Convenient Fiction? Documentary Plans to Challenge Gore

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - A critic of "global warming alarmism" began filming a documentary Thursday that seeks to rebut some of the claims former Vice President Al Gore made in his popular movie, "An Inconvenient Truth."

Steven Hayward, editor of the "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators," began filming "An Inconvenient Truth ... Or Convenient Fiction?" with presentations at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Hayward, who is a fellow at the Pacific Research Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, said he hopes to counter some of the "alarmist" claims that supporters of global warming catastrophe theories make.

He began his 40-minute presentation by extending an olive branch to Gore, saying that "much of what Vice President Gore says about climate change is correct. The planet is warming; human beings are playing a substantial role in that warming."

But, Hayward quickly added, "The vice president and a lot of other people make some extreme claims about what is likely to happen in the future that are not backed up by science."

He said Gore's predictions that global warming will lead to more intense hurricanes, flooded coastlines and demolished cities are based on extreme and improbable models.

Hayward also criticized global warming "alarmists" for trying to close debate on the issue.

The centerpiece of his documentary, like Gore's, will be the presentation of a slide show on climate change science. But where Gore's presentation gives evidence that shows a consensus on the severity of global warming, Hayward's theme is that there is no consensus.

There is no consensus on the effect human beings have on global warming, versus the effects of other factors such as the sun, Hayward says in his presentation.

There is also no consensus on the status of ice caps and glaciers, he argues, noting that some scientists point to receding or melting ice in western Antarctica while others point to thickening ice in eastern Antarctica.

"[Gore and others are] saying also that the debate should now be closed, that the science is set, that there are no important questions left open," Hayward said. "People like me are sometimes now called 'climate change deniers,' with the non-too-subtle suggestion that we are the moral equivalent of Holocaust deniers."

But Hayward pointed out that "nearly every scientific article you will read mentions uncertainty in what we know about the subject."

'Extreme claims'

Hayward also criticized Gore and others for presenting what he called "extreme claims about what's happening." He cited an image published in Vanity Fair which shows New York City flooded after an 80-foot rise in seas levels caused by the complete melting of the ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic.

According to predictions released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2001, however, the worst-case scenario shows sea levels rising by fewer than three feet in the next 100 years. And, he said, the IPCC's upcoming report, scheduled for release next year, will likely cut that prediction in half.

Hayward criticized the use of images of glaciers from decades ago accompanied by images of the same glaciers today as lakes, and presenting video of huge chunks of ice sheets breaking off and crashing into the sea as solely a result of global warming, calling them "overly simplistic."

He also criticized Gore and other environmentalists for ignoring sources of clean energy that could reduce the world's dependence on pollutants - specifically nuclear fission.

Hayward acknowledged that his documentary will likely be less popular than Gore's, but he told Cybercast News Service he hopes it will contribute to the debate. "Our thought was let's just do the same kind of thing he did and see what happens," he said.

Hayward said plans have yet to be finalized for his movie's release but that it would likely be out to coincide with the publication of the next Pacific Research Institute and American Enterprise Institute "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators," slated for April 2007.

See Also:
UN Report Pours 'Cold Water' on Global Warming, Senator Says (Dec. 12, 2006)

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