Oscar time for Al Gore's movie

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:10 PM GMT on February 26, 2007

Share this Blog
3
+

If you haven't seen Al Gore's global warming movie, "An Inconvenient Truth", it's time you watched this important film. The movie took home the Oscar award for best documentary feature of 2006 at last night's Academy Awards, and also won an Oscar for best original song, singer Melissa Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up." As I wrote in a movie review last year, Gore does a good job educating the non-scientist about the science of climate change and the dangers it poses. The only major flaw scientifically in the movie is the unwarranted connections he makes between climate change and severe weather events such as Hurricane Katrina and the record number of tornadoes in 2004. I gave his science a "B" overall. I thought the movie was a bit too long and was excessively political, but definitely worth seeing (2.5 stars out of four). It is difficult to make a scientifically accurate movie about climate change that will also be interesting enough to do well at the theaters; an "An Inconvenient Truth", while admittedly imperfect, does a respectable job educating us about climate change and the challenges and dangers it poses.

Should "An Inconvenient Truth" be shown in schools?
According to a recent blog posted at realclimate.org, "An Inconvenient Truth" has a become a required part of the science curriculum in some countries. One of the producers of the film, Laurie David, recently offered 50,000 free copies of the $19.99 DVD to National Science Teachers' Association (NSTA) for use in U.S. classrooms. The NSTA turned down the offer on the grounds that the NSTA has a 2001 policy against "product endorsement", and a fear that distributing the film would place "unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters." Realclimate.org points out that one of these targeted supporters is oil giant ExxonMobil, and questions whether concern about losing funding from ExxonMobil influenced the decision not to take the free movies. I don't have a problem with the NSTA rejecting the free movies on the grounds that Al Gore's presentation is politicized. However, as pointed out in the realclimate.org post, NSTA does not offer much content on climate change in their list of recommended materials. One of the recommended books, "Global Warming: Understanding the Debate", has no business being on their recommended reading list. This book is written by Kenneth Green, a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). This fossil-fuel funded think tank recently offered $10,000 to scientists willing to criticize the recent landmark 2007 Summary of Policy Makers climate change report issued by the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). AEI offered to award the money to scientists who would "thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs", as explained in an article in the UK Guardian. Given the lack of quality climate change education material it offers to teachers, NSTA needs to seriously rethink their recommended offerings on this important subject. If they are going to continue to recommend a book written by the fossil fuel industry-funded American Enterprise Institute, they should recommend Al Gore's movie as well. The two best books for teaching about climate change are missing from the NSTA's recommendations: Robert Henson's excellent Rough Guide to Climate Change (high school level) and The North Pole Was Here (grades 6-9), by New York Times climate change writer Andrew Revkin.

I'll be back Wednesday with a look at the weather of January 2007--the warmest January on record, globally.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 59 - 9

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8Blog Index

58. RobbieWM
8:26 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
your all making good points
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
57. snowboy
8:20 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
hey flytyerva, this is taken from my 7:36 pm GMT post about the "ice age" hype that so scared you as a kid:

"The planet has been warming for the past 130 years, at an ever increasing rate. I WAS around in the 1970s when the "new ice age" theories were being peddled. What no one in the science community was willing to add to the discussion in the US at the time (likely because it was politically incorrect to do so) was the direct relationship between the global cooling that took place from the 1950s through the early 1970s and the above-ground nuclear tests that were being conducted by the major powers from the late 1940s through 1970.

Once the bomb-testing stopped throwing up clouds of radioactive ash (which reflected away sunlight and cooled the planet), the global warming that had started in the late 1800s resumed. It has been ongoing without interruption since then, and your vaunted solar cycles account for at best 10-20% of the warming in the past decade or two."

