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An Inconvenient Truth

jamie posted more than 7 years ago | from the conveniently-packaged dept.

1033

There's a movie teaser line that you may have seen recently, that goes like this: "What if you had to tell someone the most important thing in the world, but you knew they'd never believe you?" The answer is "I'd try." The teaser's actually for another movie, but that's the story that's told in the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth": it starts with a man who, after talking with scientists and senators, can't get anyone to listen to what he thinks is the most important thing in the world. It comes out on DVD today.

The scariest horror film of 2006 was a documentary.

The first thing everyone wants to know, or at least to argue about, is whether Al Gore has his facts straight. The short answer is yes, he does. There are minor errors. They don't detract from Gore's main point, on which the scientific debate has ended.

And the main point is scary, and almost too big to think about or talk about. The earth is warming, because of us. Sometime in the next hundred years, our environment is going to change in big ways. We can't predict it with much accuracy yet, but the best estimates we have are that it's going to be -- measured in lives and dollars -- really bad.

In a way this film isn't really about that story. It's about a man telling that story -- someone who, after suffering a bit of a setback, asked himself, well, what can I do now? What's important to me? How do I want to spend my time?

What's important is a question a lot of nerds may be familiar with. We like to talk about important things. But how do you respond when you try to say something serious and the cool kids laugh at you? What do you do, when you put yourself out there, try to engage people's minds, and instead they make fun of your clothes?

The good news for anyone who's had a prom invitation rejected is that people can come back from worse disasters. His presidential bid didn't go so well in 2000. Gore had given talks on global warming before; after he was forcibly retired from public service, he took a Powerbook and Keynote on the road, sharpening and expanding his slideshow talk in airports and hotels.

Half of the film is that talk, and it's an engrossing talk. There are charts and diagrams and footnoted stats (and a Futurama clip) and it's about as fun as numbers and chemicals get. Turns out Al Gore has a sly sense of humor (but not a nasty one -- the film's only two political nudges are pretty gentle). Unless you're a climate scientist you'll probably learn something too.

But the other half, interwoven with the lectures, is a man picking up the pieces and rediscovering something important in his life, a message that he has to tell. That succeeds as a film.

And Gore's lecture succeeded too. Somehow, I'm not sure how, this documentary changed the way Americans look at global warming. In early 2006, global warming was still seen as one of those things that may be true or may not. Pundits were fairly evenly divided and both positions were routinely heard. It's now late 2006 and the debate has moved from "is global warming happening?" to "it's happening, we've caused it, and what if anything should we do about it?"

Most of the warming-deniers left are the real extremists out in Rush Limbaugh territory. We're not yet all the way to a serious, scientifically-informed debate, but somehow, overnight, this film pulled most of the fence-sitters over to where the scientists were years ago.

As for actually fixing global warming, it will take a miracle. Maybe two miracles. I think in the next few decades we're going to need to start an Apollo moonshot-type miracle of technology and engineering to beat back the greenhouse effect. Nanorobots. Reflective dust in the stratosphere. Giant mirrors at the Lagrange point. Bioengineered plankton to sink carbon or change the oceans' albedo. Something. That's just a guess.

But meanwhile, though we hope someone can build us an airbag before we crash the car into the tree, that doesn't absolve us from stepping on the brakes. Right now, we need a change in attitude, in our community and our politics, to start slowing the damage we're doing every day to our grandchildren's Earth -- to buy them time, and give them more options. The only way that happens is when the governments of industrialized and developing nations decide this is a priority.

And the only way that happens is for people everywhere to stop listening to the cool kids and, once again, pay attention to the nerds.

Go buy the nerd's DVD.

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I'm REALLY Serial! (2, Funny)

tritonman (998572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16930988)

Manbearpig is real!

Re:I'm REALLY Serial! (0, Offtopic)

tritonman (998572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931280)

Offtopic??? Doesn't anyone here watch southpark?? JEEZ

Re:I'm REALLY Serial! (3, Insightful)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931488)

Offtopic??? Doesn't anyone here watch southpark?? JEEZ

That episode was their worst in quite a long time.

