Today's one-liner: "The shortest way to the distinguishing excellence of any writer is through his hostile critics." Richard LeGallienne
Thursday, July 06, 2006
An Inconvenient Truth About "An Inconvenient Truth"
I'm an old fart. I spend most evenings at home, guzzling coffee and assailing poor newspapers editors, reporters, and local politicians with snotty emails. Most are never delivered; they're intercepted by the devil. Yes, the devil exists. On the Internet, the Evil One is called the Mailer-Daemon, and he regularly blocks hundreds of my instructive emails. But a few get through, and so the battle rages. Last weekend, however, I suspended hostilities to see "An Inconvenient Truth."
Now, this movie is coming to Allentown's 19th Street Theatre on July 15-29, but I had to see it now. Let me explain why. First, those I know who've seen it have all raved about it with frightened looks in their eyes. Hmmm. Second, taking a lady to see that flick would definitely impress her with my sensitivity to our environment and all that crap. I might even get lucky. It was a win win situation, so we shlepped on down to Doylestown's County Theatre, plowing through the mud left by floodwaters along the Lehigh Valley's river roads.
Have you ever been to Doylestown on a Saturday night? I felt like I was on another planet. I was with the artsy-fartsy crowd - the hottsie-tottsies, the foo-foo lovers, the intelligentsia, the upper middle class, baby, and lovin' it. I even wore clean sneakers. And Doylestown is totally off the hook. (I heard that expression this past weekend, too). I parked right next to a store that sells nothing but organic soaps. I walked past another that sells nothing but all these exotic coffees and has its own gigantic roaster. Beat that, Starbucks!
My companion suggested we get seated early, so we walked in. Instead of the usual popcorn and candy, this place was serving Pellegrino, cappucino, and every kind of 'ino you could imagine. There were biscottis, veggies, and gourmet chocolate instead of nachos and that gooey cheese I use to cement things together when I get back home. And while we waited for the movie to start, the theatre had a local art slide show and ads for all kinds of local artisans.
The movie started with the voice of Al Gore, talking about a river or something. He's the star! But he didn't sound at all like the automaton who was once "the next President of the United States." He was very much alive, alternately amusing and quite passionate. He demonstrated unequivocally, with power point presentations and monitors, that we're heading down the path to perdition. We're in a world of hurt. Had Gore acted like this during his presidential campaign, he would have won. Oops. I forgot, he did win.
At various points during this riveting movie, the audience reacted visibly. When Gore presented a graph showing that American cars have lower fuel standards than cars anywhere else in the world, the audience gasped in disbelief. People were visibly upset at the sight of polar bears, swimming mile after mile for ice to keep from drowning. What's really depressing is that we have the technology and means to stop global warming, but just don't seem to care.
At the movie's conclusion, the audience applauded, although I don't really know why. And here's the inconvenient truth about "An Inconvenient Truth." The movie ended with example after example of steps we could take, on our own, to reverse global warming. And this is when the artsy-fartsy crowd left. No one in that crowd, it appears, is interested in actually doing something about the problem, even individually. Too inconvenient.
And by the way, in case you're curious, I did not get lucky. My companion has decided to follow Al Gore and all my emails to her have been blocked by the Mailer- Daemon. And so the battle rages.
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I'm sad bernie. I'm sad that the "intelligensia" are too complacent to do something about it. I'm sad that you had to drive to Doylestown to experience a cool town (try Ardmore, West Chester and New Hope too... those are my favorites). I'm also sad that you got yourself blocked by another person.
C'est la vie. Oops. English only.
YOu're really funny. I forwarded this to 30 people. I rarely do so.
Maybe I'll get lucky.
How dare you inconvenience people with the truth? Why don't you try Wildwood, while it is still there. It will be under water in 100 years, so enjoy it now. Come to think of it, the Whole South of Jersey might be underwater by then, maybe their budget isn't so important after all!!!
American-built cars lack fuel efficiency largely becuase of former General Motors lobbyist and George W. Bush chief-of-staff Andrew Card.
Card on accasion visited his friend Lafayette president Arthur J. rothkopf on the college campus, always at night, with his entourage of Secret Serice bodyguards.
The two would have had much to talk about, Card with his lobbying experience for the auto industry and Rothkopf as President Geo. H.W. Bush's deputy secretary of transportion in Washington, D.C.
In fact, Rothkopf was dispatched to Easton's College Hill Lafayette campus, presumably strenthened the Lehigh Valley's Republican Party, in anticipation of a candidate like Bob Dole re-capturing the White House.
