September 21, 2006 | Graham

The Carbon Dioxide Wars

I’ve just seen Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” and it has all the weight of a CIA dossier on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003. He must be the only one in the world to think that Tuvalu and Kirribati have sunk into the Pacific Ocean!
The whole reeked of either another bid for President, or an extreme case of limelight deprivation syndrome, which set me thinking. One critique of George W is that the War on Terror is a way of his maintaining power. He creates an external enemy as a way of uniting the people behind him. So, what would Al Gore (“I used to be the next president of the United States”) have done if he had won the election?
I think we now have the answer – the War on CO2.
But then, another analysis of Bush’s Iraq adventure is that it is about “resource security”, which is another way of saying, enough oil at reasonable prices to keep filling up our cars so that they can continue to emit CO2 into the atmosphere.
So, in a future US presidential election, we could be looking at the CO2 wars – one side wanting to keep the fossilised CO2 flowing, and the other trying to mitigate against its effects. Or can we? Hard to imagine an American president being elected on the basis of phasing out the automobile.
If you want to read a good analysis of the movies “facts”, by someone who believes that global warming is occurring, then click here. There are a lot more errors of the Tuvalu/Kirribati kind. And yes, I know this author has some indirect links with oil companies. Isn’t it a pity that we have to rely on oil companies to finance the devil’s advocate position on global warming?
And if you’re inclined to that style of rebuttal, just bear in mind that Al Gore’s political career was financed in part by the tobacco industry.

Posted by Graham at 9:22 am | Comments (8) |
Filed under: Environment


  1. Thank you, Ambit Gambit. nice to see that someone is looking at Gore’s film in a sceptical manner. At the same time – I am not impressed with the content of your critique.
    I have not seen the film.
    I am very surprised that Al Gore thinks that Tuvalu and Kirribati have sunk into the Pacific Ocean. Are you sure that you were paying attention when you watched the film?
    I am surprised that the 6 scientists published in The Age recently all accepted that Gore’s fim is scientifically correct. Did they all miss the faults that you found?
    Your comments read more like an attack on Gore’s integrity, than a believable critique of his film. Christina Macpherson

    Comment by Christina Macpherson — September 22, 2006 @ 9:51 am

  2. I haven’t seen Gore’s film either.
    However, I did see, very recently a documentary on SBS which showed that sea level rising is affecting those islands. Not they they have really sunk, but that the rising water does affect them especially during storms and very high tides. As a result, their fresh water is becoming saline.
    And yes, many people there are migrating to New Zealand.

    Comment by Noel Wauchope — September 22, 2006 @ 9:59 am

  3. Hi Christina, there’s a lot of “confirmation bias” in this debate. Yes, he actually said that the islands had sunk and the inhabitants had migrated. It was the most obvious blooper. I haven’t read the piece by the six scientists, but it really depends what they mean as to whether it is scientifically correct. Does Carbon Dioxide cause warming? Yes it does. So, as far as that goes, Gore is correct. But the issue is a good deal more complicated than that, which is where his errors are.
    Noel, I didn’t see the SBS documentary, but the facts are that the islands have always been low-lying. Sea-level measurements using tide gauges and satellites show that sea levels fell in Tuvalu during the latter half of the 20th century. So this is a pretty substantial error. Of course cyclones and tide surges are going to be a problem in a place where the highes land is only 5 metres above sea level!

    Comment by Graham Young — September 22, 2006 @ 10:17 am

  4. I think those who believe global warming is a conspiracy, you’re right, it’s a political and cor[porate conspiracy. They are in denial

    Comment by keith — September 22, 2006 @ 11:11 am

  5. Meanwhile did anyone notice that the prestigious Royal Society wrote a letter to Exxon etc asking/demanding that they stop telling lies and misinformation!
    Meanwhile I think these related quotes are very relevant.
    “It is only in this “late-time” that human beings have become capable of producing effects that can change even global weather patterns, and global ecological patterns of all kinds….
    And THIS MUST BE CHANGED–or there is going to be a terrible, horiffic calamity on Earth! Such a calamity is not yet inevitable, but it WILL occur if there is not a fundamental transformation of mankind–in its heart and mind, and in its endeavours”.
    From 1.
    These quotes give some further insight into the origins of the problem.
    “When the entire human world founds itself on the adolescent motive to aggrandize the individual ego-“I”, then everyone is collectively working towards the destruction not only of human culture and mankind itself, but even of the Earth itself, the very vehicle that supports life.”
    From 2.
    “….Hence, we “play” with everything, but we cannot fully control our effects. We slaughter, exploit, poison, and spoil. We achieve power over great natural forces in the environment, but we cannot be the loving masters of sex, or population, or industrial wastes, or international politics. Therefore, we are a destructive influence in the natural world….”
    from 3.
    “Therefore, socities based on competitive individualism, and egoic self-fulfillment, and gross (or superficial) mindedness actually destroy culture (and all, until then existing cultures, and cultural adaptations).”
    Tragically it is the so called “conservatives” who most loudly champion this destructive anti-“culture”.

    Comment by John — September 22, 2006 @ 1:43 pm

  6. Thank you Ambit Gambit for your opinion on Al Gore’s film,which I also have not had the oppertunity to see yet.Global Warming has been a concern for some years yet we have governments supposedly representing The People, who choose to ignore scientist or anyone speaking out against whatever differs from what they would have you believe.I know in our state alone the politicians ignore continued requests for reductions in emissions,instead they have recently passed more heavy industry which will increase the pollution. I believe in keeping an open mind,there are many facts availiable for people to research.My surgestion to anyone is,listen to the facts then make up your own mind.I know when Indonesia was hit by the tsunami how it affected parts of our coast.Al Gore’s movie is an Inconvenient Truth to the government and dirty industry.

    Comment by Anne — September 24, 2006 @ 6:27 pm

  7. Have not seen the film. Maybe later this week. In the sixties & seventies the “environmental lobby” was crying about the coming Ice Age. There appear to be many supporters for this cause but where is the evidence that it is caused by human activity? By evidence I mean -hard concrete facts – not emotional drivel.

    Comment by David Brooks — September 26, 2006 @ 9:57 pm

  8. Michael Crichton’s web site has his very contrarian comments about global warming and the trap of mistaking consensus for science.
    However, blind Freddie can see that a) the climate is changing rapidly and that b) our use of resources and land is increasing our vulnerability to even small perturbations. Time for action, whether or not these changes are man made (and they are, I believe the climate scientists and their measurements, which are replicable, not consensus based)

    Comment by karin geiselhart — October 9, 2006 @ 10:02 am

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