New Movie Seeks to Refute Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’
August 14, 2009 - 1:47 PMA new documentary on climate change is highly critical of the claims made by former Vice President Al Gore in his film, "An Inconvenient Truth," and seeks to refute the main points Gore made.<br />
“Policy Peril: Why Global Warming Policies are More Dangerous than Global Warming Itself,” is a 40-minute documentary produced by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a free market group, which can be viewed online. The movie was screened last week at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Narrated by CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis, the film criticizes Gore on both the scientific and policy fronts, attacking the assumptions cited as fact in “An Inconvenient Truth” and the solutions Gore proposed to combat the alleged disastrous consequences of global warming.
On the scientific side, Gore is criticized from several angles. His claim that global warming has contributed to the spread of malaria in Africa, for example, is contrasted with evidence that malaria flourished in the 19th century United States, which was one degree cooler than today’s malaria-free America.
It is also noted that Gore’s citation of a recent outbreak in Nairobi, Kenya, which he says was previously too cold for malaria-carrying mosquitoes, is undercut by the fact that Nairobi also experienced significant malaria problems in the 1920s.
“Malaria is chiefly a disease of poverty, not of climate,” Lewis says in his narration – noting that contributing factors to the spread of the disease include poor sanitation and lack of pesticide use.
Also targeted is the idea that global warming is causing stronger and more frequent hurricanes. A recent study shows, for example, that worldwide hurricane activity has largely remained static since 1986 – increasing only in the North Atlantic, decreasing in the Northeast Pacific, and remaining largely the same in the world’s four other major hurricane basins.
“Policy Peril” also notes that Gore’s claim about increased economic damage caused by hurricanes can largely be attributed to the dramatic increase in human population near the coasts.
Adjusted for population, property values, inflation, and other factors, one expert in “Policy Peril” claims that not only have hurricane damages not increased, but the most damaging single hurricane was in 1926.
It is also argued in the movie that Hurricane Katrina was actually a weak Category I hurricane by the time it hit the city of New Orleans and that the damage caused by that storm is deemed a “civic failure” caused primarily by improper defenses around the city – not an increase in hurricane strength.
Gore has claimed that melting polar ice will cause a dramatic 20-foot rise in sea levels, but “Policy Peril” refutes his high estimate. The film cites data indicating that the Greenland ice sheet is only losing about four-tenths of one percent of its mass per century, which would cause an estimated two inch rise in sea levels.
The film also cites a United Nations study indicating that, even if the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were quadrupled, it would still take a millennium to melt half of the ice in Greenland. Hence, it seems unlikely that large amounts of Greenland ice will melt into the world’s oceans and dramatically raise sea levels.
Furthermore, the West Antarctic ice sheet, which Gore said could either melt or break off into the ocean, is said to be expected to continue expanding due to new snowfall and continued cold – and it apparently is stabilized against breakage by landforms underneath it.
As for policy, the film claims that one recent bill to control emissions, the Lieberman-Warner package, would reduce the United States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $5 trillion by the year 2030. These costs reportedly would result from increased taxes, lost jobs, and declining incomes, the documentary claims.
That $5 trillion, according to “Policy Peril,” is equal to the damage caused by 600 hurricanes.
Bio-fuels are also shown to be potentially harmful in the film, as the demand for them drives up the prices of food crops from which such fuels are derived. This could aggravate the world’s hunger problems.
In addition, the film points out that bio-fuels are causing deforestation and species endangerment in Indonesia and Malaysia, where the rainforest is being cleared to make way for palm-oil cultivation as a result of European demand for ethanol.
The screening of “Policy Peril” was followed by a panel discussion that included the film’s narrator, Marlo Lewis, along with three experts featured in the film: Author Indur Goklany and Heritage Foundation policy analysts Ben Lieberman and David Kreutzer.
Lewis was peppered with questions about whether he would consider making a sequel that addresses other controversial aspects of the global warming debate.
Lewis mentioned meteorologist Anthony Watts as someone whose research would be included in any future film. Watts has documented that many surface temperature measurements taken in the United States come from sensors that are improperly placed near heat sources.
“He has found just unbelievable data quality problems, where you have the temperature- sensing equipment located in parking lots or next to air-conditioning exhaust vents,” said Lewis, who interviewed Watts for the film but did not include him in the final edits.
“Despite my best efforts to be skeptical,” said Lewis, “I guess I was still too much under the sway of conventional wisdom to appreciate the seriousness of the research that Anthony Watts is doing.”
While he noted that he does not know if there will ever be an actual second film, Lewis indicated his willingness to make one. “There’s definitely science issues that I would cover in a sequel,” he said.