Oscar time for Al Gore's movie

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

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

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259. Patrap
2:54 PM CST on February 27, 2007
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
258. Patrap
2:54 PM CST on February 27, 2007
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
257. homegirl
8:49 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
ricderr-good point, i'll try to find something.
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256. snowboy
8:29 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
MisterPerfect, let's let Jorick23 speak for him or herself - outlandish claims about global warming need to be backed up.

Jorick23 made the following statement at 7:31 pm GMT:
"Global warming caused by human pollution? I think not. One major volcano eruption can put more pollution into the air in one day than humans have ever done in their entire history."

I want to see the reference(s) for that preposterous statement. There will of course be none forthcoming, because Jorick23 was just spouting off..

Just to further your own education MisterPerfect, it has long been known to atmospheric scientists and to those that have any understanding of atmospheric science that volcanic eruptions cause COOLING of the atmosphere. Thanks for the info on that Skyepony and homegirl.

Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2556
255. weatherboykris
8:35 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Check this out.They just added a hurricane chapter.
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254. homegirl
8:30 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Oh, MisterPerfect, millions and billions are very different numbers. Your link was incorrect it's: Link
for those interested. It states that volcanoes emit millions and humans emit billions. Sorry you're not so perfect.
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253. ricderr
8:09 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Volcanic eruptions

ok..other articles state that volcanic activity accounts for 150 times more CO2 output than humans.....i haven't researched it yet...but...is there a chance....with volanic activity..and volcao eruptions..we're talking apples and oranges?
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252. Skyepony (Mod)
8:04 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Nice link homegirl~

From there..

Volcanic eruptions can enhance global warming by adding CO2 to the atmosphere. However, a far greater amount of CO2 is contributed to the atmosphere by human activities each year than by volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes contribute about 110 million tons/year, whereas other sources contribute about 10 billion tons/year. The small amount of global warming caused by eruption-generated greenhouse gases is offset by the far greater amount of global cooling caused by eruption-generated particles in the stratosphere (the haze effect). Greenhouse warming of the earth has been particularly evident since 1980. Without the cooling influence of such eruptions as El Chichon (1982) and Mt. Pinatubo (1991), described below, greenhouse warming would have been more pronounced.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 397 Comments: 43359
251. Skyepony (Mod)
7:55 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
N3EG, jorick23 & MP~

Your little volanoes warm the planet more than humans do is preposterous...

Volcano eruptions cool the planet. They eject tons of ashs & other reflective arosols that inturn reflect the suns rays before they they have a chance to heat the globe. There has been many years without a summer. This a long time realized fact. It's prodictable & expected to see a large drop off in temps globally after a large eruption.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 397 Comments: 43359
250. homegirl
7:43 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Here's a pretty good article on how volcanic activity affects global warming.

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249. hurricane23
2:45 PM EST on February 27, 2007

Visible Image

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13868
248. MisterPerfect
7:45 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
So have fun
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247. MisterPerfect
7:40 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
There is nothing preposterous that Jorick23 said...

Comparison of CO2 emissions from volcanoes vs. human activities.
Scientists have calculated that volcanoes emit between about 130-230 billion tonnes (145-255 billion tons) of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (Gerlach, 1999, 1992). This estimate includes both subaerial and submarine volcanoes, about in equal amounts. Emissions of CO2 by human activities, including fossil fuel burning, cement production, and gas flaring, amount to about 22 billion tonnes per year (24 billion tons) [ ( Marland, et al., 1998) - The reference gives the amount of released carbon (C), rather than CO2.]. Human activities release far less than 150 times the amount of CO2 emitted by volcanoes--the equivalent of nearly 17,000 additional volcanoes like Kilauea (Kilauea emits about 13.2 million tonnes/year)!

site to reference at your leisure:Link

Snowboy, you are acting like a troll just looking for an arguement...
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246. N3EG
11:40 AM PST on February 27, 2007
Global warming has to be Bush's fault. He has no plan to stop volcanoes.
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245. snowboy
7:35 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
thanks for that uninformed opinion Jorick23, now could you please cite a reference to back up that preposterous statement?
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2556
244. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:36 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Metro France: RSMC Reunion
18:00pm UTC 27Feb 2007

Cyclone Tropical Gamede 10 min sustained winds of 75 knots with gusts up to 105 knots.

