Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Inconvient Truth help

  1. Mar 23, 2007 #1
    I need some help on some homework questions on the movie An Inconvient Truth. I have a few questions that I wasn't able to answer when the movie was on since I had to finish some of my homework for that class. I was just wondering:
    What arguments do people usually make to try and prove that global warming is not happening? (4 answers)+ How does the film debate these points of view and prove them wrong? (4 answers)

    If someone could help me with this, it would be really great and nice of them. Thanks!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2007 #2

  4. Mar 23, 2007 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Here is a long list of what's incorrect in the movie. I've posted some of them, the article has even more. Go to the link I provided.

    Hope this helps.

    "But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore's central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

    ''I don't want to pick on Al Gore,'' Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. ''But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.''

    <snip> "While reviewers tended to praise the book and movie, vocal skeptics of global warming protested almost immediately. Richard S. Lindzen, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has long expressed skepticism about dire climate predictions, accused Mr. Gore in The Wall Street Journal of ''shrill alarmism.''

    <snip> "''Hardly a week goes by,'' Dr. Peiser said, ''without a new research paper that questions part or even some basics of climate change theory,'' including some reports that offer alternatives to human activity for global warming.

    Geologists have documented age upon age of climate swings, and some charge Mr. Gore with ignoring such rhythms.

    ''Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,'' Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. ''Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.''

    In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore's claim that ''our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this'' threatened change.

    Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to ''20 times greater than the warming in the past century.''

    Getting personal, he mocked Mr. Gore's assertion that scientists agreed on global warming except those industry had corrupted. ''I've never been paid a nickel by an oil company,'' Dr. Easterbrook told the group. ''And I'm not a Republican.''

    Biologists, too, have gotten into the act. In January, Paul Reiter, an active skeptic of global warming's effects and director of the insects and infectious diseases unit of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, faulted Mr. Gore for his portrayal of global warming as spreading malaria.

    ''For 12 years, my colleagues and I have protested against the unsubstantiated claims,'' Dr. Reiter wrote in The International Herald Tribune. ''We have done the studies and challenged the alarmists, but they continue to ignore the facts.''

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...2fGore%2c%20Al [Broken]

    The article does give him credit for the effort he's expending, however misguided that may turn out to be. People say "well, it can't hurt to do something. If it's the wrong thing, yes it can hurt.

    While not everything Gore says is completely wrong, too much of it is wrong. We honestly just don't know enough about what is happening.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  5. Mar 23, 2007 #4

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Evo, that is only one person's version of the truth. Gore claims to pull from thousands of scientists.


    I suggest that you look to the major scientific institutions as a source.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2007
  6. Mar 23, 2007 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    No, those are actual facts that the movie got wrong. Gore's own website has printed retractions and corrections on some of the things in the movie and book that were wrong, although I haven't bothered reading his website.

    My friend the climate scientist saw the movie and said it was ok if viewed as entertainment.

    Movies aren't known for being extremely factual.

    It would be wrong to say there isn't global warming going on, we are nearing the end of the current warming period and approaching the next ice age. Of course man made pollution has contributed to warming. What we don't know is how much and what effects they may or may not have. The bit about the hurricanes was wrong and was quite an embarrassment. They still do not understand what is driving the increase and decrease in storm activity, the dire predictions a group of scientists made about ocean surface temperature increases causing increased storm activity actually ended up being the opposite over most of the world's oceans
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2007
  7. Mar 23, 2007 #6
    It's most definitely not one persons view and if the truth ratio is to measured to the claim, the roll call stops at http://climatesci.colorado.edu/2007/03/09/how-many-climate-scientists-were-involved-with-writing-the-2007-ipcc-statement-for-policymakers/ [Broken]

    Exposing another inconvenient l** erm inaccuracy

    But science is no democracy. How many Galilei's were required to get the Earth out of the centre of the universe?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  8. Mar 23, 2007 #7


    User Avatar

    You can check the thread I started the day I saw the movie

    But to help your questions:
    No body says global warming is not happening. If they are, pretty much everybody thinks they're wrong. But there is definitely some funny stuff going on. http://home.wanadoo.nl/bijkerk/lower-troposphere.gif [Broken]

    The debate is about if or it is caused by human CO2 emissions.