Card, representative of the National Association of Maunufacturers, and Rothkopf, now an icon of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of which he is a counsel and vice-president of chamber's national headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the U.S.Chamber of Commerce, surrogate of the U.S. Department of Commerce: the two most reactionary and defenders of the status quo in America - and the world.
As a lobbyist, Card's genious was the suburban utility vehicle, or SUV. Classified technically as a truck, and not an automobile, it drove right through the loopholes of emissions regulations required of the smaller, lighter-weight, more fuel efficiant family vehicles.
Dear Anonymous 1:51 PM: At the current rate of global warming, much of Florioda will be submerged in 50 years. You can kiss Manhattan goodbye. Vietnam will cease to exist.
On the bright side, we're all going to be a lot closer to the beach.
Dear Billy, You're right on the money on this one. And isn't it weird that Rothkopf developed such a close association w/ Reibman? Associations like these are what cause many Democrats to resent their party. Thanks for your comments.
1st Question: How much did you pay for the privilege of seeing this science film?
2nd Question: Did you really think it would put your date "in the mood" to do some erogenous warming later on??
1st Question: I think I paid $6 or $7 a pop, to get in, and about $700 for each frappucino.
2nd Question: Yes. I'm an idiot.
That's why I love your blog!
Too bad Gore is wrong.
Lets take apart some of his theories.
Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: "Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention."
But surely Carter is merely part of what most people regard as a tiny cadre of "climate change skeptics" who disagree with the "vast majority of scientists" Gore cites?
No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. "Climate experts" is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore's "majority of scientists" think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.
The key words here are "highly-qualified non-governmental, non-industry, NON-LOBBY group CLIMATE EXPERTS. Many of Gore's scientists are NOT CLIMATE EXPERTS. Another point is the NON-LOBBY aspect. Taxpayer dollars have been going to lobby groups who promise research on global warming. Less than 20% of taxpayer research dollars go to researching global warming from a perspective of it being a more natural occurance than human- induced. Simply put, these scientists Gore uses are looking for tax dollars to research global warming and many of them are not climate scientists. Continuing on in the article,
Even among that fraction, many focus their studies on the impacts of climate change; biologists, for example, who study everything from insects to polar bears to poison ivy. "While many are highly skilled researchers, they generally do not have special knowledge about the causes of global climate change," explains former University of Winnipeg climatology professor Dr. Tim Ball. "They usually can tell us only about the effects of changes in the local environment where they conduct their studies."
This is highly valuable knowledge, but doesn't make them climate change cause experts, only climate impact experts.
So we have a smaller fraction.
But it becomes smaller still. Among experts who actually examine the causes of change on a global scale, many concentrate their research on designing and enhancing computer models of hypothetical futures. "These models have been consistently wrong in all their scenarios," asserts Ball. "Since modelers concede computer outputs are not "predictions" but are in fact merely scenarios, they are negligent in letting policy-makers and the public think they are actually making forecasts."
Here is some testimony from a paleoclimatologist.
Appearing before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year, Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, "There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years." Patterson asked the committee, "On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century's modest warming?"
Well Professor, apparently many easily led people "still believe".
Patterson concluded his testimony by explaining what his research and "hundreds of other studies" reveal: on all time scales, there is very good correlation between Earth's temperature and natural celestial phenomena such changes in the brightness of the Sun.
Solar flares and other solar activity is causing much of the "problem" according to scientists who actually know something about the topic.
Here is more on the ice sheets and glaciers which Gore mentions in the movie.
Dr. Boris Winterhalter, former marine researcher at the Geological Survey of Finland and professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki, takes apart Gore's dramatic display of Antarctic glaciers collapsing into the sea. "The breaking glacier wall is a normally occurring phenomenon which is due to the normal advance of a glacier," says Winterhalter. "In Antarctica the temperature is low enough to prohibit melting of the ice front, so if the ice is grounded, it has to break off in beautiful ice cascades. If the water is deep enough icebergs will form."
Oh well, but that doesn't stop Gore. Read what Dr. Wibj-rn KarlEn, emeritus professor has to say.
"But KarlÈn clarifies that the 'mass balance' of Antarctica is positive - more snow is accumulating than melting off. As a result, Ball explains, there is an increase in the 'calving' of icebergs as the ice dome of Antarctica is growing and flowing to the oceans. When Greenland and Antarctica are assessed together, "their mass balance is considered to possibly increase the sea level by 0.03 mm/year - not much of an effect," KarlÈn concludes.
One more take on Gore's movie.
"Gore tells us in the film, "Starting in 1970, there was a precipitous drop-off in the amount and extent and thickness of the Arctic ice cap." This is misleading, according to Ball: "The survey that Gore cites was a single transect across one part of the Arctic basin in the month of October during the 1960s when we were in the middle of the cooling period. The 1990 runs were done in the warmer month of September, using a wholly different technology."
