While former Vice President Al Gore did his best to limit his exposure to serious critiques in today's Congressional hearings, a scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) says "he cannot hide from the various mistakes, misstatements and outright falsehoods in his movie and books on global warming."
"The inconvenient truth for Gore is that there is significant evidence that human activity is not the driving force behind climate change," said NCPA Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett. "Conversely, the policy prescriptions Gore promotes are likely to do considerable harm to the economy while having little impact on the climate."
According to Burnett, there are several instances where Gore is out-of-step with science.
For example, Various scientists report the earth has gone through a number of warming and cooling periods that were entirely natural, and that solar activity is most likely the driving force behind global warming. Over the past 500,000 years, warming has consistently preceded increases in greenhouse gases by hundreds and even thousands of years, and at other times, the earth's temperature has declined for millennia while greenhouse gases continued to rise.
In his movie "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore implies that human-caused global warming is instigating a decline in the snow pack on Mount Kilimanjaro. However, according to studies in the International Journal of Climatology and the Journal of Geophysical Research, the retreat began in the late 19th century - before most human greenhouse gases were emitted. It is largely due to the decline in precipitation (snowfall) on the mountain, as a result of the clearing and burning of the rainforests at its base for agriculture.
The movie also implies that human-caused global warming poses a threat of extinction to polar bears. Yet polar bear populations have thrived in warm periods in the past and current polar bear numbers have increased dramatically, from around 5,000 polar bears in the mid-century to between 22,000 and 25,000 today. Most polar bear populations are either stable or increasing.
Gore has implied that in the near future global warming threatens to melt the glaciers of Greenland and the Antarctic Ice Cap raising sea levels between 20 and 40 feet, swamping coastlines and creating 200 million refugees. However, the 2007 IPCC report provides a high estimate of only 17 inches of sea level rise in the next century - less than half its previous high estimate. And a 2005 study in the Journal of Glaciology by a NASA scientist concludes the glacial loss is occurring slowly: 0.05 millimeters on average per year. At that rate, it will take a millennium for the oceans to rise 5 centimeters (roughly 2 inches) and 20,000 years to rise a full meter.
"A simple search of the hundreds of peer reviewed articles addressing climate issues belies his claim of a scientific consensus," said Burnett. "Almost every day a new report comes out citing scientists raising concerns about Gore's overstatements, radical exaggeration of the evidence and politicization of climate science."