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Calling All Science Teachers

Filed under: — group @ 15 January 2007

“An Inconvenient Truth,” the Davis Guggenheim documentary on global warming starring Al Gore’s presentation on the subject, provides an accurate, engaging, accessible, thought-provoking and (at times) even humorous introduction to one of the most important scientific issues of our time ( see our review of the movie). In some countries, viewing “An Inconvenient Truth” has actually become a required part of the science curriculum, and with good justification, we think. Given that the DVD is currently selling for $19.99 through, you’d think that the National Science Teachers’ Association ( NSTA) would jump at the chance to quickly get 50,000 free copies quickly into the hands of their members. Yet, when Laurie David, one of the producers of the film, made this offer to NSTA last November, it was summarily turned down on the grounds that the NSTA has a 2001 policy against “product endorsement” (as if Laurie David were trying to shop some new deodorant to high school science teachers). What in the world is going on here?

Before continuing with the history of NSTA’s bizarre decision, let us provide you with the most important information: Up to 50,000 US science teachers can receive a free copy of the DVD by filling out a simple request form here . The deadline for requesting your copy is January 18, so if you want a copy, take a few minutes to put in your request right away.

Laurie David described her correspondence with the NSTA in a Washington Post Op-Ed, where she notes that an email sent to her by NSTA invoked not only the product endorsement issue, but also a fear that distributing the film would place “unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters.” David goes on to point out that one of these supporters is in fact ExxonMobil (whose efforts to spread confusion about climate change are described in a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.) Is NSTA for sale? Did concern about losing ExxonMobil funding lead to NSTA’s timidity about accepting the donation of the DVDs?

The NSTA responds to David’s charges here , pointing out among other things that they offered to sell David the NSTA’s commercial mailing list and that the email to her regarding the fundraising issue was unauthorized. We ourselves find the NSTA’s defense unconvincing. While it is impossible for us to know the extent to which ExxonMobil funding has compromised NSTA’s objectivity on global warming, a perusal of the NSTA web site shows that their teacher resources are rather short on support for teaching about the fundamental science of global warming. This contrasts strongly with their in-depth support for the teaching of Evolution. Indeed, the NSTA’s “compromise” of providing a link on their homepage to the independent DVD giveaway strikes us as uncomfortably similar to placing a sticker on a biology textbook disclaiming Evolution as “Theory, not Fact.” Their willingness to link to the giveaway without providing it directly to their members conveys a distinct impression that the film is somehow tainted.

Doing a search on “Global Warming” on the NSTA site turns up only a paltry supply of useful educational material. It is also illuminating to go into their “recommendations” section and type in “global warming.” That will turn up this recommended book by Kenneth Green, a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute whose article Clouds of Global-Warming Hysteria in the National Review endorsed Michael Crichton’s view of global warming and called supporters of climate change action “One-worlders and other socialist sorts.” Needless to say, the NSTA recommendations (as of today) did not turn up “An Inconvenient Truth” either in its DVD or book form. Nor did it turn up Revkin’s book directed at juveniles “The North Pole Was Here,” nor any of the other scientifically respectable introductions of which we are aware

Perhaps the NSTA policy has not been compromised by its funding sources, but it will have to work a lot harder to convince us. The best way it could do that would be to bring their support for teaching about global warming up to the same standards as their support for teaching about Evolution.

Meanwhile, there have been scattered reports of outright censorship of “An Inconvenient Truth” in the classroom. In a widely reported case, one Seattle school district has essentially banned the film. We have also heard from a science teacher in a populous East Coast state, who was forbidden from showing the film after some parents complained that in fact the earth was “cooling, not warming.” (We have been asked to keep this teacher’s identity confidential so as to prevent reprisals). Hopefully these are isolated instances. We are eager to hear from our readers, not only on the issue of censorship of the film, but also with regard to their experiences with teaching about human-caused climate change in the K-12 classroom (and the extent to which “An Inconvenient Truth” has proved a useful tool).

198 Responses to “Calling All Science Teachers”

  1. 101
    SecularAnimist says:

    Lee Morrison wrote: “Showing schoolchildren only one side of a controversial subject is proselytizing – not educating, and shouldn’t be allowed.”

    Global warming is not a “controversial subject” any more than evolution is a “controversial subject”. There is nothing whatsoever “controversial” about the scientific content of An Inconvenient Truth. Those who claim that there is “another side” to this issue — that there is a “controversy” about the scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming — are lying, or have been duped by liars. It’s as simple as that.

  2. 102
    matt says:

    Thanks Dr Rabbett I was pretty sure this was the case however I raised the issue as it is a fav amongst denialists, not to mention the optical limitations due to the carbon look like a pretty thick bandwidth anyway on most astronomy sites. I suspect this was a matter of scale that i was viewing the site. Anyway I should have known this, back to my spectro i’ve got 45 minutes before my shift is up and i’ve spent all night reading this post

  3. 103
    Andrew Sipocz says:

    The sea level rise toy severely underestimates land loss in the U.S.A. Gulf Coast area at least. I think this is probably due to the area’s extreme flatness and that the model uses NASA elevation data. Jim Titus of the US EPA has a good publication here on land loss and sea level rise.

    For example, very little of Galveston Island in Texas is more than 5 feet(1.5m) above sea level and almost none of the non-elevated portion (the City itself lies ontop of fill material) of the Island is above 10 feet MSL (3m). Yet even 4 meters of sea level rise according to the “toy” leaves much of the Island remaining. The EPA’s model (Titus) uses topographic maps as its base data source. There is a link to these maps for the entire U.S. coastline at the web site.

    However, even the EPA model underestimates land loss in my opinion. For example, most of the Everglades in Florida is nothing more than a thick layer of peat sitting on a limestone base. Most of the base itself is below sea level and even a small rise in sea level could cause degradation of the peat mat and catastrophic land loss.

    In my part of the world we ran a huge experiment to determine the effects of catastrophic sea level rise. The Cities of Houston and Texas City pumped out so much ground water that an area about 80 miles (128 km) in diameter sunk up to 15 feet (4.5m). Areas along the sea were devastated. I don’t have links on hand, however google Houston Galveston Area Subsidence District or USGS Subsidence Report and you’ll find some great resources about this event. Generally, more land was lost to erosion versus direct inundation. For example, SE Texas’ beaches retreat inland about 1,500 feet (455m) for each foot (0.3m)of sea level rise. The take home message. Reports on land loss due to rising sea levels present severely conservative land loss estimates in my opinion and someone needs to develop a model that takes shoreline erosion and movement into account.

  4. 104
    Rod B. says:

    re Comments: Moderators, I tried a post here a couple of days ago which evidently didn’t make it. I realize you guys do way more stuff than to spend time with this, but… any insight if I (inadvertently) violated the Comment Policy? or anything else?


  5. 105
    Victor Amoroso says:

    It is funny that a website that supposedly prides itself only scientific objectivity posts an article about the lack of DVD’s about global warming getting to students. Al Gore’s movie, (and it is his movie, the movie would be nothing without him) is a propaganda hit piece, and should not be shown to anyone under the collegiate level. Younger students lack the ability to see through the propaganda. There could be a new course, Film Propaganda, where An Inconvient Truth is shown with Farienheit 9/11 and Reefer Madness are shown.
    Why is Gore’s movie propaganda? The first clue is the constant repetition of the scientific “consensus” surrounding global warming. Even if this were true (which it is not) this is a subtle ploy to eliminate debate that its claimaints cannot win. Why? Science is not consensus, but only fact. Facts are not determined by agreement, but through the scientific method. In no part of this method is agreement necessary. Therefore, the only reason that one would claim consensus is to “prove” that their claims were correct, since it would fail the stronger standard derived from the scientific method.
    My earlier post on the Artic ice article begin to poke at several gaping holes in the Climate Change paragon. There are even more holes, if one is willing to look for them. To find some of them, told far better than I can, search for a paper presented at the Washington Roundtable on Science and Public Policy by William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University.
    All in all, cheap propaganda should not be placed in our schools. The city of Seattle has it right. We should applaud them.

    [Response: Quite right – facts are established through the scientific method. But who is to judge whether scientific data and conclusions are really convincing? I would argue the most critical and able judges for that are the scientific colleagues, trained in the field and always looking to find a weak spot in their competitors’ arguments. So once a consensus arises on a particular issue, this means that practically all colleagues, including the most skeptical ones, have become convinced that the scientific data are indeed compelling. That’s not a proof, but it is definitely a pretty strong test for a scientific case being solid. -stefan]

  6. 106
    Julia R says:

    You might be interested in Vice President of the Federal Way School Board’s (David Larsen) response to the hub-bub in the Seattle Times this morning, justifying and clarifying his position.
    The inconvenient truth about School Board’s film decision

    Here’s an excerpt explaining why he believes the issue is controversial:

    I am not an atmospheric scientist so I will not venture on their turf, but the global-warming issues include the following: What is the cause of global warming? Do humans contribute to global warming? To what extent? What does the future hold?

    We need only to look in our own backyard to find that our official state climatologist and the official Oregon state climatologist agree and disagree on many of the above issues to varying degrees. On some issues, they are polar opposites.

    I wish he would actually name the climatologists he’s referring to so I could research their published papers and positions. But I’m afraid Mr Larsen and company come off as woefully uneducated on the subject. The reasoning seems weak and he seems to have been easily influenced by the contrarian press.

    [Response:The guy is George Taylor. Tenured but not a professor at Oregon State University, designated head of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU, but the Oregon State Governor’s office has stated: “George Taylor doesn’t represent the governor’s office, and he doesn’t represent the state of Oregon.” His counterpart in Washington, Phillip Mote,”surmises that Taylor is guilty of looking only at data that support his views, while discarding the rest.” Taylor has a Master’s degree in meteorology and has published 3 research papers in peer-reviewed journals in the last 17 years. It gets better, you can read lots more here. David]

  7. 107
    Dan says:

    re: 99. Regarding the water vapor trend, you might be interested in these:

    1. “Century of data shows intensification of water cycle but no increase in storms or floods”
    “A review of the findings from more than 100 peer-reviewed studies shows that although many aspects of the global water cycle have intensified, including precipitation and evaporation, this trend has not consistently resulted in an increase in the frequency or intensity of tropical storms or floods over the past century. The USGS findings, which have implications on the effect of global climate change, are published today in the Journal of Hydrology.”
    “A key question in the global climate debate is if the climate warms in the future, will the water cycle intensify and what will be the nature of that intensification,” said USGS scientist Thomas Huntington, who authored the study. “This is important because intensification of the water cycle could change water availability and increase the frequency of tropical storms, floods, and droughts, and increased water vapor in the atmosphere could amplify climate warming.”
    For the report, Huntington reviewed data presented in more than 100 scientific studies. Although data are not complete, and sometimes contradictory, the weight of evidence from past studies shows on a global scale that precipitation, runoff, atmospheric water vapor, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, growing season length, and wintertime mountain glacier mass are all increasing.

    And 2.
    “Global changes of the water cycle intensity”.

    [Response: Tom Huntington talked about this paper here last year: – gavin]

  8. 108
    SecularAnimist says:

    Julia R wrote in #104: “But I’m afraid Mr Larsen and company come off as woefully uneducated on the subject.”

    Well, this is after all an administrator who apparently thought it was a legitimate request that any presentation about the scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming be given equal weight with the belief that the Earth is 14,000 years old, and with Biblical prophecies about the “end times”.

  9. 109
    Steve Reynolds says:

    >David’s response: On a similar line, on Tuvalu, the limit point was salt water incursion into the groundwater preventing agriculture.

    Has this been attributed to AGW? I thought the amount of sea level increase (at least so far) due to AGW was very small.

    [Response:I’m not sure whether there’s a local subsidence at Tuvalu. It could be. There was an island in the Ganges River delta which washed away a few weeks ago, which definitely sank largely because of lcoal subsidence. David]

  10. 110
    Dan Allan says:

    Back to the topic:

    I think I’m a bit of a contrarian here, but I can’t really get offended about not using A.G.’s AGW movie in the science classroom.

    First, even if the movie is entirely fair and objective, let’s face it, he is a partisan (although I share most of his views), and moreover, not a trained scientist in the field. It is only natural that his presentation will meet with resistance.

    Second, I do think a graph showing a linear, rather than logarithmic, correlation between future C02 increase and temperature increase, is at best unfortunate. If the denialists were to present a similarly misleading representation, I think RC-minded folks would be pretty quick to jump on it, and justifiably so.

    Third – and I apologize for my lack of references here – but it didn’t seem to me that a couple of Gore’s claims regarding impacts of AGW were somewhat hyperbolic (correct me if I’m mistaken). If we are going to mention that heatwaves will be more frequent and more intense, shouldn’t we also note that cold snaps will be less frequent and less intense? And that polar amplification, in addition to the fact that the temperature change will have greatest effect on night-time low temperatures, means that heat-wave impacts might be less catastrophic that might appear to be the case at first blush? I’m also uncomfortable with claims of up to 1 million extinctions by 2050. I admit that I haven’t read the science behind this, but where does this number come from? How can attributions regarding any extinction be made with confidence, when they all probably involve multiple factors, and when, even apart from AGW, human habitation and pollution has put such extroardinary stresses on ecosystems.

    [Response: With regard to Gore being a “partisan” it is a sad state of affairs when people will ignore a truth just because of who is saying it. Maybe that’s reality, but it’s not justifiable or right, and the NSTA sullies itself by going along with it rather than fighting it. In the film, Gore did not use a linear extrapolation of temperature vs. CO2, so that comment is unfair. A linear extrapolation of temperature with CO2 would mean if you double CO2 you double temperature (i.e. since the physics works in Kelvins, that would mean doubling CO2 takes us from about 285K to about 570K — ouch!). Gore did not do that. He showed a graph which showed CO2 and temperature going up and down in concert over the Pleistocene. Like his continental drift analogy this TELLS YOU MAYBE SOMETHING IS GOING ON that requires further study. The conclusion he is hinting at — that CO2 plays a big role in the warming coming out of an ice age and the cooling going into it — cannot be inferred from the graph alone, but is a fair description of the results of the other science that has been done on the problem. This is, in my view, a scientifically legit use of the graph to condense a lot of information and motivation into a short segment. As for “hyperbole”, what Gore is doing is just what Judge Posner (a Reagan appointee to the bench) advocates doing in public policy when there are potentially catastrophic consequences: paying more attention to the really bad things that might happen, rather than hoping that things work out OK. For Gore to be justified, there doesn’t need to be a certainty of these things, just a realistic possibility. –raypierre]

  11. 111
    Ron Taylor says:

    Re 105

    For starters, yes, science is based on facts. But there has to be agreement about the meaning of those facts. When that happens, it is a scientific consensus. There is a consensus about the meaning of the facts related to global warming. Note that consensus is not the same thing as unanimity. As in an earlier post, I urge you to do some background reading on this site.

  12. 112

    I did see several responses about the ice core temperature – CO2 lag.

    Indeed, CO2 lags temperature with 600 +/- 400 years for a glacial-interglacial transition and with many thousands of years at the start of an ice age. As there is an overlap (a transition needs 5,000-15,000 years), this allows climate models to include a (huge) feedback of CO2 on temperature. But are the models right in this case?

    First some point from engineering: If there is a lag between a gliding change (temperature) and a lagged (positive) feedback (from CO2), after the lag time, the feedback would influence the original change, by speeding up the first and when the maximum is reached, some overshoot should be visible. None of this is true if you plot the temperature/CO2 data of the last LGM-Holocene transition from the Epica Dome C ice core. CO2 simply follows temperature, without any visible influence on it.

    Next, there is one period in the Vostok ice core, where the lag of CO2 is thus large, that temperature (and methane levels) reached its minimum and ice sheet buildup its maximum, before CO2 levels start to decline. The subsequent decline of 40 ppmv in CO2 level has no measurable effect on temperature (within the accuracy of the measurements). See:
    This points to a small influence of CO2 on temperature (for a 40 ppmv change).

    Thus the ice core temperature-CO2 correlation doesn’t tell anything about the influence of CO2 on temperature. And projecting the pre-industrial trend on the current higher CO2 levels is not appropriate…

    [Response: Ferdinand, you have not understood (or may not have read) anything about the interpretation of the CO2 ice core and temperature record we have written on RealClimate, and certainly not what has been published in the literature. Used carefully in conjunction with a bit of physics, the record provides a very valuable confirmation that the Earth’s sensitivity to CO2 is really in the range of that of the models. What you have written above is just nonsense, and it is nonsense we’ve gone over here many times before. –raypierre]

  13. 113
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    I sort of agree with old Frosty re “in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn’t in the DVD.”

    My main complaint with the film was that Gore did not mention anything about potential positive feedbacks leading to much greater warming, and possibly a mass extinction level epoch. While scientists have to be cautious in their claims, requiring 95% certainty, environmentalists, potential victims, and people lving in the world can and should look at less certain dangerous possibilities. Now, of course, when runaway warming maxima does hit earth in some billions of years, everything will burn up (it’s just not much of a concern right now), but even during runaway warming minima (if it happens this time around) things could get a lot hotter than implied in Gore’s film.

    I didn’t take the film as political strategy at all (though that may have been a minor consideration), but more like an apology for not speaking out more during his vice-presidency and campaign. Gore is a very decent gentleman. I know Gore worked hard to make government energy efficient – to the tune of saving us tax-payers over a $billion a year (one of two back page stories about global warming to get into the Chicago Trib in 1995, the same year scientific studies were coming in at 95% certainty re AGW). And I realize the vice presidency is more “behind-the-scenes,” but I think he does probably regret not speaking out more (also during his campaign) on this most important (hot-potato) issue. Also, I’d like to thank Gore for his EARTH IN BALANCE, and daring to tell Ted Koppel that GW-denialists are getting money from fossil fuel industries — leading to Koppel’s pro-con Nightline program, “Is Science for Sale” (disputing Gore’s claim), sponsored by Texaco, showing that at least the media are for sale.

    So the fact that the film was pretty conservative in its claims should make it excellent for those tender minds; they can learn about runaway warming in college.

    And BTW, there is another film about GW that could also be used in school, though I haven’t seen it and don’t know how good it is (I read it’s making the rounds of churches). Can’t remember the name.

  14. 114
    SecularAnimist says:

    In the film and in his recent speeches, Gore expresses what I would characterize as “optimism” that humanity can, and will, change its fossil-fuel-burning ways and prevent catastrophic warming. Perhaps a “can do attitude” is a more appropriate characterization than “optimism”.

    So, in order to present students with a “balanced” view of the subject when An Inconvenient Truth is shown in schools, perhaps the students should also be given a presentation of the pessimistic view of James Lovelock and others who believe it is probably too late to prevent a global catastrophe, and that humanity has no future.

  15. 115
    Susan says:

    I discussed AIT with three classes of tenth graders and some mixed groups of grades 9-12. One of the first observations was about Al Gore was a sore a looser and that they felt he should have left the footage of event surrounding the 200 election out of the film. They felt it affected his credibility. I didn’t go into this in depth with the students because I wanted to get by that issue and ask what they had learned from the film about science. I have no clear idea about why the students zeroed on that except that kids (and adults) as research shows are drawn toward things that provoke an emotional response. Knowing the population at my school I would guess that 80-90% of the parents voted for Gore in 2000 so this is not a political thing. I was not responsible or showing the video. If I had shown it as part of a science class I would have prepared certain activities that would have focused on the science but still allowed the students to question what they were viewing since I would always like to them to be skepitcal.

    As for the NSTA bashing, I have been a member of the NSTA for almost 20 years. It is an extrmemly valuable resource for science teaching. I (a rabid environmentalist) have never felt that they are pushing a political agenda (unless you think that opposing the teaching of intelligent design in the school as a political issue). As science teachers we all have choices about what to present in out classrooms and view any materials with an eye toward validitiy and bias. I have used the materials with opposing bias’ in lessons and I’m glad they are available. I may be unique in that regard and maybe the issue that should be discussed is how we prepare science teachers, lack of quality science teachers, and lack of funding for quality educational materials. Attacking the NSTA, when the video is available through other venues that they have published on the their website, very inexpensively for purchase, and probably for rent at video stores is petty.

    [Response: Nothing would have gotten 50,000 copies into science teachers’ hands faster and more effectively than simply distributing it through NSTA. This would help make up for NSTA’s nearly complete lack of attention to the global warming issue. You can draw your own conclusions about the reasons NSTA has been so unhelpful to teachers regarding global warming. What matters to me is that the NSTA change this, and start helping teachers teach about the issue. If they continue to be as unhelpful as they have been, I, and a lot of people, are going to start thinking that NSTA’s critics are right about their having been scared into submission by their funding sources. What I say to them: Make my day — prove me wrong. Meanwhile you can take a look at the history given in , and say whether you think criticism of the NSTA is petty. –raypierre]

  16. 116

    Scotland just decided to make the DVD available to all public secondary schools and to encourage them all to show it. Educators in the schools are saying they won’t just be showing it out of context but will build it into the curriculum and use it as one resource amongst many to address climate change. Scottish Power, one of the largest energy suppliers, is covering some if not all of the cost of distributing the DVD to schools.

  17. 117
    Sr. El Bryzck says:


    It’s a good film but it is not the only game in town. Tom Brokaw’s show on the Discovery Channel was far more appropriate for the science classroom.

    [Response: The Brokaw/Discovery Channel documentary was excellent, and would be very useful in the classrom. Perhaps someone in this forum can provide a link to where this can be purchased. -mike]

    Comment by Drake Milton � 15 Jan 2007 @ 6:43 pm

    Check this link

  18. 118
    Craig Allen says:

    Re: #112

    Has anyone ever come up with a scientifically plausible mechanism whereby atmospheric CO2 concentration could go up and global average temperature not go up (and if so then any evidence that the mechanism actually operated to create the observed lags)? Given that the basic physics behind the CO2 – temperature relationship is said be rock solid, it seems to me that anyone insisting on the contrary must by sitting a some research or insight that is going to be scientific dynamite when they get around to publishing it.

  19. 119
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re # 115
    Susan, I suspect the comments of your high school students about Gore being a loser are a reflection of the current American culture – if you are not the winner, of American Idol, Survivor, the Superbowl, the Presidency, whatever, you are a loser and basically scum. This attitude seemed to get its start a decade or two ago with the presentation of trash-talking on television shows aimed at young people. But, it has permeated political talk shows and certain cable “news” shows, etc. As other posters have noted on this thread, since the 2004 U.S. presidential election, it has been virtually impossible to hear Al Gore’s name associated with anything other than losing the election. Even if teenagers aren’t watching Hardball with Chris Matthews, Meet the Press, or the Fox News Channel, they hear the comments about Gore and that is the message that sticks with them – he is a loser. Sad but true.

  20. 120
    Kathleen Stringer says:

    I showed AIT to my students a few days after it came out on DVD. Most of the 11th graders were and shocked. It scared the fool out of my 9th graders. Their response was that “the movie was boring in a good way”.
    They asked me why I showed them the movie. My response was that as a teacher this was the single most important piece of relevant science that I could give them for the entire year. They needed to know how Global Warming would affect them. In 50 years I’ll probably be dead and they will be the ones living on the earth. What I found most surprising was one parent who refused to allow her daughter to watch “that piece of political propaganda”.
    I followed the movie up with a day of discussion & information from the October 2006 Scientific American article on Mass extinction. A few weeks later we watched a Nova Science Now had web based video on mass extinction. Maybe something clicked because many students have started to brag about how they are recycling at home now. I’m proud of them.

  21. 121
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re # 83 I have to question your assertion that “Climate Catastrophe Cancelled” was produced “in association with the University of Calgary.”


    “Calgary Foundation, University of Calgary Launder Oil Industry Donations
    12 Aug 06
    A report in the Globe and Mail (Canada’s reputable national newspaper), reports today on the slick funnelling of oil industry money into an astroturf campaign to attack climate change science…

    The following excerpt explains how (the group is question is called the Friends of Science and “Mr. Jacobs” is a retired oil-explorations manager who is one of the group’s founders).

    “There was plenty of money for the anti-Kyoto cause in the oil patch, but the Friends dared not take money directly from energy companies. The optics, Mr. Jacobs acknowledges, sould have been terrible.

    This conundrum, he says, was solved by University of Calgary political scientist Barry Cooper, a well-known associate of (Canadian Prime Minister) Mr. (Stephen) Harper.

    As is his privilege as a faculty member, Prof. Cooper set up a fund at the university dubbed the Science Education Fund. Donors were encouraged to give to the fund through the Calgary Foundation, which administers charitable giving in the Calgary area and has a policy of guarding donors’ identities. The Science Education Fund, in turn, provides money for the Friends of Science, as well as Dr. (Tim) Ball’s travell expenses, according to Mr. Jacobs…”

    As a graduate of the University of Calgary, I know full well that it has benefitted from Alberta’s oil industry. But I’m quite confident the Science Education Fund and Friends of Science do not reflect any official position of the university as a whole, nor do they reflect the views of the majority of the U of C faculty (esp. the science faculty) on the subject of AGW. And I’m willing to be the U of C had no formal involvement with “Climate Catastrophe Cancelled.”

  22. 122
    Lisa says:

    I showed this video to my science classes while we were studying heat. I had a few students who completely shut down when Gore made the joke about being the former next President of the United States. In their mind, that joke was not only in poor taste but dishonest and therefore, they couldn’t trust anything else he had to say.

    MY students were much more interested in the power point presentation than in the personal stuff.

    I wish they would make a version of just the slide show.

  23. 123
    Eli Rabett says:

    Ray, I think you were selling Dan Allan a red herring there. Since without a greenhouse effect the temperature of the earth would be ~ 255K, doubling CO2 in a completely linear response would only move global temperature another 30 degrees or so to what, 315 K. Hot enough when you remember that that is an average. Move it up to 560 and you will cook the water out, leaving Venus II.

    [Response: It depends what he meant by linear extrapolation of temperature. I have no idea what he had in mind, and was just making a guess. Even going with your guess,you’ve haven’t taken ice-albedo feedback into account. If you took out the CO2, the Earth would go into a Snowball state, and the albedo would drop the global mean temperature to more like 220K. Anyway, neither my (uncharitable) interpretation of what he might have had in mind nor your more charitable one corresponds much to anything Gore actually did in the film. (unless I missed something that went by fast; I haven’t examined the film frame by frame) –raypierre]

  24. 124
    Eli Rabett says:

    Hi, you may prefer these sea level rise maps and animations. The details are here

    I agree that James Titus’ work is a treasure and have said so.

  25. 125
    Regina says:

    Why did you delete my comment of yesterday? I read this website all the time it was a valid comment I am not a crank. I include my email and would appreciate an explanation.

  26. 126
    Charles Muller says:

    # 118 Craig response to #112 Ferdinand
    During a glacial / interglacial transition, orbital / regional forcing is the first input for climate change. As far as I understand, GHGs, ice albedo, vegetation albedo, mineral dust are the feedbacks of this initial forcing and all these feedbacks (not just GHGs) contribute to the 5°C +/-2 °C difference.

    So, the problem is not to deny that an increase in GHGs implies an increase in surface temperature. But to quantify more precisely this link, that is climate sensitivity to GHGs, mainly CO2 for our concern. And climate sensitivity is not really “rock solid physics” for the moment, because water vapour, lapse rate and nebulosity are so difficult to simulate.

  27. 127
    cat black says:

    re #122 [shutdown] That’s really interesting, you know. Al Gore is certainly entitled to state his opinion regarding his own political career (and the shoddy treatment he received from the corporate running dog media) just as James Hansen is entitled to mention his mistreatment at the hands of the Bush administration, as indeed he has and no doubt at the risk of his career. These people have real lives and aspirations and have been personally damaged simply because their message is unacceptable, and their experiences in the face of POWER have in large part driven them to ACT in desperate ways that today educate us to problems both in the presentation of climate change as well as in the politics of governance where science intersects with policy and the corporate agenda.

    Like it or not, the political atmosphere right now is poisonous and anyone who sticks their head up fully expects to be shot down, and IMHO is entitled and even obligated to point out when this happens.

    Now, if a student wants to “shutdown” because the crisis of global climate is tangled up with the politics of corporate greed and political duplicity, then all that tells me is that they’ve already taken sides and are going with the power. Probably cannot be helped, human weakness being what it is, but it means that the challenge we have ahead of us is just that much harder. We do not have another seven generations to get under this issue, we probably don’t even have two generations. What wakes me in the middle of the night is the thought that we might not even have ONE, and that right now is all we’ve got.

  28. 128
    Dano says:

    RE 122:

    MY students were much more interested in the power point presentation than in the personal stuff…I wish they would make a version of just the slide show.

    It’s called personalization and I note that a similar technique is used all the time to persuade. In fact, some, lacking science credentials but writing about science anyway, rely heavily upon the technique in order to persuade for a certain point of view.

    A clue for you might be: if the students shut down, their minds were made up. You being a teacher and all, this may cause you concern and should be impetus to reflect upon how the material is presented and why students’ minds are already made up (ancillary: how effective is the pedagogy if this is the result)?



  29. 129
    Ike Solem says:

    RE#99, etc.

    The water vapor feedback issue was discussed at (Busy Week for Water Vapor, RC) , to quote from a paper on observations:

    “Moreover, the increase in downward clear sky infrared is correlated with an increase in atmospheric temperature, and also an increase in the water vapor content of the surface layer of the atmosphere. Using a simple radiation model, the authors conclude that about a third of the increase in downwelling infrared is due to the increase in atmospheric temperature,and the rest is due primarily to an increase in the water vapor content of the low level atmosphere”

    This example can also be studied using models based on the solid physical notion of dependence of water vapor content on temperature; here’s a recent paper on this: Isaac Held and Brian Soden 2006 which has this interesting statement:

    “In many popular, and in some scientific, discussions of global warming, it is implicitly assumed that the atmosphere will, in some sense, become more energetic as it warms. By the fundamental measure provided by the average vertical exchange of mass between the boundary layer and the free troposphere, the atmospheric circulation must, in fact, slow down. This large-scale constraint has little direct relevance to the question of how tropical storms will be affected by global warming, since the mass exchange in these storms is a small fraction of the total tropical exchange.â��

    This means that the oceans will be absorbing more heat as a direct consequence of the atmosphere getting moister…I think. (I used to implicitly assume that the atmosphere would get more energetic until I read that paragraph… though it can be seen that a planet with a dry atmosphere would have very strong wind patterns – so perhaps “the atmosphere can store more energy as latent heat” is the right phrase – but storms themselves can get more energetic, kinetically.) In any case, it seems that the models and the observations are converging on the issue of H2O in the atmosphere…so the answer to #99 is yes.

    As far as mechanisms for amplifying warming as the world transitioned from glacial to interglacial, there are many possibilities…methane from newly exposed high-latitude peatlands could have played a role – but it seems worth remembering that current rates of atmospheric CO2 increase are far greater (30X) then anything seen in the ice cores.

    To get back to the original topic, the film is perfect for science classes – it shows that physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics are fundamental to understanding the planet we live on, and for the NSTA to refuse to distribute it when they distribute many other films that discuss fossil fuels is ridiculous – assuming that the real intent of that organization is to promote science education, that is.

    Translating these very complex notions into more easily comprehended material is exactly what the film being discussed does.

  30. 130
    Paul G says:

    I am glad the NSTA turned Laurie David’s offer down. She also wanted an endorsement from them, which they don’t do, so David instead had her one-sided diatribe published in the Washington Post.

    To mail a DVD probably costs around a dollar. That multi-millionaire David would refuse to pay the postage to do this implies a stinginess of spirit that runs contrary to her environmental concerns.

    Lastly, that RealClimate (of all places) would entertain only David’s side of the story without publishing any of the NSTA’s response to this David-generated controversy, surprises me. I expected better.

  31. 131

    Re “this is similar to how the increase in atmospheric CO2 in the 20th century has led to an increase in atmospheric H2O vapor, itself a greenhouse gas that is also helping to warm the surface.

    Has it? Could you point me to the documented research showing that atmospheric H2O content actually increased over the last century. Do we really have a reliable network for such measurements, sufficient for drawing statistically valid conclusions?”

    Do a Google search on “Clausius-Clapeyron law.” As the world warms, more water vapor enters the atmosphere, all else being equal.

  32. 132

    Re “Has anyone ever come up with a scientifically plausible mechanism whereby atmospheric CO2 concentration could go up and global average temperature not go up (and if so then any evidence that the mechanism actually operated to create the observed lags)? Given that the basic physics behind the CO2 – temperature relationship is said be rock solid, it seems to me that anyone insisting on the contrary must by sitting a some research or insight that is going to be scientific dynamite when they get around to publishing it.”

    I suppose if you could demonstrate that relative humidity went down as CO2 went up, so that the water-vapor feedback was negative, that could do it. I don’t know what the mechanism for accomplishing that could possibly be, though.

  33. 133
    Doug Watts says:

    Cathy Young’s article in “Reason”. I quote the following:
    “Similarly, those on the left who embrace environmentalism as their substitute religion don’t want to hear about scientific and technological solutions to climate change — from nuclear power to geoengineering, the artificial manipulation of the global environment — that do not include stepping up regulation and curbing consumption.”

    General media quotes like the above are disturbing because they rely upon the classic “strawman” form of argument, ie. grossly distort a person or persons statement, prove the absurdity of the distorted statement, then assert the distortion is equivalent to the unstated and actual position of the victim. Such debating techniques, in my opinion, belie the writer’s own lack of confidence in the factual and logical foundation of their own statements. These are mechanical debating tricks, not sincere attempts to engage in a constructive and respectful dialogue.

  34. 134
    jhm says:

    If it hasn’t been mentioned beforehand, this suggestion by the Weather Channel’s Heidi Cullen is interesting:

    “If a meteorologist can’t speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn’t give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn’t agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns….”

  35. 135
    Sashka says:

    Re: 131

    All else is never equal in reality. Have you ever heard of feedbacks? The question was very specifically asked about observations. Yet you find it appropriate to answer with the reference to the law. How about staying on the subject?

  36. 136
    ghost says:

    It appears to me that the “political” connotation must arise any time human actions impact anything, so any science issue relating to sustainability necessarily is political. I’d be hard pressed to find an area of 21st century science education, at least at the primary and secondary levels, that doesn’t have political aspects. In my view, the “it’s political” rationale for avoiding discussion of AGW and other science issues in schools is lame and is a pretty fair gauge of the poor state of our overall science education in the U.S. I suppose I find it funny that a journalist and educator who also was an elected official should not be allowed to present a science-related program, but some of the opponents are happy to have theologians do it. In a way, Gore as an informed politician is in one of the best positions to address AGW because he has experience with the realities of making change in a discordant society. He also has perspective on AGW’s potential social impact, particularly the prospect of war in a well-armed and increasingly stressed and starved world. I also would venture that anyone who has followed climate change seriously for as many years as Gore has likely would come to his essential position, with some allowance for differences in optimism. It would be an interesting experiment to produce another AIT with the same information but with a different narrator–a younger Charlston Heston, for example–and see what arguments against showing it pour forth then. Maybe the question is whether people prefer the story with the tiger, or the story without the tiger.

    Among the previous comments that bother me the most are these two about/from children: “I detect a growing bitterness among students concerning, not only the misinformation presented in the media in the interests of balance, but the discouraging environmental legacy being left them.” “One quote from a kid: “yeah, well, it really sucks, but nobody’s going to give up their car, so we’re screwed.”” I fear the reaction that could come from that sort of anger on the one hand and fatalism on the other would contribute to a positive feedback loop of increasingly negative consequences. “I wonder if Honorius, watching the Visigoths coming over the seventh hill, truly realized that the Roman Empire was about to fall.”

  37. 137
    Leonard Evens says:

    Re: 122 and Gore as the “former next president of the US”.

    I can’t understand why students would feel this was dishonest. The term “the next president of the US” is used regularly during presidential campaigns. It was regularly applied to both Bush and Gore during the 2000 presidential race by their respective partisans, starting with the conventions.

    Gore’s comment was meant as a wry self deprecating joke about himself, and anyone who lived through that election and the controversy about Florida’s electoral vote would know that. Gore would certainly be within his rights to claim that he should have been president rather than Bush. After all, he did get a plurality of the popular vote. But as far as I can tell, he has never maintained that or publicly questioned the legitimacy of Bush’s presidency since he conceded the election. Of course, some of Lisa’s students may not be up on their history, but, if so, that would have been a good time for her to teach them some.

  38. 138
    raypierre says:

    In looking over the comments of those who have raised some objections to showing A.I.T. in science classes, once I discount the outright Gore-haters and Swift-boaters, I notice two underlying sources of discontent:

    * Gore doesn’t tell the whole story with all its caveats and complications (e.g. with respect to the correlation between ice-core CO2 and temperature, or the juxtaposition of Katrina footage with a general discussion of global warming consequences, or in the use the somewhat speculative (but entirely possible) amplified sea-level rise).

    *The film is not “pure science” but is in part a work of advocacy.

    There is of course some truth in both of these statements, but I believe neither objection is a valid reason for shying away from showing the film in class.

    With regard to the “whole story” point, some readers seem to think we’re advocating that this film be the one and only classroom resource for teaching about anthropogenic global warming. However, nobody is going to learn everything they need to know about the subject from one film, or even on PhD thesis, one IPCC report or one lifetime! Education is an ongoing process, and A.I.T. should be the starting point for further study,not the be all and end all. It’s especially suitable as a starting point since it’s a great motivator, and while it may leave out some caveats, it does a remarkably good job of getting the big picture right and pointing students in the right direction. Anybody pursuing the question of just how exactly to interpret the ice core record will be lead into some very good science and very interesting questions. This contrasts with the outright misleading material put out by skeptics’ organizations, which when followed up lead to dead-ends and bad science.

    With regard to advocacy, well of course there’s some advocacy there. Most of us who have studied the issue seriously can’t help but being alarmed at what is likely to happen to the planet, and this makes it humanly impossible to avoid showing a certain amount of passion about action. Does anybody really think Gore, the producer, the director would make a movie like this just because of some vague curiosity about radiative transfer? No, of course they want you to actually do something, though they refrain from saying just what that should be. That said, the places where advocacy intrudes is more in a matter of tone than actual screen time. It really is mostly about the science.

    But even insofar as there is some advocacy there, why should that prevent showing it in school? Schools and society as a whole are legitimately into advocacy big-time, when there is an important issue at stake. Back in WWII there was that “Is This Trip Necessary” gasoline conservation campaign. Who’s into advocacy in schools more than the abstinence crowd? Or the campaigns against drugs, alcohol or smoking? Or bullying? It’s true one needs to be cautious with what one advocates, hopefully limiting it to advocacy of practices that are actually effective and defensible, but advocating carbon consciousness in students strikes me as every bit as legitimate as advocating avoidance of drugs. There is a legitimate concern about whether the advocacy aspects of A.I.T. make it unsuitable for science classes per se, but that’s a judgement call. I would defend the view that the rather modest advocacy aspect of A.I.T. combined with the inextricable interplay between science and policy issues in global warming make the film suitable for science classes.

