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Oh great job, Al

You've scared the kids.


Yes, little children, stop thinking about the polar ice caps. Uncle Barry would like you to think about Iraq. You know those monsters you thought were under your bed? They are all in Iraq now. We are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them underneath your bed.

Now I'm going to tell you the story of Uday and Qusay ..

You got it wrong. The guy who scares the kids (and also the adults) every time he shows up on TV is Dick Cheney! And it is related to the same Iraq story that PE refers to. Brrrr....

A full week with nary a posting and this Al Gore thing is the best you can up with? ZZzzzzzzzzz


Good point Fred. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Just wanted to make sure it still works.

I don’t know about that story, Barry. I mean the same kids who are supposed to think the Capitol of Saudi Arabia is Des Moines and that we fought the American Revolution against the Spanish and that the American Civil War ended in 1965 are now hanging breathlessly on the words of a super stiff goober like Al Gore?!

Come on! I'm not feeling that.

Maybe 1 in 4 TV producers stay awake at night thinking about melting polar ice caps, but not 11 to 15 year-olds...UNLESS...oh no, not unless kids are suddenly getting a lot smarter!

Hmmmm, by now I suppose everyone’s heard of those chimps using makeshift “spears” to hunt with (Damned Chimps!)...and I’ve even heard an uncorroborated report of a Silver Back stringing a couple of Dixie cups together in an apparent crude attempt to mock Alexander Graham Bell....so maybe kids are getting smarter too???

Well, we’re just going to have to ask them what the Capitol of Pakistan is.

Imagine if they knew how much debt we were racking up for them!

What's really scary is word has it AL's got a good chance of winning an Oscar for that mockumentary he made.

Just what we need. Another chance for Uncle Al to spew his crap on free TV.

And the reason Teens fall for his drivel is because it's in the mags they read like Rolling Stone. Maybe they need to pick up a science book once in awhile.

"Imagine if they knew how much debt we were racking up for them!"

True that.

If we just hadn't of spent all that money on both the Military WoT and the domestic security front, we could've left them burquas, Korans and turbins instead.

Algore and Cheney are equally reprehensible. Cheney and his "mushroom clouds" and Gore with his Chicken Little nonsense.

They should be stacked up together and shot, because neither is worth the price of a whole bullet.

Just curious if Dan O has seen An Inconvenient Truth.

Can't answer that, of course, but Dan probably *is* savvy enough not to believe everything he sees at the movies. ;-)

LOL, if kids were really well-informed and worried about global warming, they could start by turning off the TV and computer as electricity generation is a large source of greenhouse gas.

I guess they aren't THAT worried. ;-)

DBK: For whatever reason you're curious, the answer is no. But, for what it's worth, I don't go to the movies to see anything. Been twice since 1984.

Not that any of this has anything to do with my opinion on global warming or Al Gore.

I don't buy his snake oil when he speaks and just because the pitch was put into a movie doesn't make it anymore palatable.

My point is that there are an awful lot of people saying extremely nasty and insulting things about An Inconvenient Truth (such as calling it "snake oil") without actually any knowledge of the content of the film except that it claims that global warming is caused by human activity. Given that this is the same position held by about 99.9% of the scientific community, it hardly qualifies as "snake oil". Given that Al Gore has been interested and involved in the issue for around 30 years or so, and given the things he said in the movie, which you haven't seen so I don't see how you could even respond to that remark of mine, but we'll see, he has a great deal of credibility on the subject. Your offhand dismissal may satisfy you on the subject, but it lacks any content except for name-calling. Mr Gore's film has a great deal of content and calls no names at all. I used to like Al Gore for his political views and the way he has conducted himself as a a public figure. I like him more after seeing the film.

My point in all of this is really not about you, Dan, so much as the widespread belief that one can dismiss a film off-hand without knowing its content. But you do what you like. It just strikes me that your remarks on the film are not informed. You may be a very well-informed individual on the subject of global warming, but you don't have credibility when you dismiss a film you've never seen as "snake oil", especially, as I said, given the massive number of scientists who agree with the film. That's hardly snake oil unless you want to claim a vast, scientific conspiracy to misinform.

DBK, I think you're coming on a little strong, and here's why.

I haven't seen the movie either (although it is on my Netflix queue.) Nevertheless, I've read enough information about that I don't consider myself ignorant of its content. It also seems very likely, from what I've read, that the film is occasionally guilty of cherry-picking some data, exaggerating others, and so forth, for the sake of dramatizing certain claims.

As you know, I'm not a global warming denier, but when you use phrases like "the massive number of scientists who agree with the film," you're pulling a fast one. Yes, the majority of climatologists buy into the movie's central claim about the anthropogenic nature of the current warming trend, but that's not the same as endorsing the movie itself.

For example, I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) that Gore spends a significant amount of time in the movie discussing the consequences of a 20-foot rise in sea levels. While I'm sure that would be extremely bad, the scientific consensus is a lot closer to 20 inches. That's the kind of sloppiness that concerns many of Gore's critics, I think.

