Thursday, May 25, 2006

Inconvenient Or Not, We Want The Truth

As some of you might know, Al Gore has a new movie out, on the topic of global warming, called An Inconvenient Truth. It's receiving some praise and some censure from scientists and non-scientists alike. This TCS Daily article called "Questions for Al Gore" caught my eye today. Climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer, while complimenting Mr. Gore on an effective presentation, has some rather pertinent queries for the former Vice President turned town-crier. Among them are the following:

Why did you make it look like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods, droughts, and ice calving off of glaciers and falling into the ocean, are only recent phenomena associated with global warming?

Why did you make it sound like all scientists agree that climate change is manmade and not natural?

Why did you make it sound like simply signing on to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions would be such a big step forward, when we already know it will have no measurable effect on global temperatures anyway?

These are just a few of Dr. Spencer's rather detailed questions, of which there are eight, and as he asks them he expands on the reasons why he believes Mr. Gore's film presents an inadequate view of the complicated topic of climate change. Some of his questioning is a tad snarky. He's not playing neutral here, but they're also valid questions. I for one would like the answers. Seriously, I would, and I'm sure I'm not alone. There seems to be so much of politics, and so little open-minded science regarding the topic of global warming. Not that there isn't plenty of science being done, but much of it seems to be directed at proving a predetermined point, rather than discovering truth. What I read about the subject is frequently "your camp, my camp" oriented. Surely, there must be scientists and documentarians out there ready to look at all the relevant data, even when it doesn't shore up their particular opinion. (I'm not so optimistic about politicians.) The issue is one that requires long term study. We can speculate all we want about whether the climate is being damaged by humans, or just moving through natural cycles, but really it's time and observation that are going to answer the questions, and I don't mean years; I mean decades, centuries even. I understand the desire of people who believe that the cause is man-made to get started fixing the problem as soon as possible, but that doesn't justify ignoring questions or evidence that might prove inconvenient to their "Inconvenient Truth."

Update: Assuming with Al Gore that humans are, in fact, at least partly to blame for climate change, by artificially producing greenhouse gases, what would be some effective measures to counter the human factor? There's a common misconception that the Bush Administration has done nothing about them. Ready for a list of accomplishments?

Update II: Semi-related topic--NASA has some good news for us about Earth's ozone layer. The ozone layer isn't exactly global warming related. It's more about radiation, skin cancer, cataracts, crop damage, etc., but it is man-made effect related, at least in part, so I thought I'd toss it in here.

Update III: Here's another look at the science of global warming in response to Al Gore's movie.


  1. I am no expert, but even I see through the misrepresentation of information in this movie. Dr. Spencer is the expert and I'm glad he's speaking out. It's irresponsible for Al Gore to be misconstruing information for personal gain. Shame on him.