An Inconvenient Truth: blurring the lines between science and science fiction

Abstract

Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth gives a variety of unusually biased interpretations of the state of climate science and global warming theory. These cover a wide range of natural events and processes which could potentially be impacted by global warming, but which the movie misrepresents as clear examples of the human influence on climate. A few examples include the mixing up of cause and effect in his graphical portrayal of temperature and carbon dioxide variations over hundreds of thousands of years; the repeated depiction of ice calving from glaciers as a sign of global warming; the implication that Hurricane Katrina was the fault of humans; and the particularly extreme view that the Greenland ice sheet will melt, flooding coastal cities worldwide. Ultimately, all of these are related to the widespread perception that scientists have uniquely tied global warming to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The real inconvenient truth is that science has no idea how much of recent warming is natural versus the result of human activities.

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Correspondence to Roy W. Spencer.

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Spencer, R.W. An Inconvenient Truth: blurring the lines between science and science fiction. GeoJournal 70, 11–14 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-008-9129-9

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Keywords

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Climate
  • Glacier
  • Global warming
  • Hurricane
  • Sea level rise
  • Severe weather