◘ Red Alert remains in effect for Reunion

DÚpression Extratropical (Ex-Humba)10 min sustained winds of 45 knots with gusts up to 65 knots.
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243. Jorick23
7:22 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Global warming caused by human pollution? I think not. One major volcano eruption can put more pollution into the air in one day than humans have ever done in their entire history.
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242. MisterPerfect
7:11 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
GORE 2008: An Inconvenient Campaign
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241. MisterPerfect
7:06 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Snowboy, welcome to American politics...get used to it bro
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240. snowboy
6:51 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
The ongoing and unrelentingly snide comments about Al Gore on this blog just kill me. Coming from a bunch of folks who all together in their lifetimes will not accomplish anything approaching what Mr. Gore has achieved in his, the pot shots from the peanut gallery are a bit rich.

Take issue with the movie if you like. Take issue with the theory and fact of global warming if you like. But please stifle the comments about the man. He is simply the most prominent messenger to date about an issue that concerns us all.

And while Mr. Gore is not perfect, I suggest that if we were to closely scrutinize the lives of those posting their cheap shots they would also not be perfect. Let's get away from the personal, and stay focussed on the issue please.
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2556
239. hurricane23
1:18 PM EST on February 27, 2007
LSU offers great images especially for the eastern atlantic and central.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13868
238. MisterPerfect
6:07 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Why doesn't Gore regrow his beard. He could save kilowatts from his electric shaver that way.
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237. franck
5:01 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
"Most politicians relieve themselves on US...".

By Jove, I think you've got it!!
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236. Patrap
10:45 AM CST on February 27, 2007
Good loop from that page showing the Loop current and How its eddys are constantly evolving and moving...great link page.Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
235. Patrap
10:43 AM CST on February 27, 2007
LSU Tropical Page..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
234. Patrap
10:38 AM CST on February 27, 2007
This MAn..who runs LSu Tropical Studies in BAton Rouge had the Katrina scenerio down years before it happened.A man who even the Day Katrina Hit..knew what was to happen.No one in the loop gave him much mind .Till August 30th.When they knew all too well.This man ..along with Dr. Masters...saved thousands of lives with their timely post.Heres The Profs words before Katrina hit..notice the date on this link folks.Dont ever think the devastation we saw here wasnt predicted.Youd be mistaken...Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
233. pottery
12:33 PM AST on February 27, 2007
AH HA ! I note some political bashing in here. Good. Helps to keep them on their toes.

But are we, as a society, culture, civilization, whatever, responsible for helping to change weather by our actions, or lack of action?

The answer is YES.
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232. Patrap
10:35 AM CST on February 27, 2007
Why New Orleans and the Nation needs the 8/29 comission..Professor Van Heerdan Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
231. desertdisaster
2:56 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Well, I think you needed a women to stop these childish fights and cool things down...
Take a deep breath... Haaaa that's better...
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229. Patrap
9:10 AM CST on February 27, 2007
Turn yer head to the Left when ya Cough ric..Ill start ya on some Penecillin too..LOL!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
228. ricderr
3:06 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
You're always cool headed

ummm...oh yes..i do agree...cough cough...lol
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227. Madrid
2:58 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
MissBennet, I agree with Patrap that your post is excellent. I would add that in the time at that time and not even in the 19th century it was the massive industrial waste, massive amounts of cars, massive use of natural resources, massive change of the landscapes and vegetation, and on, on, that we have nowadays. The Earth is an equilibrium easy to change and with so many massive changes, something has to change in turn.
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226. ricderr
2:56 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
miss bennett...thought it might interest you....norse legend says that its name origins come from eric the red when he explored greenland in the late 900's....he felt the name would attract more people to the land...also to note that in the 10th century it's believed that their climate was warmer than it is today
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225. Patrap
8:46 AM CST on February 27, 2007
Well.thank you MissBennet,..thats very kind.Welcome to the fray.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
224. Caffinehog
2:39 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Well, the antarctic was iceless between 15-25 million years ago, and between 40-65 million years ago. In fact, it appears that having polar ice caps is NOT the "normal" state of things throughout earth's history.
Member Since: June 5, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 40
223. MissBennet
2:39 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
Thank you Pat. By the way, I always have liked your posts. =) You're always cool headed and state facts and not so much opinion.
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222. Patrap
8:37 AM CST on February 27, 2007
Excellent Post MissBennet.You keen observer.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
221. MissBennet
2:27 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
I've read this blog a long time and never posted, but I couldn't just sit back and read anymore when i saw these comments... Usually I can depend on someone else refuting obviously untrue data, but I didn't see anything on this one:

Posted By: GetReal at 10:51 PM GMT on February 26, 2007.

The planet has been going through these cycle changes since the beginning of time. May I remind you that at one point in time Antartica was full of lush vegetation, and was populated by dinosaurs.

