It’s official — former Vice President Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with global warming.

Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for their efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate change and lay the foundations for counteracting it.

Contrary to what you might think, it wasn’t awarded because of his huge CO2-spewing house and CO2-spewing private jet junkets, but because of his vanity puff-piece movie, An Inconvenient Truth. I call it a vanity puff-piece because the movie is not about global warming as much as it is about Al Gore talking about global warming.

But is Gore’s movie and subsequent CO2-spewing trips to blab about global warming really the best candidate for this award? I have to believe that the answer is no because of the poor science behind the movie. I’ve already written about Gore’s movie, but since then, there have been some interesting news items come out about his movie.

A truck driver in England brought Gore’s movie to court because he believed it was biased, inaccurate, and shouldn’t be shown to school children as fact. The final ruling isn’t in yet, but the judge on the case has found 11 inaccuracies in the film. (hat-tip Climate Skeptic) Here is the listing of the 11 inaccuracies from the movie, as specified by the judge.

  • The film claims that melting snows on Mount Kilimanjaro evidence global warming The Government’s expert was forced to concede that this is not correct.
  • The film suggests that evidence from ice cores proves that rising CO2 causes temperature increases over 650,000 years. The Court found that the film was misleading: over that period the rises in CO2 lagged behind the temperature rises by 800-2000 years.
  • The film uses emotive images of Hurricane Katrina and suggests that this has been caused by global warming. The Government’s expert had to accept that it was “not possible” to attribute one-off events to global warming.
  • The film shows the drying up of Lake Chad and claims that this was caused by global warming. The Government’s expert had to accept that this was not the case.
  • The film claims that a study showed that polar bears had drowned due to disappearing arctic ice.  It turned out that Mr Gore had misread the study: in fact four polar bears drowned and this was because of a particularly violent storm.
  • The film threatens that global warming could stop the Gulf Stream throwing Europe into an ice age: the Claimant’s evidence was that this was a scientific impossibility.
  • The film blames global warming for species losses including coral reef bleaching. The Government could not find any evidence to support this claim.
  • The film suggests that the Greenland ice covering could melt causing sea levels to rise dangerously. The evidence is that Greenland will not melt for millennia.
  • The film suggests that the Antarctic ice covering is melting, the evidence was that it is in fact increasing.
  • The film suggests that sea levels could rise by 7m causing the displacement of millions of people. In fact the evidence is that sea levels are expected to rise by about 40cm over the next hundred years and that there is no such threat of massive migration.
  • The film claims that rising sea levels has caused the evacuation of certain Pacific islands to New Zealand. The Government are unable to substantiate this and the Court observed that this appears to be a false claim.

Yeah. This is worth awarding the Nobel Peace Prize. Rush Limbaugh pointed out this week that Mother Theresa got the Nobel Peace Prize after a life-time of service. Al Gore makes an inaccurate movie that is more a vehicle for his own vanity than it is about global warming, and he gets the same prize. The bar has really been lowered.

In other environmental news, the Nobel Peace Prize was also awarded this year to a German chemist, Gerhard Ertl, for his work that can explain the destruction of the ozone layer.

“Surface chemistry can even explain the destruction of the ozone layer as vital steps in the reaction actually take place on the surfaces of small crystals of ice in the stratosphere,” the award citation said.

That would be really impressive if it weren’t for some other news in the chemistry world this year. As written up in Nature, “Chemists poke holes in ozone theory.”

“Our understanding of chloride chemistry has really been blown apart,” says John Crowley, an ozone researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry in Mainz, Germany.

“Until recently everything looked like it fitted nicely,” agrees Neil Harris, an atmosphere scientist who heads the European Ozone Research Coordinating Unit at the University of Cambridge, UK. “Now suddenly it’s like a plank has been pulled out of a bridge.”

And here’s the final paragraph with my emphasis added.

