Tone it Down a Bit, Mr. Gore--and Everyone Else
Former Vice President Al Gore is very educated on the subject of global warming. He makes a good presentation. It is interesting, then, that many of his associates are encouraging him to reduce the amount of exaggeration they think he is using. Non-US entities are staking an ever stronger claim that much of the warming we see is natural. It people on both sides of the issue would tone it down, we could have a much more productive debate.
Many scientists and others praise Al Gore for his having raised our consciousness with regard to global warming and how it might affect climate change. I suppose I am one of those people.
But some of those same people think he should tone down his rhetoric somewhat, considering parts of what he claims as either exaggerated or erroneous.
They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.Many global warming advocates admit that it is not clear what is causing global warming. So-called "global warming opponents", as well, admit that global warming is happening--they just don't think man is the cause.
"I don't want to pick on Al Gore," Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. "But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data."
Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Gore for "getting the message out," Vranes questioned whether his presentations were "overselling our certainty about knowing the future."
Typically, the concern is not over the existence of climate change, or the idea that the human production of heat-trapping gases is partly or largely to blame for the globe's recent warming. The question is whether Gore has gone beyond the scientific evidence.
Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.
An Investor's Business Daily editorial states (rather caustically):
Hardly a week goes by without a new research paper questioning the assumption that carbon-spewing humans are the cause of global warming. Many blame solar activity instead. Because such reports don't fit with the left's anti-industry agenda, they've been buried in the debate.
Most recently, National Geographic News cited new NASA data showing that ice caps near Mars' south pole have been melting due to milder temps on that planet, too.
As far as we know, no Martians drive SUVs. Or run factories. Or do anything else that could produce evil "greenhouse gases." So what could be warming the two planets simultaneously?
"The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," concludes the head of St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia.
In 1991, before Al Gore released his first book, Earth in the Balance, the Danish Meteorological Institute released research indicating that the earth warms in conjunction with increases or decreases in solar activity.
If people on both sides of the debate could tone their acts down and admit when they don't know that they don't know, we'd get to the bottom of this issue much more quickly and with far less headache.