Environment

New York Times Slams Gore...

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyMar 13, 2007 2:05 PM
inconvenient_truth%20poster.JPG

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

...and frankly, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. Let me be clear: I have seen An Inconvenient Truth, and I found it almost entirely accurate. Gore has done a tremendous job of drawing attention to this issue and he gets the science right by and large. But my question as a point of strategy has always been: Why include the 1 to 5 percent of more questionable stuff, and so leave onself open to this kind of attack? Given how incredibly smart and talented Al Gore is, didn't he see this coming? Alas, I've already shown how Gore overstepped on the relationship between global warming and tornadic activity (something the Times piece curiously omits, as this is a clear cut-case and an obvious opportunity to show the IPCC itself contradicting Gore). The treatment of hurricanes in An Inconvenient Truth is also problematic, as James Hansen himself notes in the current Times piece:

Still, Dr. Hansen said, the former vice president's work may hold "imperfections" and "technical flaws." He pointed to hurricanes, an icon for Mr. Gore, who highlights the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and cites research suggesting that global warming will cause both storm frequency and deadliness to rise. Yet this past Atlantic season produced fewer hurricanes than forecasters predicted (five versus nine), and none that hit the United States. "We need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is," Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Gore. "On the other hand," Dr. Hansen said, "he has the bottom line right: most storms, at least those driven by the latent heat of vaporization, will tend to be stronger, or have the potential to be stronger, in a warmer climate."

I recently picked up a print copy of An Inconvenient Truth. Paging through the section on hurricanes and global warming, I also found some problematic passages. If I get time, I may have more on this....

P.S.: For contrary views, see Real Climate and Dave Roberts at Gristmill. I have to say, I'm a bit surprised that these blogs do not explain why James Hansen himself might be questioning how Gore depicts the hurricane issue--which, unless the quote is wrong, Hansen is indeed doing.....

P.P.S.: John Horgan, writing over at the Stevens Institute of Technology Center for Science Writings blog, points out something else interesting: Andy Revkin is the Times' global warming ace, but he didn't write this story. William Broad did. "What fascinates me about Broad's stories is that they seemed to at least implicitly contradict the view of global warming purveyed by his Times colleague Andrew Revkin," writes Horgan. He wants to have the two over to debate....

AND YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Nisbet also has an entry you should read on this. Meanwhile, let me add a point of my own: If I'm a bit critical of Gore, even though I think he's almost 100 percent accurate on global warming, it's because I really do approach the hurricane subject differently in Storm World. I can't say any more about that yet because it's still a good while until the book is out. But perhaps this helps explain my approach....

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.