An Inconvenient Truth

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Movie Poster Watched a free screening of this last night in Downtown Los Angeles as part of a film festival. Prior to the screening, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora played some live music and Al Gore was on hand to introduce the movie. Mayor Villaraigosa was also there oddly suited in a tux and comically referring to Richie as Richie Santora.

The basic premise of the documentary is that humans are affecting the Earth’s climate, this is a very bad thing, we can do something about it, and we don’t have to destroy the economy to do it.

This particular premise is also the subject of much controversy, which Al addresses in the documentary. He points out that there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are affecting the Earth’s climate change. A study of 928 peer reviewed abstracts in scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 on the topic of climate change showed absolutely none disagreed with the consensus. The controversy, in large part has been hyped up by the popular media as well as the minority nay-sayers.

The movie also points out that the idea of humans affecting the climate is not so farfetched and in fact has a precedent. Consider the hole in the ozone layer that was a big worry back in the 80s. The EPA states that ozone deplection was caused by human activities.

Recent headlines are showing the effects of global warmings.

The key point to stress is that Al Gore does not believe that we have to sacrifice our economy or jobs in order to become more ecologically friendly. In fact, he believes it will lead to more jobs. As a case in point, Japan’s auto industry has the most stringent auto emission standards and highest eco ranking and they are kicking the butt of Ford and GM in profits.

One of the most revealing points (as well as embarassing for the U.S.) is when he shows that the U.S. auto emission standards are significantly below China! China! Since when is China the example to the U.S. on clean air?

At the end, Al points out that turning around the negative effects of human activities can be done, and there is a precedent. We don’t worry much about ozone depletion today because the U.S. took the lead in creating treaties to ban CFC production.

This is a worthwhile movie to see whatever your political affiliations, because it is an issue that will eventually affect everyone regardless of political affiliations. Republicans aren’t immune to the weather. If you are skeptical that we are causing global warming, then see it anyways and refute the claims.

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10 responses

  1. Avatar for Michael K. Campbell
    Michael K. Campbell June 25th, 2006

    Sorry Phil, but I call bulls**t.

  2. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked June 25th, 2006

    On which point specifically? I swear Bon Jovi really was there.

  3. Avatar for Richard Dudley
    Richard Dudley June 26th, 2006

    1) The ozone hole. Remember those photos of a big hole over the antarctic in the 80s? The ones that made the cover of Discover magazine et al. What did the previous year's photos look look like? Or the previous 10 years? We don't know. Those photos were the first ones we have of that area--the satellite was launched earlier that year. The working hypothesis was that there is a solid layer of ozone surrounding the earth, and when photos came back with a hole, then a new explanation was generated (humans F'd it up). In the 20 years hence, we've seen the size of that hole wax and wane, nearly closing at one point. Real science dictates that maybe the original hypothesis needs some revision.
    2) What journals? Peer reviewed journals, while the science is often good, the articles chosen for publication very often represnt the biases of the review boards. This is a long standing and open critizism of the system. The additional layer of review repsents another possible layer of bias (selecting journals which are in general favorable to the consensus which one wishes to be shown). Finally, the interpretation of what constitutes "support" is very subjective.
    3) There is little disagreement that the world is in a warming trend. Are the causes man-made, or are these the forces of nature that have come and gone numerous times in the past? 10,000 years ago, this area (western PA) was covered in glacial ice a mile deep. Those glaciers were long gone before my SUV hit the road. The middle ages were marked by a mini ice-age to the extent that Swiss towns sent priests to exorcise the glaciers.
    Concomitant with this warming trend is also an increase in solar activity, a slight slowing of the earth's rotation, and (I think, if I recall correctly) approaching perigee in the earth's orbit. These could all cause warming, too.
    4) The first Earth Day was held to warn the world of global cooling. That's right--global cooling. Proposals were put forth as to how to best melt the polar ice caps. Why should anyone be skeptical when in less than 40 years the message has gone from "melt the ice caps to save the world" to "the ice caps are melting and the world's about to end"?
    Are we at fault, or are we in the midst of a cycle which we have little (if any) effect upon? QED. But to conclude, in every day, in ways large and small, we can do a little better in everything we do. Whether we'll save us and nature from itself is a different issue entirely.

