Bjørn Lomborg versus Al Gore

List of alleged errors in Gore´s book and film
    Lomborg versus Gore                                                                                                                            


£ =  Bjørn Lomborg in "Cool it!"

B = Kristen Byrnes: Facts and fictions of Al Gore´s "An Inconvenient Truth", here.

C = Carter, Robert M. Carter, witness statement to a British high court, August 2007, here.

E = Bob Edelman, a detailed comment on An Inconvenient Truth, placed at this site.

K = William Kininmonth, Unmasking An Inconvenient Truth. 58 pp. Article placed (here) on the website of CSPP, an
       organisation led by C. Monckton.

L = Marlo Lewis: Congressional working paper: Al Gore´s Science Fiction. A skeptic´s guide to An Inconvenient Truth.
      Competitive Enterprise Institute. 154 pp. To be downloaded from here.

M= Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, leader of the organisation CSPP: 35 Inconvenient Truths. The errors in Al Gore´s
       movie. IPCC website here. Read Wikipedia on Monckton here.

The list contains 130 alleged errors.
For each alleged error, the first letters indicate Al Gore´s film (F) and/or book (B) with page number. Initials of critics are placed in brackets.
References to IPCC are given as in this example: 4AR wg2 means fourth assessment report, working group 2. FAQ means frequently asked question.

F, B (C, L): Criticism: any reference to the influence of changed solar radiation is omitted.
Comment: Variations in the sun can explain maximally 30 % of the global temperature increase since 1970 and most likely much less (link, link and IPCC FAQ 2.1 figure 2). As the sun is a minor factor that we cannot influence, it is relevant to focus exclusively on the major factor which we can influence.
F, B  (C, E, K, L): Gore accepts that GCM computer models can provide accurate predictions of future climate change
Comment: Here, he is in full accordance with the IPCC.
F, B (L): Gore never acknowledges the environmental, health and economic benefits of climatic warmth.
Comment: It is true that Al Gore has a very one-sided focus on the negative sides of the story. However, any change that is very sudden will cause much trouble, because it is difficult to adapt fast enough. This partially justifies Gore´s onesidedness. In addition, negative effects are important because they require political action, whereas positive effects do not.
F, B p  (L, M): Any reference to the beneficial effects of CO2, e.g. as plant "food", is omitted.
Comment: The fertilizing effect of more atmospheric CO2 is not large and of moderate economic importance realtive to other impacts of the greenhouse effect.
F, B p  (£): Gore doesn´t once mention the cost of seriously addressing global warming.
Comment: Nobody can give a trustworthy estimate of the costs. Al Gore does mention that there are economic gains to be obtained by using more renewable energy sources.
F, B p  (£, L): Gore never addresses the obvious criticism that the Kyoto protocol is all pain for no gain.
Comment: Se the Lomborg-errors page on carbon cuts and Kyoto.
F, B p12  (B): Within 18 months of the Earth rise picture the modern environmental movement began.
Comment: One may think of the Stockholm conference, held 18 months later, see for instance this link. In the book, Gore refers to changes in USA: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water act, the Natural Environment Policy Act, and the first Earth Day.
F, B p18 (E): On continental drift: "The teacher was actually reflecting the conclusion of the scientific establishment at that time."
Comment: Judging from Al Gore´s age, the school episode should have happened around 1960. According to the Wikipedia article, the theory on continental drift was not broadly accepted until the 1960s. So Al Gore´s story fits well into the chronology.
B p25 (C, L): "Carbon dioxide - the most important of the so-called greenhouse gases".
Comment: The question is: important for what? If we mean important for future changes, Al Gore is correct.
B p26  (L): Greenhouse gases on Venus and Mars explain the different climates there.
Comment: The criticism against Gore on this point seems unjustified.Greenhouse gases at the other planets are not only CO2, but also other compounds, e.g. H2SO4 in the Venus atmosphere.
F, B p27  (K, E): Wrong/simplified explanation of the greenhouse effect: the longwave radiation is not "trapped".
Comment: It is not realistic to expect a full and correct explanation of what actually happens to the radiation balance when the amount of greenhouse gases changes. For a popular book, and even more for a film, Al Gore´s popularized explanation is acceptable.
F, B p28 (C):
Criticism: Any reference to the contribution of water vapour to the greenhouse effect is omitted
Comment: It is not true. Gore refers to water vapour on page 28. And changes in water vapour result from changes in CO2, so it is relevant to focus just on CO2.
F, B p30&38  (E): Criticism: Increased CO2 concentrations were reported 20 years before Revelle.
Comment: Gore is essentially correct. Keeling was the first who obtained reliable systematic measurements and solved crucial methodological problems (link).
F, B p42  (£, E, L, M):
The melting ice cap on Mount Kilimanjaro is presented as evidence of global warming.
Comment: This may or may not be right. See the Al Gore error list and the page on Kilimanjaro.
F, B p46  (B, E, L): Melting glaciers in the US Glacier National Park presented as evidence of global warming.
Comment: Any melting here continuing after 1970 can indeed be seen as a result of global warming.
F, B p48  (L, M): The Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina is presented as evidence of global warming.
Comment: This is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list.
F, B p50  (L): Criticism: Recession of the Columbia Glacier in Alaska may not be due to global warming.
Comment: this type of glacier is sensitive to climate change in certain phases (such as the present phase in the Columbia glacier), but not in others, see the wikipedia article on the tidewater glacier cycle. Gore is correctly using information from an article in Science 2002, which shows the phot of the glacier and says that glaciers in Alaska overall contribute much to overall sea level rise.
F, B p52  (E): Many glaciers in the Andes are melting.
Comment: This is true, see for instance this link and IPCC, 4AR wg2 box 1.1.
F, B p52  (M):  "This is a glacier in Peru just 28 years ago. This is that same location as it appears in 2006."
Comment: The glacier shown is the Qori Kalis glacier which is part of the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru. Critics pose that the melting is probably not due to man-made global warming. But the Quelccaya ice cap is now in a more advanced stage of melting than at any time during the latest 5,200 years (link). Thus, the recent recession cannot be due merely to the cessation of the Little Ice Age.
F, B p52  (£, L): Criticism: Melting of glaciers may just be indications that we are leaving the Little Ice Age.
Comment: According to the World Glacier Monitoring Service, the mass balance of glaciers worldwide is becoming ever more negative, concurrently with rising temperatures. This acceleration in glacier recession can only be explained by recent climate change.
F, B p56  (L): "Throughout the European Alps we are witnessing a similar story" (disappearing glaciers) - but is that due to manmade warming?
Comment: In all probability: yes. Major glaciers in the Alps have receded faster than ever during the latter half of the 20th century and are now shorter than before the onset of the Little Ice Age, see this link.
F, B p58  (£, E, L, ML): "The Himalayan glaciers produce more than half of the drinking water for 40 % of the World´s population"
Comment: This is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list.
F, B p63&64  (L): The graph of past temperatures does not originate from Thompson´s own studies, but is the same as Mann´s hockey stick.
Comment: This is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list.
F, B p64  (L): ". . skeptics often say that global warming is really an illusion reflecting nature´s cyclical fluctuations."
Comment: Gore is right that some skeptics regard man-made global warming as an illusion; this is for instance the theme in the film "The Great Global Warming Swindle".
F, B p65  (E, L): "Skeptics launched a fierce attack against . . the hockey stick. . But in fact, scientists have confirmed the same basic conclusions in multiple ways . . ".
Comment: This is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list.
F, B p66  (C, L): Gore claims that CO2 is now way above anything measured in the prior 650,000 years record.
Comment: Gore is correct. When past CO2 levels are measured directly in ice cores, they never exceed 300 ppm. Critics refer to indirect information inferred from measuring stomata in fossil leaves, but these data are dubious; the inference is probably not justified (link) and the results disagree with measurements in ice cores (link).
F, B p67  (£, B, C, E, L, M): Gore neglects the delay of the CO2 signal relative to the temperature signal in Antarctic ice cores.
See comments in the Al Gore error list and the page on the CO2 lag.
F, B p67 (L, M): Gore implies that a difference of just 100 ppm CO2 causes the difference between a nice day and having a mile of ice above your head.
Comment: No, Gore does not say that. He says that the jump in temperature in the lower graph (the grey line, not the blue line) in his chart indicates such a difference, and that is correct.
F, B p67  (K, L, M): Gore tacitly assumes that when the CO2 level increases by 300 ppm, temperatures will rise by three times as much as they rose when CO2 levels increased by 100 ppm, i.e. he assumes linearity.
Comment: No, Gore does not tacitly assume that. He leaves it entirely to the audience to imagine what the relationship between changed CO2 and temperature would be.
F, B p67  (£, E, L, M): Gore postulates that the levels of CO2 will rise slightly above 600 ppm by 2050.
Comment: Gore does not exactly postulate that. See comments in the Al Gore error list.
F, B p67  (E, M):  Gore says that the projected rise in atmospheric CO2 is “not controversial in any way or in dispute by anybody.”
Comment: Gore does not project that CO2 will rise above 600 ppm by 2050, but that CO2 equivalents will rise that much. This projection is indeed not controversial.
F, B p72  (L): Gore claims that "in recent years" the rate of global warming has been accelerating or intensifying.
Comment: This agrees with the latest IPCC report, see 4AR wg1 FAQ 3.1.
F: The 10 hottest years measured have all occurred within the last 14 years.
B p72  (C, E):
"In fact, if you look at the 21 hottest years measured, 20 of the 21 have occurred within the last 25 years." The 10 hottest years measured have all occurred within the last 14 years.
Comment: C implies incorrectly that such a clustering just reflects natural cyclicity. E states that the warmest year was actually 1934, with reference to these data from NASA. However, these are just averages for USA, not for the whole Earth. Globally, 1934 was a year below average.
F, B p75  (C, K, L): The European heatwave in 2003 was caused by global warming.
Comment: Gore is right. There is good evidence that the chance for such a heatwave occuring was much increased by global warming, see here.
F, B p75  (£, M): The European heatwave in 2003 caused the death of 35,000 people.
Comment: Critics claim that reductions in the occurrence of cold spells save more lives than are taken by heatwaves. They are probably not correct. See this page in Lomborg-errors.
F, B p76  (B, L): "In 2005, many cities in the American west broke all-time records for high temperatures."
Comment: Critics point out that Gore neglects the city island effect. However, if increases in the city island effect alone were responsible for the record breaking, then records should have been broken again in 2006.
F, B p79  (E, L): Recent ocean temperatures are way above the range of natural variability.
Comment: Gore´s presentation agrees with the latest IPCC report. Gore states explicitly what he understands by "natural variability", and using his understanding, he is unequivocally right.
F, B p80  (B, C, E, L, M): As the oceans get warmer, storms get stronger.
Comment: Gore is right; see point 6 in the consensus statement of the World Meteorological Organisation.
F, B p80  (L): Was global warming the cause of the four unusually powerful hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004?
Comment: It is not possible to relate any particular hurricane to global warming, but when scientific consensus is that hurricanes will on average become stronger, it is relevant for Gore to mention that strong hurricanes have actually occurred recently.
B p81&92  (
C, E, L, M): "But there is now a strong , new emerging consensus that global warming is linked to a significant increase in both the duration and intensity of hurricanes."
Comment: Gore is right; see points 6 and 7 in the consensus statement of the World Meteorological Organisation, which Lomborg refers to. There has been criticism of thiw propositon (see section 4 in this link). A main point is that there was also a strong hurricane activity in the years around 1950, but as global temperatures were relatively high then, this does not contradict that with increasing temperatures, hurricanes get stronger.
F, B p81  (L): There is brand-new evidence that global warming is linked to an increase in frequency of hurricanes.
Comment: This point is controversial; there are also statements that the frequency will be stable or even reduced. Gore does not state what this brand-new evidence is.
F, B p82  (B, L, M): In 2004, Japan set an all-time record for typhoons.
Comment: This is true when we speak of typhoons that made landfall on Japan (link). Gore does not speak of "the seas around Japan", but of "Japan", i.e. the land, and is therefore correct.
B p82  (L): Cyclone Monica that hit Australia in 2006, was the strongest cyclone ever measured.
Comment: As to windspeed, Monica is the strongest cyclone ever measured on the Southern Hemisphere. Windspeeds sustained for 1 minute were up to 290 km/h, but higher windspeeds have been reported for a few North Atlantic cyclones, e.g. Wilma (295 km/h sustained for 1 minute). However, according to this wikipedia article, Monica was arguably the world's strongest cyclone, based on a Dvorak estimation, which suggested central presure reached a low of 869 hPa, which is deeper than in Wilma (882 hPa) and Rita (895 hPa).
F, B p84  (B, L, M): Hurricane Catarina, the first hurricane ever in the south Atlantic, was another sign of global warming.
See comments in the Al Gore error list.
F, B p86  (£, B, L, M): In 2004 the all-time record for tornadoes in USA was broken.
Comment: This is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list.
B p89  (L): "The emerging consensus linking global warming to the increasingly destructive power of hurricanes has been based in part on research showing a significant increase in the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes."
Comment: Gore probably refers to an article by Webster et al. in Science 2005, which showed that since 1970 the total number of hurricanes has not increased gloibally, but the proportion of very strong hurricanes (category 4 and 5) had doubled. Thisi result was obtained by analysing trends on a nearly global scale, in order to have a statistically valid material. This article has been heavily criticized by global-warming skeptics, but the criticism has been rejected in a thorough rebuttal by Webster et al. It seems that Gore is completely right concerning the relationship between sea surface temperature and hurricane intensity.
F, B p94  (C, K, L, M): Hurricane Katrina is presented as a cause of global warming.
See comments in the Al Gore error list.
F, B p102  (
£, B, C, L, M): Big storm insurance losses are increasing.
Comment: This is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list.
B p103  (L): In 2005, for the first time in history, the latin letters were not enough to name all hurricanes.
Comment: According to L, the practice of naming storms only goes back to 1953. Before that, the capability to detect hurricanes was not as good, and there could conceivably have been other years with as many hurricanes as in 2005. This may be true, but it does not conflict with Gore´s statement.
B p106  (L): More downpour falls in the form of big, one-time rainfalls.
Comment: L doubts if a trend for that will be caused by global warming. However, it is in accordance with IPCC, 4AR wg1 FAQ 3.2, where it is stated that "Widespread increases in heavy precipitation events have been observed, even in places where total amounts have decreased. These cahnges are associated with increased water vapour in the atmosphere arising from the warming of the world´s oceans."
B p106  (L): The number of major flood events has increased decade by decade.
Comment: This is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list.
