(CNSNews.com) - Al Gore warned Tuesday of the consequences America faces if something is not done today to stop "global warming," while a critic said the former vice president wanted "to scare us green."
Appearing on the "Oprah Winfrey Show," Gore illustrated what he said were the effects of global warming, showing the audience slides of places like the Glacier National Park in Montana decades ago compared to today.
Throughout the show, titled "Global Warming 101," Winfrey called on viewers to pick up the DVD for Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" and buy his book.
According to Gore, "the sun's energy comes in, in the form of light radiation and heats up the planet, and then it is reradiated as infrared. And some of the outgoing infrared is trapped by the atmosphere, and that's a good thing - the natural trapping of it - because it keeps the temperatures within comfortable boundaries."
Gore said the U.S. was "putting global warming pollution - CO2 mainly, carbon dioxide - into the earth's atmosphere, and ...it makes that atmospheric blanket thicker and traps more of the outgoing infrared. And that's global warming."
As a result, he added, "all the ice areas are melting."
Gore acknowledged that there was "a natural up and down" in the earth's temperatures.
However, he said, "If you look at the 10 hottest years ever measured in this atmospheric record, they've all occurred in the last 14 years, and the hottest of all was 2005.
"So the temperature increases are taking place all over the world, including in the oceans, and of course when the oceans get warmer, that causes stronger storms. We have seen in the last couple years, a lot of big hurricanes. We also set an all-time record for record tornadoes in the Unites States," Gore said.
Winfrey said what she found most memorable about Gore's film was an illustration of a polar bear trying to swim across the water to reach an ice glacier, only for it to break up before it is able to hoist itself up.
A female audience member was impressed by Gore's predictions of what Florida, the San Francisco Bay, and Manhattan would look like once Greenland melts. The maps of the world would have to be redrawn, Gore said.
The show also featured Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who disputed Gore's theory.
Lewis called Gore's claims about what would happen to Florida and New York "sheer science fiction. There is not a single scientific study that provides evidence that this is happening or likely to happen."
"Al Gore wants to scare us green. He wants us to be very frightened of global warming. The warming that we've seen over the last 30 years is constant and modest and in all likelihood will give us a modest amount of water in the next century, and therefore, it's nothing to be afraid of."
Gore claimed organizations like CEI obtain most of their funding from "large sources of pollution, and what they crank out are so-called studies that are designed to make people think, 'Hey, there's no problem. Just let us keep on putting as much pollution up there as we want. Don't make us be responsible.'"
Gore said the studies people should take seriously are peer-reviewed expert journal articles on global warming. None of those experts disagreed with the "main consensus," he said. "There are some aspects of this issue where there is a continuing debate around the edges, but the central consensus is as strong as it ever gets in science."
According to Gore, everyone can do something to combat global warming. He suggested people buy energy efficient appliances and light bulbs, and solar powered outdoor lights, and change their air filters regularly among other things.
Taking small steps in our individual energy usage should spur the government to enact policy designed to reduce global warming, he added.
See Earlier Story:
Quiet Hurricane Season Raises Questions About Global Warming Forecasts (Nov. 30, 2006)
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