Well, He’ probably right in general but the question really wasn’t posed correctly by Leslie Stahl.
Al Gore’s position is that not only is global warming occurring, but that it is being accelerated at an alarming rate which is being caused by humans, and that greenhouse gases, primarily in the form of carbon dioxide, which are being produced by humans, are creating that acceleration.
In support of his contention which is being sold wholesale … no … at full retail in the form of his book … to the public, is the consensus of scientists who concur with his hypothesis.
The only problem with a consensus of scientists being in agreement is that it only takes one scientist being right to prove the rest wrong. Think about that.
The controversy that Leslie Stahl was alluding to in her interview with Al Gore was not really Dick Chaney’s doubts about global warming … which gave Al a good sound bite … but the fact that during this period of time that the CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels have been rising so dramatically according to Gore and the consensus of scientists, global temperatures have actually been decreasing. That’s right. Since 1998, global temperatures have actually been decreasing.
According to Gore and the consensus, as CO2 levels increase global temperature will increase and, since CO2 levels have increased more rapidly recently, global temperatures should be correspondingly increasing more rapidly … the greatly expounded greenhouse gas effect … creating a crisis for humanity in the near future. Therefore, we need to take dramatic and draconian actions to protect humanity from itself since humans are the cause of the rapidly increasing CO2 levels.
Except … it isn’t happening that way. CO2 levels are increasing and the temperature has been decreasing, the opposite of what has been touted. The “controversy” that Leslie Stahl was alluding to isn’t really a controversy at all. It’s based on substantial data which basically brings into serious question the entire contention of Al Gore and a lot of scientists who are starting to look like they have egg on their face.
Al Gore is pushing a hypothesis which is based on computer models of climate change which aren’t being supported by current data. Al Gore just doesn’t want to admit he might be wrong and Mother Nature just isn’t cooperating with him.
CO2 is, all of a sudden, being vilified as some noxious agent which is going to kill all of us and the environment.
Let’s think about it for a little bit and review some of that basic science we were taught in school. Humans, and other animals, inhale O2, oxygen, and exhale … that’s right, CO2, carbon dioxide, while plants absorb CO2 and give off O2 … a nice, mutually beneficial cycle.
What has also been documented but has totally gone under the radar of Gore and this concensus of scientists is the fact that, as the CO2 level has increased, the rate of plant growth has correspondingly increased.
Plants are critical to our survival … for that balance in nature that we need. Rain forests are a significant factor in this balance and need to be protected and better managed since they have covered significant portions of the earth’s land mass. But … land mass is only a small portion of the earth’s surface. More critical is the part of the earth’s surface which is covered by water. And … water contains algae … which, like land plants, absorbs CO2 and produces O2. Marine plant life plays a more critical role in the CO2/O2 balance.
Global warming has been going on since the Ice Age. Humanity has adapted,increased and prospered. The warming hasn’t occurred in a straight line. Hopefully , children are still being taught about Washington crossing the Delaware River which was almost frozen over during a period frequently referred to as the Mini Ice Age. I can remember when scientists were swearing that the world was cooling back in the 1970’s. I can also remember frequent snowfalls in the 1950’s in middle Georgia as well as yearly ice storms in the early 1960’s.
Weather changes and the climate is changing. Hurricanes occur with a cyclic frequency. Are they getting worse? Look at the historical reports of hurricanes on the Atlantic coast during the 1700’s and 1800’s to find the answer to that question.
I appreciate Al Gore’s reference to the world being flat, but he may have it pointed in the wrong direction. In spite of Viking expeditions to North America which were generally unknown outside of their culture and possible earlier Phoenician trans Atlantic voyages, also unknown to 15th century Europe, the conventional wisdom … that consensus of contemporary scientists … was that the earth was flat. And one person proved them wrong.
When scientists form a consensus, a red flag should go up … especially when opposing views are ridiculed and suppressed … because the scientists have stopped being scientists … because it’s always the responsibility of the scientist to question, doubt, prove … question, doubt and try to disprove … over and over again … period. That is the only way that science advances.
Al Gore isn’t a scientist … and he’s promoting “bad” science, pseudo-science … and worse than that he’s ridiculing the true scientists … the people that are questioning the validity of his hypothesis. It’s their job, their responsibility as scientists.
The world is warming and where it will stop, no one really knows. Humanity does need to change it’s ways to protect the world we live in, but rich people like Al Gore “buying carbon credits” so he can go his merry way while the less financially fortunate return to living in unlit caves isn’t necessarily the best answer.
The American public needs to be ever diligent for egocentric demagogues who claim to have “the answer” and scientists who form a “consensus”.
I recall a science class that I took. On the first day of the course, the professor told all of us to “just sit and listen” … and began lecturing … for 50 minutes. We then took a ten minute break and returned for the next hour of the lecture. The professor began by saying, “What I told you during the last hour was what was true last year. Now I’m going to tell you what’s true this year. Start taking notes.”
I’ve never forgotten that lesson.
All the scientists in the world agreeing on something which isn’t proven can’t make it a fact … an irrefutable truth. One scientist with irrefutable facts proves a truth.