B p106  (L): Global warming increases the percentage of precipitation that falls as rain instead of snow, which leads to more flooding.
Comment: According to IPCC (4AR wg1, chapter 3) it is correct that a higher percentage falls as rain instead of snow (but there is no reason why this should lead to more flooding).
F, B p110  (L, M): In July 2005, Mumbai received the largest downpour any Indian city has received in one day.
Comment: The critics present a graph that the monthly precipitation for July in Mumbai shows no long-term trend. However, Al Gore speaks of what falls in 24 h, not what falls in a month, and he is apparently right.
F, B p112  (L): There have also been recent record floodings in China.
Comment: This is true, but the critic rightly points out that this is no different from what has happened from time to time during a long history.
F, B p112 (L): Criticism that Gore only mentions places where the weather is becoming more extreme, like wet places getting floods and dry places getting droughts.
Comment: Gore is grossly right here according to IPCC, as the general trend is for weather events to become more extreme.
F, B p117  (B, C, E, L, M): Gore blames global warming for the disappearance of Lake Chad.
See comments in the Al Gore error list.
F, B p117  (£, M): Gore says terrible tragedies are occurring in the southern Sahara because of drought which he blames on global warming.
Comment: Gore is more or less right. There has been increasing drought there, especially around 1980, according to IPCC, 4AR wg1 section Since 1980, precipitation has increased again, but drying in this region can be simulated by computer models that incorporate an increasing greenhouse effect, see here, so it is quite possible that it is related to the greenhouse effect.
B p119  (K, L): Desertification has been increasing in the world decade by decade due to global warming.
Comment: It seems that Gore is right. According to IPCC, 4AR, wg2, section "very dry areas . . have more than doubled since the 1970s due to a combination of ENSO events and surface warming."
F, B p121  (
L): There will be a loss in soil moisture of up to 35 % in vast growing areas of USA.
Comment: Gore seems to be right. According to IPCC, there has been a long time increase in southwest USA in the Palmer Drought Severity Index (4AR wg1 section 3.3.4) and there have recently been dry and unusually warm summers in western USA (4AR wg2 table 1.3).
F, B p126 (L, M): In the Arctic, temperatures are shooting upward faster than anywhere else on the planet.
Comment: This is approximately correct, as seen in figures 3.9 and 3.10 in the IPCC 4AR wg1 report.
F, B p128  (E, L): The cracking of the Ward Hunt shelf in Arctic Canada is unprecedented.
Comment: Gore is right. There is evidence that this ice shelf was 3,000 years old, so the split up was something new and unexpected.
F, B p130  (B, L): Gore indicates that the melting of permafrost as evidenced by "drunken" trees in Alaska is due to global warming.
Comment: Critics say that all of Alaska warmed suddenly in 1976, whereas temperatures have changed little before and after this. So they ascribe the warming to a phase change in a climate oscillation rather than to global warming. However, according to IPCC, 4AR  wg1 chapter 3,  Alaska has warmed considerably after 1979, so the critics are not right.
B p133  (L): The release of stored carbon when the permafrost in Siberia melts will cause positive feedback.
Comment: L poses that the release of carbon may be compensated by increased growth of forest in Siberia. But, according to IPCC, 4AR wg2 section 4.4, such an effect will only last until the latter half of the 21st century, after which the net effect will be a release of CO2 to the atmosphere. Part of the explanation for this is that the vegetation will have become CO2-saturated by then. Altogether, the objection to Gore´s statement is not pertinent.
F, B p135  (L): A graph shows the decrease in winter travel days in Alaska.
Comment: Same comments as to p 130.
F, B p137  (L): "A Canadian company has figured out how to make a new kind of ethanol from plant fiber - meaning that it is cheaper and cleaner than regular ethanol."
Comment: What Gore means by `regular ethanol´ is not clear. L claims that unsubsidized bioethanol will never be competitive relative to fossil fuels, but he is probably wrong. The supply costs of fossil fuels were in 2004 somewhat smaller than production costs of bioethanol (link), but with the large increase since then in the price of fossil fuels, unsubsidized bioethanol may soon become competitive.
F, B p139 (B, E): "Yet another surprise for me was when scientists showed me that near the South Pole, the presence of air pollution in the ice cores visibly declined not long after passage of the US Clean Air Act in 1990 . . you can actually see the before and after with your own eyes."
Comment: This is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list.
B p141  (L): Was the severe drought in 2005 in the Amazon is related to global warming?
Comment: L refers to a realclimate web page, according to which a relationship of this particular event to global warming cannot be clearly demonstrated. However, this is not a singular event. There has been a general trend towards more drought in parts of Brazil (link), which may possibly be seen as part of a pattern created by global warming.
F, B p143  (L): The Arctic ice cap plays a crucial role in cooling the Earth.
Comment: What Gore means is that less ice means a smaller albedo and hence more absorption of sun energy, which will create a positive feedback. This is correct.
F, B p144  (M): Gore says that ice-melt allows the Sun to heat the Arctic Ocean
Comment: In spite of the criticism raised by M, Al Gore´s explanation is practically correct.
F, B p146  (£, L): Crticism: Gore claims that global warming endangers polar bears even though polar bear populations are increasing.
Comment: See the Lomborg-errors page on polar bears.
(F), B p146  (£, B, C, E, L, M): "Polar bears have been drowning in significant numbers."
Comment: The term `significant numbers´  is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list.
B p149  (L): Gore claims that an increase of 5°F globally will mean an increase of more than 12°F at the North Pole.
Comment: According to IPCC (4AR wg1 figure 11.18) the projected temperature rise in the Arctic by 2100 will be 2 to 11° C, with a central estimate of  6° C  (11° F). So Gore is correct. The projected rise in the Antarctic will be much less (a central estimate of 3° C).
F, B p149  (
L): Gore conflates the oceanic thermohaline circulation, driven by salinity and sea temperatures, with the Gulf Stream, driven by wind.
See comments in the Al Gore error list.
F, B p150  (
£, B, C, E, L, M): About disruption of the Gulf Stream: "Some scientists are now seriously worried about the possibility of this phenomenon recurring."
See comments in the Al Gore error list.
B p 150: "Dr. Ruth Curry is especially concerned about the rapid melting of ice in Greenland . . Recently, she observed: `The possibility of such extreme events precludes ruling out that disruption of the North Atlantic conveyor in the 21st century could occur as a result of greenhouse warming.´"
See comments in the Al Gore error list.
F, B p153  (B, L, M): Studies in the Netherlands demonstrate the increasing mismatch between the timing of caterpillar abundance and the timing of hatching of migratory bird chicks.
Comment: Gore´s presentation is correct. There is also evidence that pied flycatcher populations have declined considerably in those regions that have the greatest mismatch with their food source. Sources: here and here.
B p153  (M): Criticism: The figure shows a black tern feeding young, and thus is a bogus picture unrelated to the story on flycatchers.
Comment: The legend clearly indicates that the shown species is a black tern. This is also a Dutch migratory bird with population declines in many areas, and it feeds to a great extent on (aquatic) insects - the food item in the bill may also be an insect. The picture is not  irrelevant.
B p154  (L): The decline in frost days in Switzerland coincides with the spreading of invasive alien species there.
Comment: Gore´s presentation is correct.
F, B p156  (E, L): Rising temperatures in the American west coincides with the spread (epizootics) of pine beetles.
Comment: This is true. Pine beetle outbreaks are influenced by summer temperatures as well as winter temperatures (link). It is possible that an insect can have devastating outbreaks at certain temperatures, and no outbreaks at slightly different temperatures. A European example is described by Baltensweiler pp. 208-209 in P. J. den Boer & G. R. Gradwell (eds.)(1971): Dynamics of populations.
F, B p163  (L): The rate of extinction is now 1,000 times higher than the natural background rate.
Comment: See the page on Lomborg´s biodiversity chapter, entry to p. 255 right.
F, B p164  (B, C, K, L, M): "Ocean reefs . . are being killed in large numbers by global warming."
See comments in the Al Gore error list for p. 166.
B p164  (L): In 2005 there was a massive loss of coral reefs.
Comment: There was a massive bleaching event in the Caribbean, but according to this Reef Check  report,  losses were moderate. However, the IPCC 4AR report, wg2, box 6.1, says that in 2005 "on many Caribbean reefs, bleaching exceeded that of 1998 in both extent and mortality". Wilkinson (2004): "Status of coral reefs of the world" (link) shows a chart that the coverage of coral reefs in the Caribbean declined from 54 % cover in 1976 to 9 % cover in 2001. Thus on a longer time scale, there is a very severe decline. In the light of this, Al Gore has not exaggerated the severity of the situation.
B p164  (L): In 1998 the world lost an estimated 16 % of all its coral reefs.
Comment: The worldwide bleaching event in 1998 is described in detail here. The estimated proportion of live coral cover lost is 10 %, according to a report from 2002 (link). The IPCC 4AR report section 1.3.4 cites a loss of 16 %. This is taken from Wilkinson (2004): Status of coral reefs of the world (link), where it is said that 16 % of the world´s reefs were seriously damaged in 1998, but that 6,4 % are recovering, leaving 10 % permanently dead.
B p166  (L): "The link between global warming and the large-scale bleaching of corals . . is now universally accepted."
See comments in the Al Gore error list.
B p168-169  (L, M): Rising CO2 levels will make sea water more acidic to the detriment of reef-building corals.
Comment: This agrees with IPCC (4AR wg2, paragraph 4.4.9).
F, B p172  (
L): "Algae is just one of the disease vectors that have been increasing because of global warming."
Comment: This is true. Algae are vectors for cholera and other bacterial diseases, and are sensitive to global warming (link).
F, B p172 (C, E, K, L, M): "And when these vectors - whether algae, mosquitoes, ticks, or other germ-carrying life forms start to show up in new areas and cover a wider range, they are more likely to interact with people, and the diseases they carry become more serious threats."
