Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wherein I do what Al Gore will not

Admit that I (inadvertently) overstated something.

Jay Bullock points out that the news reports of the decison of the Queen's Bench in Dimmock v. Secretary State for Education and Skills are inaccurate in that the court was not charged with identifying errors per se. Having now looked at the opinion (as opposed to reading the news reports), I think it was wrong to say that the court required fixing "inaccuracies." The film may be rife with inaccuracies, but that wasn't the question before the court. Thanks to Jay for pointing that out. I know that news reports often get court decisons wrong and almost always read the primary source before referring to them in this blog. I should have done that this time as well.

But the larger point stands. What the judge did do was test the film against scientific consensus as measured by the report of Gore's co-recipient, the IPCC. He found areas where Gore departed from the report. Now you can say that there were "only" 9 but, as I said in my earlier post, these tend to be the money points; the ones that claim an impending apocalypse. For example, here's what the judges said about a claim regarding coastal flooding:

This is distinctly alarmist, and part of Mr Gore's 'wake-up call'. It is common ground that if indeed Greenland melted, it would release this amount of water, but only after, and over, millennia, so that the Armageddon scenario he predicts, insofar as it suggests that sea level rises of 7 metres might occur in the immediate future, is not in line with the scientific consensus.

This is, as I have blogged in the past, reflective of a problem with the "global warming movement" generally. Having made the dubious point that challenging scientific consensus amounts to some type of irrational "denial," it engages in a game of bait and switch by trying to extend that consensus to include these alarmist claims that supposedly justify more extreme policy repsonses.

I am not in the "global warming is a non-issue" camp, but I do keep reading these very well reasoned treatments of the issue which suggest that trying to project climate is extremely difficult and that the net effect of greenhouse gases is far from clear. There seem to be powerful arguments that policy responses that supress global prosperity will cause more harm than climate change and may even interfere with what may be the most effective responses to technological advances that may be the most effective response to climate change. I blogged about one here.

But this is a conversation that Al Gore does not want to have. The earth has a fever and while he cannot be bothered to give up even one of his houses, the rest of us better hunker down. Nice champion you have there.

No comments: