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Saturday, October 13th 2007

What's Scarier?


Al Gore Becomes President In Time To Be There As Washington Gets Swallowed Up By The Atlantic

What’s scarier? The news Al Gore has joined the ranks of Noble Peace Prize winners or the rising worldwide temperature?

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to Al Gore, the former vice president, and to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for its work to alert the world to the threat of global warming.

“We face a true planetary emergency,” Gore said in the statement. “The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level.”

The Noble Peace Prize went to a fear monger. That doesn’t seem appropriate.

In an interview with the New York Times Friday in his office at the Energy and Resources Institute, [Chair of the IPCC] Pachauri cast the award as a vindication of science over the skeptics on global warming.

“The message that it sends is that the Nobel Prize committee realized the value of knowledge in tackling the problem of climate change and the fact that the IPCC has an established record of producing knowledge and an impartial and objective assessment of climate change.”

He said he thought the award would now settle the scientific debate on climate change and that governments would now take action.

He said it was “entirely possible to stabilize the levels of emissions but that climate change and its impact will continue to stalk us.”

Good luck with that.

I’m disappointed in this award. True, it will be near impossible to judge the unhampered consequences of global warming seeing that efforts to tide such (by men like Gore) are being made. But, although it may be impossible to say it never would’ve happened, pretending that there’s a legitimate possibility that Manhattan will be swallowed up in 20 years, that south Florida will dissappear should not be part of your CV in claiming the Peace Prize.


Gore Would Have You Believe We’ll All Need To Grow Gills

Gore has become the P.T. Barnum of climate change. Mixing vaudevillism; mixing alarmism and terror and fear with science should never be rewarded. Gore’s sole mission has been to frighten people into change with the most extreme and fringe of claims which have no consensus in the mainstream. Such is why British public school children won’t be watching An Inconvenient Truth without some disclaimers.


An Inconvenient Truth won plaudits from the environmental lobby and an Oscar from the film industry but was found wanting when it was scrutinised in the High Court in London.

Mr Justice Burton identified nine significant errors within the former presidential candidate’s documentary as he assessed whether it should be shown to school children. He agreed that Mr Gore’s film was “broadly accurate” in its presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change but said that some of the claims were wrong and had arisen in “the context of alarmism and exaggeration”.

In what is a rare judicial ruling on what children can see in the class-room, Mr Justice Barton was at pains to point out that the “apocalyptic vision” presented in the film was politically partisan and not an impartial analysis of the science of climate change.

If you find some nobility in Gore’s efforts then please get away from the raw data. These tactics have no place in science, even when dealing with issues of life and death. Objectivity, rationality these are the tools that should be being used.

Consider,

The first mistake made by Mr Gore, said Mr Justice Burton in his written judgment, was in talking about the potential devastation wrought by a rise in sea levels caused by the melting of ice caps.

The claim that sea levels could rise by 20ft “in the near future” was dismissed as “distinctly alarmist”. Such a rise would take place “only after, and over, millennia”.

Mr Justice Burton added: “The ar-mageddon scenario he predicts, inso-far as it suggests that sea level rises of seven metres might occur in the immediate future, is not in line with the scientific consensus.”

Even as some claim that the ice caps are melting faster than the 4th IPCC report predicted, there is plenty of legitimate real data that even if that is the case the amount of sea level rise has been “disappointing” to date.

“All the stations in this study show a significant increase in sea level over the period 1904–2003 with an average increase of 174 mm during that time. This mean rate of 1.74 mm/yr is at the upper end of the range of estimates for the 20th century in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Third Assessment Report.” Well, it seems sea level is rising at what many would call an alarming rate of 174 mm (6.8 inches) per century, although this hardly seems alarming to us.

But here comes the big surprise. [A]s noted by Holgate “the two highest decadal rates of change were recorded in the decades centred on 1980 (5.31 mm/yr) and 1939 (4.68 mm/yr) with the most negative decadal rates of change over the past 100 years during the decades centred on 1964 (-1.49 mm/yr) and 1987 (-1.33 mm/yr).” How about that – the greatest global sea level rise occurred around 1980, well before the greenhouse scare got off the ground. Also, it is immediately obvious that the rate of sea level rise during most recent couple of years has been, well, unremarkable, with declining sea levels for a short period in the mid-to-late 1990s.

From this article, we learn from the actual data that (a) sea level is generally rising, (b) the rate of rise decelerated during the 20th century, (c) the rate of sea level rise over the past two decades has been both positive and negative, (d) the rate of sea level rise has been quite small over the last few years, and (e) stations can witness an increase or decrease of sea level quite independently of one another.

Such shows the difficulty in predicting the consequences of rising temperatures. Seriously, just start throwing dice.

A new look at land movement, says a miscalculation in those effects by the models the IPCC used means their predictions for sea level rise (already not nearly as dramatic as Al Gore would’ve liked to have seen) are likely overstated by more than 20%.

On the brighter side the path to the Noble Peace Prize is clear. Now just to come up with my own armageddon scenario and then publicize it. I’ll start with some billboards.

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