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An inconvenient truth

Posted by isilanes on November 16, 2006

95% screaming and 5% crying. That’s what I felt when watching An incovenient truth (es: Una verdad incómoda) (IMDb|FilmAffinity).

Crying because some problems are huge, and are real. And it is sad. Screaming because there are so many sons of a bitch trying to get away with their dirty business, disguised as “skeptics” of Global Warming.

The movie is a kind of documentary about Global Warming, featuring Al Gore as conductor. Good ol’ Al may ring a bell to you: yes he’s the one who came on top of George Bush in the 2000 US Presidential Elections, but nonetheless was declared loser due to highly controversial decisions by the US Supreme Court.

The movie is tagged by some people as “boring” or “not really saying anything new”. I disagree. I am no GW expert, but by no means illiterate, either. I have a B.Sc. in Chemistry, soon to get the Ph.D. (albeit in Quantum Chemistry, which has little direct link with enviromental matters), and I did find the movie interesting.

Some of the data presented is, of course, redundant to some extent, but nonetheless it seems appropriate to mention it once again, even if “we all know it”. However, there is a non-trivial amount of data that, at least for me, was new. To name three such points:

  • Of over 900 scientific articles studied, NOT ONE cast any doubt about the human source of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere, or this excess being the culprit of the global warming. There is no controversy among scientist, but rather a complete agreement. On the other hand, a surprising 53% of the studied mass media (newspapers,…) did mention some “disagreements” or “doubts”, making it look like we don’t really know what causes the global warming, or if it even exists! Clearly someone is trying to intoxicate the general public with doubts, when there’s none. Think of it.
  • The CO2/temperature increase in the last decades is alleged by some to be just “a part of a trend of ups and downs”, because “temperatures have always fluctuated”. Bullshit. Gore shows studies of deep Antarctic ice that go back a friggin’ 650,000 years, and plots of atmospheric CO2 concentration and temperature along these years. There are fluctuations, and even several glaciations could be seen. However, the CO2 concentration and temperature deviation from the average is now more than double what has ever been! Such a trend has never ever happened before.
  • Underdeveloped countries have loose environmental policies, that make them pollute a lot. Developed countries pollute more just because they have more industry, even if it is relatively cleaner. Not completely true. For example, the environmental policies regarding car manufacturing are tighter in China than in the USA. In fact, Chinese cars can be sold in the USA, but most north-american cars can not be sold in China, because they pollute too much. And that China being a book example of reckless industrialization, with little care for environment!



Image (taken from the Wikimedia), showing date much like the one Gore presents in the movie. Notice the point to the extreme right: the CO2 concentration goes over the roof (380 ppm), and is not shown.

Go watch the movie, it’s quite informing (and no, not too boring).

One Response to “An inconvenient truth”

  1. Iñaki Silanes said

    I haven’t read it, but I have heard of it. I can hardly believe that what the author critizises (brainless “environmentalist” paranoia), has anything to do with solid scientific facts as average temperatures rising, CO2 level far above highest levels in last million years, poles and glaziers melting… and all that connected to human-produced amounts of CO2. Remember how lead content in the atmosphere went up because of lead contents in gasoline, then went down because of tight environmental regulations. Or the same for the CFCs and the ozone layer hole.

    Apparently the hole in the ozone layer was a “coincidence”, right? Then CFC-less regulations came, coincidentally, at the same time the ozone layer thickened… yeah, right.

    Have you ever heard of petroleum lobbies intoxicating public opinion by creating a false illusion of debate in the scientific community, when in fact there is agreement? Perhaps it gives a hint of why some people “argue” that there is no human connection to GW. Perhaps what they want is not to keep on making money at any cost, but rather making the world a better place… What? It could be so!

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