    Perhaps the best solution would be to show the film in mandatory assemblies outside science classes, as one reader suggests, and then have follow-up discussions in science classes, history classes, economics classes and even (where allowed) theology or religion classes.

  39. 139
    Gerald F. Wheeler says:

    Anyone not concerned about climate change these days must be living in a not-so-parallel universe. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has been providing material to science teachers for years on this issue, so it was a surprise to find ourselves criticized for not being willing to endorse the DVD, An Inconvenient Truth.

    Promotion was never the issue. We offered the production company a link to NSTA’s website for teachers to request a copy; our mailing list so they could mail the DVD; we would promote the DVD’s availability through our communications channels, , and create an online message board for teachers on climate change. They never responded to any of these.

    It seems that they wanted the NSTA logo on the mailing and mass distribution, which, to my mind, would look like an endorsement. Our Board of Directors, in 2001, passed a no public endorsement policy for three reasons:
    – We would have to hire experts to conduct a peer review for each request;
    – Once we started endorsing, we could anticipate a flood of requests on a wide range of scientific topics; and
    – We’d need more staff just to handle the process, and between staff and process: It’d be a budget buster.

    But this incident has reminded us that it never hurts to review guidelines, so NSTA has asked an expert panel from the environmental, science,and science education communities to audit all of our corporate partnerships over the past five years.

    If you’d like to see how we handled this current issue, please visit

    Gerry Wheeler, Executive Director
    National Science Teachers Association

    [Response: I would have hoped NSTA has some in-house ability to judge the credibility of science on a level that would have made it obvious that A.I.T. is sound science. If your vetting procedures are so fastidious, how did you manage to distribute a 19-part Conoco-Philips funded co-produced video that featured comments by scientifically discredited skeptic Balling? If you are so careful about endorsements, how did you wind up endorsing the book by Kenneth Green, who ekes out his politically motivated agenda at the American Enterprise Institute? It’s incredible that you should be surprised that the NSTA’s reputation should take such a big hit from its decision over A.I.T. You can hardly be surprised that to a lot of the outside world it looks like all excuses and cover-up. That’s all water under the bridge now. The main thing is that, so far as a lot of us have been able to tell by looking around the NSTA web site, the resources provided for teaching about global warming seem to be thin and poorly organized. If they’re there, they are exceedingly hard to find. The important thing is to move forward, and the best way to move forward is to provide a central place on your site where you collect pointers to resources available for teaching about global warming. If you do that effectively, I’m sure that people will forget the gaffe over A.I.T. in a year or two. If funding is short, perhaps BP/Amoco, which at least in its public stance has more credibility on global warming than ExxonMobil, could be cultivated as a source. –raypierre]

  40. 140
    Charles Muller says:

    #129 Ike
    Thanks for the link. As Raypierre explained in his precise comments, observations of Philipona et al. concern surface energy budget, not TOA energy budget. So, this work does not deal directly with water vapour feedback as we discuss it for AGW (but Soden 2005, discussed in the same RC article, is more interesting). I’m going to read Held & Soden 2006 piece. But according to the abstract, it is a model intercomparison, not the observations required by #99 question.

  41. 141
    Mikael says:

    I think this would be a great lesson for Jr/Sr Science classes – if only to watch the movie then discuss/quantify the amount of carbon dioxide Al Gore contributed to the atmosphere with all his airplane flights, limo rides, and fancy computer equipment.

  42. 142
    Brian says:

    I have to say that I am rather disappointed in RC. I would have hoped that “real climate scientists” would choose to pick their battles more carefully. How do you expect to convince any but the hard-core converted of your scientifically based arguments by picking on the NSTA and, by association, on science teachers in general?

    I am sorry, raypiere, but to someone not involved in your little tiff, the “excuses and cover-up” that you refer to appear mostly to be reasonable statements. Furthermore, your continued harping on this point and wild insinuations give the appearance of a fanaticism bordering on paranoia.

    So, what is the casual reader left with? Just this: watch out and toe the party line or the global warming Nazis will come after you. (Perhaps climate scientists fail to realize that there is plenty more science out there than just climate science.) I fail to see how this is a winning position to take.

  43. 143
    SecularAnimist says:

    Brian wrote in #142: “I am sorry, raypiere, but to someone not involved in your little tiff, the ‘excuses and cover-up’ that you refer to appear mostly to be reasonable statements.”

    I believe that the “excuses and cover-up” that raypierre refers to include the fact that while NSTA Executive Director Gerald Wheeler says that NTSA adopted a “no public endorsement policy” in 2001, in 2003, Gerald Wheeler himself acted as executive producer of a 10-part video funded by ConocoPhillips, which promoted fossil fuels; twenty thousand copies of that video were distributed; and an April 2003 news release quotes Mr. Wheeler thus with regard to that project (emphasis added):

    “The partnership between the National Science Teachers Association and ConocoPhillips has produced a very valuable tool for our nation’s science teachers. ‘The Search for Solutions’ video series brings their students vivid, real-life examples of the nature of science and technology, a much-needed resource.”

    Science teacher and journalist John Borowski has also documented that sections of the NSTA website regarding NSTA’s additional “partnerships” with ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute have been removed since Laurie David’s op-ed publicized NSTA’s letter declining to distribute free copies of An Inconvenient Truth because it would upset their “funding sources”.

    “Excuses and cover-up” are an entirely appropriate characterization of Mr. Wheeler’s and the NSTA’s behavior, which as Mr. Wheeler’s comment above illustrates, continues to this day.

  44. 144
    Ike Solem says:

    RE#142… the global warming Nazis? Well, here is NSTA’s response to this issue (via email):

    “Dear Colleague: Thank you for your recent e-mail expressing your opinion about the National Science Teacher Association’s decision in regard to the DVD “An Inconvenient Truth.” We value each and every comment we have received from our members and friends.

    First and foremost, we want to ensure that you have the most current and accurate information about the issue. Ms. Laurie David, producer of AIT, asked NSTA to distribute 50,000 copies of the movie to its members. The NSTA Board of Directors stood by its 2001 NSTA policy prohibiting endorsements and decided not to mass distribute the DVD to members without their consent or request because it would constitute an endorsement.

    As you will see in the letter that NSTA sent to Ms. David on Thursday, November 30, 2006 ( ) we provided her with several options to publicize the availability of the DVD to both our members and the wider universe of science educators worldwide via our communication channels. We also invited Mr. Gore to participate at the NSTA National Conference in March. This information and more is available on our website at We encourage you to read these documents.