The fact is flytyerva, that the planet WAS briefly cooling when you were a child, and that it IS rapidly warming now. It is not hype or bias to say that the planet is warming, it is a simple observation of what is occurring on the ground.
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
55. flytyerva
8:07 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
I no longer watch the Weather Channel for biased global warming reports. It is unforgivable to use scare tactics when trying to get your personal views across. I remember in the 60's a story about teh coming ice age and how it scared me as a kid. I hope you are all happy with this global warming effort. Stick to weather forecasting if you dont I guess I will just have to stick my head out the window each morning to see if it is raining.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
54. snowboy
8:03 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
ricderr, I agree with your views on clearcutting! However I disagree that Canada is anywhere even remotely close to forest management practice such as you described:
"one that must be managed respectfully of it's ecological impact..proper harvesting methods and reforestation... sensitive to the impact on land..it's waters and old growth groves must be managed."
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
53. snowboy
7:41 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
hey ricderr, the first and more substantive document is essentially making the point that Canada's foresty practices are more sustainable than those of many comparison countries including some First World nations as well as Indonesia, China, Brazil, Mexico, Congo. Okay, I'm not arguing that point. I'm saying that what we're doing in Canada is NOT sustainable - obviously it follows from the paper that forestry in many other countries is even less sustainable..

I do not see anything in either document to support your assertion that:
"Now as for forests..today american and canadian forests have rebounded (by mans hand..just as a sidenote) and are better at absorbing carbon dioxide than they were 50 years ago...new growth trees are better at absorbing CO2 than old growth and in some certain situations very much better..."

Obviously a newly planted seedling will be able to take up more carbon over its lifetime than an existing 200' tall forest giant will over its remaining lifetime, for the simple reason that the giant has already taken up 95% of what it possibly could. But that does not make the seedling better for the world from a global warming perspective - it makes it much worse! The giant is happily sequestering hundreds of tons of carbon TODAY, for the seedling to get to that point will take 100 or more years.
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
52. anvilhead
11:54 AM PST on February 26, 2007
ric you going to do scores?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
51. anvilhead
11:53 AM PST on February 26, 2007
50
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
50. RobbieWM
7:51 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
I'll be back later
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
49. RobbieWM
7:49 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
Great point Saddlegait
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
47. Thunderstorm2
7:45 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
I'll be back later
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
46. Thunderstorm2
7:44 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
Good Link ricderr
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
45. ricderr
7:41 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
One more snow boy....Document #3

now..canada has lagged behind the US in clear cutting practices......you've once again..picked apart my statement...without looking at it's whole...it is better..it's not perfect...and hee's the part that you conveniently omitted..which describes my views on clear cutting


one that must be managed respectfully of it's ecological impact..proper harvesting methods and reforestation... sensitive to the impact on land..it's waters and old growth groves must be managed.
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 670 Comments: 21391
44. Thunderstorm2
7:41 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
Is anyone On?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
43. snowboy
7:36 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
thanks for the links ricderr, will give them a look and get back to you
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
42. hurricane23
2:36 PM EST on February 26, 2007
Not sure this article has been posted yet but my props go out to the NHC on there hurricane landfall accuracy last season...

The National Hurricane Center displayed unprecedented marksmanship during the 2006 Atlantic storm season, setting records for accuracy while tracking 10 systems, an internal report released Friday said.

The center, in Miami-Dade County, amassed its lowest average errors ever in predicting where storms would go over 12, 24 and 36 hours, as well as over two and three days.

Of note, the center predicted within an average of 35 miles where storms would aim 12 hours in advance, while the average error in the past five years is about 43 miles.

Considering that a hurricane can wreak destruction more than 100 miles on either side of its track, forecasters hit the meteorological equivalent of the bull's eye, outside observers said.

''We know they have very difficult task,'' Palm Beach County Assistant County Administrator Vince Bonvento, who deals with emergency planning, said. The main reason for the improvement: forecast models have become more technologically advanced, said hurricane specialist James Franklin, who authored the report.

''So we've seen a fairly consistent downward trend in these errors every year,'' he said.

On the other hand, the hurricane center continued to struggle with intensity projections. Last year, forecasters were 21 mph off in predicting the sustained wind strength of storms three days in advance.

''That's the same old story too,'' Franklin said. ''The intensity errors have changed very little in the past 15 years.''

A glaring example last August was Tropical Storm Ernesto, which initially was forecast to hit South Florida as a hurricane but wobbled to shore near Miami as a blustery blob.