Comment: This is a very general statement, which in this formulation is hardly false. As a concrete example, critics have raised dobut that global warming is causing more tick-borne disease. But maybe it is. According to IPCC, 4AR, paragraph, ticks that carry lyme disease (borreliosis) have expanded their northern limit of distribution in Sweden.
F, B p173  (£, K, L, M): "Now the mosquitoes with warming are climbing to higher altitudes."
Comment: This is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list and the page on malaria.
F, B p174  (B, L): "Some 30 so-called new diseases have emerged over the last 30 years. And some old diseases that had been under control are now surging again."
See comments on the Al Gore error list.
F, B p174  (£, B, M): Gore says that, as well as malaria, “global warming” is spreading Dengue fever, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, arenavirus, Machupo virus, avian flu, Ebola virus, Marburg hermorrhagic fever, E. Coli 0157:H7, Hantavirus, Legionella, Leptospirosis, multi-drug-resistant TB, Nipah virus, SARS and Vibrio Cholerae 0139.
Comment: This is acknowledged as an error; see the Al Gore error list.
F, B p175  (£, L, M): One example is the West Nile Virus, which entered the United States . . .These are very troubling times."
Comment: This is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list.
B p178  (£, K, L): "Scientists studying emperor penguins at the colony featured in the film found that their numbers have dropped by 70% since the 1960s. The likely culprit: global climate change."
See comments on the Al Gore error list.
F, B p181  (L, M): "Each orange splotch represents an ice shelf  the size of Rhode Island or larger that has broken up . . "
Comment: Gore´s critics pose that the comparison with Rhode Island is misleading, because this is a very small state. This criticism cannot be taken seriously. Furthermore, they claim the the disappearance of ice is not due to man-made global warming, because these ice shelves have disappeared before, some thousand years ago. The reply to this is given under the next point.
F, B p183  (£, L, M): Scientists thought that the Larsen-B ice shelf would be stable for another century - even with global warming.
See comments on the Al Gore error list.
F, B p184  (L): The break-off of floating ice shelves accelerates the flow of land-based ice behind them.
Comment: L raises the criticism that this acceleration lasts only for short. This, however, does not contradict that Gore is correct.
F, B p186  (C, E, L, M): "Many residents of low-lying Pacific nations have already had to evacuate their homes because of rising seas."
Comment: This is acknowledged as an error; see the Al Gore error list.
B p189  (
L, M): Gore presents a graph showing that annual closures of the Thames barriers increased in recent years.
See comments on the Al Gore error list.
B p190  (L, M): " . . two new studies in 2006 showed first that the overall volumes of ice in East Antarctica now appear to be declining, and that 85 % of the glaciers there appear to be declining."
Comment: Although various estimates of overall ice mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet differ, there is consensus that a relatively small mass gain on East Antarctica is more than compensated by the mass loss on West Antarctica, even when the situation on the Antarctic Peninsula is left out of consideration. See the IPCC 4AR wg1 report, paragraph Gore alludes to at study saying that there may be a negative mass balance even on East Antarctica; it has not been possible to identify the source. There is one study from 2006 (link) implying that the mass loss on East Antarctica is nil. A brand new study, published in January 2008 (link), reaches the conclusion that the net balance in East Antarctica is near zero, but slightly negative. This article also has the figure 85 % of the ice along the coastline - so this is probably the study that Gore refers to. He must then have seen it two years in advance of its publication.
B p190  (L): " . . air temperatures high above the ice have warmed more rapidly than air temperatures anywhere else in the world"
Comment: Gore correctly cites a study by Turner (2006). The critics stress some uncertainties, e.g. that some model runs do not replicate the observed tropospheric warming over Antarctica, but it should be remembered that there are other model runs that do replicate observations. In any case, actual observations are more important than model projections. It is also worth remembering that critics over and over again claim that whereas models predict more warming in the troposphere than at the surface, such warming has not been observed. Now, here is a case where we do have (much) more warming in the troposphere than at the surface, and what do the critics say? The say that this isn´t warming at the surface, so it doesn´t count! In any case, melting of all that ice on Antarctica takes heat out of the air, so maybe it is no wonder that air temperatures there rise very little.
F, B p190  (L, M): " . . scientists have documented significant and alarming structural changes on the underside of the ice shelf."
Comment: Gore seems to be right. IPCC 4AR wg1 refers to this subject in paragraph The report says that both the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the Amundsen Sea coast are exposed to warm circumpolar deep water, capable of causing rapid ice shelf basal melting, and the recent warming of ocean water seaward of the ice has been observed.
F  (M): Gore says “global warming” is making the Greenland ice sheet unstable.
Comment: M is wrong and cites Gore incorrectly. What Gore actually says in the film is that the ice sheet on Greenland is more unstable than that on Antarctica, and that is correct.
F, B p192  (L): Gore refers to `moulins´ that lead melt water to the bottom of the glaciers where it lubricates the glacier bed and accelerates glacier flow.
