TV Ads Seek to Upstage Gore 'Global Warming' Movie

By Monisha Bansal | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

( - The latest chapter in the "global warming" debate involves a movie based on the climate change warnings of former Vice President Al Gore and the efforts of a Washington, D.C., think tank to convince Americans that such warnings represent "alarmism."

The movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," which opens in select theaters next week and nationwide on June 9, is narrated by the former vice president and is based on the slide show that Gore presented across the country alleging that carbon dioxide emissions are causing widespread damage to the planet.

"In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality," Gore told Grist Magazine when asked about the dangers of "global warming." The film's website adds that "humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb."

But ahead of the film's release, the free-market environmental think tank, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), Thursday rolls out a new television ad campaign criticizing the liberal environmental attack on carbon dioxide emissions.

Fuels that produce carbon dioxide "have freed us from a world of back-breaking labor, lighting up our lives, allowing us to create and move the things we need, the people we love," the narrator in one of the ads intones.

The ad, without mentioning Gore or anyone else by name, closes with the narrator declaring that "they call it pollution, we call it life." It is one of two 60-second television spots that CEI produced and plans to air in 14 U.S. cities from Thursday until May 28.

"Claims of looming climate disaster due to energy use are unfounded; our ad campaign is a call for balance in discussions of global warming," said Marlo Lewis, senior fellow in environmental policy at CEI, during a Wednesday news conference.

"We have to recognize that there really is a debate over whether climate change is a crisis," Sam Kazman, general counsel for CEI, added. "Al Gore is at the forefront of calling for the regulatory equivalent of a war."

As a result of Gore's efforts, Kazman complained that "our energy is under attack, our mobility is under attack."

In his interview with Grist Magazine, Gore said Americans are caught in a "category 5 denial" of "global warming, which he said "is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions.

"Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem," Gore told the magazine.

The website promoting Gore's film claims that "if the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced."

But Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in an April 12 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal that from his days as a U.S. senator, Gore tried to "bully" scientists who disagreed with him on the threat of climate change.

"In 1992, [Gore] ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism," wrote Lindzen.

The scientific community, he stated, did not complain "when Mr. Gore, as vice president, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witch hunt to discredit anti-alarmist scientists, a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate.

"And they were mum when subsequent articles and books by Ross Gelbspan libelously labeled scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuel industry," Lindzen wrote.

The advanced screening of "An Inconvenient Truth" at the Sundance Film Festival was met with rave reviews. The Film Festival's guide calls the documentary a "gripping story" with "a visually mesmerizing presentation" that is "activist cinema at its very best."

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