Navigation Links
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 impression of both the current state of climate change and that the science is settled.

In another paper (4), Roy Spencer from the University of Alabama in Huntsville also discredits the scientific validity of the documentary. In his view, the films main omission is that while humans are almost certainly responsible for global warming, there are other natural causes of climate variability which the film does not address. In his opinion, the real inconvenient truth is that science has no idea how much of recent warming is natural versus the result of human activities.

After providing a succinct summary of the state of climate change science (5), Gerald North from Texas A&M University concludes the debate by stating that although there are some inaccuracies and exaggerations in the film, on the whole it represents mainstream scientific views on global warming.

Steven Quiring, also from Texas A&M University and author of the issues introduction (6), comes to the conclusion that whether scientists like it or not, An Inconvenient Truth has had a much greater impact on public opinion and public awareness of global climate change than any scientific paper or report.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scientists compiled 20th century temperature data in Spain as evidence of climatic change
2. Atmospheric scientists gear up for collaborative airborne campaigns
3. AMNH scientists grace Science & Nature covers
4. Scientists uncover the potential to control adult stem cells
5. Scientists ask whether microscaffolding can help stem cells rebuild brain after stroke damage
6. Scientists find a fingerprint of evolution across the human genome
7. Death protein research secures funding for UCF scientists
8. Yale scientists visualize the machinery of mRNA splicing
9. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists devise potential approach to treat spinal muscular atrophy
10. Scientists discover 356 animal inclusions trapped in 100 million years old opaque amber
11. Great Ape Trust to gather internationally recognized scientists for Decade of the Mind III
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/22/2016)... 22, 2016 ... of the  "Global Behavioral Biometric Market ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced ... Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced the ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... A market that just keeps on growing. Molecular Diagnostics ... genomics knowledge. Learn all about it in this new ... trends are pushing market growth and company valuations. Trends ... pathogen evolution - next generation sequencing - emergence of ... the role of genetic material in Disease and Health ...
(Date:1/18/2016)... JOSE, Calif. , Jan. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... security software that simplifies the use and access ... technology and go-to-market partnership with American Cyber.  ... Cyber brings extensive experience leading transformational C4ISR and ... implementing and integrating the latest proven technology solutions," ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 11, 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group, ... Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) to distribute exosome injection and other biological products ... Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Argentina, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Early-career researchers from ... , Uganda and Yemen ... nutrition   Indonesia , Nepal ... Yemen are being honored for their accomplishments in ... celebrated for mentoring young women scientists who are pursuing careers in agriculture, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 2016 ASAE is introducing a hybrid membership ... (AMC) the option of joining or renewing through an ... by staff size, every employee in any size association ... reap all available member benefits.   John ... membership options will allow organizations of any size and ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016  Allergan plc (NYSE: ... that Brent Saunders , Allergan,s CEO and President, ... fireside chat session at the RBC Capital Markets Healthcare ... ET at The New York Palace Hotel in ... be webcast live and can be accessed on Allergan,s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: