An Inconvenient Class Activity

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Although school administrators around the country are rushing a former vice-president’s cinematic debut onto classroom film projectors, some districts are holding out. “In the weeks preceding Earth Day on April 22, schools nationwide showed Al Gore’s 2006 global-warming film An Inconvenient Truth—some as a club activity, as at Newtown Middle School in Council Rock, Pennsylvania; others as background for classroom debates on the topic, as at Russellville High School in Russellville, Arkansas,” James M. Taylor reports in the June 2007 issue of School Reform News. “But not in Federal Way, Washington.”

“School administrators there took a stand against the film, saying it could not be shown unless ‘credible, legitimate’ opposing views were also presented, the district’s school board decided on January 9.” School Reform News is published by the Heartland Institute.

Taylor tallies elements of the film that might leave it flunking elementary science tests:

• In the film, Gore claims, “Here on this farm, the patterns are changing,” of his Carthage, Tennessee homestead. “In the course as defined by this river, it’s happening very, very quickly.” “Yet temperature stations at the nearby communities of Clarksburg, Murfreesboro, and McMinnville all show cooling temperatures during recent decades,” Taylor notes.

• In like fashion, “Gore asserts global warming is causing alpine glaciers in Glacier National Park to recede,” Taylor writes. “However, temperature readings in the nearby community of Kalispell, Montana show temperatures fell 5ºFahrenheit from 1933 to 2000.”

• “Gore claims glaciers in the Himalayan Mountains are rapidly melting, threatening the water supplies of hundreds of millions of people,” Taylor reports. “However, just months before Gore’s movie was released, Insurance Digest reported Himalayan Mountain glaciers are as big as ever.”

• “Also false is Gore’s claim that declining rainfall (allegedly caused by global warming) is leading to a dramatic southern expansion of the Sahara Desert,” writes Taylor. Actually, “Africa’s deserts are in ‘spectacular’ retreat,” The New Scientist reported as recently as 2002.

• “While showing an animated map of the planet purporting to depict ocean currents responding to a 5º F rise in temperatures, Gore claimed such an increase is ‘on the low end of the projections,’” Taylor reports. “In fact, a 5º rise in temperatures would be on the high end of projections offered by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

• “Gore warns that half the Greenland Ice Sheet could break up and slide into the sea, raising sea levels by 10 feet,” Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute notes. “Yet the current rate of ice mass loss on Greenland translates into about one inch of sea level rise per century.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.