White and Nerdy Gore? (-1, Offtopic)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931006)

White and Nerdy [youtube.com] Gore?
Sacrificial chore.
Overton Window [wikipedia.org]
Opens more
Major changes
Hopefully in store
Burma Shave

Nothing inconvenient about the results (5, Interesting)

Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931018)

I don't think the reason that nobody initially wanted to listen had to do with the story, but rather the storyteller. Gore was about as charming and captivating as an endangered sea turtle. Had some other high profile public figure attacked the problem with the same gusto, there may have been a little more initial acceptance of the core message, which I actually feel would have harmed the result.

Why? Because if anyone else had tried to get congress to act on Global Warming, there would have never been An Inconvenient Truth. Had Gore been more successful in convincing congress to join the Kyoto treaty or strengthen EPA guidelines, I don't believe there never would have been the movie. Which just means that the public would remain uncommitted/unconvinced, and future administrations would have just reversed what the more convincing version of an Al Gore could have achieved in Congress.

What's amazing is that Al Gore's movie really IS engrossing. He comes across as a man with a mission. While he may sensationalize the risk a little at times, he delivers a message that is irrefutable: we must act now. I believe he has helped increase awareness of the problem, and the greater the awareness the greater the chance for long term change. Governments will act on ridiculously expensive endeavours only in the face of overwhelming public support ... An Inconvenient Truth is one big step in the right direction.

Re:Nothing inconvenient about the results (3, Insightful)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931410)

It is refutable that we must act now with legislation. It is refutable that the Kyoto treaty does anything for the environment. It is refutable to say that humans can stop the general warming trend.

It is very refutable to say that we must pass things that look good on paper, allow politicians to pat themselves on the back to get re-elected. It is irrefutable that Kyoto would force millions of people into unemployment, it is refutable to say that Kyoto is even marginally good legislation. It is irrefutable that we really don't have enough information, to make any informed decision.

Also running around scaring people to force unvetted political legislature on the guise that it will help, is about as helpful as saying the terrorists are everywhere and if we don't allow every phone call, email, fax and postal letter in the US to be monitored to we are going to have a successful nuclear attack against us.

Re:Nothing inconvenient about the results (4, Insightful)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931596)

It is irrefutable that Kyoto would force millions of people into unemployment ...
Unfortunately (for you) it is refuted in the movie.

Re:Nothing inconvenient about the results (5, Insightful)

Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931658)

In many respects I agree, Kyoto is NOT the answer. However, the answer will almost certainly cause a major change in our economy and definition of prosperity. The world cannot sustain 3 ton SUVs, Airbus jumbo jets, and lavish cruise ship vacations forever. We all want our children to live a better life than we do today, but in order for this to happen we need to redefine what 'better' means. If we continue to equate 'a better life' with 'having more stuff', then frankly the environment is doomed.

Until we find far greater stores of cheap clean energy and raw materials, consumption will always yield pollution and environmental damage. We must reduce consumption to reduce global warming. This is the expensive and unfortunate consequence of tackling global warming ... the lifestyle that we covet must change. Once/if we move down that path, it will be economically painful in the short-term, but at some point we just won't have any other choices and we'll end up with a radically different society/world (which I am optimistic will be for the better).

Re:Nothing inconvenient about the results (1)

thedeviluknow (991976) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931500)

The U.S. joined Kyoto though, it was the Bush administration which refused to ratify it that's all.

Re:Nothing inconvenient about the results (-1, Flamebait)

objwiz (166131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931562)

A different person for the movie may well have made a difference.

A big problem with Al Gore is his trustworthiness. He made the claim, publically, that he invented the internet. Plus a few other snaffus.

He is not believable.

Re:Nothing inconvenient about the results (1)

dsvick (987919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931664)

"Gore was about as charming and captivating as an endangered sea turtle"
Oh, I don't know about that, I think sea turtles are, if not charming and captivating, sort of cute.

/vertisement (1, Insightful)

Cryptacool (98556) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931028)

Seriously? So slashdot really is just all advertisements now? :(

Re:/vertisement (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931048)

You must be new here!

