An Inconvenient Review

GWPF | 6 May 2016

After 10 Years Al Gore’s Film Is Still Alarmingly Inaccurate

inconvenientprize9.jpg

It’s been nearly one decade since former Vice President Al Gore released his film “An Inconvenient Truth.” It sent shockwaves through American politics and emboldened environmental activists to push for more regulations on American businesses. Gore warned increasing carbon dioxide emissions would spur catastrophic global warming that would cause more extreme weather, wipe out cities and cause ecological collapse. But have Gore’s warnings, which were alarming to many in 2006, come true? In honor of the upcoming 10th anniversary, The Daily Caller News Foundation re-watched “An Inconvenient Truth” just to see how well Gore’s warnings of future climate disaster lined up with reality. –Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, 5 May 2016

1) An Inconvenient Review: After 10 Years Al Gore’s Film Is Still Alarmingly Inaccurate
The Daily Caller, 5 May 2016

2) Forget Paris: EU Lawmakers Plan To Dilute An Already Worthless Carbon Market
The American Interest, 4 May 2016

3) GWPF Climate Briefing: Atlantic Sea Surface Cooling
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 6 May 2016

4) David Whitehouse: Uncertain Future For Arctic Ice
Global Warming Policy Forum, 5 May 2016

5) Charles Moore On A Letter The FT Apparently Didn’t Like
The Spectator, 6 May 2016

6) Professor Anastasios Tsonis Joins GWPF Academic Advisory Council
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 5 May 2016

The largest political group in the European Parliament said on Wednesday it wants a greater proportion of EU carbon permits to be handed out free to industry from 2020. This push to increase free allowances for heavy industry is therefore an attempt to keep those companies in the EU, and it underlines just how dangerous the creation of a regional carbon market can be. —The American Interest, 4 May 2016

GWPF Climate Briefing: Atlantic Sea Surface Cooling — New analysis from Vancore Weather suggests the Atlantic has entered a new cooling phase, with implications for regional climate and global temperature. —Global Warming Policy Foundation, 6 May 2016

The decline of arctic ice cover has become an icon of man-made global warming. It’s one of those factors like, temperature rise, sea level rise and ocean acidification that, according to some, when taken with the others, point to a compelling picture of what is happening to our planet. Despite its iconic status no one knows in detail why the arctic ice is declining; warming atmosphere, warming surface or under-ice ocean, more insolation, changing currents? The usual answer is that it is multi-factorial and generally consistent with the predicted Arctic Amplification, seen in many models. But without more detailed knowledge we cannot be completely certain what we are seeing is not part of a natural cycle. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 5 May 2016

Fighting on another front, the FT wrote a spunky leader last week attacking those who would muzzle climate change sceptics. Following this up, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, on whose board I sit, wrote a letter to the FT, from its chairman, Nigel Lawson, and others. ‘We agree,’ said the letter, ‘that when it comes to global warming “the stakes are so high that all arguments must be heard”. Regrettably, however, the FT has not lived up to this precept… The GWPF has published more than 50 thoroughly professional papers and reports as a thoughtful contribution to a (still one-sided) debate, not one of which has ever been addressed in the FT.’ The letter was sent last Wednesday. At the time of writing, the FT has not published it. –Charles Moore, The Spectator, 6 May 2016

The Global Warming Policy Foundation is pleased to announce that Professor Anastasios Tsonis has joined the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council. Dr Tsonis is an American atmospheric scientist and distinguished professor at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His research focuses on the study of climate dynamics and global change. His work has led to the Tsonis criterion, a research method bearing his name. —Global Warming Policy Foundation, 5 May 2016

Britain’s best universities are slipping down university rankings because they are forced to focus on diversity and recruiting from disadvantaged backgrounds, experts say. Top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, have been under huge political pressure to take on minority students after the Prime Minister, David Cameron, attacked them for racial bias and not working harder to broaden their student mix. Earlier this year Mr Cameron said universities would be forced to disclose the proportion of ethnic minority applicants that get places as he encouraged more transparency. –Javier Espinoza, The Daily Telegraph, 5 May 2016

1) An Inconvenient Review: After 10 Years Al Gore’s Film Is Still Alarmingly Inaccurate
The Daily Caller, 5 May 2016

Michael Bastasch

It’s been nearly one decade since former Vice President Al Gore released his film “An Inconvenient Truth.” It sent shockwaves through American politics and emboldened environmental activists to push for more regulations on American businesses.

Gore warned increasing carbon dioxide emissions would spur catastrophic global warming that would cause more extreme weather, wipe out cities and cause ecological collapse. To stop global warming, humans needed to ditch fossil fuels and basically change every aspect of their lives.

Watching “An Inconvenient Truth” is sort of like going back in time. Back to a world where flip phones were cool and “Futurama” was still putting out new episodes. A world where a bitter presidential candidate was trying to rebrand himself as an environmental crusader.

But have Gore’s warnings, which were alarming to many in 2006, come true?

In honor of the upcoming 10th anniversary, The Daily Caller News Foundation re-watched “An Inconvenient Truth” just to see how well Gore’s warnings of future climate disaster lined up with reality.

Gore’s been harping on global warming since at least the late 1980s, but it wasn’t until 2006 he discovered a way to become massively wealthy off making movies about it and investing in government-subsidized green energy.

Gore opens the film talking about nature, then jumping to a presentation he’s giving where he shows the first image ever taken of the Earth from space. From that image, he jumps right into making alarmist claims about global warming.

Kilimanjaro Still Has Snow

One of the first glaring claims Gore makes is about Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. He claims Africa’s tallest peak will be snow-free “within the decade.” Gore shows slides of Kilimanjaro’s peak in the 1970s versus today to conclude the snow is disappearing.

Well, it’s been a decade and, yes, there’s still snow on Kilimanjaro year-round. It doesn’t take a scientist to figure this out. One can just look at recent photos posted on the travel website TripAdvisor.com.

In 2014, ecologists actually monitoring Kilimanjaro’s snowpack found it was not even close to being gone. It may have shrunk a little, but ecologists were confident it would be around for the foreseeable future.

“There are ongoing several studies, but preliminary findings show that the ice is nowhere near melting,” Imani Kikoti, an ecologist at Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, told eturbonews.com.

“Much as we agree that the snow has declined over centuries, but we are comfortable that its total melt will not happen in the near future,” he said.

Gore Left Out The 15-Year “Hiatus” In Warming

Gore also claims temperature rise from increases in man-made carbon dioxide emissions were “uninterrupted and intensifying.” He goes on to claim heatwaves will become more common, like the one that killed 35,000 people across Europe in 2003.

Sounds terrifying — until you actually look at what happened to global temperature after Gore’s film was released. Global temperatures showed little to no warming trend after Gore released his film. In fact, surface temperature data showed no significant global warming for a period of about 15 years, starting in the early 2000s.

Satellite-derived temperature data showed, until the recent El Niño, no statistically significant warming trend for more than 21 years.
Gore’s movie was released right in the middle of the so-called global warming “hiatus.”

The Weather Hasn’t Gotten Worse

Gore also famously predicted storms would become more frequent and intense as man-made emissions warmed the oceans.

“And of course when the oceans get warmer, that causes stronger storms,” Gore said in his film. “That same year that we had that string of big hurricanes, we also set an all-time record for tornadoes.”

Gore’s film came out just after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. Indeed, footage of the destruction from that storm featured prominently in Gore’s film. He mentions how the U.S. was hit with a rash of severe storms in the early 2000s and how Japan saw a record number of typhoons.

“The insurance industry has actually noticed this,” Gore said. “Their recovered losses are going up.”

But Gore’s claim is more hype than actual science, since storms aren’t more extreme since 2006. In fact, not even findings from the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) support Gore’s claim. […]

The North Pole Still Has Ice

Gore also claimed the Arctic could be ice-free in the coming decades. He said “within the next 50 to 70 years, it could be completely gone.”

With no Arctic sea ice, polar bears and all sorts of Arctic animals would be threatened, Gore warned, showing an animated scene of a polar bear drowning.

This is actually one of Gore’s more cautious predictions — he did incorrectly predict in 2008 there would be no Arctic by 2013. But even in this case, Gore is likely wrong because of the Arctic’s geographical setting.

The Arctic is almost completely surrounded by land, so the ice that forms there tends to stay there. Arctic ice coverage has shrunk in recent decades, but it’s not likely we will see even a summer where the North Pole is completely ice-free. […]

And before I forget, the latest data shows polar bears are actually thriving, despite shrinking ice coverage.

