also interviewed more than one member of the IPCC, but then, who hasn't?)

    Also, in case you were wondering, Gore writes that

    My wife, Tipper, and I will donate 100 percent of the proceeds of the award to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan non-profit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion in the U.S. and around the world about the urgency of solving the climate crisis.

    Posted by: Egilsson | October 19, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

    Posted by: Egilsson | October 19, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

    So Big Al is backing off from suggesting that hurricanes will be more frequent and intense because of global warming? Then he'd better remove that satellite photo of a hurricane from the posters advertising his movie. The connection is clearly implied if not directly stated. Bravo factchecker! The truth is getting a little inconvenient for the global warming nazis.

    Posted by: Dan | October 19, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

    Thermal Expansion of the Oceans is beyond physically possible in the near or in many generations. The primary cause for sea level changes has far more to do with tectonic or continental rebound then thermal expansion and here is why. Salinity of the world's oceans dictates the maximum density is about Forty One Degrees Fahrenheit. Over ninety percent of the water in the world's oceans is below Thirty Six Degrees Fahrenheit, meaning as the temperature rises the amount of space ocean water takes up is reduced.

    Put it another way, Salt Water at 36 degrees Fahrenheit is less dense then Salt Water at 41 degrees Fahrenheit. One must move the average temperature above this number before one can realize expansion. Some might argue that pressure is what mitigates this but the compressibility of water is extremely small, significantly smaller then that of salinity and temperature.

    In reading the 'reports' this simple physical aspect is lost. They claim back and forth about their own claims with total disregard for the simplest explanation.

    So if you are interested in understanding sea level change I recommend learning about continental or tectonic rebound and understand that no human activity can cause the cotenant to respond as it is, we are just too insignificant.

    Posted by: Michael | October 19, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

    Here are some facts that no longer needs checking....

    you grossly exaggerated the ruling by the British judge, reported the judges findings as undisputed facts, and in general proved yourself to be nothing more than a mouthpiece for the corporate and political interests who have been attacking Gore from day one.

    Here is one more fact. You should quit, or be fired, for gross incompetence and intellectual dishonesty.

    You are pathetic.

    Posted by: paul_lukasiak | October 19, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

    So Fact Checkers:

    Is there global warming? Just give me the facts.....

    Posted by: jerseymissouri | October 19, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

    as usual GORE is way over his head

    neither HE nor HIS team understand the difference between SALT WATER and NON salt WATER

    GORE doesnt know that both FREEZE at different degrees...CLEAR WATER freezes at a HIGHER TEMPERATURS in fact GLOBAL WARMING, as he mis-identifies it, ACTUALLY leads to GLOBAL COOLING as the melting ice WATER FLOATS about the SEA WATER and then freezes at a higher temperature

    before the scientific community tries to use phoney natural events to support their POLITICAL VIEWS, they need to know that hemispheric theories must first pass the TEST of oceanography ...

    when they do they will FREEZE their butts off on the ocean before their MYTH about global warming is realized to be a useless theory

    ...why is every planet in the universe warming ?

    and what is the difference bwteen earth and all other planets ?

    they have no oceans to cool them and GORE'S LOGIC is akin the DUKE GROUP of 88 who rush to judgement before the facts are known...simply damn fools

    Posted by: E | October 20, 2007 12:02 AM | Report abuse

    This FactChecker column is a waste of time. As was stated above you:

    "grossly exaggerated the ruling by the British judge, reported the judges findings as undisputed facts, and in general proved yourself to be nothing more than a mouthpiece for the corporate and political interests who have been attacking Gore from day one"

    Posted by: SusanSmith34 | October 20, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

    #2, Mt. Kilimanjaro is not melting, it is evaporating (sublimation). What is happening to the ice is that its not being replaced by fresh snowfalls as quickly as it was prior to 1800... yes, this has been going on since the 1800's. The 'documentary' clearly makes reference to it melting and people relying on the runoff who will be denied this valuable resource (oops, Gore got that one completely wrong as well).

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6561527.stm

    The article does give an olive branch to the alarmists by making the leap to note it could be third party to the climate trend of Africa.

    Science is really quite simple. Politics, on the other hand, is filled with all sorts of convolution that ignores the simple physical principals at work. Politics is where you have an increase being called a cut and perpetual government growth as a good thing rather then the blight on humanity it has always been.

    Suggestion to Fact Check, when provided a rebuttal as flimsy as Martin Parry's you may ask for a little more detail... :-)

    Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse

    #4, Gore rapidity makes note to consensus in the scientific community. Taking "some scientific papers have partially attributed" is not only far from it consensus it is pathetic and pathological. Hypothesis like that of the Gore's far from consensus and more like misguided dogma like that of his grade school science teacher quasi anti puzzle remark.

    It should be noted that Gore desperately needed to make note of his science teacher's dogmatic response and the individuals now association to the current administration. It's amazing how dogma works when the bright light of actual science is shined upon it... shame Martin Parry choose to remain political rather then scientific.

    Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

    #5 I guess Gore's consensus was far from a consensus yet again. Even Martin Parry had to bail on that gem.

    Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

    #6, Again Gore's consensus takes a jab to the midsection. Notice that reality departs form the science fiction claimed to be a 'documentary'? Well, dogma being what it is Martin Parry holds on till the better end...

    Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

    #7 The United Nations Environmental Programme being the single source for this gem of a 'consensus' claim noted that flooding and erosion forced about 100 villagers to pack up their wooden settlement and move inland, about 600 meters (about fifteen meters above sea level).

    http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=459&ArticleID=5066&l=en

    When one actually gets past the dogma of the UN one can dig into the actual facts, e.g. that the islanders moved into harms way and then had to be relocated. Oops, but when did the community move in? Was it inhabited for a decade, a generation or two? I tried to find out but the alarmists noise is way too defining to find the facts...

    Posted by: Michael | October 20, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

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