Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Serious scientific inaccuracies, political propaganda and sentimental mush"

It took a British judge (stories in the Times of London, New York Times, and Agence France Presse) to utter those words describing parts of erstwhile Vice President Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth". He said those words when handing down his ruling that the movie could, indeed, be shown in 3500 British secondary schools, but that
the Oscar-winning film should be accompanied by government guidance notes and to distribute it without them would breach education laws prohibiting the promotion of unbalanced political viewpoints.

That quote is from the Agence-France Presse story on the ruling.

Judge Michael Burton noted 9 inaccuracies that would require those "government guidance notes":
The inaccuracies are:
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  7. The film blames global warming for species losses including coral reef bleaching. The Government could not find any evidence to support this claim.
  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.
  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.

Believe me, I am no fan of government, and the thought that school children would need "government guidance notes" is repellent to me. But British law is different from American law and the kiddies in the British public school system there are going to be treated to government guidance whether they like it or not.

Mr. Gore has his Academy Award. He has the ear of the enthusiastic mainstream media. Now he has well-wishers that placed a full-page ad in the New York Times containing an open letter to Mr. Gore urging him to run for President. The letter contains the following, shall we say, heartfelt statement:
America and the Earth need a hero right now — someone who will transcend politics as usual and bring real hope to our country and to the world.

I'm afraid I have to excuse myself. I feel somewhat indisposed...

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