Nothing currently suggests that the role of CFCs must be called into question, Rex stresses. “Overwhelming evidence still suggests that anthropogenic emissions of CFCs and halons are the reason for the ozone loss. But we would be on much firmer ground if we could write down the correct chemical reactions.”

It’s still man’s fault, but they can’t prove it. Yep. Sounds like rock-solid science to me. And well worth awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to a chemist who can “explain the destruction of the ozone layer” when that same chemistry is being called into question. And while Gore’s movie is being called into question, why not award him, too? But they have a history of doing this. Former President Jimmy Carter was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work for peace and the Agreed Framework with North Korea. The same Agreed Framework that North Korea announced in 2002 that they had violated from the beginning.

At this point I don’t have any respect for the selection process of the Nobel Peace Prize. I only write this because liberals will be applauding Saint Gore for his prize, and they will ignore the shaky science behind it.

Remember the really nasty hurricane season of 2005? Twenty-eight storms formed that year and 15 made it to full-fledged hurricane status. The images of devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina so terrified the nation that former Vice President Al Gore used the image of a hurricane on the poster and DVD cover of his movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Coming off that year, experts predicted that 2006 would give us 17 storms with nine hurricanes, but the actual results were almost half that at ten storms and five hurricanes. As of this writing, there have been only two named storms for 2007, neither of which became a hurricane. This calm year has led hurricane forecaster WSI Corp. to change its season predictions from 15 named storms and eight hurricanes to 14 named storms and six hurricanes.

The failed forecast for 2006 and the shifting of the forecast in 2007 has led Investor’s Business Daily to ask a very good question of the Global Warming crowd:

If scientists can’t get near-future projections in a limited area right, how can they predict the climate decades from now?

A reasonable response is: They can’t. But the global warming climate of fear did not blow in on the soft breezes of reason, but by the storm winds of emotion.

Professional meteorologists have a difficult time making an accurate forecast two days in the future, let alone accurately predicting the temperature two weeks from now. If they have that much trouble predicting the very near future, how much confidence can we put in the long-range forecasts of global warming proponents?

Short answer: not much at all.

Oh, the horrors! Not only does Mars need women, but apparently it also needs Al Gore and his eco-tripe An Inconvenient Truth, too. Here is the tragedy as reported by the UK’s Times Online article:

Mars is being hit by rapid climate change and it is happening so fast that the red planet could lose its southern ice cap, writes Jonathan Leake.

Scientists from NASA say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.

Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena.

So, will signing the Kyoto Treaty fix the Red Planet’s global warming problems? Or will Martian global warming be fixed as soon as the Martians give up their love of SUVs? If you think either of these solutions will fix the warming of Mars, you need to go back to school and pay attention in science class this time. It has already been reported that the sun has been more active in the past few decades than in any previous time human beings have documented, and this is not the first report of Mars heating up. So could it be the sun causing the warming trend? The Times Online article doesn’t think so:

The mechanism at work on Mars appears, however, to be different from that on Earth. One of the researchers, Lori Fenton, believes variations in radiation and temperature across the surface of the Red Planet are generating strong winds.

It’s not the sun that’s doing it, researcher Lori Fenton says, it’s variations in radiation and temperature. Well, other than volcanic activity, where else would “variations in radiation and temperature” come from? Martian surface temperatures ultimately come from solar energy, and radiation is the Martian surface giving back the heat it’s absorbed from the sun. But Fenton says it’s not the sun, and she’s a researcher, so you can believe her. It’s not the sun. Nope, not the sun. Can’t be the sun.

Think about this: you are happily playing on your Xbox 360 when the power goes out. You look out the window and see the power is out all down the street. Is it more likely that there is a single cause behind the loss of power, such as a blown transformer, or is it the result of a multitude of different causes, like shutting off the main breakers in the house, cutting into the power line with a backhoe, or failing to pay the electric bill? I’ll leave the answer as an exercise to the reader.

