Convenient Misrepresentation: Boldface Lying

Aractus 06, April, 2012

If you’re like most of us, you know people who have lied to your face, I know some quite well. One was so convinced of his lying ability that even when I would say something like “nonsense” they would explode into a straw-man argument saying “how dare you say that it’s nonsense”. There are many different times I can think of when I knew the clear truth but the other person chose to persist with a lie even when faced with the truth (rather than an argument against their position). For instance, one person once tried to tell me AAPT was the second-largest telecommunications company in Australia, after Telstra. I said (near instantly) “nonsense, Optus is the second-largest telecommunications company in Australia”. He refused to concede his “point of view”, and by the way, yes he was an AAPT sales representative. Boldface lying.

When you hear the words “Global Climate” what comes to mind? Many people think that the global climate “should” be “consistent”. This is not what evidence tells us at all, it in fact is always varying. Many people also think that humans are the primary driving force due to CO2 concentrations, although they really have no idea if there’s sound scientific basis for this. You know, just the other day I drove past a “Hybrid” Camry. And I thought to myself “yeah, that’s clean energy alright: instead of 100% fossil fuel power it uses part fossil fuel power and part hydrogen power, the hydrogen comes from burning fossil fuels, so that’s 100% CO2-inducing fossil fuel power, what a load of crap!”

Imagine that you don’t know anything about climate change. Imagine that until now nobody’s even noticed it – if it’s there. Imagine.

Lies can only take root if we are, somewhat, “ignorant” about the truth. For instance, if you were blind and everyone who could see told you that grass is red, you would have no ability to discern the “truth” from it. Inconvenient Truth, is a film by Al Gore which has many lies in it, proven in court, and it is still taught in schools to our children as representing the truth. You know, if a Math’s textbook contained serious mathematical flaws within it, it would either be replaced, or the “bad information” would be purged from it. Well think of Inconvenient Truth within this context, Al Gore perfectly demonstrates what happens when a scientific viewpoint is taken as Gospel Truth. Not only that, but it also shows what happens when science becomes so political and popular. There is precious little science in the film, because Al Gore is a politician not a scientist, with a political agenda, certainly not presenting scientific information from a neutral point of view.

By the way, I again challenge you: do I only say what is “convenient”? Why not read my blog entry “pornography: no child is sacred” and see for yourself if I chose to be convenient and talk about how to solve a problem that is 50 years old and grew from something that started legally in one “rogue” sovereign nation and has since spread throughout the entire world. Or if I chose to report the inconvenient facts of the matter.

In my opinion this movie should never be shown in schools as representing “science”. When it is it amounts to political indoctrination, and on the 10th of October 2007 the High Court in London ruled there were 9 major inaccuracies in the film.

1. Sea level rise of up to 20′.

Gore never states that sea levels will rise this much in our lifetime; however he clearly insinuates it by showing flashy and probably very expensive animations depicting sea levels rising over current populations. Factually: for about 150 years sea levels have been rising at approximately the same rate (that’s before and after increased hydrocarbon use). And the fact of the matter is, again, that a casual correlation does not prove cause and effect.

2. Low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean are having to be evacuated because of the effects of global warming.

This is an imagined effect. A bold-face lie. End of story, there are no “sinking islands”. The Carteret Islands are endangering themselves by blowing up their reefs, but that’s human activity and has nothing to do with climate change.

3. The Gulf Stream would be shut down by global warming.

The Gulf Stream is driven mostly by winds. Al Gore is imagining no more windy weather in the warmer future? Regardless, there is strong scientific consensus that Global Warming will not affect the Gulf Stream.

4. CO2 always drives temperature.

By the way, like the preceding point, you won’t find many scientists who hold the view that past climate change was driven by greenhouse gas activity. Gore uses a graph of Ice Core data collected from Antratica over the last 650,000 years. There is a strong correlation between Temperature and CO2 – Gore states verbatim “When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer, because it traps more heat from the sun inside.” This is a false conclusion. The change in CO2 lags by 800-2800 years behind the change in temperature. Gore also states verbatim that 100ppmv of CO2 in the atmosphere is “the difference between a nice day and a mile of ice above your head”. Finally, the CO2 concentrations at Antratica don’t necessarily represent the global CO2 levels. That isn’t to say they don’t all follow the same up’s and down’s, but what I mean is just because CO2 has never gone about 300ppmv there isn’t to say it didn’t happen at the equator.

5. The disappearance of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania was due to global warming.

This is another imagined effect of Global Warming. Well it is an effect of climate change, of course it is, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the recent period of global warming, and this because the temperature at the summit of the mountain never drops below freezing. We have decades of climate readings from the area and climate itself at the mountain is stable. For this reason, a 2006 study concluded that “Rather than changes in 20th century climate being responsible for their demise, glaciers on Kilimanjaro appear to be remnants of a past climate that was once able to sustain them.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter if the climate was completely level for the last 150 years, they’d still be receding, and at exactly the same rate.

6. The shrinkage of Lake Chad in Africa was caused by global warming.

I personally found this one quite offensive when I head it originally in the film. The last time the lake was completely dry was about 100BC. It is being over-used by humans, and as a result has been shrinking. It is not tied to global warming. There was, however, one paper by NASA that had global warming as a contributing factor; but that on its own is not sufficient evidence when the primary factor is human activity in the region.

7. Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming.

Obviously, no individual hurricane could be linked to Global Warming, even if it was responsible for increasing them. But that doesn’t matter because Global Warming has not been shown to produce more hurricanes. It hasn’t been shown to do this, because there hasn’t been shown to be a trend of more or less hurricanes over the past 50 years (it is my understanding that before that we didn’t have the equipment to actually record every hurricane event occurring like we do today). Additionally it wasn’t the fact of the Hurricane Katrina hitting that caused so much damage. Well it was, but any category 3 hurricane would have done the same thing. The levees were never going to survive the hit. There’s an entire Wikipedia article about the Hurricane Katrina levee failures. You have engineers the world over talking about how the levees were destined to fail, “the costliest engineering mistake in American history” indeed.

By the way, if you missed the point, much of the destruction and flooding caused by Katrina would have been prevented with adequately engineered levees and flood walls.

8. Polar bears are drowning because they have to swim too far.

More ridiculous nonsense, just like everything else in Inconvenient Truth. Gore is probably referring to a 2005 study which talks about 4 polar bears which died in a severe storm. The ice where this happened is not even receding. Furthermore, Gore infers that Polar Bears are at risk of extinction by his argument! Totally irrational – they have been around for 200,000 years and survived temperatures far higher than today, with of course far less ice.

9. Coral reefs were being bleached by the effects of global warming and other factors.

Oddly enough there is some truth to this argument – but only in the future, current coral bleaching can be linked to other causes and not global warming. The scientific view is that bleaching will likely occur with a one degree rise in global temperature. The fact is that even when this happens, corals will adapt and the bleaching won’t be anywhere near as severe as alarmists say. There are plenty, far more important, other risks to coral at present.

Now just because a judge found those nine glaring errors in the film, don’t think there aren’t many, many more. It is riddled with errors from start to finish. I can’t force you to see my point of view, I just hope you will think for yourself and not just believe what some politicians tell you about climate change.

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