Friday, June 09, 2006

Is Al Gore a Brave Truth Teller?

Robert Tracinski did not have much trouble contradicting some of Al Gore’s claims.

Selected Excerpts:
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.

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."

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.

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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