Cover Art Tells a Story — But Is it True

I’m a fan of irony.  I was in a video store recently, when I wondered by the documentary section…and there it was, Al Gore’s DVD cover, dripping with irony.

The cover says it all.  Smokestacks galore billowing smoke ….and then the smoke morphs into a hurricane.  An Inconvenient Truth, catchy title.

Carbon dioxide, the villain in Mr. Gore’s film is nearly odorless and colorless.  Factories billowing smoke on the cover and throughout the film are mostly billowing water vapor and/or air pollution depending on the source.  Some carbon dioxide is present, but since it is colorless it is not visible. All throughout the film carbon dioxide and air pollution are equated to each other, a factual error, emphasized by the cover.

The film is full of dirty polluting factories.  Factories can pollute…but if the pollution is visible, it is the more traditional air pollution we all love to hate.  Carbon dioxide is a green house gas, visible air pollution usually is not a green house gas. Most visible air pollution cools the planet.

Visible air pollution by definition is not colorless.  The visible haze block some light. This causes more of the suns energy to be reflected back to space without ever reaching the earth’s surface.  Just about everybody …including Mr. Gore’s friends at the IPCC, acknowledge that this form of pollution is a cooling event.

Air pollution looks bad….and marketing is all about appearance.  Never let facts get in the way of a good story.  All throughout the film, we see polluting factories and then the subject of carbon dioxide appears…it is a classic bait and switch..they really are two very different subjects.

I spent another post discussing the Katrina Hurricane.  It was a monumental mess.  Many politicians made mistakes.  Poor human behavior deserves credit for the mess that was New Orleans in 2005.  A category 3 storm adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico.  Sounds like normal weather to me if we can classify the last 100 years or so as normal.  Mother Nature  being Mother Nature.

In its 2007 Synopses, the IPCC said that there was not enough evidence to draw conclusions about global warming and hurricanes.    And they like to draw conclusions.

The inconvenient truth about science is this, truths are rare indeed.  Science is a process and in that process the facts of the day change with knowledge.  The title of  the film is catchy and successful, but is it truthful?

Remember, we are talking about long range world wide weather forecasting  combined with assumptions about energy use.  These predictions go 100 years into the future.  How well would you have done in 1890, predicting energy use for the year 2000.


When the UN wrote their first climate report in 1990, they were beginning a process that predicted the climate in 2100, two years later.  Who knows what our energy mix will be a hundred years from now.   Not you, not me and  not Al Gore.  Nobody knows!

I’m sorry….truth is just the wrong word.

The business of climate science is one giant scientific wild ass guess.  Mr. Gore appears to think anybody that doubts is being fooled or foolish.  Maybe, but I’d take the other side of that bet, anytime.  With so many variables, and so many unknowns, success is far from assured.  Doubt is the smart play!

In the film Al Gore uses a quotation from Mark Twain to discredit his opponents.

What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know; it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so”

The title of the piece, firmly puts Mr. Gore in the we know for sure camp.   Maybe it just ain’t so.


One response to “Cover Art Tells a Story — But Is it True

  1. “The inconvenient truth about science is this, truths are rare indeed. Science is a process and in that process the facts of the day change with knowledge.” Love this. Great post.

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