Current talk around town:
Liberal Man on the street: “Have you heard the latest news? In 10 years we are all going to die unless we do something! You have got to go see Gore’s movie, he proves for sure that the earth is headed for certain disaster, and we are to blame.”
Conservative Skeptic: “Wait a minute, you went and paid five dollars to see a movie, and now you are convinced we are all doomed?”
Liberal Man on the street: “You must be one of those uninformed conservatives that are coming from a political perspective, this is a serious moral issue and you are just far too closed minded to understand.”
Conservative Skeptic: “Isn’t Al Gore a possible candidate in the next presidential election?”
Liberal Man on the street: “Believe what you want to believe, obviously you have already made up your mind, this conversation is over.”
That’s just the approach Gore takes. “The debate is over.” Anyone who questions what he presents in his movie is part of a small group of right wing nuts who have no credibility, and are not worth talking to. That’s really convenient! Make a claim that you hold the “truth,” just don’t question it. I personally do not remember this approach being a part of the scientific method.
In this paper I will first address Gore’s methodology of using observable changing effects in the environment as conclusive proof that man is the cause of these effects. I have had far too many conversations with people who continually refer to the ice caps melting as proof that man is the bad guy. Second, I want to address the issue of whether the debate is over, as Gore and his followers quickly retreat to when questioned. I would like to show that there is not anything like “consensus” as to whether the effects sited as evidence are even caused by global warming, let alone consensus on man being the cause. Third, I will give a small history on science predicting climate change.
Basic Premises of Goreology
After reading Gore’s previous work, Earth in the Balance, watching three current Gore interviews, reading six movie reviews, and one thorough examination of Gore’s website, two ideas clearly appear. First, that the global warming debate is over, and any dissenters are nut balls. Second that there is overwhelming consensus in the scientific community with regards to man being the cause of global warming. As proof, Gore presents a variety of possible effects of global warming as conclusive evidence of man as the cause of global warming.
The following statements can be found on the Al Gore Inconvenient Truth website, which clearly outlines Gore’s position:
The website lists four examples in support of this alarming news: Notice that none of these examples of “undeniable” evidence linking man to climate change in any way. In fact, these examples may not even be effects of global warming, as I will demonstrate later.
1. The number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years.
2. Malaria has spread to higher altitudes in places like the Colombian Andes.
3. The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade.
4. At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, moving closer to the poles.
Effects Used as Causes
The problem with the methodology used by Gore to acquire his “undeniable evidence” is, as I stated previously, that these are all possible effects of global warming, and not overwhelming evidence that man has caused global warming. This intellectual swindle is used all the time, not just by Gore, but by the environmental movement in general. I have watched numerous shows and read countless articles that site changing effects in the environment as evidence of man causing global warming. This is a slight of hand that people need to be conscious of. It is one thing to say, “the Earth’s climate is changing,” and quite another that “man has caused the change.” I would agree that it has been proven that the Earth’s climate changes, and to state otherwise would be ludicrous. But this is not Gore’s premise. Gore is putting forth the proposition that because the Earth’s climate is changing, man must be the cause. It is quite disingenuous of Mr. Gore: to use, at best, possible effects of global warming as conclusive evidence of man’s causation of climate change. It is simply intellectually dishonest.
While Gore’s use of computer simulations can rise quite a bit of emotion, it can hardly contribute to proving man as the cause. The most fundamental starting point of computer generated doomsday fortunetelling is “IF,” followed by “possible.” “IF” such and such continues, than maybe such and such will possibly occur. This is a big “IF” followed by a little “p,” as in little possibility that a rational mind can accept this as conclusive, undeniable evidence that man is the cause of the current climate change. I perceive far more politics than I do science in Gore’s statements.
Not Quite a “Consensus”
Gore has made the bold claim that the debate about man causing global warming is over. He has painted the picture that the only people that still question this are a discredited minority.
The following are findings and statements from various individual scientist and scientific institutions that show clearly that Mr. Gore is simply incorrect.
A challenger to Gore’s “consensus” theory is Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, Australia. He recently stated:
Gore’s circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that his film is commanding public attention. (Newsmax.com)
Famed climatologist and internationally renowned hurricane expert Dr. William Gray, of the Atmospheric-Science Department at Colorado State University, went even further, calling the scientific “consensus” on global warming “one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people.” (Newsmax.com)
Is It Warmer Now? Warmer Than When?
The first thing we need to consider is that when we compare the Earth’s climate over the past 600 years, the 20th Century was warmer by about one degree. However, if we look back a little further in time, the Earth’s climate was actually warmer 1,000 years ago, at the time of Viking exploration, than it has been during our lifetimes. And back then, human beings were not causing global warming by burning huge amounts of natural gas or oil. This “Medieval Warm Period” from about 800 to 1300 A.D. was entirely natural. It was followed by a “little ice age,” which was followed by the warming period we currently live in. So there have been both warmer and colder times in the past.
