Al Gore isn't even honest about his own movie.
By JAMES TARANTO
WSJ.COM 8/22/13: In case you've forgotten, "Al Gore was vice president of the United States from 1993-2001." The Washington Post's Ezra Klein delivers that news in setting up an interview with Gore, who is known these days mostly as an alarmist advocate of global warmism.
Gore uses the interview to claim vindication for his 2006 "documentary," "An Inconvenient Truth": "You mentioned my movie back in the day. The single most common criticism from skeptics when the film came out focused on the animation showing ocean water flowing into the World Trade Center memorial site.
Skeptics called that demagogic and absurd and irresponsible. It happened last October 29th, years ahead of schedule, and the impact of that and many, many other similar events here and around the world has really begun to create a profound shift."
The reference is to Hurricane Sandy, a Category 2 storm when it struck the Northeastern U.S., flooding parts of New York and New Jersey, including downtown Manhattan. (Sandy peaked in the Caribbean as a Category 3 storm. By comparison, 2005's Hurricane Katrina went as high as Category 5 and made landfall at Category 3.)
|Al Gore, alarmist movie star|
But if we roll the film--which is less than scintillating, but the clip lasts less than 2½ minutes--we find that what Gore predicted in "An Inconvenient Truth" was something far direr than a storm and a flood. He predicted that lower Manhattan--along with vast and heavily populated swaths of Florida, California, the Netherlands, China, India and Bangladesh--would be permanently submerged owing to higher sea levels.
"Think of the impact of a couple of hundred thousand refugees when they're displaced by an environmental event," Gore intoned in the movie. "And then imagine the impact of 100 million or more." And then keep imagining. While Sandy caused severe temporary disruption and wrought an unusual amount of damage because it happened to hit a population center, it was not different in kind from other natural disasters. Lower Manhattan was soon dry again.
Klein didn't ask the obvious follow-up question, but maybe he never saw "An Inconvenient Truth." After sitting through 2½ minutes of it, we can hardly blame him. But even if Klein was unaware of Gore's deception, surely Gore knows what he said in his own movie--which is to say that it is impossible to summon any doubt that he deliberately misrepresented its content.
In a New York Times op-ed today, physicist Adam Frank bemoans what he sees, not implausibly, as a decline in public respect for science. One of his observations is worthy of Fox Butterfield: "In 1989, when 'climate change' had just entered the public lexicon, 63 percent of Americans understood it was a problem. Almost 25 years later, that proportion is actually a bit lower, at 58 percent."
After a quarter-century of wildly alarmist predictions that have failed to pan out--often with specific dates now in the past--we'd say the five-point decline Frank cites is dismayingly low. And while Al Gore isn't a scientist, the Climategate scandal showed that some scientists are no more scrupulous than he is.
"What has been lost," Frank writes, "is an understanding that science's open-ended, evidence-based processes--rather than just its results--are essential to meeting [mankind's] challenges." Just so. It has been lost in no small part because scientists and others claiming the authority of science have given their political objectives priority over the patient empiricism of the scientific method--and even, as in Gore's case, over basic veracity.