The same was true for Greenland in the northern hemisphere. As late as the time of the Viking were sailing the northern Atlantic, Greenland was known as an island lush with green vegetation, from hence it obtained the name Greenland.

And Again...

Posted By: GetReal at 11:42 PM GMT on February 26, 2007.

And again Skyponey, were Greenland and Antartica once land masses with green vegetation. The current warming is again a natural cycle, that we, man, happens to living through at this time. The current warming cycle may last another 100 years, who knows. But as a natural cycle man is powerless to change what is occurring, and is just along for the ride, like it, or not....

*sigh* it hurts to read it again:

1. About 250 million years ago, Antartica used to sit closer to the equator as part of the land mass called Pangea. It was roughly in the same latitudinal position that South America and Austrialia are now. That is why it was a green lush place where dinosaurs roamed. Please see this link to Wikipedia article about continental drift: Link You can also click from there to read more about 'Pangea' itself and where exactly all the continents sat at that time.

2. Greenland is still a beautiful green lush place. Have you ever observed a map of the Easthern portion and southern tip of the island? It was named Greenland for those Beautiful lush green mountain slopes on those eastern and southern points where the vikings lived. It looks alot like the southern island of New Zealand. Very tall striking snow covered mountains that slope off and flatten in to a green lush coast line. Yes these areas lead to glaciers above, and snow over for some months of the year, but where people live its beautiful and GREEN.

Map of Greenland (couldn't get it any smaller): Link

So Please stop spouting off incorrect information to attempt to skew the views of the less informed. It's insulting and annoying.
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220. Patrap
8:24 AM CST on February 27, 2007
"You people", not very definitive.I avoid sweeping statements.BAd form .
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
219. cspencef
1:52 PM GMT on February 27, 2007
It amazes me how quickly people who otherwise can seem sane and rational immediately shut down their brains and turn into right-wing-lie-spewing robots because they don't like the guy sounding the alarm. You people are gonna fry the planet over your political mindlessness. I'm outta here.
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218. Patrap
7:34 AM CST on February 27, 2007
Most Politicians "relieve" themselves on US..My thoughts only..LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
217. Patrap
7:32 AM CST on February 27, 2007
Thats all fodder for thought Ike..but put it in perspective.Hes a rich Guy.You think he pays the Bill with a check every month?.LOL..I seriously doubt that source too.Either way.Its a moot point.Ever see Manhattan from Orbit at night.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
216. IKE
7:23 AM CST on February 27, 2007
That's what's great about America...you can voice your opinion...I'm not saying Gore is wrong on GW. I'm saying he's a hypocrit....telling everyone to reduce, while his consumption goes up...significantly!

Mr. Politician....
Please don't deceive us.

Mr. Politician...
You're there to relieve us.

Can how can we tell mister, when to believe in you?

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215. Patrap
7:22 AM CST on February 27, 2007
He IS big Oil.Check out his Biggest contributers.Or former ones.They ALL backed away from Him after this..Hes like a radioactive Sen. now.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
214. Patrap
7:18 AM CST on February 27, 2007
Chairman of Senate Enviromental and Public Works Committee.He believes 75 percent of US..are wrong and Have been fooled. ..LOL..Inhoffe..another Lame Duck with NO clue..LOL.What a Moron.This guy is a Party line Butt munch.Even HIs peers say so.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
211. Patrap
7:09 AM CST on February 27, 2007
With that..Im off to buy some Market shrimp and see if I can coax some speckled trout into the ice chest at the Lakefront
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
210. Patrap
7:07 AM CST on February 27, 2007
The discussion Dr.M wanted by the Al Gore hook is working great here.I feel as though the Man..although a Politician, has brought the Subject to a New Dawn.Nothing wrong with that...everything to Gain.I know..from My Post -Trauma here that the Numbers and stuff over Katrina are hard to seperate from the politics of it.Co2 and Fossil fuels burning 24 /7 365 is not natural to the Eco-system of 3rd rock out.Its Like asbestos in a Boilmakers lung in a way.Short term..it wont kill you..but over time ..the "effect" ,,"causes" Changes in the Lung..leading to symptoms..then sickness then death.Your fine in your 20s..but gasping in the end
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139984
209. pottery
8:58 AM AST on February 27, 2007
Also, in these crazy times, if Mr Gore did not live in a mansion, and fly a private jet, you think anyone would even mention his movie, far less discuss it. ? Most people NEED bling , which is seen as truth and power.The props are everything. If Mother Theresa had made that movie, there would have been a different response from different people.

Disregard the froth, look at the data and arrive at conclusions based on that.

Dissagreement is OK, but see stupidity for what it is.
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