Comment: Gore is correct.
F, B p196  (£, C, E, L, M): "IF Greenland broke up and melted, or if half of Greenland and half of West Antarctica broke up and melted,  . . .sea levels worldwide would increase by between 18 and 20 feet."
See comments in the Al Gore error list.
F, B p214  (L): "We are witnessing an unprecedented and massive collision between our civilization and the Earth."
Comment: This statement is correct and should therefore not be criticised.
F, B p216  (L): " . . the momentum in world population has built up so powerfully that the `explosion´ is still taking place . . "
Comment: Gore is completely right. L cites environmental journalist Gregg Easterbrook, who says: "Population growth is a fantastic achievement - though one that engenders problems we must fix . . ". The critics fail to realize that population growth in itself is the major problem, causing a lot of other problems which cannot be fixed.
F, B p222  (L): "The way we treat forests is a political issue". A photograph shows a barren treeless landscape on the Haitian side of the border and lush green forest cover on the Dominican side.
Comment: L raises the criticism that the difference between the two countries would rather be due to differences in income per capita (more than 4 times higher in the Dominican Republic than in Haiti). You could also have pointed at differences in population density (67 % higher in Haiti). None of these parameters contradict that forest policy could be important. In principle, you can have a good forest policy even in a poor country - this may benefit economic growth, rather than the other way around.
F, B p227  (L): "Almost 30 % of the CO2 released into the atmosphere each year is a result of the burning of brushland . . "
Comment: L points out that if poor people had better access to fossil energy, they would not burn so much brushland. Maybe, but given recent increases in oil prices, this is more or less a theoretical possibility.  Furthermore,  if it were to happen, it would increase rather than reduce atmospheric CO2 pollution.
B p229  (L): There has been an increase in major wildfires in north and south America.
See comments in the Al Gore error list.
F, B p250  (
C, K, M): Gore describes carbon dioxide as “greenhouse gas pollution.” In the start of the film, he uses the term "global warming pollution."
Comment: He is right. Under the term "pollution" is included situations where a natural substance occurs in unnatural amounts, such as lead pollution, or pollution of water bodies with nitrate and phosphate.
F, B p250  (
E, L): "The United States is responsible for more greenhouse gas pollution than South America, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, Japan and Asia - all put together."
Comment: The critics state that no American should feel guilty about this, because USA has been the world´s economic engine, creating prosperity. A reply to this is given in the next point.
F, B p252  (L): Per capita carbon emissions in USA is way above emissions everywhere else.
Comment: The critics state that no American should feel guilty about this; when USA emits more CO2 than others, this is because they produce more goods and more value than others; the carbon intensity (tons CO2 emitted per $1000 economic value produced) is not higher in USA than in many other countries. A reply to this is that CO2 emission is here justified as long as it is correlated with economic growth. This leads to the absurd proposition that if we continue this process until we approach a point where the whole biosphere is destroyed and man cannot live on Earth anymore, then this would be justified by the economic values produced during the process. Nobody could expect Al Gore to adhere to such an ideology.
B p252  (L): "The European Union has adopted this US innovation and is making it work effectively."
Comment: This is acknowledged as a flaw; see the Al Gore error list.
F, B p262  (C, E, L): "Naomi Oreskes . . . She and her team selected a large random sample of 928 articles representing almost 10 % of the total . . "
See comments in the Al Gore error list.
F, B p264  (L): "The misperception that there is serious disagreement among scientists about global warming is actually an illusion that has been deliberately fostered by . . . Exxon Mobil . . . and a few other companies."
Comment: L turns the argumentation about and formulates the sentence that "the misperception that science justifies alarm and the adoption of growth-chilling energy rationing schemes is an illusion deliberately fostered by a large cadre of well-funded special interests." I cannot see that L is right here. I cannot see that there are any well-funded special interests here, and I do not accept the conception that more wise energy use would be growth-chilling. The proposition that scientists raise the alarm simply in order to get more funding, is malicious and unwarranted. If scientists were simply motivated to get more funding, they could obtain this in better ways.
F, B p263  (E, L): Gore refers to a disinformation campaign designed to "reposition global warming as theory, rather than fact."
Comment: Gore refers to the 1997 book "The heat is on" by journalist Ross Gelbspan. Here, Gelbspan exposed a campaign led by the Global Climate Coalition and quoted a 1991 strategy memo: the goal was to "reposition global warming as theory, rather than fact." There exists also newer documentation for such disinformation campaigns. See this link (memo from API).
B p264  (L): "At the beginning of 2001, president Bush hired a lawyer/lobbyist named Phillip Cooney to be in charge of environmental policy in The White House." F: "He worked for the American Petroleum Institute and in January of 2001 he was put by the president in charge of environmental policy."
Comment: The criticism is that he was not "in charge", but "only" chief of staff. However, the term `in charge´ is often used in a rather wide sense. My dictionary has the example: "a nurse in charge of children". It is clear from Gore´s text - if you consult also the following sentence - that he uses the term in the wide sense. In addition, he does state on page 265 that Cooney was hired as chief of staff. Altogether, the text is OK.
