A Very Inconvenient Truth: Gore Got It Right on Global Warming

[Reposted from 2006, nearly six years ago. It offers interesting perspective about the continuing (worsening?) political insanity of inaction  – Stephen]

By Stephen Leahy

BROOKLIN, Canada, Jun 20 (IPS)

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s documentary on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth”, is filling theatres across North America – and gets the science right, according to climate experts.

“I saw it last night and was impressed with the climate science presented in the film,” said David Archer, a climatologist at the University of Chicago.

“I left the theatre profoundly depressed because of the political insanity in this country that denies global warming is a concern,” Archer told IPS.

Gore’s personal passion about global warming can be traced to the early 1980s. After losing the election to George W. Bush in 2000, Gore dedicated himself to warning the public about the devastating impacts climate change will have on hundreds of millions of people.

“An Inconvenient Truth” is a 98-minute documentary comprised mainly of highlights from Gore’s high-tech slide show explaining the science documenting global climate change.

Some truths are hard to hear, because if you really hear them – and understand that they are in fact true – then you have to change. And change can be quite inconvenient,” Gore says in the film.

Using an impressive set of graphics, he carefully illustrates changes underway such as receding glaciers, collapsing ice sheets, devastating floods and droughts. One memorable scene shows a graph of carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere going back 650,000 years that varies only a little until fifty years ago when it skyrockets. Gore mounts a motorised platform to lift him up high up the chart so he can place his finger on the current level of CO2. Continue reading

Inheriting the Whirlwind of Extreme Events

This article looks at the huge upswing in extreme events around the world. Imagine this: the worst-ever tornado season, the worst flooding, and worst heatwave  have hit the US this year. And they may yet experience one the worst hurricane seasons. “24 Hours of Reality” online broadcast documented this Sept 15 to help people clear their heads of the fossil fuel propaganda and open their eyes to the crisis we are facing.  — Stephen

There are four anti-climate change lobbyists in Washington for every member of Congress.”

By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Sep 15, 2011 (IPS)

The dramatic increase in extreme weather that has affected hundreds of millions across the planet is one of the clearest signs that burning billions of tonnes fossil fuels has seriously and permanently disrupted the global climate, experts say.

That is the reality former U.S. vice president Al Gore is focusing on Thursday through an unprecedented live online event called “24 Hours of Reality” broadcast from 24 time zones and reaching millions of viewers in multiple languages.

“In 30 years of weather forecasting I have never seen extreme weather events like those in the last two years globally,” said Jeff Masters, co-founder and Director of Meteorology for Weather Underground, the web’s first commercial weather service.

“I never thought we could have the greatest outbreak of tornados, the worst-ever flooding, record heatwaves and droughts all in one year,” Masters told IPS at a press conference last week in reference to the multi-billion-dollar extreme weather the U.S. has endured this year.

“The hurricane season is only half over and is on pace to be a record year as well,” he said.

Masters and other climate experts say is the “new normal” for the coming decades is the reason why. Burning of oil, gas, coal puts billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it traps more of the sun’s heat in what is known as the greenhouse effect.

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That additional heat warms the oceans and air and allows more moisture to be retained in the atmosphere, scientists have long since proven. The enormous amounts of additional heat and moisture now trapped in the atmosphere are the potent fuel for extreme events.

“More than 1,400 high temperature records were broken in July in the eastern U.S.,” said Jerry Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Continue reading

State of Denial: The Real Global Warming Fantasy

What ever happened to common sense?
(based on a true story)

By Stephen Leahy

Two guys were sitting in a bar one evening. The first one says: “Climate change is a complete hoax you know. There’s lots information on the internet proving that.”

“No it’s not” the second guy replies. “I’ve talked to dozens and dozens of climate scientists around the world and read hundreds of reports and studies.”

The first guy responds saying: “All my friends agree with me. This global warming thing was just scam to make money for Al Gore.”

“But I’ve seen the vanishing glaciers, melting Arctic ice, rising temperatures and sea levels and extreme weather events with my own eyes,” says the second.

The first guy, pauses for a few seconds and says: “Well, I guess you’re entitled to your opinion. So let’s just say the jury is still out on global warming.”

The two fall silent for awhile. Finally the second asks: “Let’s say I’m driving you home and it’s foggy out. You tell me to slow down a bit because there’s a sharp curve in the road coming up. Now I’ve never been on this road before and could acknowledge you might know the road well but instead of slowing down I say: ‘you’re entitled to your opinion, but the road looks straight enough to me’ and then step on the gas.”

The first guy gets up and puts on his coat saying: “You’d have to be crazy not to slow down just in case. I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing now.”

“But we are,” says the second as the first guy walks out the door.

Even if the world’s best scientists are wrong about climate change taking action now will create new jobs, save money, clean the air and water, improve energy efficiency, boost the health of our children, reduce our dependency on big oil companies, create more sustainable communities and many more benefits to all.

So you have to wonder why people oppose this.

And should 30 years of climate research done in dozens of countries be correct, the “bonus” in taking action is keeping rising temperatures to no more than 2 degrees C hopefully ensuring our children and grandchildren have a reasonable climate system to live with.

My wish for the new decade is that common sense will come back in fashion.

Related:

Denial & Delay: Global Warming B.S. Detector Tips

Greed Stalls 21st Century Bio-Economy

Interview With One of the Last Environmental Journalists Left Standing