If you tried changing your data collection methods in a high school science lab, you would earn an F! Gore is allowed to do it because he helped invent the internet.
How about those polar bears you mention? Let's take a look.
"KarlÈn explains that a paper published in 2003 by University of Alaska professor Igor Polyakov shows that, the region of the Arctic where rising temperature is supposedly endangering polar bears showed fluctuations since 1940 but no overall temperature rise. "For several published records it is a decrease for the last 50 years".
So the real data shows that the temperature has been in a "DECREASE for the last 50 years."
That sure is an inconvient truth for Al Gore!! I can see why he chose not to mention it.
To sum it all up with respect to Gore's movie,
"Carter does not pull his punches about Gore's activism, "The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science.'"
The same group of people tried to pull off scare tactics before. In the 60's it was overpopulation was going to destroy the earth. In the 70's it was actually GLOBAL COOLING which was going to destroy the earth. Today it is global warming. Notice that all of these "problems" blame humans and have solutions in government regulations, actually socialism. That is all this really is, socialism disguised as science.
Read the entire article which cut and pasted generously from. There are many other articles out there to counter what Gore says. Here is the address.
One question. How did the earth go through many periods of warming and cooling before human activity? The last ice age was over 10,000 years ago. Was the warming period that followed the result of SUV's and factories?
I am not arguing that humans shouldn't do a better job environmentally but to go with Gore's claim that humans are the main cause of global warming is ridiculous.
During his tour to promote his movie, Gore was driving everywhere. He was even driven a few hundred feet to his hotel. It seems that Gore "ignores his advice" as you put it.
I do like your blog. It is excellent and I will return.
Keep up the great work Mr O'Hare.
Brown Dog, Thanks for the very thoughtful reply. I'm going to check out some of the sources you mentioned and then I'll respond. I had heard about the Canadians, and I 'll give your sources a read.
Thanks for your interest. We're all in this mess together,
You dignify Brown Dog too much by calling his reply "thoughtful" and promising to read over his "sources." He supplied only ONE source: a cut-and-pasted article from the online version of the Canada Free Press, a tabloid that appears to be as "fair and balanced" as Fox News, since this article is nothing more than PR spin. The author, Tom Harris, is a paid PR flack whose company, the High Park Group, represents the Canadian Electricity Association (read: CO2 producers).
Brown Dog criticizes Gore for citing as proof of global warming the findings of non-climate experts, yet seems to have no problem swallowing all of the specious arguments posed by Tom Harris, whose scientific background is in chemical engineering at the masters level. And Brown Dog offers no science credentials of his own to show us why he is qualified to "take apart" anyone's "theories."
Furthermore, I suspect Brown Dog has never set foot—or would that be "paw"?— in the Lehigh Valley.
For a rigorous discussion of the science behind global warming, go to http://www.realclimate.org/.
On a related note, don't be too quick to judge the people who were leaving before the bitter end of "An Inconvenient Truth." As is the case with many documentaries, the producers were preaching to the choir. Most in the audience probably already knew how to reduce their CO2 emissions, and many were probably already in the process of doing so.
It's the people who weren't in the theater that we all have to worry about. We need to get as many of them as possible to see this film.
Hello Rad, I'm pretty sure that brown dog is a Valley resident, although that doesn't really have anything to do w/ global warming now, does it?
I thought his reply very thoughtful and was glad that someone with a different view took the trouble to explain his reasoning. And I actually did check out the sources. And although I pretty much came up with the same conclusions as you, I think we need to engage people with different opinions. I've been wrong many times in my life so I never mind when I'm challenged, although I'll argue hard for my point of view.
Like you said, we need to worry most about the people who did not see Gore's movie. Brown Dog is probably one of them. If he saw the movie or just read the Talking Points feature in a recent NYT issue (which incidentally dealt with the Canadian question), he might have a different view. Maybe not.
I know you're convinced and so am I. But what we have to realize, and this is something Gore pointed out himself, that most people are unpersuaded and think this is some vast liberal conspiracy. That's because the mainstream media has not yet accepted the indisputed science.
So I hope that we can persuade one another instead of alienating one another. This is not a liberal v. conservative issue, either.
Thanks for your remarks. I have to confess I thought it was hilarious that most of the audience got up during the credits. You're probably right, but it IS funny.
Carter is a member of the right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs , and a founding member of the Australian Environment Foundation, a front group set up by the Institute of Public Affairs.
Decide for yourself if such an allegence might color his outlook.
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