Re:/vertisement (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931316)

Not all of advertisements make it to the front page. Try advertising the text of Qur'an

Re:/vertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931674)

I'm more concerned with Global Jihad than I am Global warming. I agree the slashdot has went down hill, not because I disagree with global warming (and I do, and I'm a physicist, though no climate expert) it's went down hill because it's either political, games or advertisements with real science and technology posts only getting the title posted on the main site, but no summary.

Re:/vertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931430)

Agreed. Even though I would recommend that people see the movie, this isn't a "news" article, it's an advertisement, which should be labeled as such. When newspapers publish advertisements that are made to look and read like newspaper articles, they're required to put a line somewhere on the ad that labels it an ad so as to not fool the reader. Slashdot should do the same.

Just Tag It (1)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931556)

It's useful information about the story; just tag it. Enough agreement, and the tag'll show on the front page.

People can make up their own minds if the tag is useful.

Re:/vertisement (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931506)

Yes, Slashdot is just advertisements now. I'm serial.

Re:/vertisement (1)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931612)

How do you think they pay the bandwidth and power required to avoid their own site being /.'ed ??

Subscriptions ? ya right....

Re:/vertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931686)

Do you think Slashdot should never report on any commercial product?
It kind of limits the range of the articles a bit.

Another Inconvenient Truth (0)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931062)

Humanity will have to get offplanet.
Fast

Re:Another Inconvenient Truth (1)

BarC0d3z (825670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931126)

Chia-planet?

Jon Stewart said it best... (5, Funny)

wanerious (712877) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931170)

I'll have to paraphrase, but it is kind of remarkable that the film was made. Jon Stewart tried to imagine pitching a movie with the gripping charisma of Al Gore combined with the drama and excitement of a scientific powerpoint presentation. It's hard to imagine many execs falling over themselves to write that check.

Of course, I'll probably rent it (along with "Who Killed the Electric Car") tonight for a uber-geek double feature.

Re:Jon Stewart said it best... (1, Funny)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931330)

hippy double feature.
There. You made a small spelling error.

Did Al Gore buy advertising on this site? (3, Insightful)

poulh (646309) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931172)

Because this seems like an ad for the dvd, not a story. At any rate, this needs to be filed under politics, not science. Or, as a compromise, both.

Re:Did Al Gore buy advertising on this site? (3, Informative)

jamie (78724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931308)

I have no idea whether Al Gore or anyone affiliated with the film bought advertising on this site. The content/editorial side and the advertising side are kept separate on Slashdot as well or better than any other news website out there.

And it already is filed under both politics and science (check the icons near the top of the story). Both are clearly applicable.

Not political (3, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931344)

I'm sorry, but the Ozone layer isn't registered to vote. You getting skin cancer has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats. Good science is about facts. Politics is about bullshit.

Re:Did Al Gore buy advertising on this site? (1)

Umbrae (866097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931366)

I disagree. Despite the orator, there's really very little political about this film.

how is this politics? (1, Funny)

haagmm (859285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931472)

the man is a former politician, but the film was a science documentary

Too true (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931176)

And the only way that happens is for people everywhere to stop listening to the cool kids and, once again, pay attention to the nerds
No shit.
Happens way too often nowadays, politicians vote and propose things that won't help, or even make the situation worse, since they don't know what they are legislating about.

Oh, and a quick link to buy the DVD [amazon.com] .

Pretty much always the case... (5, Insightful)

kan0r (805166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931180)

..with inconvenient truth: People will laugh, people will ignore, people will not like you for telling them about it.
They laughed at Galileo Galilei, they laughed at Gandhi and they now laugh at everything inconvenient.

Since when does public opinion influence truth?

Re:Pretty much always the case... (1)

mbcx4jrh (264055) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931444)

They didn't laugh at Gandhi, the Indians followed him and the British sh*tted themselves about what to do.

Re:Pretty much always the case... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931554)

They laughed at Galileo Galilei, they laughed at Gandhi and they now laugh at everything inconvenient

You have to take into consideration though that these guys weren't alone in their time and situation. There is always a raftload of fools for every insightful guy. Sometimes it's hard to take something seriously because one guy has the right idea but you're trying to listen to a few dozen different voices all screaming at you at the same time.

And think of it what you will but I don't really hear that single voice over the crowd yet. Time will tell.

And suppose Gore is proven wrong in the next 10 or 20 years... when will your opinion be influenced? You've seem to have already decided who's right when all the data is not in. We have a long way to go in the question of global warming.

For those who feel that man made emissions are at the heart of this, why not go an easier route to helping lower them by getting the consumer to embrace other aspects of these pollutants that are far more tangible? Such as weening ourselves off of foreign oil or air quality?

Re:Pretty much always the case... (1)

zix619 (802964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931564)

since always! They silenced Galileao, but finally they have to acknowledge that the earth circles around sun!

Re:Pretty much always the case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931566)

They also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

Re:Pretty much always the case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931580)

Since when does public opinion influence truth?

Truth is irrelevent when you're trying to motivate the public to take action, or to be accepting of actions taken that will affect them in ways they aren't going to automatically like.

Tree falling in the forest (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931186)

If a tree falls in a forest and everyone around pretends it never happened, does it make a sound?

Re:Tree falling in the forest (1)

psiclops (1011105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931660)

i tried to mod you insightful, (yes i realise it's funny but as with good humour, theres a fucking great point in there) then i realised i'm a noob. no mod for you.

I'm so tired of this! (3, Insightful)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931194)

The short answer is yes, he does. There are minor errors. They don't detract from Gore's main point, on which the scientific debate has ended.

Consensus is NOT proof. I don't know how else to say this. When someone tells you that there is a consensus among scientists on a certain issue, they have proved nothing about the issue itself.. I'm not arguing that global warming is not real, or is not the fault of humans. But I'm tired of people trying to strong-arm me into acquiescing to the point using blatantly un-scientific methods.

The troubling side-issue no one wants to talk about here is that in our modern world of super-specialization it has become increasingly impossible to fact-check our experts. There are at least 3 distinct parties in this conversation: scientists, the media, and the public at large. If either scientists or the media have a bias at all on this issue anyone who believes the tired-old "scientific consensus" argument can be led around just like those religious fools they love to mock: a subject to an irrational trust in authority. Scientific consensus is the argument used to sell us toothpaste and mouth rinse - not to argue substantively for the biggest scientific crisis the world has faced.

This troubling side-issue of authority vs. science won't go away. We are in danger of becoming a society where science is the new priesthood, universities are the new temples, and PhDs are the new bishops of a timid and trusting flock. I'd say this corruption of science is almost as alarming as global warming, and far easier to demonstrate. Any true follower of science must reject "consensus" for what it is: argument by authority. It is, fundamentally, the same monstrosity that corrupted organized religion 1,000s of years ago. It must be rejected if science is to escape the fate of those organized religions.

I don't mean for this to distract from the central point of global warming. That's an important issue as well. The trouble is: how do we make up our minds about the issue if we reject scientific consensus as proof? The only thing I can think of is to understand as much of the issue as we can for ourselves rather than from the media. That's something I definitely need to work harder on.

-stormin

Re:I'm so tired of this! (1)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931302)

. Any true follower of science must reject "consensus" for what it is: argument by authority. It is, fundamentally, the same monstrosity that corrupted organized religion 1,000s of years ago. It must be rejected if science is to escape the fate of those organized religions.
Not to go off-topic here,not that I don't agree with you, and not that I know all that much about you, but isn't it a bit .... ironic coming from a fellow named "theStorminMormon"?

Re:I'm so tired of this! (2, Interesting)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931648)

Even a devout Catholic can't look at the history of the Catholic church and say that organized religion has been anything other than a monstrosity for most of its history. From the Inquisition to the Crusades to anti-Semitism to political and social oppression - the history of Catholicism is sordid and shameful. Most organized religions fare no better, and the shame of their history simply depends on how long they've been around. The Mormons, for example, have the Mountain Meadows Massacre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Meadows_Mas sacre).

