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Scientists debate the accuracy of Al Gore's documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth'
Date:4/14/2008

There is no question that Al Gores 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth is a powerful example of how scientific knowledge can be communicated to a lay audience. What is up for debate is whether it accurately presents the scientific argument that global warming is caused by human activities. Climate change experts express their opinions on the scientific validity of the films claims in articles just published online in Springers journal, GeoJournal.

An Inconvenient Truth is about Al Gores campaign to educate citizens about global warming and inspire them to take action. The papers in GeoJournal agree that it does an excellent job of raising public awareness of man-made global warming and explains why increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases lead to warming. They also agree that its main weakness is that it tries to use individual extreme events, such as Hurricane Katrina, to prove the existence of global warming.

In the first opinion piece (1), Eric Steig from Washington University states that the film gets the fundamental science right. The minor factual errors do not undermine the main message of the film, which explains the theory that increasing carbon dioxide causes a warming tendency in the lower atmosphere.

John Nielsen-Gammon from Texas A&M University also agrees that the main scientific argument presented in the movie is for the most part consistent with the weight of scientific evidence (2). He comments that unfortunately, it neglects all information that can be gained from computer models, and instead relies entirely on past and current observational evidence. This increases the films emotional impact but weakens the scientific argument.

David Legates from the University of Delaware addresses assertions about trends in precipitation, floods, droughts and storms in particular (3). He concludes that there are significant errors in the film, owing to alarmism and exaggeration, which give a false i
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Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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