The National Academy of Science recently issued a report addressing the “hockey stick” study produced by Dr. David Mann and used in Gore’s movie, which claims to prove that the Earth’s temperature is skyrocketing. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, said in a statement Thursday,
Today’s NAS report reaffirms what I have been saying all along, that Mann’s “hockey stick” is broken. Today’s report refutes Mann’s prior assertions that there was no Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age. (Newsmax.com)
The NAS report also stated that there are substantial uncertainties
regarding Mann’s claims that the last few decades of the 20th century were the warmest in last 1,000 years. (Newsmax.com)
In a recent interview by News Max, Dr. Fred Singer, former director of the National Weather Satellite Center and author of Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warning’s Unfinished Debate, points out that:
The atmosphere changes. Sure, there is global warming; however, there is also global cooling. In the last century we had:
· a warming trend before 1940
· a cooling trend between 1940 and 1975
· a warming trend between 1975 and 1980
· And essentially NO trend for the last 20 years.
Real scientists tell us the sun has an 11-year cycle and you clearly see this in some of the temperature records.
The article continues:
Proponents of Al’s fiction often cite the list of “2,500 scientists” who subscribe to the Gore concept of global warming. Singer says: “That is not really true. You hear about 2,500 scientists who worked on this report for the United Nations. First of all, the number is less than 2,000 and secondly, of these, perhaps 100 are qualified to say something about the climate … and they have never been polled.”
On the other side of the coin (which you never hear about), there are some 17,000 for-real scientists who say global warming is a hoax. And 17,000 “actually signed a petition against the Kyoto protocol.”
…there is a debate going on … and the public is entitled to know that there is a debate and that the debate is not finished.
…Referenc[ing] the U.N. report. The summary doesn’t say ‘Jack’ about weather satellites collecting data about the atmosphere. One would think that weather satellites are the most important data-gathering instrument we have. It is the only thing that collects data on a worldwide basis. The fact that satellites are collecting data is not even mentioned.
You know why? Because the satellite data shows that the atmosphere is NOT warming. THAT is why it is not even mentioned. And yes, that is a for-real empirical “inconvenient truth.” (Newsmax.com, June 5, 2006)
Recent findings by a Duke University study, conducted by Dr. Gabriele Hegerl, and endorsed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminastration, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation, fly in the face of what Gore is attempting to convince people of. The Duke research found:
…substantial ups and downs in the Earth’s temperature before modern times, countering other studies that confine noticeable temperature increases to the industrialized era. Marked climate change in other centuries resulted from “external forcing,” said the Duke findings, citing volcanic eruptions and other influences.
“Our reconstruction supports a lot of variability in the past,” said research director Gabriele Hegerl of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.
Although her study found that the Earth is, indeed, warming, Ms. Hegerl discounts dire predictions of skyrocketing temperatures. The probability that the climate’s “sensitivity” to greenhouse-gas levels would result in drastically higher temperatures is “substantially” reduced, she said.
Ms. Hegerl and her four-member team based their conclusions on thermometer readings over the past century, along with “ancient climate records,” including tree-ring studies and ice-core samples that revealed hot and cold spells and airborne particulates over a 700-year period. In addition, they created 1,000 computer-based weather simulations for the past 1,000 years.
“Ancient and modern evidence suggest limits to future global warming,” the study concluded. It was published in the journal Nature. The topic of global warming, meanwhile, will be framed dramatically in “An Inconvenient Truth,” a 94-minute documentary featuring former Vice President Al Gore, who has deemed rising temperatures “a planetary emergency.” The Hollywood production will be released to theaters in May and is billed by producer Davis Guggenheim as “the most terrifying film you will ever see.” ( The Washintion Times, April 21, 2006)
Furthermore, the official thermometers at the U.S. National Climate Data Center show a “slight global cooling trend over the last seven years ’98-’06.” (www.canadafreepress.com)
If It Is Warmer, What is Causing it?
Ice core samples show that there is nothing unusual about the Earth getting warmer at this point in time… Climate change, even drastic climate change is nothing new on planet Earth. There are natural causes to consider as possible reasons for current climate change.
Recent studies of the effect on sun cycles and climate change can not be cast aside. The ice caps on Mars have been melting in unison with the Earth’s. Scientists know that the cause for this is the fact that the Sun goes through hot and cold cycles, and for the past 11 years the sun has been getting warmer. There are highly credible scientists who feel that the sun cycles may be part of our current warming trend.
Richard Willson, a Columbia University researcher also affiliated with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is quoted as follows:
In what could be the simplest explanation for one component of global warming, a new study shows the Sun’s radiation has increased by .05 percent per decade since the late 1970s. “Solar activity has apparently been going upward for a century or more,” Willson told SPACE.com today. Further satellite observations may eventually show the trend to be short-term. But if the change has indeed persisted at the present rate through the 20th Century, “it would have provided a significant component of the global warming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to have occurred over the past 100 years,” he said. (Space and Science, March 20, 2003)
Dr. Mukul Sharma, Assistant Professor of Earth Science at Dartmouth College, is quoted as follows:
The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder has recently stated:
“Solar scientists think they’re finally getting a handle on predicting the Sun’s cycles. If everything goes as they predict, the next solar cycle will be 30-50% stronger, and be up to a year late. Astronomers have been tracking the two major flows of plasma that govern the Sun’s cycles. One acts like a conveyor belt, pulling plasma from the poles to the equator, and the other gets stretched since the Sun rotates faster at the equator than at the poles. This causes the Sun’s magnetic field to concentrate, creating the solar maximum.” (Universe Today, March 6, 2006)
We must conclude that sun cycles are connected to the climate on Earth. To what degree it is unclear, and the science is rather new, but we cannot easily dismiss the possibility that the sun could be a grater influence than man concerning climate change.