F, B p264  (L): "Cooney . . was empowered by the president to edit and censor the official assessments of global warming from the EPA. . . "
Comment: Gore is right.
F, B p264  (B, E, L): "Cooney had diligently edited out any mention of the dangers global warming poses to the American people."
Comment: Gore is right.
F, B p266  (L): "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
Comment: L replies to this that it refers also to the greenhouse alarmists. He is not right. A large part of the "alarmists" do not obtain any salary from what they are doing.
B p269  (L): "48 Nobel Prize-winning scientists accused President Bush . . of distorting science . . ignoring scientific consensus on critical issues such as global climate change."
See comments in the Al Gore error list.
F, B p271 (
L): ". . if we do the right thing, then we´re going to create a lot of wealth, jobs and opportunity."
Comment: According to L, it is "silly" to believe that investing in alternative energy sources will create wealth, jobs and opportunity. I live in a country - Denmark - where such investments have been made, and indeed, that has created wealth, jobs and opportunity.
F, B p272  (L): USA is dead last concerning mileage standards for cars.
Comment: In the opinion of L, it is rather so that USA is first in consumer choice. Really? Do consumers prefer cars that consume more of the expensive fuel?
F, B p272  (L): " . . we cannot sell cars made in America to China because we don´t meet their environmental standards."
Comment: L points out that U.S. fuel economy standards specify a fleet average mileage per gallon, and many U.S. produced cars exceed the average. U.S. companies could easily produce  and sell  above-average cars for the Chinese market. A reply to this is: yes, probably, but they do not. See the next point about this.
F, B p273  (L): " . . the autocompanies are suing California to prevent this state law from taking effect."
Comment: If fuel economy standards were set higher in California than in the rest of USA, this would mean fragmenting of the American auto market, and, according to L, it is sensible that the autocompanies want to avoid this. But thereby L proves that these companies are not willing to produce two types of cars, like if they produce one type for China and/or California and another type for regions with lower standards. He thereby contradicts himself.
F, B p273  (L): " . . it´s the companies that are building more efficient cars that are doing well."
Comment: Gore understands efficiency as a question of fuel economy, whereas his critic says that most of the efficiency gains in American cars have been used to increase vehicle acceleration, towing capacity, size and weight. If so, it is understandable that companies that focus on acceleration, towing capacity, size and weight are not doing well: most consumers do not need that - they need better fuel economy.
B p273  (L): "And they´re still redoubling their efforts to sell large, inefficient gas-guzzlers even though the marketplace is sending them the same message that the environment is sending them."
Comment: L protests by saying that some of the SUVs advertised for are not very large - thereby demonstrating that he, too, does not listen to message.
F, B p273  (L): A chart shows that, during Feb.-Nov. 2005, market capitalization increased at Toyota and Honda and fell dramatically at Ford and GM.
Comment: the criticism goes that the recent change in consumer preference could not have been predicted. Well - it could not have been predicted by those who stubbornly denied that there could come any shortage of cheap petrol.
F, B p276  (L): A chart shows how U.S. renewable energy production could increase from about 7 quadrillion British thermal units in 1990 to 22 quad.s in 2030.
Comment: Gore is criticised for not giving any source for his postulates. Critics may be right that just relying on the free market forces, with no extra will to enforce more sensible energy use, will not bring about the changes sketched by Gore. But it seems likely that if there is a will to obtain the set goal, then this is possible.
F, B p279  (
L): Criticism: Gore does not address any of the `well-known´ drawbacks of windpower.
Comment: The criticisms vastly inflates the drawbacks of windpower. As a citizen of Denmark, where we have windmills everywhere, I do not see these drawbacks.
F, B p281  (L): Policies recommended by the economists Socolow and Pacala, all of which are based on  already-existing, affordable technologies, can bring emissions down to a point  below 1970s levels.
Comment: The criticism is that the technologies are not affordable and that introduction of the technologies is politically difficult. However, what is affordable depends on what political choices are made. If a specific policy invites the more widespread use of a new technology, then there will be an economic stimulus to make that technology more efficient and hence more competitive.
F, B p298  (L): "This isn´t an ideological debate with two sides, pro and con. . . I believe it is a moral issue."
Comment: The criticism is that anyone who claims that morality is on his side, implicitly states that it is acceptable to overrule the other side who is immoral, and that means replacing democracy with some sort of dictatorship. This objection may or may not be right. In general, if there is a severe threat involved, then it is right to speak of a moral issue. For example, if a person with alcohol in his blood intends to drive a car, or if a person infected with HIV intends to make love to another person who is not yet infected, then these acts are immoral, because there is a severe threat of causing harm. However, if a sober person intends to drive a car, this is not immoral, and if a healthy person intends to make love, this is most often not immoral, so if the threats do not exist, then there is no basis for an overruling based on arguments dealing with moral. So the crucial question is if the threat is real - if it is, then we have a moral issue.