Monday, October 29, 2007

Al Gore's lies - judge unveils

The Blog Action Day has gone by. The lights are off and the dust is settled. But I can't help insisting on Al Gore's (unexisting) merits to speak for the environment. In my last post I complained about the risks of a 'Public Relations' person speaking about scientific facts but breaking the solid barriers of facts, evidences and measures that involve a scientific's serious work. Now, the documentary 'An inconvenient truth' lacks of the scienctific rigourness, but as long as only Hollywood cares, it's fine. This kind of tricks, half truths told to make a story more interesting (an so more 'sellable') are often used in the movies. And again, that's fine because we all know that a movie is enterteinment, and cannot replace a good history class.

But 'An inconvenient truth' has gone one step further. A series of programs are being impulsed in many european countries (Such as France, the U.K., Spain...)for the film to be shown in schools. So kids are going to learn environmental 'truths' from a distorted film. It stomachs me. It's politics in classrooms. With kids.

I wanted to make this analysis this some time ago, but fortunately some Kent (U.K.) school governor took the case to court, so it's not going to be my opinion, but Mr Justice Burton's, High Court judge UK, extracted form what could be probed on his court room. The judge failed to ban the film in schools, but presented a sentence in wich points out 9 LIES in the film and exorts them to be pointed in class. I would have prefered that the film was not shown at all, but let's leave aside any opinions on judges sentences (which I deeply respect) and focus on the 9 points. I provided two links to the news in important UK media, so I won't extend on the details and

1.- When Al Gore's film says that
sea-level would rise of up to 20 feet in the near future, science says 'millennia' (that's THOUSANDS OF YEARS. Think about that twice).
2.- This one is pretty silly from my point of view (please don't take this as a simpathy to Mr.Gore): low-lying inhabited Pacific atolls are being inundated (says the film), but there's no evidence of evacuations so far (says the judge). Fine, I suppose it is evidence of the alarmist tone forced into the movie, so it's worth pointing it in the sentece.
3.- "The documentary speaks of global warming shutting down the Ocean Conveyor", but the court says that's 'unlikely'. This is more important than it sounds. The shutting down of such circulation could only be caused by a monumental climate change, which is the idea Gore's film is trying to push down our throats.
4.- "Mr Gore claims that two graphs, one plotting a rise in C02 and the other the rise in temperature over a period of 650,000 years, showed 'an exact fit'. The judge said that, although there was general scientific agreement that there was a connection, 'the two graphs do not establish what Mr Gore asserts'." This one is great for my point: There's a lot of danger in letting scientific data (as plotted in those graphs) to be manipulated or deliverately ill-analized by some hair-regenerator-medicine-seller.
5.- The dissapearance of snow in the Kilimanjaro is attributed to global warming, but scientific consensus rejects the human intervention as the main cause for this.
6.- The drying of lake Chad is also attributed to this, whereas Justice Burton points that it is more likely to be due to population increase among other factors.
7.- This one is my favorite, since it shows the political manipulation of a catastrophe: Al Gore blames hurricane Katrina's devastation in New Orleans to global warming with no evidence whatsoever sustaining it. Don't forget that the film was originally targeted for the USA public, so they would be touched by the tragedy (specially since the premium of the documentary was so close in time with the tragedy. So close I even ask myself if Katrina could have been de 'inspiration' of it).
8.- For this one I'm textually quoting the
Telegraph article again: Mr Gore cites a scientific study that shows, for the first time, that polar bears were being found after drowning from "swimming long distances - up to 60 miles - to find the ice" The judge said: "The only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm."That was not to say there might not in future be drowning-related deaths of bears if the trend of regression of pack ice continued - "but it plainly does not support Mr Gore's description". Nothing else to say. It was a plain an full invention. A great LIE.
9.- The last one has to do with coral reefs, whose bleaching is attributed to global warming, and the judge points that "separating the impacts of stresses due to climate change from other stresses, such as over-fishing, and pollution" was difficult. The legal and scientific evidence in this particular one eludes me (I think it is complex legal details on the precision of a particular phrase rather than a whole manipulation as others), but since it is part of the sentence, let it be part of this blog.

All that said, I will expose my position again:
1.- I believe we have an environmental problem. I think humans have not considered it during the industrial era and we owe the planet one. I think global warming is a comsequence of it, a scientific evidence that something's going on that requires us to act.
2.- I think it is a GREAT mistake to use it in an alarmist way, lacking precission and playing in the 'wild side' of the truth. The environment truth is inconvenient, is not being listened and must be published, learned and taught. Mr. Gore's truth is simply an alarmist LIE. And my fear is that when people realizes, they are going to forget about it in the big box of 'politics borken promises' and 'politics forgotten issues' - and that'll be the end. So let the scientifics tell us what's going on, what they know and what they don't, what they're sure about and what they aren't. And, please, please, please. Let's TEACH our children. We need them aware of the problem, since for sure they'll inherit it. But the must know about it, not be panicked about it by some almost-president with a lot of free time and economic resources. If Gore wants to make a good movie, I suggest he inverts in making a new sequel of "The Godfather", one of the best movies ever. He might even find a role to play himself in such film.


Ragna said...

Well, I think is an step forward in schools.

First they teach Religion.
Now they teach environmental lies.

Being critical with us, humans, if something is not going to hit us in the face in the next five minutes, we don't use to care about it. So maybe a bit of alarm is not so bad.x

aljimmix said...

So, is it so difficult to teach the importance of something without being falsely alarmist? I mean, it is like trying to teach teenagers to behave while driving by insisting that their cars could suddenly stop if they don't. It might cause a huge impact the first time, but sooner or later people realizes that the short term impacts they have been told about never come to happen.

This situation reminds me of the old 'we've got only around 20 years of oil supply left in the world' I heard in school 20 years ago. I was worried then. Now, I laugh at the idea.