Saturday, October 13, 2007

Terence Corcoran in the National Post Writes Gore's Prize "A Coup For Junk Science"

The Nobel prize used to be awarded to outstanding people. But when it was awarded to the likes of Yassir Arafat, I knew that it was suffering dementia ..... - Editor

Terence Corcoran wrote in the National Post ....

"A Coup For Junk Science"

"Gore's 'truth' Nets Nobel Prize

Global warming theory has been in political and scientific trouble for some time, but who knew it had sunk so low it needed a boost from the Nobel Peace Prize committee?

Rescuing and rewarding the obscure and the absurd has been a Nobel sideline for some years. The award has gone to half a dozen fringe movements and futile causes (the Gameen bank, Mother Teresa, nuclear disarmament, land mine activists, peace negotiators), ineffectual United Nations agencies and personalities (including KofiAnnan and the UN itself ), occasional warmongers (Yasser Arafat), plus an international assortment of minor and woolly-headed players on the world stage (Wangari Masthai, Jimmy Carter).

Onto this heap of forgotten causes and marginalia the Nobel has just tossed Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN's official climate science group. What a blow the award must be to the IPCC, self-proclaimed home of scientific rigour, to now be lumped in with Reverend Al and his Travelling Snake Oil Road Show and Climate Terror Machine.

If history is any guide here, the IPCC is now doomed to slide into obscurity, joining the list of similarly feted UN agencies that beaver away in relative obscurity and ineffectiveness, their Nobels rotting on shelves: The International Atomic Energy Agency (2005), United Nations peacekeeping forces (1988), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (1981), the International Labour Organization (1969) and the UN Children's Fund (1965).

The first task of the IPCC now, one would think, is to craft a statement disavowing any link with Gore, whose film and book, both titled An Inconvenient Truth, deserved a Nobel for science fiction rather than peace. Not that the IPCC is squeaky clean on the science of climate accuracy. Even the Nobel committee's statement on the IPCC captured the agency's primary role as political shaper of opinion and builder of consensus. IPCC scientific reports have "created an ever-broader informed consensus" about man-made global warming. The Nobel committee said it wanted to "contribute to a sharper focus" on climate change around the world.

Due to the timing of the award, that sharper focus may end up highlighting the gross scientific inaccuracies in Gore's work, thereby making millions of people wonder about the validity of climate science -- and the Nobel -- rather than rush to join its crusading proponents.

Just hours before the Nobel announcement, Gore was busy spinning his way out of a devastating United Kingdom court case that found nine substantial science errors in the film version of An Inconvenient Truth.

The nine errors, listed on Page A19 of this newspaper, are truly major. But Gore's office, in true political form, tried to turn the science disaster into victory, claiming he was "gratified" that the U.K. court had not totally banned distribution of his film in British schools. Instead, it would have to circulate like a package of cigarettes, with a warning label: Children watch this movie at peril of being politically manipulated by Al Gore into thinking what they are watching is true.

This is fine with Gore, apparently, because the mistakes were only a "handful" amid "thousands of other facts in the film."

First of all, there are not thousands of facts in the film, except in the metaphysical sense. It is a fact that the world is presented as a globe floating in space, and a fact that Al Gore's wife looks pretty good in a sweater in the book version. But these are not the facts in dispute. The nine errors are core buttresses that support the whole hysterical narrative in the film and the book.

I don't have the film here to review, but the book is at hand, and it would have to be ripped to pieces to remove the science mistakes found by the court, whole sections removed and key narratives and innuendos thrown out as invalid. There would be nothing left.

The first theme of An Inconvenient Truth is that climate change is already devastating and that "very dramatic changes are taking place." On that page in the book, and the next three, are pictures purporting to show that the snows of Mount Kilimanjaro are disappearing. Not true, said the court.

Twenty pages later, a foldout graphic claimed to show 650,000 years of proof that carbon levels in the atmosphere cause temperatures to rise. Not true, said the court. The chart actually shows temperatures increased first, then carbon levels rose. In the film, this sequence alone consumes maybe five minutes, a clever turning point in which Gore mounts a ladder to demonstrate soaring carbon levels and make other false claims.

Pages of photos are built around Katrina and other hurricanes, which the court said cannot scientifically be pinned on global warming.

And so it goes through the book, each of the nine errors a pillar supporting hundreds of subsidiary claims that are now suspect, if not downright wrong. The untrue claim that Chad Lake, in Africa, had disappeared is used to mount an argument that global warming is leading to civil war and genocide in Africa.

The wildly exaggerated sea-level rise in the film and the book is not a small error of fact. It's the basis for a 10-page spread on how "THE MAPS OF THE WORLD WILL HAVE TO BE REDRAWN," showing Florida, Manhattan and San Francisco under water. Pages are devoted to species losses that are not happening.

The question on everybody's mind yesterday was whether the Nobel will spring Gore into the U.S. presidential race. Not a chance, I'd say. The young Al Gore pictured on in reality looks more like the John Travolta character from Hairspray. He is no JFK, as the Gore backers like to think. For more than a year he has refused to engage in any public debate over climate issues, or any issue for that matter. He's hardly ready for public exposure and scrutiny, and would get eaten alive by real opposition and challenge.

Given his science gaffes, and his political liabilities, the Nobel may be more of a liability, not just to Gore but to the entire global warming community. The prize has elevated junk science, gross exaggeration and outright misrepresentation to high international stature, the most prestigious award in the world, discrediting all who work honestly to find the facts and do the right thing."

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