    These are normally called "global warming skeptics," (or "deniers," of the absolute truth, presumably), and are most often falsely called "he doesn't believe in global warming."

    Things skeptics normally say are:
    1. CO2 does not correlate as closely as we think to temperature
    2. It has to do with the sun more, which is usually taken as a constant even though we know it isn't.
    3. Humans are rather insignificant, volcanos produce more CO2 than all the trains, planes, cars, and factories put together. Animals and bacteria are estimated at 152 gigatons, that's vs. 6.5 gigatons for human artificial emissions, and the ocean is the largest emitter.
    4. Carbon dioxide is not at pollutant.
    5. Water vapor is actually the strongest and most important greenhouse gas (GHG)
    6. The environment in almost every aspect is much too complicated for us to understand, even though it seems a lot of the time the scientists act like they understand everything completely.
    7. We are in "State of Fear."
    8. Global warming has become a politicized science.
    9. The environmental movement is part a political movement, and does and has always based itself on politicized science.
    10. Those who have the highest desire for the acceptance, approval, love, and ultimately the leadership of the group, show this by brave, heroic behavior against a threat; if there is no threat, they create a threat and tell people that they will protect the threat from them. The media is happy to report on threats and scary and worrisome things incessantly because people now seem to go to the news for some twisted form of sensational entertainment. A lot of what you hear about in the news which has the phrase "global warming" or "climate change" in it is part of this exaggerated, fact-twisted, sensational press.
    11. Al Gore is an idiot
    12. In the movie he kind of laughs about "now skeptics will mention this 'Medieval Warm Period,' and points to the tiny, almost unnoticeable bump on his graph." He uses a version of "The Hockeystick." This one to be precise (if I remember correctly) http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/USAToday060602.jpg [Broken] On physicsforums we've talked about it plenty before, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=127482
    13. Al Gore uses a linear, not logarithmic projection for what CO2 will do to the temperature. You can see the differences between here and here, but if you'll remember from school, a linear graph has a constant slope. A logarithmic graph is going to have a constantly diminishing slope, like how an exponential curve has the same constantly rising slope:
    http://junkscience.com/Greenhouse/calc_lin.html [Broken]
    http://junkscience.com/Greenhouse/calc_log.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  9. Mar 23, 2007 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It's the cows.

    "According to a new report, cows may be one of the biggest contributors to global warming on the planet."

    "The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in a report called "Livestock's Long Shadow," says, "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."

    "The findings of this report," it says, "suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity."

    "Methane, while less prevalent in the air than carbon dioxide, is 23 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas, the FAO report says.

    Do some math, the authors say, and you find that livestock is responsible for 18 percent of the world's greenhouse gas problem."


    So, what is Al Gore's position on cows? Do we ban cows on earth by the year 2010? :biggrin:
  10. Mar 23, 2007 #9


    User Avatar

    The environmentalists haven't seemed to get the idea that the easiest way would just be to kill as many of our cows as possible and switch over to the CO2-consuming, plants in our diet.
  11. Mar 23, 2007 #10
  12. Mar 23, 2007 #11
  13. Mar 23, 2007 #12


    User Avatar

    As much as I don't like Fox News, the original question reminded me of this:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  14. Mar 24, 2007 #13
    Andre and Evo can give you lots of deniers' argument, but you might watch the flim again to see how Gore debates them. Arguments against the film itself, of course, are not part of your assignment, although you could include them. You could also address the reasons for denying that human consumption is the main cause of global warming.

    In any field of science you can find contrary arguments if you look hard enough. The deniers have given up trying to convince us that the Earth is warming; now they are trying to convince us that it's natural. Their arguments don't really have to stand up, because they are trying to create doubt in public opinion, not to convince the scientific community of anything.
  15. Mar 24, 2007 #14
    Surely the amount of ongoing pollution must be having some contribution to the planet's ailments? To take the opposite view that all is well, despite all our abuse of our planet, & that we are not contributing to some kind of problem, is surely naive.

    If Al Gore is able to prompt folks into some level of pro-action, then, more strength to him. I sincerely doubt that all, or even most scientists, will ever agree on anything, let alone global warming.

  16. Mar 24, 2007 #15
    Inconvenient Truth? Movie Errors.

    Originally Posted by babaloo

    Hi Babaloo,

    The following is in reply to your question, but probably not the answers you asked for. The movie “An Inconvenient Truth” is not a scientific presentation of the facts. Scientists know some basic statements in that film are absolutely incorrect or misleading.

    1) Can the proxy record of CO2 levels in ice sheet cores, be used to prove changes in CO2 levels caused the observed changes in planetary temperatures?

    The movie “An Inconvenient Truth” shows a graph of past CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and states incorrectly that the planetary temperature changes were solely due to the change in CO2 levels. Correlation does not prove cause and in this case there is not direct correlation. There is an 800 year lag when the planet warms until the CO2 levels rise and visa versa. As the equilibrium level of dissolved CO2 in the oceans is dependent on temperature, when the oceans warm CO2 levels rise and visa versa. CO2 in terms of climate change, was in the past a lagging factor and could not have possibly have driven the temperature changes.

    CO2 does through the greenhouse effect, help to keep the planet warm. The scientific question that researches are trying to answer and have not as yet answered, is: What is the saturation point, where further increases in CO2 levels has less and less effect on planetary temperature? The IPCC report assumes a positive feedback mechanism were increases in global temperature, supposedly due to increasing C02 levels (could also be due to solar changes), are amplified, by increased levels of water vapour in the atmosphere. It is this positive feedback mechanism and what has caused the 20th century warming that is controversial.

    2) Are there any other possible explanations as to why global temperatures have risen in the 20th century? Yes.

    If there are other factors that could have caused a significant portion of the observed 20th century warming, then CO2’s affect on planetary temperature will be less than estimated by the IPCC.

    Also the IPCC assumption that there will be positive feedback to amplify global warming would also be incorrect. There is evidence from other sources that there is negative feedback rather than positive feedback due to changes in cloud processes, which helps to stablize the planets temperature. (Inhibits heating or cooling.)

    There is also proxy data that shows that 17 Myra the planet was warm -no ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere - when CO2 levels were about the same as current levels before anthropogenic increase, about 280 ppm. In addition there have been periods when the ice sheets occurred when the CO2 level was high.

    In the 20th century rising CO2 levels have occurred concurrently with rising planetary temperature however there is not direct correlation. (i.e. There is unexplained cooling in the 1970’s) There is however direct correlation with the parameter Ak which measures the affect of changes in solar activity on the geomagnetic field and the 20th century changes in the planetary temperature.

    A) 20th century Changes in Solar Activity

    The solar large scale magnetic field has more than doubled in the last 70 years, and solar activity in the 20th century is at its highest level in 8000 years. For example from the paper:

    Doubling Sun’s Coronal Magnetic Field in Last 100 years


    These changes in the solar activity have been shown to closely correlate with changes in planetary temperature. For example from the paper by Georgieva, Bianchi, & Kirov “Once again about global warming and solar activity” That shows there is 95% correlation of the solar activity parameter Ak and planetary temperature.


    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  17. Mar 24, 2007 #16
    Congratulations Bill, you just have made it to the list for nominations of the prestigious Lysenko award. I suggest working on the fallacies a bit more, because the competition is tough
  18. Mar 27, 2007 #17
    Cause of Global Warming?

    Hi BillJx,

    The film Andre referred to, is much better than I had expected. (See attached link). It presents facts to support the case that solar variation, not CO2 variation is causing the 20th century warming. It presents interviews scientists and presents results from current research, to support that assertion.

    Global conservation and long term thinking, is not being questioned. Practical and real means to protect the environment are not being questioned.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  19. Mar 27, 2007 #18


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I havn't seen the movie and am certainly no expert is this field. However I am shocked and saddened by the wording of this question. You could substitute any piece of science into this question (i.e. be asking about Galileo, electron, relativity, genetics whatever) and the message this question is giving about the nature of science is all screwy.

    What do they teach them in schools these days :frown:
  20. Apr 1, 2007 #19


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    That seems like a leading question with a bias that implies that one set of views is wrong.

    A better (neutral) question would be - "How does the film challenge these points of view?"
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook