Friday, October 19, 2007

Global Warming Skepticism from ABC

But of course, it’s from John Stossel.

Stossel goes through some of the now standard (but usually unheard of in the Mainstream Media) criticisms of Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth.”
The movie has been seen by millions, won an an Academy Award and earned Gore widespread praise in the media. People have proclaimed him a “prophet,” a “cultural icon” and a “conquering hero.” Just last week, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. With all this news coverage, it’s no surprise that 86 percent of Americans think global warming is a serious problem and 70 percent want the government to do something now.

But is it a crisis? The globe is warming, but is it really all our fault? And is it true the debate is over? No. What you think you know may not be so.

In the movie, for example, Gore says that if we allow the globe to warm, “sea levels worldwide would go up 20 feet.” Then he shows his audience terrifying maps of Florida and San Francisco submerged under rising sea levels. But the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared last week’s Nobel Prize with Gore, said that would probably take thousands of years to happen. Over the next 100 years, sea levels are expected to rise seven to 24 inches, not 20 feet.

Gore also implies that polar bears are dying off, because receding Arctic ice has forced them to swim longer distances. The kids I interviewed were especially worried about the fate of the polar bears. But the polar bears appear to be doing all right. Future warming may hurt them, but right now data from the World Conservation Union and the U.S. Geological Survey show most populations of polar bears are stable or increasing.

The Debate Is Over?

The most impressive demonstration in Gore’s movie is that big graph of temperature and carbon dioxide levels stretching back 650,000 years. Carbon dioxide is thought to amplify temperature increases, but his graph seemed to show clear cause and effect: When carbon dioxide levels rose, so did temperature. It suggested that carbon levels controlled temperature. But a real inconvenient truth is that the carbon increase came after temperatures rose, usually hundreds of years later. Temperature went up first.
But Stossel is perhaps most interesting when he discusses the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“The fact is, when climate changes, there are gains and there are losses,” said Tim Ball, who studies the history of climate change. But, he points out, all we generally hear about is the bad news from the IPCC — that massive group of climate scientists.

Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute participated in one of the IPCC drafts and Christy was a contributing author. Both say that this Nobel Prize-winning group is not what people think it is.

“The IPCC is the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change,” Reiter said. “It is governments who nominate people. You’ll find in many chapters that there are people who are not scientists at all.” Reiter claims that some of these scientists are “essentially activists” and there are some members with affiliations to groups like Greenpeace.

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