However, just as science has been misused to support things like phrenology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrenology) the argument can be made that what we've seen historically is not necessary to organized religion. It is instead what happens when organized religion falls prey to lust for political and economic power. As far as I'm concerned the chief difference between the evils of organized religion and the evils of science are that religion is a much, much older social institution than science. As a result, religion has had time to be perverted in all kinds of ways that science has not yet and - if we are vigilant - never will be.

In short: People who believe in organized religions should be the ones who are the angriest about what religious institutions have done throughout history. It's our duty to try and make sure the same mistakes of the past aren't committed again.

As far as my anti-authority stance goes, yes: there is a certain amount of intellectual tension in both adhering to a standardized body of theological belief and the scientific method. But tension is not the same thing as contradiction. I happen to think that part of the purpose of an organized religion is to make our intellectual lives harder - not easier. Intellectual tension is the motivator for intellectual growth in the same sense that necessity is the mother of invention. This means I don't hold my spiritual beliefs as sacrosanct and my scientific ones as conditional. All belief is conditional. I don't expect everyone to believe that, especially given religion's dearth of credibility on Slashdot, but that's the intro to the answer to how a devout Mormon also holds anti-authoritarian beliefs if you're curious.

-stormin (and here come the flames...)

Re:I'm so tired of this! (0, Flamebait)

JMZero (449047) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931416)

What if you had to tell someone the most important thing in the world, but you knew they'd never believe you?

It's appropriate that you, theStorminMormon, should respond to this. The first people I thought of when I read the above quote was Mormon missionaries.

Re:I'm so tired of this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931426)

ORLY?

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008597 [opinionjournal.com]

From the linked article:

"So what, then, is one to make of this alleged debate? I would suggest at least three points.

"First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists--especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a "moral" crusade.

"Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce--if we're lucky."

Proof is for mathematicians (5, Insightful)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931446)

In science, the best you can do are experiments whose results seem to support or not support a theory. Even when the results seem to point one way or another, you can pick apart the methodology, the bias of the experimenters, and more. That's the best you can do with science. It's a human endevor, and has the same human flaws.

That's why we have peer reviewed journals, public debate, and more. No, consensus is not proof. Look at the long standing belief that ulcers were caused by "stress". It turns out it's a bacterial infection and it took a crazy guy drinking a batch of the bacteria to prove his point. But in so many other cases, the evidence changes the consensus. It takes awhile and can be hotly debated, but the process generally works.

Global climate change is in that category. Smaller experiments support it. The historical record supports it. Various measurements support it. Sure, it's not proof, but that's as good as it gets with science.

Re:I'm so tired of this! (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931464)

... and there is no consensus. Science of "global warming" is not science, it is pseudo-science. One of the very good attributes of which is prolonged absence of consensus.

Other and more important attributes is absence of scientific experiments which is bread and butter of any science. Scientific experiment is a planned repeatable experiment in the controlled environment. None of that is present in the "science" of "human influencing global warming".

Re:I'm so tired of this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931476)

a) Science never proves anything.
b) If they [all the experts in this area] reached a consensus, one would assume that they reached it based on the preponderance of evidence in favor of a certain way of interpreting the facts. They are scientists after all, not ideologues.

Re:I'm so tired of this! (4, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931486)

>Any true follower of science must reject "consensus" for what it is: argument by authority.

Granted, few of us can afford to check their work the way we could check a result in chemistry, by building a planet and measuring what happens to it.

But it's not "argument by authority" when the people being cited love to argue. It's not like a church where anyone who speaks about doctrine has sworn obedience to the hierarchy.

Looking for consensus isn't proof, but it's a good heuristic. Another heuristic is to pay more attention to people who admit uncertainties. Climatologists admit they have huge variation in their forecasts, ranging from serious warming to catastrophic warming.

>The only thing I can think of is to understand as much of the issue as we can for ourselves rather than from the media. That's something I definitely need to work harder on.

As we all should and not just on this issue.