There is a host of other facts that show that many of the effects sited by Gore may not be caused by global warming. According to the current National Hurricane Center website:
They site the fact that hurricane patterns are normal, and that there have been other active phases including the one between 1945-1970. Gore would have us believe otherwise.
As well, Mr. Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT does not share in the certainty of Goreology. Writing in the Wall Street Journal’s Op Ed, July 2, 2006, he states:
The other elements of the global-warming scare scenario are predicated on similar oversights. Malaria, claimed as a byproduct of warming, was once common in Michigan and Siberia and remains common in Siberia — mosquitoes don’t require tropical warmth. [Malaria has been on the rise in general, ever since the banning of DDT, my note.] Hurricanes, too, vary on multidecadal time scales; sea-surface temperature is likely to be an important factor. This temperature, itself, varies on multidecadal time scales. However, questions concerning the origin of the relevant sea-surface temperatures and the nature of trends in hurricane intensity are being hotly argued within the profession [my emphasis]. Even among those arguing, there is general agreement that we can’t attribute any particular hurricane to global warming [my emphasis]. To be sure, there is one exception: Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO., who argues that it must be global warming because he can’t think of anything else. While arguments like these, based on lassitude, are becoming rather common in climate assessments, such claims, given the primitive state of weather and climate science, are hardly compelling.
In his film, Gore points to Mt. Kilimanjaro as an example of global warning’s impact on Alpine glaciers. Robert Balling, a climatologist at Arizona State University writes, however, that the shrinking glaciers atop Africa’s famed volcano have been disappearing for more than a century. Two studies published in 2004 suggest the retreat was triggered by declining rainfall since the end of the 1800.
Arizona Moon Landing
In Gore’s interview with Charlie Rose, Rose asks, “do you know any credible scientist who says ‘wait a minute – this hasn’t been proven,’ is there still a debate?” Al Gore answers, “The debate is over. The people who dispute the international consensus on global warming are in the same category now with the people who think the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona.” (PBS, Charlie Rose, June 19, 2006)
I guess we should put the National Hurricane Center; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Doctor Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT; Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Lapidary at James Cook University, Australia; Dr. William Gray of the Atmospheric-Science Department at Colorado State University; The National Academy of Science; Sen. James Inhofe, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee; National Science Foundation; Robert Balling, Climatologist at Arizona State University; the National Climate Data Center; and Dr. Fred Singer, Director of the National Weather Satellite Center… in with Al’s “moon group.”
Past Climate-Change Beliefs
Let’s keep in mind that this is not the first time we have been warned about imminent catastrophic climate changes. Here are a few examples:
The world’s climatologists are agreed that we must prepare for the next ice age. (Science Magazine, December 10, 1976)
There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production- with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon. (April 28, 1975 Newsweek article on global cooling)
The Institute for Space Studies, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, stated:
Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase in density is to reduce the surface temperature of Earth. Because of the exponential dependence of the backscattering, the rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 ° K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age. (Science Magazine, July 9, 1971)
I grew up during the 1970s and can remember vividly the fearful atmosphere that was created by scientists and the media concerning the disastrous ice age that was about to engulf humanity. Acid rain was going to eat my eyes out. Seriously, I can remember many of my classmates and myself being afraid to go out in the rain, because of the acid that would burn our skin. During the winter of 1976-77 the Mississippi River froze shut; Buffalo, N.Y., was buried beneath a record blizzard; water pipes were bursting throughout Chicago, as the soil froze to a depth of more than five feet; and scientists and the media warned to prepare for the worst.
Al Gore is not the first to propagate doomsday hysteria. These scenarios and the belief that man is the cause of weather conditions are as old as humanity. Magic men of the past, as well as today, believe that we have angered the gods through our actions. This idea is often used for political purposes. In today’s times, we have Gaia the Earth Goddess, who is going to unleash her wrath through global warming because of our capitalism. Only the high priests of science and Al Gore hold the keys to our salvation.
Toward the end of the Middle Ages we had a little ice age that most people believed to be caused by man’s sin. During this same period plague hit Europe. People did not understand the source, and panic spread faster than the disease. Believing that the end of the world was at hand, wandering mobs began to focus their wrath upon clergy and Jews, whom they blamed for inciting God’s wrath. In Germany rumors arose that Jews had caused the plague by poisoning the water… Jews were arrested. Their fortunes were seized by the lords under whose jurisdictions they lived, and Jews were put to death by burning.
Today it is capitalist Americans, mostly conservatives, who are accused of destroying the Earth with cars and massive energy consumption. The angry mobs of environmentalists seek to put to death the American way of life, that is based in the ideas of capitalism and economic growth.