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A Convenient Pack of Lies By: Robert W. Tracinski
TIADaily.com | Thursday, June 08, 2006


Al Gore is trying to resurrect his environmentalist crusade--and, perhaps, his political career--with a new film that depicts him as a courageous voice in the wilderness, speaking up for "an inconvenient truth" that challenges the entrenched political establishment.

This is, of course, laughable. Everyone knows that the global warming theory is the dogma of the entrenched establishment. We know this because we are relentlessly barraged with global warming hysteria from political leaders, the mainstream media, and the government-scientific complex. We are constantly told that we are in imminent danger of dying from everything as catastrophic as massive flooding or as trivial as runaway poison ivy.

What the general public may not have heard about is the courageous band of researchers who are the ones actually speaking up for science in the face of this global warming juggernaut. Ironically, some of the reporting prompted by Gore's film has allowed some of these scientists to be heard--and we ought to listen.

Let's look at just one scientific issue: Gore's claim that global warming is causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes. It's fair to single out this claim, because that is what the filmmakers have done. Posters for An Inconvenient Truth feature an arresting image of the swirling storm-clouds of a hurricane emerging from an industrial smokestack.

But the truth about this claim is very inconvenient for Al Gore and the environmentalists. The Washington Times published an article surveying a number of top hurricane scientists, whom it found to be "divided" on the merits of Gore's claim. Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center even doubts that hurricane intensity has increased as much as claimed over the past thirty years, pointing out that scientists couldn't accurately measure hurricane wind speeds until 1984. We don't know how much of the increase in Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes recorded in recent years is due to an actual increase or whether it is, as he puts it, an "artificial increase," an illusion produced by our improved ability to measure hurricanes.

Meanwhile, Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane forecaster at Colorado State University, points out that increased hurricane activity in the Atlantic has been balanced out by a decrease in the number of tropical storms in the Pacific. "When these two regions are summed together, there has been virtually no increase in Category 4-5 hurricanes."

The May 30 Los Angeles Times carries a profile on Klotzbach's mentor, Colorado State University professor emeritus William M. Gray, who pioneered the science of forecasting hurricane activity. The article notes: "Like many hurricane forecasters, Gray rejects the theory that the recent uptick in storms is due to climate change. He points out that the U.S. had an unusually low number of storms from the 1970s to the end of the century and says the law of averages is simply catching up." At age 76, this distinguished scientist is devoting his retirement to refuting the entire notion that global warming is caused by human activity, an idea he describes as "one of the greatest hoaxes ever." Gray is "not one to just go along with the crowd," Klotzbach concludes.

Now isn't that interesting? It turns out that the man taking an independent stand and refusing to "just go along with the crowd" on global warming is not a lifelong politician rewarded with a fawning documentary and inside-the-beltway adulation--but rather a distinguished scientists who is a global warming skeptic.

So if the splashy movie-poster claim of An Inconvenient Truth turns out to be dubious and hotly contested--very far from an established "truth"--where does that leave Al Gore's status as the brave truth-teller? A fawning New York Times profile on Gore admits that he avoids "making direct causal links that most scientists say are impossible to substantiate" but instead "uses imagery and implication" to make his case. That's about the most tasteful description of the methods of a flim-flam artist I have ever read.

But not to worry, another New York Times article tells us, because two new studies have confirmed the link between global warming and hurricanes. Have you ever noticed this little trick used by global warming scaremongers? They will insistently repeat a claim for five years--then tell you that it is justified by a study released last Tuesday. Maybe so, but how does that justify their making that claim five years before it was "proven"? And as for the new "proof," even the New York Times report admits that "neither the authors nor other climate experts say it is conclusive." The reporter even gives the last word to a skeptic--Stanley Goldenberg of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration--who dismisses the new papers: "There's going to be an endless series of articles from this circle that is embracing this new theology built on very flimsy interpretation."

I guess some of the truth is starting to get a hearing--no matter how inconvenient that might be for Gore and company.

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Robert Tracinski is a senior editor at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, California.


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