Re:I'm so tired of this! (5, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931496)

scientists or the media have a bias at all on this issue

Scientists can have whatever bias they want, but science will be the same.

We are in danger of becoming a society where science is the new priesthood, universities are the new temples, and PhDs are the new bishops of a timid and trusting flock.

Yeah, the danger has always been there. Normal people see scientists almost as priests who have "The Truth". The reality is that we do not have "The Truth", we *try* to look for the truth, science is about *understanding* the phenomena of the universe. In fact, there is no truth after all, there are only *accepted models* (theory).

The issue here is that, scientists have discovered information that shows the impact that humans are making to the environment, the problem is that normal people (non scientists) always look for a black and white "simple" answer (thats why "God" was invented).

It is, fundamentally, the same monstrosity that corrupted organized religion 1,000s of years ago. It must be rejected if science is to escape the fate of those organized religions.

Oh no it is not, the difference is that for any scientist to get reputation, it must have published some work which is *peer reviewed* by other scientists. And, as we saw with the chinesse scientist, it is very easy to lose the reputation if they make fraud.

And ultimately, no mattering the reputation of the scientists, science will continue to grow and our understanding will continue to grow.

The real problem is in pollitics, the governments do not care about global warming, as they do not care about lots of other things just because they do not understand it. To understand it, the problem must be stated in terms of profit or loss (of wealth or mind-share).

I watched this movie and I think it was great. I would really invite other people to watch it. But the sad thing is that, anyone who refuses to accept the issues of global warming will just waste 2 hours and then after watching the movie will just try to make excuses.

Re:I'm so tired of this! (5, Insightful)

jamie (78724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931516)

We are in danger of becoming a society where science is the new priesthood, universities are the new temples, and PhDs are the new bishops of a timid and trusting flock. I'd say this corruption of science is almost as alarming as global warming, and far easier to demonstrate. Any true follower of science must reject "consensus" for what it is: argument by authority.

Incorrect. Argument by authority [nizkor.org] "is fallacious only when the person [cited] is not a legitimate authority in a particular context." Climate scientists are, of course, exactly the authority one should cite about matters of climate science.

Comparing science to religion is very much the rage but the simple fact is that science produces testable theories which seek to correctly describe the world around us, while religion does not. Anyone with education and intelligence who studies scientific research or does their own scientific experiments can correct scientific errors, and this is not true for religion.

I'm not sure why you went off and attacked the concept of consensus because I wrote (correctly) that the scientific debate on this matter had ended. The vast majority of climate scientists acknowledge that the Earth is getting warmer and that one of the causes is human production of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. It is virtually impossible to find any respectable scientist who will disagree, anymore.

What this means is that we -- lay readers like you and I, and scientists alike -- can move on to other questions. Maverick scientists are of course welcome to try to disprove the existing consensus belief, and the wonderful thing about science is that they are always welcome to do so (and will receive great acclaim if they are right and everyone else is wrong). But it is correct, and significant, and important to say that there is consensus and the scientific debate on this particular question is over.

Re:I'm so tired of this! (1)

altoz (653655) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931552)

Mod parent up.

I've been skeptical of the global warming arguments specifically because of this issue. It's the exact same line of reasoning that justified the holocost and slavery (eugenics). It's not much of a stretch to say that the greenies are really the religious left telling us all that the end is near (because our priests say so).

On another whole topic, it seems to me that the weakness of the climate theories that predict doom is that those theories thus far haven't had much predictive power. Ten years ago, the same group of scientists predicted that the ocean levels would rise 12 inches (actual levels rose something like 1 inch). At least for me, the value of science should be based on predictive power. Given this, these models don't have much value and neither does this branch of science.

Re:I'm so tired of this! (2, Interesting)

Alpha830RulZ (939527) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931558)

The short answer is, you don't look at scientific consensus as proof, but as evidence for forming your own conclusion. The caliber of people that hold an opinion are testimony as to it's potential worth. When a bunch of religious nutbars, tin foil hat conspiracy theorists, and oil industry executives hold one side of the opinion, and a wide collection of highly educated, fairly disinterested parties hold the other, I'm inclined to give the nod to the group that actually studies the issue and knows how to work numbers. The fact that the educated group also has data to support their views, while the rejectors mostly proclaim, like Monty Python's knight, "It's not proved yet!" is merely icing on the cake.

