Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Climate scientists back up Gore

I got a chance to see An Inconvenient Truth on Friday, and found it was very well done. There were probably only a few moments when I thought the eyes in the audience would start to glaze over from all the data. It's edited well though so as not to seem too much like a 2 hour college lecture. Topics Gore discusses are intercut with footage of him on the road, and him talking about life experiences like growing up on the family farm.

Salon published a good article about the accuracy of the science in the movie that is worth a read. View the ad to get a Salon Day Pass if you're not a member. Here's an excerpt:

Scientists express surprise that Gore could present the science in an accurate way without putting everyone in the audience to sleep. "Such an amount of relatively hard science could have been extremely dull, and I've been to a lot of presentations on similar stuff that were very dull," says Schmidt. "Where there was solid science, he presented it solidly without going into nuts and bolts, and where there were issues that are still a matter of some debate, he was careful not to go down definitively on one side or the other."

Lonnie Thompson, a professor at Ohio University, whose work on retreating glaciers from the Andes to Kilimanjaro and Tibet is featured in the film, was happy with the result. "It's so hard given the breadth of this topic to be factually correct, and make sure you don’t lose your audience," he says. "As scientists, we publish our papers in Science and Nature, but very few people read those. Here's another way to get this message out. To me, it's an excellent overview for an introductory class at a university. What are the issues and what are the possible consequences of not doing anything about those changes? To me, it has tremendous value. It will reach people that scientists will never reach." John Wallace, a climate scientist at the University of Washington, agreed. "I think that he's gone to great lengths to make the science comprehensible to the layman," he says. "Given the fact that this was a film intended to bring the message to the lay public, I think it was excellent."

In the film, Gore also points out a study done by Science Magazine of the peer-reviewed scientific studies about climate change. The study reviewed a sample containing 928 papers between 1993 and 2003, and none disputed that a significant percentage of global warming is caused by human activity. By comparison, articles in the media were more split with 53% of them claiming that global warming isn't proven. No wonder people are confused about the issue.


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