October 18, 2007

Sensational

Filed under: Climate Politics

The findings by the UK judge announced last week that Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth failed to tell the whole truth on more than a few occasions received a fair degree of press coverage and, of course, a great deal of outcry from Gore defenders worldwide.

Now, “the Gore Team” has come to its own defense on a Washington Post blog site. In running down the list of supposed “errors” in An Inconvenient Truth, it is the basic contention of the Gore team that the scientific issues that Gore was trying to get a cross to a lay audience were far more complex than he had the time (or desire?) to adequately explain in a 90-minute feature film (or in the accompanying 328 page book; hint, use a smaller, albeit less dramatic, typeface next time).

For instance, concerning Gore’s use of the glacier recession on Africa’s Mt Kilimanjaro (through a series of historic photographs and flowery language) to illustrate the effects of global warming, despite the fact that the majority of scientific evidence is that factors other than temperature (such as exposure, humidity, and precipitation) are primarily responsible to the loss of ice atop the mountain, the Gore Team justifies that, well, global warming is undoubtedly making things worse there.

This sentiment, that, well, even though it may not be the primary cause, anthropogenic global warming is making things worse, is used in their justification of the Gorey pictures of the damage from Hurricane Katrina (even though we showed picture after picture of the damage from Katrina we never “ascribe any single weather event to climate change”), destruction of coral reefs, drowning polar bears, the drying of Lake Chad, and the flooding of low-lying Pacific islands.

Ultimately, the Gore Team has the following to say, acting dismayed at the state of media coverage these days, “To conclude, it’s unfortunate that news coverage of the UK decision was so sensational and, once again, directed conversation away from a broader and much-needed discussion and debate about solutions to the climate crisis.”

So sensational?!

Apparently showing photo after photo of current and potential future environmental catastrophe (carefully ignoring instances of similar catastrophes in the past) while talking and writing in grave tones about climate change and mankind’s role in it, but never admitting that many other factors are also at play and in many cases are the dominant ones, is a perfectly acceptable way of conveying issues to the public. But, pointing out that this is what is going on is “sensational.”

It seems to us, that the Gore Team is just a bit miffed that someone stole a page out of their playbook and successfully ran it against them.




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