And while I agree with your basic premise that one shouldn't be critical out of complete ignorance of a subject, the truth is that sometimes you can judge a book by looking at his cover. For example, I seem to recall several instances where you knocked this or that book by Ann Coulter. Did you actually read them before knocking them?

I think you have the wrong guy. I don't believe I have ever knocked a book by Ann Coulter. I rarely ever have anything to say about her. Feel free to prove me wrong, though.

Can you judge a book by its cover? No, I don't think so. What you are talking about, however, is judging a book based on who wrote it, not the cover, and that is different. Having seen it, I don't think one can judge An Inconvenient Truth without seeing it. I say that as someone who saw it. Watching it might change your mind or it might not, but I cannot see how anyone could see it and call it "snake oil". Which is what I said was my main point.

The sea level issue is something that also disturbed me when I saw the movie. I had heard similar information to yours when I used to read the "Noah's Ark" debates in talk.origins, in which it was claimed that there wasn't enough water in the world to drown all the mountains, etc. At that time, I recall it being said that if all the water in the world became liquid and also fell on the earth (draining the clouds), it would cause about a three foot rise in the sea level world-wide.

Now, scientists do not dispute that there is global warming, they just dispute whether human activity causes it. If you dispute the term "massive", that's fine. Here's a pretty good list of the more mainstream scientists who dispute global warming:

I offer that to show that I am conversant with the disputes about the problem.

An Inconvenient Truth actually gave me no new information on the subject of global warming, but retold a story on which I had already read a great deal (BNJ has probably seen my remarks in the past about how I have been lobbying for a rational energy policy for over 25 years...well, that has been part of my environmental concerns for over 25 years). The film, however, makes a decent starting place for those who don't want to read tons of material on the "human activity causes global warming" side of things. And no, I don't think I came on strong. Calling An Inconvenient Truth "snake oil" in the face of so much scientific support for it is what I would term "coming on a little strong." In fact, re-reading what I wrote, I was very even-handed and fair. I didn't saying Dan is wrong about global warming or that Gore is right. I am saying that dismissing an important film like this, one that has done a great deal to bring discussion of global warming to the forefront, as snake oil is a mistake and that the film cannot be judged without knowledge of its content. Dan doesn't say that he read reviews or other material about it. He just says he hasn't seen it, but that it's snake oil.

I would agree that I hold my opinion on this strongly, but "coming on a little strong" means something else. It suggests my remarks are intemperate. I dispute that...strongly. :-)

I think the problem with the whole debate is that the entire subject has become so politicized. So many people on both sides bring their own ideological axes to grind that it's difficult to have the kind of honest, dispassionate discourse this problem desperately needs. And while I agree that I can't judge the entire movie without having seen it, I have read enough about it to believe that Gore would benefit from having future such endeavors screened for accuracy. When you believe in something as fervently as he does, it's easy to take shortcuts and unjustified leaps of logic without even realizing you're doing it. In the end, these lapses do nothing but provide grist for the bought-and-sold ideological hacks on the other side.

A scientist by training, I'm one of those people who hungers for objective studies of the issue, but those are as hard to come by as hen's teeth. Nearly everything I see seems skewed one way or the other. Everybody I talk to on both sides seems damned sure they have all the answers, but I sure don't. I'm convinced that global warming is indeed occurring, somewhat skeptical that it's it's a result of human activity, and extremely skeptical that we can do anything at all to prevent it by the means that the Al Gores of the world typically advocate -- controlling emissions, etc.

There’s a HUGE problem with the way the Gore film (seen it) portrays that there is some preponderance of evidence that shows (1) the problem is almost all manmade and (2) that a solution can be manmade only via government action.

The recent UN Report on Global climate change (put out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – IPCC) actually downgraded their estimates of man's role in global warming by 25%.

The IPCC report still projects global temperatures climbing by 4.5 C during the next century and rising sea levels, albeit by half the amount - 17 inches instead of 34 inches by 2100 - forecast by the IPCC's 2001 report.

The air today has less pollutants in it than the air just 25 years ago, though there is undeniably more CO2.

Most of the “mainstream” gloom & doomers base their projections on computer models that scientist like Dr Fred Singer take issue with;

Talk about the models. What is a computer model, and what isn't it? What is its purpose in science?

"There are many kinds of computer models. But the ones that people mostly talk about these days are the giant models that try to model the whole global atmosphere in a three-dimensional way. These models calculate important parameters at different points around the globe--and these points are roughly 200 miles apart--and at different levels of the atmosphere. You can see that if you only calculate temperature, winds, and so on at intervals of 200 miles, then you cannot depict clouds, or even cloud systems, which are much smaller. So until the models have a good enough resolution to be capable of depicting clouds, it's very difficult to put much faith in them."

But, still, they're playing quite an important role in this debate. Take me through a history of what the models have predicted. You've alluded to this, and how some of their predictions have had to be scaled down. What can models do, and what can't they do?

"You have to understand that these models are calibrated to produce the seasons. That is to say, the models are adjusted until they produce the present climate and the seasonal change."

So they're faked, you're saying?