It’s a shame this report didn’t come out on Earth Day, but as ironic as that timing would have been, I believe that no amount of contradictory evidence will make die-hard environmentalists change their stand on anthropogenic global warming. It’s become far too lucrative to give up.

There is an oft-repeated phrase that has been bothering me for a while now. During an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, former Vice President Al Gore said that “the debate in the scientific community is over” regarding global warming. Really? I have long had a problem with the idea of consensus being the way scientific truths are judged. All it takes — all it should take, anyway — for a commonly-held belief to be overturned is for one voice to propose a new theory that explains the facts better. Scientists don’t vote on whether E=mc2 is true; they judge whether the theory best explains the data. And that theory, once it has proven useful in explaining the facts, will continue to be tested by other scientists; if it fails to explain real-life results, scientists will look for a new and better theory.

History is full of examples of the commonly-held consensus being wrong. Here’s a few as listed on Wikipedia, quoting The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn:

I particularly like the last one, because I remember when scientists finally started to accept the idea that stomach ulcers were produced by a bacterium rather than spicy foods.

Anyone who brings up the “scientific consensus” argument is making a logical fallacy known as “appeal to authority;” basically, the argument goes, “Global warming is real because Al Gore tells me it is real.” It’s the same false argument as the old parental favorite, “Because I’m the Mom, and I say so.” But while these examples point out the pitfalls of consensus, they didn’t point to a particular article I remembered reading a while ago about the problem of scientific consensus; that article caused me to distrust anyone who claims consensus as a valid reason to support global warming theory.

And then I found it again, and it was written by an author I hadn’t suspected: Michael Crichton. I have several of his books, and they can be a fun read, but Crichton’s nearly-constant pessimistic theme of “mankind can’t be trusted to handle science or technology” can really grate on my nerves. However, Crichton does have an interesting view of “consensus science.” He delivered a lecture, humorously titled “Aliens Cause Global Warming,” at the California Institute of Technology in January of 2003. Here are two relevant sections from that lecture, regarding scientific consensus:

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

… I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.

Read the whole lecture. For one thing, if you do, you’ll understand the link between aliens and global warming. I have a minor beef with the lecture, since Crichton makes this link at the beginning of his lecture, but he fails to reiterate the link at the end. My high school English teacher drilled into my head that a thesis paper needs to have the thesis stated at the beginning and reiterated for reinforcement at the end. But Crichton is being paid for his writing, and I am not, so what do I know?

Interestingly enough, this same lecture by Crichton was also the source for my dislike of the Drake equation about which I recently wrote. I had first heard the Drake equation in Carl Sagan’s Cosmos TV series and book, back in the early ’80s, but it took me until the 2000s to realize that anything multiplied by guesswork becomes a guess, and that is why I dislike the “consensus” argument on global warming. It’s science multiplied by politics multiplied by guesses, and no matter how many times Al Gore may say that scientists have achieved consensus on the subject, that still ain’t how science works.

I salute Ken Poppe, sixth-grade teacher at Trail Ridge Middle School in Longmont, Colorado, for teaching both sides of the current global warming debate to his students, and then letting them break into three groups: one arguing for and one arguing against human-caused global warming, and a jury to listen to both camps.

Poppe doesn’t believe that humans are causing global warming, but his student aide, David Richards of Colorado State University, believes that human activities cause global climate change. Both presented their sides of the global warming debate to the students in the run-up to the debate. At the end, the 11 student jurors voted 7 to 4 that global warming is not caused by humans.

I like that both sides of the argument were presented to the children, but I dislike that they had a jury to vote on the question of human-caused global warming. Science isn’t decided by debate or by voting. Science is decided by proof, or the lack thereof.

Three paragraphs from the end of the story, a particular passage really jumped out at me:

Only one parent questioned Poppe’s decision to hold a global warming debate. That mother expected him to present Al Gore’s global warming movie An Inconvenient Truth as indisputable facts, Poppe said. After he explained his neutrality in the classroom, the mom allowed her child to participate in the debate, he said.