Overall, for forecasts of one to three days, track errors have decreased about 50 percent since 1990. In addition to more powerful models, atmospheric observations have sharply improved as a result of satellite images, Doppler radar, reconnaissance aircraft and other technological tools. The more accurate the observations, the more accurate the models, Franklin said. (EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM)
The payoff was seen in Tropical Storms Alberto and Ernesto, the only two storm systems to make U.S. landfall last year, both in Florida. A day in advance, forecasters were off by 72 miles in predicting the landfall point of Alberto, which hit Northwest Florida in June. They were off by 54 miles with Ernesto. Both forecasts were better than the five-year average error of 74 miles over a 24-hour period.

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13626
41. snowboy
7:17 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
hey get real, GetReal! You do not have to watch the movie to condemn it??!! Sounds pretty closed-minded to me. Seems you're taking a similar approach to global climate change - not bothering to understand the science before spouting your own scientifically illiterate opinion.

The planet has been warming for the past 130 years, at an ever increasing rate. I WAS around in the 1970s when the "new ice age" theories were being peddled. What no one in the science community was willing to add to the discussion in the US at the time (likely because it was politically incorrect to do so) was the direct relationship between the global cooling that took place from the 1950s through the early 1970s and the above-ground nuclear tests that were being conducted by the major powers from the late 1940s through 1970.

Once the bomb-testing stopped throwing up clouds of radioactive ash (which reflected away sunlight and cooled the planet), the global warming that had started in the late 1800s resumed. It has been ongoing without interruption since then, and your vaunted solar cycles account for at best 10-20% of the warming in the past decade or two.
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
40. ricderr
7:34 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
Snow..you might find this interesting...Document #2
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 670 Comments: 21391
39. ricderr
7:31 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
here you go snow...Document #1
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 670 Comments: 21391
38. snowboy
7:01 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
ricderr, you posted:
"Now as for forests..today american and canadian forests have rebounded (by mans hand..just as a sidenote) and are better at absorbing carbon dioxide than they were 50 years ago...new growth trees are better at absorbing CO2 than old growth and in some certain situations very much better..."

I'm not sure where you got that bit of propaganda for the forestry industry from but it is simply NOT true. Canadian forests have not "rebounded", they're under seige from a rapacious globalized industry that trashes highly complex, multifaceted and integrated ecosystems and leaves behind monocultures that have little ecological value and are susceptible to the first pest that comes along.

Some of the forestry companies' bigger Canadian clearcuts are so large as to be visible from space, they commonly clear the cuttings left behind by burning (hello, carbon inputs!), they douse the tree plantations left behind with pesticides, and generally decimate every aspect of what before the logging were vibrant ecosystems.

Our forests have not "rebounded" - by any objective measure they are in worse shape than they were 50 years ago, including as a sink for carbon.

I'm not as familiar with how things are in the US, but I imagine they're no different..
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
37. indigenous
6:35 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
Thank you, Dr. Masters, for another excellent report. Particularly like all the links that you provide us. We watched Al Gore last night at the Oscars. It's so cool that he got an Oscar. Perhaps this will be a real wake up call for the general public.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
36. Oreodog
12:22 PM CST on February 26, 2007
Good for Al. Won't vote for him, but he found the medium that 95% of the population uses for all of their information. Is it an issue? Probably. Is it wrong to do nothing? Absolutely.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
35. franck
6:22 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
...serving scorched coffee at that!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
34. franck
6:13 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
Yes, absent a global entity able to enforce certain restrictions on human activity, there can't be any reduction in human caused global warming.
We may be 'shocked and awed' by what happens, and in the very near future. The global corporate pyramid is fully perfected now. Tons of polystyrene for francise coffee shop fascades!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
33. weatherguy03
1:12 PM EST on February 26, 2007
Go AL!! At least they can't take away his Oscar like they took away his Presidential victory!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
32. franck
6:04 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
Gort, Gore...I keep getting them mixed up. They look so much alike.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
31. franck
6:04 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
I meant tell Gort that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
30. franck
6:03 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
I meant tell Gore that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
29. hurricane23
1:02 PM EST on February 26, 2007
Glad to see you back DR.Masters look forward to your next blog.Hope vacation was good.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13626
28. franck
6:01 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
Tell Gore...Klaatu Barada Nikto.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
27. GetReal
5:51 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
I do not even have to see Al Gore's movie in order to know the storyline. Man is solely responsible for global warming, and namely the United States at that!!! Blah, blah, blah!!! More left wing propaganda!!!