"They're tweaked. I think that's a polite way of putting it. They're adjusted, or tweaked, until they produce the present climate and the present short-term variation. You have to also understand there's something like two dozen climate models in the world. And one question to ask is: Do they agree? And the answer is: They do not. And these models are all produced by excellent meteorologists, fantastic computers. Why do they not agree? Why do some models predict a warming for a doubling of CO2, of, let's say, five degrees Centigrade--which is eight degrees Fahrenheit)--and why do other models predict something like one degree?

"Well, there's a reason for this. These models differ in the way they depict clouds, primarily. In some models, clouds produce an additional warming. In some models, clouds produce a cooling. Which models are correct? There's no way of telling. Each modeler thinks that his model is the best. So I think we all have to wait until the dispersion in the model results shrinks a little bit - until they start to agree with each other."

What happens when you use these models to try and reproduce past climates, when other forcings are known, like ice ages and so forth? Can they succeed at that?

"They fail spectacularly in explaining, for example, why an ice age starts, or why an ice age stops. The most recent result on this was published in early 1999. It's always been known that, for example, the deglaciation--that is, the transition from an ice age to the warm interglacial, which is spectacular--suddenly the ice age ends and the warming starts. And at the same time, you see an increase in carbon dioxide in the record. And these are records taken from ice cores - good measurements."

They go up and down together.

"Well, you certainly find an association between carbon dioxide changes and temperature changes. Now, scientists have been very careful to just call it an association without identifying which is the cause and which is the effect. Politicians have been less careful. In fact, our Vice President, Al Gore, has a standard presentation where he shows the results of the Antarctic ice core (called the Vostok core), and you see changes in temperature and changes in carbon dioxide. And he points to this and says, "You see? These carbon dioxide changes caused a temperature increase in the past."

"Well, it's not so. In fact, in early 1999, there was a paper in Science in which they have now gotten adequate resolution so they can measure which came first, the temperature change or the carbon dioxide change. And guess what? The temperature change came first, followed by the carbon dioxide change about 600 years later. This means that something changed the temperature, not the carbon dioxide. But then as the climate warmed, more carbon dioxide apparently was released from the ocean into the atmosphere."

Which could of course, in principle, make a feedback.

"Yes, I would expect so. But how much of a feedback, we cannot tell. In other words, we're back again to the question of how much of a temperature increase is produced by a change in carbon dioxide."

Those Americans who support, say the Kyoto accords, for instance, are anything but “mainstream.” They are, for the most part out-and-out Luddites who really have an anti-human agenda.

As Dr Fred Singer says, “I'm not a great believer in buying insurance if the risks are small and the premiums are high. Nobody in his right mind would do that. But this is the case here. We're being asked to buy an insurance policy against a risk that is very small, if at all, and pay a very heavy premium. We're being asked to reduce energy use, not just by a few percent but, according to the Kyoto Protocol, by about 35 percent within ten years. That means giving up one-third of all energy use, using one-third less electricity, throwing out one-third of all cars perhaps. It would be a huge dislocation of our economy, and it would hit people very hard, particularly people who can least afford it.

"For what? All the Kyoto Protocol would do is to slightly reduce the current rate of increase of carbon dioxide. And in fact, the UN Science Advisory Group has published their results. And they clearly show that the Kyoto Protocol would reduce, if it went into effect and were punctiliously observed by all of the countries that have to observe it--by the year 2050, - about 50 years from now - it would reduce the calculated temperature increase by .05 degrees Centigrade. That amount is not even measurable."

We’ve had massive climate change throughout the earth’s history. Even as recently as 650 years ago, temperatures were warm enough that grapes grew in Engalnd.

Even over the past century, the data shows that the climate warmed between 1900 and 1940, long before humanity used much energy. But then the climate cooled between 1940 and 1975. Then it warmed again for a very short period of time, for about five years. But since 1979, our best measurements show that the climate has been cooling just slightly.

On the subject of consensus, again Dr Singer notes. “I think it's significant to straighten out misconceptions. One misconception is that 2,500 IPCC scientists agree that global warming is coming, and it's going to be two degrees Centigrade by the year 2100. That's just not so. In the first place, if you count the names in the IPCC report, it's less than 2,000. If you count the number of climate scientists, it's about 100. If you then ask how many of them agree, the answer is: You can't tell because there was never a poll taken. These scientists actually worked on the report. They agree with the report, obviously, in particular with the chapter that they wrote. They do not necessarily agree with the summary, because the summary was written by a different group, a handful of government scientists who had a particular point of view, and they extracted from the report those facts that tended to support their point of view."

Singer's view makes sense because he questions the models used.

Models that have been scaled down before and have just now been scaled down even further.

The inane view that the best possible solution is a governmental one, is not only reckless, but dangerous as well.

The cost of compliance with the Kyoto Accords would leave us so short on cash that we would not be able to consider any alternative measures, such as building up sea walls, etc.

Yep, snake oil! :D

Yep, snake oil! :D

Oh! And by the way. I didn't call Al any names and I didn't call the movie snake oil. I called his ideas I've heard him speak of snake oil.

And my opinion may differ from yours AND not be wrong.

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