Meteorologist Roy Spencer has written a book which fact-checks Al Gore’s latest climate-disaster-porn movie An Inconvenient Sequel.
Spoiler alert: Gore’s scaremongering ‘facts’ are all inconveniently untrue.
Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, begins his book An Inconvenient Deception kindly, by noting that he much prefers the new movie to its 2006 Oscar-winning prequel An Inconvenient Truth.
It was much less of a PowerPoint presentation and more of a human interest story. It follows Gore over the years as he tries to convince fellow politicians, foreign heads of state, and the public that the climate crisis is real. While some have considered Gore’s role in the movie to be too self-indulgent, I thought it showed some humanity in someone many people over the years have considered too “stiff”.
But there the praise ends. When Spencer saw the movie, he was one of only three viewers in a 750-seat theater – and one of these people walked out half way through. This local reaction is borne out by the movie’s dismal reception at the box office. No one is going to see Al Gore’s terrible new movie. And – scientifically speaking, at least – they’re really not missing much.
Here are some of Al Gore’s dubious claims rebutted.
Gore is shown visiting cryospheric expert Konrad Steffen.
“Surface melting is shown with dramatic aerial video. Rivers of meltwater form and plunge down into huge holes in the ice sheet called “moulins”.”
“What isn’t mentioned is that this happens every summer, naturally.”
In fact this is a good example of Gore’s favorite cheat: show dramatic footage of a natural event – eg ice melting rapidly – and then leave the viewer to infer that this is another disastrous and unprecedented consequence of man-made climate change. It spares him the risk of telling flat out lies which might get fact-checked later. The viewer’s imagination does all Gore’s dirty work…
Meanwhile, in the real world, remember, Greenland recently recorded its coldest temperature ever measured in July for the Northern Hemisphere.
Flooding in Miami
Gore wants you to believe that this is caused by climate change. After all, in his previous movie he predicted sea level rises of 20 feet.
Sadly in the real world sea level has continued to rise at the same rate as for the last 150 years – about an inch per decade.
Miami has always been beset by tidal flooding – so called “king tides”. But the other big problem is that its land has been sinking at a rate of around an inch per decade (3mm a year). Neither this, nor the sea level rise, has anything to do with climate change.
Gore claims storms are getting more powerful.
Roger Pielke, Jr. has done a lot of research in this area. As population increases, there are simply more things to break when a storm comes through. There have been no observed long-term increases in storm intensity from a meteorological point of view over the period of interest, that is, since the Industrial Revolution began. And even if there was an increase, there would be no way to attribute those changes to human activities.
Flooding of the 9/11 Memorial from Hurricane Sandy
Gore claims he predicted this in An Inconvenient Truth.
No he didn’t:
He only mentioned general sea level rise from melting of the Greenland ice sheet, not large surges from exceptional storms like Sandy, which have always been a risk for coastal residents. This is a clear case where Gore is deceiving you.
In fact the rate of sea level rise has not increased in New York:
Sea level at Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan has been monitored since the 1850s, and has been rising naturally since that time at an average rate of 1.1 inch per decade, with no sign of acceleration.
Earthrise: The Big Blue Marble
Gore repeatedly invokes this famous image of the earth from space – one of the most viewed photos in the world – taken by Apollo astronaut and geologist Harrison (Jack) Schmitt on the Apollo 17 mission to the moon on December 7, 1972.
Here’s the irony:
Jack Schmitt, who I know and have worked with, is (like me) a skeptic of the supposed dangers of CO2 emissions and of the claim that climate change is entirely human-caused. He has been active in the fight to correct the record on climate change and the supposed dangers of carbon dioxide.
Solar Power, Solar City, and Elon Musk
Renewables salesman Gore is big on the idea that solar will save the world from fossil-fuel-induced warming.
But there’s a fundamental problem with solar (and wind):
It takes huge fields of solar collectors to collect much electricity from sunlight, clouds greatly reduce it, and 365 days a year it goes away at night. Fossil fuels are highly concentrated forms of energy, while solar and wind are relatively weak and diffuse.
They are also expensive and only appear competitive if you ignore the vast taxpayer subsidies propping them up.
So, the claim that solar is in any way cheaper than fossil fuels is simply not true. Maybe someday it will be, but not any time soon. Without the government forcing citizens to pay more for solar through subsidies, the solar industry would have very little to sell other than for remote specialty applications where electricity is needed and there are no power lines to provide it.
The current success of Elon Musk, Tesla, Solar City, and solar energy installations in general is due to government subsidies. These are your tax dollars that the solar industry has convinced government to give to the solar energy effort. Investors, in turn, also cash in on the subsidies—while they last.
The claim by Gore and others that the solar industry is employing vast numbers of people is not what you want if the product they provide is too expensive, or not in demand. As an extreme example of why the number of workers isn’t a good measure of economic value, we could put 100% of our labor force to work digging holes in the ground and filling them up again, but what would that do for our prosperity?
Verdict: Al Gore’s movie is an epic fail.
But we could kind of have predicted that, couldn’t we?