Full story

2) Forget Paris: EU Lawmakers Plan To Dilute An Already Worthless Carbon Market
The American Interest, 4 May 2016

The largest political group in the European Parliament said on Wednesday it wants a greater proportion of EU carbon permits to be handed out free to industry from 2020.


The EU’s carbon market has, to this point, been a failure. The Emissions Trading System (ETS), as it’s called, is flooded with carbon credits, and as a result the price of carbon is far too low to start inducing the sorts of emissions reductions initially envisioned by Brussels. The 2008 financial crisis and ensuing economic recession have only exacerbated this glut of allowances, so it’s no surprise that the EU is looking to reform the system.

But as they look to make these reforms, some lawmakers are advocating for more free credits given out to the biggest emitting companies. Reuters reports:

Under the current ETS trading phase, which runs from 2013 to 2020, the majority of allowances are sold via government auctions, with most of the remainder given free to industry. The European Commission’s reform for post-2020 proposes fixing the auction share at 57 percent of the total allowances, meaning a maximum of 43 percent would go free to industry.

Lawmakers from the European People’s Party (EPP) are calling for the share of free allocations to be higher than the 43 percent proposed by the EU executive. The overall cap on permits would not change, however, limiting the impact on trading. The hand outs are a concession worth billions of euros designed to help shelter factories and plants from added energy costs that they say could drive them out of Europe. 

The Eurocrats in charge of this carbon trading system are delicately seeking a balance between two opposing goals: on the one hand making heavy emissions costly enough that companies change their behavior, but on the other hand not making it so costly that those same companies decide to pick up and move outside of the EU, taking their jobs and emissions with them—a process called carbon leakage.

This push to increase free allowances for heavy industry is therefore an attempt to keep those companies in the EU, and it underlines just how dangerous the creation of a regional carbon market can be.

Full post

3) GWPF Climate Briefing: Atlantic Sea Surface Cooling
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 6 May 2016

New analysis from Vancore Weather suggests the Atlantic has entered a new cooling phase, with implications for regional climate and global temperature.


Full video

4) David Whitehouse: Uncertain Future For Arctic Ice
Global Warming Policy Forum, 5 May 2016

The decline of arctic ice cover has become an icon of man-made global warming. It’s one of those factors like, temperature rise, sea level rise and ocean acidification that, according to some, when taken with the others, point to a compelling picture of what is happening to our planet.

arctic cropped

Despite its iconic status no one knows in detail why the arctic ice is declining; warming atmosphere, warming surface or under-ice ocean, more insolation, changing currents? The usual answer is that it is multi-factorial and generally consistent with the predicted Arctic Amplification, seen in many models. But without more detailed knowledge we cannot be completely certain what we are seeing is not part of a natural cycle. If one could take a snapshot of the Earth at the majority of points in its history there would be climatic factors that are changing in either directions. In the man-made CO2 era in which we live we must not automatically look at a changing climate parameter and ascribe it to global warming just because it is moving in the expected direction. Science demands more than that.

The Arctic is warming at a faster rate than anywhere else and it seems that many diverse climate effects and feedbacks contribute to it. This is what makes predicting what will happen in the future so difficult. Since the advent of satellite data (1979) that found a decline already in progress, one could draw a straight line up to about 2000 and make a prediction. Then the decline increased up to 2007 that gave rise to claims that the Arctic ice would disappear much sooner. Since 2007 the ice is exhibiting a different behavior.

In a recent paper in Nature Climate Change two researchers make a case that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has an important effect on the behavior of Arctic ice. The PDO is a complex rhythm of sea surface temperatures that persists for a decade or more before changing to a different state. It effects are felt globally. The researchers conclude that winter ice loss is related to the phase of the PDO.

The PDO was relatively cool (negative phase) between 1948 – 1976 and warm (positive phase) between 1976 and 2007, and then negative until it abruptly switched to positive phase in 2013-14. This leads the researchers to conclude that in the future the rate of decline of Arctic sea ice could reduce (temporarily they emphasise) making predictions more complicated. This is a clear tendency in climate science research. The more we know the more complicated it gets as the science takes one further away from simple alarmism.