For many of you out there that are to young to remember, back in the late 60's and early 70's, the environmentalist leftist were claiming the earth was headed towards an Ice Age, and we as humans were doomed!!! Don't take my word for it, look it up for yourselves!

Yes the planet Earth has been going through a natural warming phase for the last 15 years due to increased solar flare activity of the Sun! There is nothing that Man can do about the solar cycles of the Sun, no matter what Al Gore and the wackos like him would have us believe. The human race, like it or not, is just along for the ride...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
26. MisterPerfect
5:46 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
I can't think of a better way to "push the envelope" on a political agenda such as Global Warming, using Hollywood and the Motion Picture Acedemy for publicity. Al Gore and his producers wined and dined the right people in California. Using the film in the education circle would be like using the Rocky movies as models of how to box. Imagine using a physics text book that was only half true and opinionated.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
25. Patrap
11:53 AM CST on February 26, 2007
Al Gore on NOAA alert Radios.....Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127550
24. Patrap
11:48 AM CST on February 26, 2007
VP AL Gore has done PSA in the Past for NOAA.One cannot Wack the mesennger,for the message.Heres AL giving some simple but Effective words on a Easy way to stay alive in a Weather Event...1996Link..I can see Cheney doing this one.."Eh..you!..Get a radio.HAlliburton Sells um for 499.99.I suggest 4.Intelligence show these radios have been shown to be a part of the Vital National Interest.Now..Lets go Hunting Quail"..LOL!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127550
23. Patrap
11:37 AM CST on February 26, 2007
More BAd news from GLobal Warming...Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127550
22. ricderr
5:22 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
Franck...there lies the problems....both sides of the issue have chosen to use "pre-packaged sound bites" and scare tactics rather than address us with facts... trusting that "we the people" have enough smarts ta be cipherin da ifurmashun...

Now as for forests..today american and canadian forests have rebounded (by mans hand..just as a sidenote)and are better at absorbing carbon dioxide than they were 50 years ago...new growth trees are better at absorbing CO2 than old growth and in some certain situations very much better. The forest issue i beleive is best left as an ecological issue. it is proven that our forests are a renewable resource...one that must be managed respectfully of it's ecological impact..proper harvesting methods and reforestation... sensitive to the impact on land..it's waters and old growth groves must be managed...when done properly..it's a win/win situation
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 670 Comments: 21391
21. Patrap
11:31 AM CST on February 26, 2007
Heres the movie if ya got time..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127550
20. RyanFSU
5:31 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
As Al Gore said at the Oscars and many Hollywood elites repeated: "Global warming is not a political issue but a moral issue." This statement is a "convenient" way of sidestepping a political debate, by simply claiming it does not exist. Another statement I have heard, "The debate is over, we must take action." Any action taken by our government to address climate change is, of course, a political issue, which involves technocratic tinkering with our economy and way of life. Thus, it is true when Hollywood says "we have gone green" not red and blue. It all boils down to money -- and money is politics.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
19. Patrap
11:30 AM CST on February 26, 2007
That would be Gort.Below is Oscar 3
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127550
18. RobbieWM
5:28 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
I think that movie is a load of Rubbish. you should see the reviews for it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
17. SGridley
5:24 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
In my opinion, this is a movie about a politician who happens to lecture about an important topic.

I've learned more from reading the climate change blog than I did Al's movie...about climatic issues anyway.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
16. franck
5:24 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
Patrap..is that the guy in 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
14. Patrap
11:18 AM CST on February 26, 2007
4
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127550
12. RobbieWM
5:07 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
Why Doritos?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
10. SkulDouggery
11:00 AM CST on February 26, 2007
How about follywood? That rhymes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
9. RobbieWM
4:59 PM GMT on February 26, 2007
It does say Jeff Masters at the bottom this time. It didn't have that when Aaron was posting the, I was Lurking at that time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 59 - 9

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.