    Linda Froschauer
    President 2006-2007
    National Science Teachers Association

    Gerald Wheeler
    Executive Director
    National Science Teachers Association”

    However, NSTA endorses many books and films (see #20, #35, #42, etc.) and did distribute the ConocoPhillips film, in apparent violation of their 2001 NSTA policy prohibiting endorsements. Taken right from the NSTA website, 2003 is this quote:

    “Houston, Texas, April 22, 2003 – ConocoPhillips [NYSE:COP] is continuing a long tradition of promoting excellence in science learning through the newest release of its Search for Solutions video series….The Search for Solutions video series was distributed recently to more than 20,000 science teachers in the United States free of charge.”

  45. 145
    SecularAnimist says:

    Science teacher and journalist John Borowski writes:

    Will 10,000-14,000 teachers return home with more oil and coal propaganda after attending the NSTA national conference March 29-April 1, 2007, in St. Louis? Know this: teachers go to these conferences for ideas and materials. The ongoing joke about attending a NSTA conference is this, “Bring two suitcases: one for your clothes and one for all the freebies!”

    I am an environmental science teacher of 26 years and I have a steamer trunk of materials from NSTA’s past conferences:

    Project Learning Tree’s Energy module, supported by API’s Red Cavaney who wants ANWR opened, opposes the Kyoto Treaty, and wants more public land opened to energy exploration.

    Lesson plans, coloring books, free coal samples from the American Coal Foundation – minus any substantive discussion, let alone mention of climate change.

    Lessons and videos from a group that was called the “Greening Earth Society,” funded by the Western Fuels Association. The message of the film was firm and academically clear: There is no human-induced climate change.

    If NSTA Executive Director Gerald Wheeler is reading the comments posted here, I would like to ask him how the NSTA justifies the distribution of the materials listed above at its conferences, in light of its alleged “non-endorsement” policy dating from 2001?

  46. 146
    Ike Solem says:


    Charles, see comment #22 by Tom Huntington at

    There is plenty of evidence that atmospheric water vapor in increasing. For your convenience from above:

    Held, I.M., and B.J. Soden. Submitted. Robust responses of the hydrological cycle to global warming. Submitted to J. Clim. 2005

    Johannessen, O.M., K. Khvorostovsky, M.W. Miles, and L.P. Bobylev. 2005. Recent Ice-Sheet Growth in the Interior of Greenland. Science 310:1013 – 1016.

    Kundzewicz, Z.W., D. Graczyk, T. Maurer, I. Piskwar, M. Radziejewski, C. Svensson, and M. Szwed. 2005. Trend detection in river flow series: 1. Annual maximum flow. Hydrol. Sci. J. 50:797-810.

    Milly, P.C.D., K.A. Dunne, and A.V. Vecchia. 2005. Global pattern of trends in streamflow and water availability in a changing climate. Nature 438:347-.

    Philipona, R., B. Dürr, A. Ohmura, and C. Ruckstuhl. 2005. Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase temperature in Europe. Geophys. Res. Lett. 32:L19809, doi:10.1029/2005GL023624.

    Schwartz, M.d., R. Ahas, and A. Ahas. 2006. Onset of spring starting earlier across the Northern Hemisphere. Global Change Biol. 12:343-351.

    Soden, B.J., D.L. Jackson, V. Ramaswamy, M.D. Schwarzkopf, and X. Huang. 2005. The radiative signature of upper tropospheric moistening. Science 310:841 – 844.

    Trenberth, K.E., J. Fasullo, and L. Smith. 2005. Trends and variability in column-integrated atmospheric water vapor. Climate Dynamics 24:741-758.

    Zwally, H.J., M.B. Giovinetto, J. Li, H.G. Cornejo, M.A. Beckley, A.C. Brenner, J.L. Saba, and D. Yi. 2005. Mass changes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and shelves and contributions to sea-level rise: 1992-2002. Journal of Glaciology 51:509-527.

  47. 147
    Hank Roberts says:

    Exxon’s PR: Exxon-Backed Pundit Compares Gore To Nazi …

    Mr. Wheeler, would you respond to the comments on the Exxon Valdez program you make available? See #44 above.

    Both for Mr. Wheeler and Ray — seems what’s missing is a module that ought to accompany any program the NTSA offers, whether it’s an industry PR piece or science. That would be “what are the statements made here; where are the cites for them found; what is the quality of the sources used; what are the more recent cites since the program was made; what can we learn from the way science is done on this issue?”

  48. 148
    Sashka says:

    Re: 118

    Has anyone ever come up with a scientifically plausible mechanism whereby atmospheric CO2 concentration could go up and global average temperature not go up

    Lindzen did a lot of work where he tries to show that actual sensitivity to CO2 forcing is a lot lower than what the GCMs suggest. Needless to say, he is not a part of the consensus.

    [Response: Lindzen proposed in the 80’s that convection would adjust the lapse rate more than the moist adiabat would, weakening global warming and eliminating the possibility of runaway greenhouse on any planet. That turned out to be wrong. Lindzen proposed in the 90’s that convection would dry out the troposphere, leading to negative water vapor feedback. That turned out to be wrong. Lindzen proposed (based on exceedingly weak microphysical arguments and even weaker observational evidence) that cloud fraction feedbacks would strongly damp tropical warming. It’s certainly worth working harder on cloud fraction, but so far independent researchers trying to follow up Lindzen’s “Iris” idea have not found any significant support for it and much against it. It’s not utterly impossible, but it’s no more likely (indeed probably less likely) than the possibility that other cloud feedbacks could amplify warming beyond current expectations. The paleoclimate record argues strongly against any pronounced cloud stabilizing feedback. If you like, you can view Lindzen’s IRIS feedback as potentially, as a wild-card, extending the range of forecasts somewhat deeper into the lower end. It does not reduce the prospects that the more threatening higher-end scenarios are right, though. –raypierre]

  49. 149
    Dan says:

    re: 142. Goodness. If NTSA is unable to support the sound science presented in AIT yet has no issue distributing a Conoco-Philips funded co-produced video or endorsing a book with AEI ties, it is essential and vital that actual climate scientists such as those at RC speak up. It is essential for true science education for climate scientists to point out where the train has clearly jumped the tracks. That NTSA has kow-towed to a very small yet vocal minority funded by large corporations with vested interests is simply a horrible reflection on the state of science education. Of course the reference to “Global warming Nazis” speaks volumes about your non-objective perspective about science.

  50. 150
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    RE the personal stuff Gore includes, I think that’s the heart of it (everyone should know all about GW by now anyway).

    He and his family were tobacco growers; his sister died from lung cancer; they came to the understanding that their business was harmful (while most tobacco companies and even smokers would simply ignore the evidence); they got out of the business. That is heroism. That is what we need to do, get out of the business of pumping GHGs into the atmosphere. And we don’t even need to be very heroic and reduce our living standard to do so — at least up to 75% reductions. If we could be one-tenth as heroic as Gore and his family, perhaps we might lick this problem.