Criticisms of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"

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Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth became a big part of the British secondary educational landscape when it was made part of the official curriculum. This was big victory for those who feel the world is in imminent danger because of anthropogenic global warming. However, the High Court of London recently said "not so fast." Steward Dimmock sued under Section 406(1)(b) of the Education Act 1996, claiming that the movie is a form or political indoctrination. That law says that school governing bodies and head teachers "shall forbid... the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school".

The court ruled that 1.) in order to show this movie to the children teachers must make clear that the film is a political work and promotes only one side of the argument. 2.) If teachers present the film without making this plain they may be in breach of section 406 of the Education Act 1996 and guilty of political indoctrination. 3.) Nine inaccuracies have to be specifically drawn to the attention of school children.

I will use these nine cited inaccuracies as a jumping off point for my criticisms of An Inconvenient Truth, both the book and film. These nine inaccuracies are:

  • The film claims that melting snows on Mount Kilimanjaro evidence global warming. The Government’s expert was forced to concede that this is not correct. more...

  • The film suggests that evidence from ice cores proves that rising CO2 causes temperature increases over 650,000 years. The Court found that the film was misleading: over that period the rises in CO2 lagged behind the temperature rises by 800-2000 years. more...

  • The film uses emotive images of Hurricane Katrina and suggests that this has been caused by global warming. The Government’s expert had to accept that it was “not possible” to attribute one-off events to global warming. more...

  • The film shows the drying up of Lake Chad and claims that this was caused by global warming. The Government’s expert had to accept that this was not the case. more...

  • The film claims that a study showed that polar bears had drowned due to disappearing arctic ice. It turned out that Mr Gore had misread the study: in fact four polar bears drowned and this was because of a particularly violent storm. more...

  • The film threatens that global warming could stop the Gulf Stream throwing Europe into an ice age: the Claimant’s evidence was that this was a scientific impossibility.

  • The film blames global warming for species losses including coral reef bleaching. The Government could not find any evidence to support this claim.

  • The film suggests that sea levels could rise by 7m causing the displacement of millions of people. In fact the evidence is that sea levels are expected to rise by about 40cm over the next hundred years and that there is no such threat of massive migration.

  • The film claims that rising sea levels has caused the evacuation of certain Pacific islands to New Zealand. The Government are unable to substantiate this and the Court observed that this appears to be a false claim.

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A Semi-Empirical Approach to Projecting Future Sea-Level Rise," Rahmstorf, Science, Vol 315, 2007

Rahmstorf's sea level rise rate vs.T does not fit a line
Time for sea level to reach equilibrium is not millennia
Rahmstorf extrapolates out more than five times the measured temperature domain