If you read carefully, you realize that the parent objected because she thought An Inconvenient Truth would be peddled as gospel truth, and was happy to hear that it wouldn’t be treated that way. But the journalist who wrote this story made the meaning a little obscure. Upon my first reading, I thought the parent was upset because the mother wanted Poppe to present the film as the gospel truth, but realizing that the classroom discussion would be balanced, she was happy to allow her child to participate.

I have made no bones about the low esteem I hold for An Inconvenient Truth, and it appears that I am not alone in this belief. Whether you like Al Gore or not, there are flaws in his proposal of human-caused global warming. BBC4 recently showed a documentary called “The Great Global Warming Swindle” that gives the history of the global climate change theory. The above link searches Google Video for the film. Or you can view this YouTube video as long as it remains on the site.

So when you read the title, did you think of someone making fun of former Vice-President Al Gore, or did you think of him mocking someone else? In this case it is both — because Al Gore is mocking someone else, specifically Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), and succeeding in making a mockery of himself.

Al Gore gathered with Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Rep. Reichert’s Democratic challenger, Darcy Burner, at a Seattle University conference room on October 24th, 2006. At one point, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said that Rep. Reichert doesn’t believe people are causing global warming. Here is what the Seattle Times reports that Al Gore responded:

“Did he say that?” interrupted Gore, whose film about global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” grossed $23.7 million. “He’s not sure it’s caused by humans?”

“He’s not convinced that it’s caused by human beings,” responded Nickels.

“C’mon! And this man is a United States congressman?” asked Gore. “You know, 15 percent of people believe the moon landing was staged on some movie lot and a somewhat smaller number still believe the Earth is flat. They get together on Saturday night and party with the global-warming deniers.”

That’s a nice little ad hominem attack and appeal to ridicule that Gore launched. I can’t take his argument that seriously if he has to resort to logical fallacies in a debate.

I wish I could have been there, because I’d like to ask Al Gore two questions. Here they are:

1) Mr. Gore, are you aware that the Martian polar ice caps have been melting at an accelerated rate?

2) What percentage of the current global warming of Mars is attributable to human action?

I’d love to hear Al Gore try to explain how human activities on Earth could explain planetary warming on Mars. But there is a very clear answer that has nothing to do with human beings: increased solar activity.

But the inconvenient truth — that the sun is the real force behind global warming — doesn’t sell as many movie tickets, I guess.

Today my wife pointed out something interesting: former Vice President Al Gore and movie maker Michael Moore, as they appeared together on the Drudge Report, are beginning to look like they were separated at birth. Judge for yourself.

Separated at Birth?

When I followed the link below Gore’s photo it led me to a news story that made me laugh:

The documentary, which Gore narrates, is critical of the United States and Australia for refusing to adopt the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Prime Minister John Howard, a friend and ally of Bush, said he would not meet Gore during his Australian visit and would not heed his advice to sign up to Kyoto.

“I don’t take policy advice from films,” Howard told reporters.

Way to go, Prime Minister!

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” — Mark Twain

Speaking of knowing for sure, Al Gore is pushing a documentary in which he stars, called An Inconvenient Truth. It was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, and will have a limited release in the United States in May. You can watch the trailer at YouTube to see the fear-mongering this movie employs. (On a side note, Gore introduces himself as, “I am Al Gore. I used to be the next President of the United States of America.” While this comment elicits hoots of amusement from the audience, it isn’t true. At no point was Al Gore ever slated to become President because at no point in the process did he ever have the necessary number of electoral votes. But that’s a minor nit.)

You can visit the official website for the documentary at ClimateCrisis.net. I took the Mark Twain quote from the first of several quotes to display on the Climate Crisis main page. I find it very interesting that they use it. The site itself is very slick, composed with Flash, but I personally prefer a more low-key site. Whenever I see a site that’s overly “flashy,” I have to wonder if they are using slick packaging to compensate for the fact that the data can’t sell itself. Here’s a chunk from the site:

“What is Global Warming?

Carbon dioxide and other gases warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. This is a good thing because it keeps our planet habitable. However, by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests we have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and temperatures are rising.

Overlooking the grammatical errors such as comma splices and run-on sentences, this is a wonderful bit of misdirecting prose. “Carbon dioxide and other gases” starts it off, getting the readers focused on carbon dioxide while lumping all the rest into the “other” category. But since CO2 comprises less than 3% of the greenhouse gases, that “other” group is rather large. Carbon dioxide, however, has been the poster-child substance of global warming.

Further, in that first sentence it states that the greenhouse gases help keep us warm by “trapping solar heat.” But Steven J. Milloy, the brains behind JunkScience.com, contests this language.

Greenhouse gases … do not “trap heat,” but could be fairly described as delaying the energy transfer from Earth to space. “Trapping heat” implies that the energy is stuck in the system forever — this is a false notion. Greenhouse gases do not emit energy in the same bandwidth that they absorb energy, and thus emissions from carbon dioxide are not absorbed by carbon dioxide. While energy may be delayed on its inevitable journey back to space, it will eventually be emitted regardless of the number of intervening stages.

As part of its drum-beat of environmental woe, the Climate Crisis site states that man’s actions have “dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.” Hold onto your hats, folks! They are right that CO2 levels have increased in the last two centuries. All the decades of factories, coal plants, and automobile emissions have raised the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere from about 0.028% to about 0.038%. That’s two hundredths of one percent increase, and that is what is known among environmental fear-mongers as a dramatic increase. To put that into perspective, it’s like calling up your electric company and complaining about your monthly bill having been “dramatically increased” because it went from $100.00 to $100.02.

And right after shocking you about an increase in atmospheric CO2, they hit you with “and temperatures are rising.” I normally call these rising temperatures “Spring,” and I don’ t freak out about it. Humor aside, is there any proof that the two hundredths of one percent increase in CO2 is the sole cause of the temperature increase? The increase in solar activity and global warming on Mars (and Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto) suggest to me that the primary cause of our temperature increase is not man-made. But that sort of idea doesn’t get government grants or create documentaries.

Visit the Climate Crisis site and watch the movie trailer. Then visit Milloy’s page at Junk Science and read his explanation of the real inconvenient truth about global warming. It’s not made with Flash, and there isn’t any music playing in the background, but there are over 6,000 words of solid information, debunking the global warming propaganda with real, checkable, scientific facts. I quoted one part above, but here are two bits that I think are particularly worth quoting:

Change is what the climate is always doing and is the result of our planet’s orbital eccentricities, axial wobble, solar brightness variation, cosmic ray flux, etc.. There are also plausible terrestrial drivers of climate change too, including super volcanic events and tectonic movement, but these are not in the realm of anthropogenic (manmade) effects and so we won’t looking at them here.

The global mean temperature over which there has been so much obsession is only one part of climate — for example, how wet or dry the climate happens to be is probably of far greater significance than a simple mean temperature — in fact, it’s not even clear that a global mean temperature is a particularly useful metric. However, it is the cause of great angst at present so it will remain the focus of this document for that reason alone.

But we’re responsible for all the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect?

Gracious no! Humans can only claim responsibility, if that’s the word, for about 3.4% of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere annually, the rest of it is all natural (you can see the IPCC representation of the natural carbon cycle and human perturbation here or a simple schematic from Woods Hole here). Half our estimated emissions fail to accumulate in the atmosphere,” “disappearing” into sinks as yet undetermined.

After you read Milloy’s Junk Science page, I think you will agree that those people who beat the drum of man-made global warming are the people who already know for sure that man is causing it. And they won’t let a little inconvenient truth get in their way.