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

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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158. Thunderstorm2
8:01 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Pease stop with the name calling Tirador. you'll know what will happen to you.
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157. Fshhead
8:01 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Funny thing is he is smarter than all those scientists saying it is occurring & we are the cause.Hey Tirador why don't you get caught up on the latest I.P.C.C. report or go back to the playpen or something lol
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155. anvilhead
12:00 AM PST on February 27, 2007
exactly Fsh, I dont like the name calling and I am stopping now
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153. Thunderstorm2
7:59 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Your hurting the community with your attitude
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152. anvilhead
11:58 PM PST on February 26, 2007
t2 well, um trollinator loves to debate in a way where he thinks he rules over other people, he doesnt let us have a chance at our opinion and when we do comment he comes back with mean names
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151. Thunderstorm2
7:59 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Tirador, 2 words- GO AWAY!!
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150. Fshhead
7:55 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
We have no problem posting your views, it would be the manner in which they are expressed!
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149. anvilhead
11:56 PM PST on February 26, 2007
hello Robbie, trollinador here is on something or drunk, you can tell, he called snowboy snowboylicker FSHead Fishead
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148. Thunderstorm2
7:56 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Ok. I'm up and i'm here now could someone please fill me in on what is going on?
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146. RobbieWM
7:54 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
I agree with anvil on this one tirador.
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145. RobbieWM
7:53 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Am i up early or are you guys having a party?
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144. anvilhead
11:51 PM PST on February 26, 2007
I am suggesting you get out of this community, you cannot talk in a nice debatable way, and anvilboy and Fishead will be flagging you if you continue to post in a way in which you cant be sensible
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143. anvilhead
11:49 PM PST on February 26, 2007
How much you been drinking tirador? calling FH a party handler doesnt make any sense what so ever, this blog, Admin Notice When using Dr. Masters' blog, please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself. Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering. Material not conforming to these standards should be flagged as Spam and ignored.
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141. anvilhead2
11:45 PM PST on February 26, 2007
tirador go to a site where you can take out your lifes anger on other people in a meanful way, not here on WU, go to accuweather
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138. Fshhead
7:37 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Hmmmm Tirador well, if you expressed yourself in a more intelligent way maybe we could take you a little more seriously!!!!!!!
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136. anvilhead
11:27 PM PST on February 26, 2007
i am reporting you tirador, you are attacking snowboy
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133. snowboy
7:16 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Tirader, you are clearly unable to rise to the challenge. Come back when you can spell, be civil, and put together something coherent..
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132. snowboy
7:12 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
billkodak, Al Gore is no scientist, but I doubt you are either. For sure you are not up to date on atmospheric science..
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130. billkodak
6:44 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Science is not consensus. Science is a result of carefully controlled experimentation that produces hard and verifiable results.
At best Al Gore is speculating. At worse he is a pathetic politician trying to scare people into voting for those akin to his leftist beliefs.
But the one thing he is not is a scientist.
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129. snowboy
6:49 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Tirador, your nattering is getting tiresome. Either post something of substance on the weather/climate that we can discuss, or move on. Attacking Mr. Gore is easy - dealing with the substance of his film so far seems beyond you. Maybe you can rise to the challenge!?
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126. Caffinehog
5:28 AM GMT on February 27, 2007

They use 1/4 of the electricity of an equivalent incandescent light bulb.
They seem to die randomly. My parents have one that has lasted 12 years, but I have had some blow in less than a month. Most last 3 years on average.
They do contain some mercury, so it's best to dispose of them, unbroken, at city household hazardous waste collections. Although some mercury is used, coal power plants pump out more mercury to power an incandecent bulb than a CFL contains. But, if you break one, the mercury is in your home. Don't worry, though, it's not really enough to harm you. Just don't make a habit of breaking them.
CFL's also come in different "kelvins" Higher kelvin numbers mean a whiter light. This brings out more color, but isn't as warm as a lower kelvin bulb. Additionally, you can get full spectrum bulbs. These mimic natural sunlight, keep a warm feeling, and bring out colors. Unfortunately, they cost more. Incandescent bulbs also come in full spectrum, but they are also more expensive than a standard bulb, and don't last nearly as long as a CFL.
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125. Caffinehog
5:13 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Here is a chart of the last 65 million years of temperature.Link
Note that it uses oxygen isotope ratios in fossils, so it isn't perfect... there's more explaination on that page.