The researchers give three references to support their statement that arctic sea ice has declined “steadily” since the late 1970s “one of the most visible indications of human-induced global warming.” Those references are the latest IPCC report, a 2012 paper in Geophysical Research Letters that says it finds a “physically plausible” strong correlation between Arctic ice and atmospheric CO2 concentration. The third reference is a 2008 Geophysical Research Letters paper. A lot has happened since 2008!

This paper is far from the first to examine the influence of natural cycles on the extent of arctic ice. Curiously I note a 1999 article in Science by Richard Kerr that asked “Will the Arctic Ocean Lose All Its Ice?” Kerr notes the decline in area which is put down to the Atlantic Oscillation (AO) – a seasaw change in wind patterns. Kerr speculates, “If it’s natural fluctuations in polar climate, then the loss of arctic ice should eventually reverse. But if global warming from greenhouse gasses is at fault, the entire ice pack should eventually disappear.”

Thanks to the PDO predictions of future arctic ice will be more difficult. It will be interesting to see what happens to arctic ice especially in the context of its recent winter minimum stalling.

Some recent work on historical arctic ice extent should also be at the back of our minds when thinking about the future of arctic ice. Some recent work suggests that there was a dramatic decline in arctic ice in the 1930s and 1940s with a minimum in 1936. And how deep was that minimum? About 50% of the minima seen in 2012.

Feedback: david.whitehouse@thegwpf.com

5) Charles Moore On A Letter The FT Apparently Didn’t Like
The Spectator, 6 May 2016

Fighting on another front, the FT wrote a spunky leader last week attacking those who would muzzle climate change sceptics. Following this up, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, on whose board I sit, wrote a letter to the FT, from its chairman, Nigel Lawson, and others. ‘We agree,’ said the letter, ‘that when it comes to global warming “the stakes are so high that all arguments must be heard”. Regrettably, however, the FT has not lived up to this precept… The GWPF has published more than 50 thoroughly professional papers and reports as a thoughtful contribution to a (still one-sided) debate, not one of which has ever been addressed in the FT.’ The letter was sent last Wednesday. At the time of writing, the FT has not published it.

Letter to the editor of the FT (re ‘Climate change sceptics must be able to speak out’)

To: letters.editor@ft.com – 27 April 2016

Sir,
We welcome your recent editorial (25 April) criticising those who are trying to muzzle sceptical scientists and stifle open debate. We agree that when it comes to global warming ‘it is precisely because the stakes are so high that all arguments must be heard.’ Regrettably, however, the FT itself has scarcely lived up to this precept. Your editorial claims that many of the arguments made against action on climate change are “foolish, dishonest, or both.” Maybe so (although you provide no example). But many more are not. The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has published more than 50 thoroughly professional papers and reports as thoughtful contributions to a (still one-sided) debate, not one of which, so far as we are aware, has ever been addressed in the FT.

Yours sincerely,

Lord Lawson
Lord Donoughue
Lord Fellowes
Rt Rev Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester
Sir Martin Jacomb
Peter Lilley MP
Baroness Nicholson
Graham Stringer MP

6) Professor Anastasios Tsonis Joins GWPF Academic Advisory Council
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 5 May 2016

The Global Warming Policy Foundation is pleased to announce that Professor Anastasios Tsonis has joined the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council.

Dr Tsonis is an American atmospheric scientist and distinguished professor at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His research focuses on the study of climate dynamics and global change. His work has led to the Tsonis criterion, a research method bearing his name.

The GWPF Academic Advisory Council is composed of scientists, economists and other experts who provide the GWPF with timely scientific, economic and policy advice. It reviews and evaluates new GWPF reports and papers, explores future research projects and makes recommendations on issues related to climate research and policy.

The other members of the GWPF Academic Advisory Council are:

Professor Christopher Essex (Chairman)
Sir Samuel Brittan
Sir Ian Byatt
Professor Vincent Courtillot
Professor Freeman Dyson
Professor David Henderson
Christian Gerondeau
Dr Indur Goklany
Professor William Happer
Professor Terence Kealey
Professor Deepak Lal
Professor Richard Lindzen
Professor Ross McKitrick
Professor Robert Mendelsohn
Professor Ian Plimer
Professor Paul Reiter
Dr Matt Ridley
Sir Alan Rudge
Professor Nir Shaviv
Professor Philip Stott
Professor Henrik Svensmark
Professor Richard Tol
Dr David Whitehouse

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