This past week there was an advertisement in the local paper to attend a free screening of the Al Gore global warming movie, An Inconvenient Truth. It was sponsored by the Climactic Connection: Interfaith Eco-Justice Network, a program of the North Carolina Council of Churches, an affiliate of Interfaith Power and Light, a San Francisco-based operation.
After the movie the moderator asked for comments. When I was recognized, I started by saying that I had consulted with Dr. S. Fred Singer, a climatologist instrumental in developing many of our present weather-measuring devices who was also the head of the National Weather Service. I related that I had asked Dr. Singer if there was global warming. He said yes, for the last 10,000 years or so, and it would probably last for another couple hundred years before going into a global cooling cycle, as it has done for millions of years.
I then asked Dr. Singer if there was any evidence that humans affect the world’s climate in any significant way. He indicated that he has yet to see any such evidence. The crowd groaned.
Undeterred, I stated that there were many inaccuracies in the movie. I gave the following visual examples because they were easier to remember:
1) Gore showed photos over several decades that demonstrated that there is less snowfall on Mount Kilimanjaro in recent years and inferred that this is caused by global warming. I pointed out that the cutting down of the trees on the mountain caused the loss of a canopy to collect moisture and that was the reason why the snowfall had decreased markedly. And, actually, precise temperature measurements show that the average temperature on the mountain has actually decreased, not gone up as one would expect if global warming were a factor.
2) Another visual was of the dried-up Aral Sea in Central Asia. This leads one to believe it is the result of global warming. Actually it dried up because the former Soviet Union diverted several of its largest tributaries for industrial purposes.
3) Acknowledging that there was indeed a lot of ice melting in the Arctic regions of the globe as shown in the movie, I pointed out that:
a) Close to 80% of the world’s fresh water ice is in the Antarctic.
b) The increase of ice formation in the Antarctic is much greater than the melting of the ice in the Arctic.
c) Scientists do not have a clue why this is happening.
4) Accurate temperature readings of our atmosphere have only been around for 25 years or so, and that on average, the average surface temperature of the earth has increased approximately 1°. But the upper atmosphere, on average, had decreased 1°, thus making very illogical Gore’s explanation of the Greenhouse Effect.
I then told the hostile audience that they should not take my word for it. At this point, a man stood up and started shouting me down saying, “You’re right, we’re not going to take your word for it.” To which I responded, “But if you are intellectually honest, you will check out and see if what I have said is true or not.” I have given you four examples of the more than 40 or 50 inaccuracies and/or misrepresentations I’ve seen in this film. I gave you those because they’re easy to check out.
At this point a rather scholarly looking gentleman, Dr. Donald B. McCormick, Ph.D., stood up and announced that he was the scientific adviser for this group. I suspect he was there to neutralize people like me.
Amazingly, he said that what that man (me) had said is true and that he too had a problem with many other things in this movie that are not scientifically accurate. He proceeded to give a very technical explanation of why Gore’s greenhouse gas theory, his graph and comments on carbon dioxide were not accurate.
But in closing he said that although the movie is scientifically flawed, the message is sound. Then he said the factual inaccuracies and/or misrepresentations should not deter the audience from contributing to and getting involved in the environmental movement. There was a sign-up pledge form to collect names and addresses for solicitations.
The North Carolina Council of Churches appears to be pushing a political agenda which appears to be a violation of their tax-exempt status. If you see advertisements offering a free showing of this movie, attend and offer your insights.
Members of the audience did come up to me afterward, some hostile, but others asked questions suggesting that my comments had opened up their eyes to the fact that if Al Gore and his Hollywood friends had to fabricate the majority of the information in their movie, maybe their message is also untrue.
James F. Davis is the President of Accuracy in Academia.