We're just barely out of the ice age, and FAR cooler than the average temperature over the last 65 million years. Over most of this time, there was no antarctic ice sheet.

Note this second image: Approximate temperature over the last 542 million years.Link

We're a bit warmer now than we were in the very recent ice age, BUT we're still near the bottom of the second coldest period in the last 542 million years.

To me, that says, like it or not, it's going to get warmer, and, whether humans triggered it or not, it's going to get warmer.
Think you can control it? Well, you might be able to keep it from getting warmer, but that could plunge us into an ice age. Or maybe we can't do it at all.

My suggestion: Plan for it, and deal with it as it comes. There's probably not much else we can do.

Of course, we DO need better sources of energy than fossil fuels, but that's another story.
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123. Skyepony (Mod)
4:44 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
I got my ENSO update in my blog (click my name). CPC after breaking the news last week that La Nia would most likely be around the 2nd 1/2 of the year, dropped a bomb this week that La Nia conditions will most likely develop in the next 3 months...

Ldog~ I know & didn't take it as such, many people could have made a better movie & by that I mean not so boring. There was a good point back there about one on PBS that got near no attention. I saw it, really good, scientifically correct as far as what is agreed on as fact at this time through & through, well done & interesting. Not a snoozer like the Inconvenent Truth. No oscar to it though.. Just a start to my rant well if ya don't want to save the enviroment don't ya want to save a buck? Or how about a whole lot of them.
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122. snowboy
4:26 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
hey Get Real, re the "news" you posted that the polar regions once had vegetation - have you ever heard of plate tectonics? Maybe look it up and get back to us on the implications for your posts..
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121. Ldog74
4:10 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Skyepony, my comment wasn't directed at you or anyone else who is a regular contributor to this blog. I applaud your concern for conserving electricity. I was more bashing the people who have names that i have never seen before on this blog who act like they have come up with the next breakthrough to why Al Gore is a hypocrite. I have seen his movie and do agree that he is monotone. Thats cool with the solar in the barn thing.
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120. Skyepony (Mod)
3:46 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Ldog~ I called him monotone in his movie & I don't have an old lightbulb left in this house. The new ones save more than a 1/4. I think I figured up I'm saving about $43 a month & not one has yet to blow out where the old ones were always needing replaced. Instead of running electricity out to the barn I put in solar, it was cheaper to install than conventional electric, with no ditch digging & every bit of energy used out there since has been free. Everything I've done from caulking to covering skylights in the summer has saved me money. Everything you can do to not burn a fossil fuel will put money in your pocket.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
119. Ldog74
3:41 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Pretty much everyone that says that Al Gore is a hypocrite is being a hypocrite themselves. Consider this, a compact fluorescent light bulb uses 1/4th the energy to generate the exact same amount of light. I'm pretty sure that not a lot of people saying harsh things towards Al Gore use all compact fluorescent light bulbs. Its not like I use them either, its just that people should look at themselves before they call someone else a hypocrite.
BTW StSimonsIslandGAGuy, I noticed the same thing, looks a little weird to see only 2 colors on a map, doesn't it.
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116. Patrap
9:05 PM CST on February 26, 2007
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115. Patrap
9:04 PM CST on February 26, 2007
Not the one
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114. hurricane23
9:02 PM EST on February 26, 2007
Good evening,

Models are in very good agreement on Neutral conditions in the atlantic basin threw october. Might La nina make an appearence this season were just going to have to wait to see how everything evovles during the coming months.

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113. Cyberfes
1:37 AM GMT on February 27, 2007

Right !! He invented the INTERNET Too !! Well he said he did so he must of !! Come on smart Guys he's taking everyone for a ride !!
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112. Patrap
7:23 PM CST on February 26, 2007
ENSO Link..NWS..page Link
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111. Patrap
7:18 PM CST on February 26, 2007
A conservative leader in Power,..now..His take.Thought Id heard the Hockey Stick thing before..LOL
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110. 882MB
1:17 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
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109. tworiversnj
1:12 AM GMT on February 27, 2007
Lost in the hype over Gore is a really good documentary on climate change that appeared on PBS narrated by Alanis Morissette. Global Warming- the Signs and Science was worth showing in science class.
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