  4. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked June 26th, 2006

    Regarding point #3. It is clear that there have been warming and cooling cycles. Looking at ice cores in Antartica that effectively preserve a climate record of over 100,000 years, the graph of the climate temperatures show this cyclical nature.
    However, what is startling is starting around the industrial age, the graph heads upward way beyond any of the peaks of the past 100,000 years. It seems a strong coincidence.
    Of course, on the other hand, we don't have the data for the past 100 million years to see if there is some meta-cycle.
    The question is, even if there is a natural warming trend, are we exacerbating it by pushing it way beyond its natural peak? Do we really believe that the amounts of CO2 we put in the air has absolutely no effect? I think that's a hard one to swallow.

  5. Avatar for Michael K. Campbell
    Michael K. Campbell June 26th, 2006

    Phil, I won't dispute whether Bon Jovi was there or not - if you say he was, that's good enough for me. ;)
    What I have a problem with is the utter bastardization of science for a new religious crusade of which Al apparently is vying for the position of high-priest. (Repent! cast off your SUVs... or the world will end in fire!).
    As for the science of global warming, Michael Chrichton gave an excellent lecture on the bastardization of science by politicians and those with an agenda. Read the entire lecture, it's brilliant, and warns of the perils of those who would seek to twist science to their own ends.
    (WARNING: this page will 'shrink your browser down to a pathetically teeny-weeny size):
    Likewise, plenty of climatologists dispute the whole 'humans are to blame' notion of global warming. (Remember, we're talking about a whopping .6 degree change in 50 years - and that's taking the numbers at face value (plenty of scientists have VIGOROUSLY challenged those numbers)).
    Here's a great link/summary of some of those challenges:
    As for the film... well... I appreciated this review:
    And if you think I'm a heretic for challenging global warming... here's a very 'progressive' view of why I should be able to argue:
    So yeah, while I respect you and your opinions, I do have to call BS on the whole global warming scare. I'm NOT advocating dumping crude oil into pristine lakes, I'm just suggesting that people start to THINK instead of listening to all of the CRAP that Bon Jovi, Bono, and Al are trying to foist off on to them.

  6. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked June 26th, 2006

    Interesting. Bastardization of science by politicians, goes both ways:
    A couple points. While "plenty of climatologists dispute the whole 'humans are to blame' notion of global warming.", do you dispute that the overwhelming majority of scientific experts have a consensus that humans contribute to global warming?
    At issue here, isn't necessarily whether the Earth is in a natural warming trend with or without us, but whether we have accelerated the warming beyond natural bounds.
    I appreciate the links you posted and will take some time to read them and report back. In the meanwhile, have you seen the movie?

  7. Avatar for WTF
    WTF June 27th, 2006

    Where do you get these people? C'mon people look at the CO2 levels. You're gambling with the fate of the entire human species, or at least your precious standard of living (which I presume is high since you have the luxury of banging worthless crap off your little keyboards).
    With the continuation of the human species at risk, you'd think we'd try to increase our margin for error. Perhaps, attempt to minimize risk. Nope, let's not do anything unless Google wraps it in a web page or convenient API.
    Wake up people. Check out a peer reviewed article. Get off your ass and do something other than post worthless crap that inconveniences your souless way of life.

  8. Avatar for WTF
    WTF June 27th, 2006

    Oh, nevermind. I didn't realize the great Crichton had already weighed in on the topic.
    Please accept my humble appology. I'm going to buy an H2 now. And snort cocaine of a stripper's ass.

  9. Avatar for Richard Dudley
    Richard Dudley June 27th, 2006

    Gambling with the fate of the entire human species? WTF indeed! As if it's all about us...
    Science doesn't progress based merely on consensus. Science progresses via facts gained from experimentation. We simply cannot gather the facts here. It's a plausible argument both ways--humans are, or humans are not, affecting this trend. We can model, and form suppositions, but without a whole lot of identical planets, we just can't do the proper experiment.
    Even if we're not affecting the planet's warming, there's little reason at all to not do better anyway.

  10. Avatar for Jono
    Jono June 1st, 2011

    It's a shame Phil you are surrouned by such close minded redneck americans