Re:I'm so tired of this! (3, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931576)

The big problem is that we, as humans, tend to live 70-80 years. Why is that a problem? Well, it's physically impossible, unless somebody invents time travel, for anybody to be a scientific expert in much more than one or possibly two fields. There's just not enough time for everybody to become an expert on every issue. So where does that leave us?

Well, we can believe nothing until each one of us personally has spent 20 years researching the thickness of arctic ice caps.

Or, we can hope that peer review still works in our academic communities, and trust the experts.

As you can see, there really is no choice. I still have faith in the academic communities. I have to! The alternative is what, believing that the the "whole thing" is run be Jeebus?

And please don't associate science with religion. That's what the fundamentalist morons are trying to argue. They're arguing that science is also "faith" which is 1984 doublespeak. Religion and science are polar opposites. Science is a neverending quest for facts and information. Religion is about explicitly ignoring facts and information, and believing in something that not only has no basis in reality, but is actually diametrically opposed to the facts that we DO know. (The earth is hundreds of millions of years old. It was NOT invented in 7 days by some mystical being a few thousand years ago. That's a fact.)

Re:I'm so tired of this! (1)

tscholz (614009) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931578)

What proof do you want? There is a lot of statistical proof of temperature rising, CO2 levels rising, water level rising. These are all measurable things, that have been compared to historical levels. All of these have shown to be way above historical peaks.
While scientist like to be able to proof everything (that is what science is about), somethings can't be proven in a practical way. A scaled down earth with every important factor in it, is not an easy task.

Re:I'm so tired of this! (2, Insightful)

MrTester (860336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931616)

Bull.

You said it yourself, we are too specialized to expect a voting majority to understand everything. So we have to relly on expert opinion. All of the information is out there for you to try to understand if you want too.

Then you take a look at the different sides and listen to their arguments and ask yourself where they are coming from. You ask yourself what one side or the other has to gain.

If the bias for one side could be profit and the bias for the other can only be justified by involving the UN and a "too-far-out-there for the x-files" conspiracy theory then, well, Ill let you judge.

Re:I'm so tired of this! (1)

kokoloko (836827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931622)

In the first place, I don't think it's correct that consensus is inherently unscientific. Underlying scietific method is the premise that any rational individual can replicate the experiment, or examine the data, and come to the same conclusion. Consensus is the fall-out of a correct scientific claim.
Now, as you rightly point out, corruption can intefere with this process and needs to be watched for. But among the 3 you mention(Science, Media, and the Public), Science has the better track record. Throw in the Govt, Industry, and Religion, and they still come out on top, IMO. What incident of scientific corruption you put up against what we've seen from the other instiutions in just the last century?

Too Add to that... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931628)

You are correct. I would also like to add that the debate is NOT over. If it was, every time the subject comes up, we wouldn't need to hear someone tell us that the debate is over. That is simple a 'tell the lie often enough and people will believe it' attempt. When was the last time the Sun was mentioned on Slashdot, and someone piped in "The debate is over, the Sun is hot!"; Or how about the comment "The debate is over Microsoft publishes Windows".

dont forget about.... (1)

Spacehog320 (985368) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931214)

Man Bear Pig!!! [youtube.com] we must save him too!!!!

Scientific consensus not quite there yet... (2, Informative)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931218)

The popular belief here is that all climiate scientists agree with Gore's conclusions about Global Warming. It would seem that is not the case. From this article [canada.com] .

"I can assure Mr. Gore that no one from the South Pacific islands has fled to New Zealand because of rising seas. In fact, if Gore consults the data, he will see it shows sea level falling in some parts of the Pacific." -- Dr. Chris de Freitas, climate scientist, associate professor, University of Auckland, N.Z.
- - -
"We find no alarming sea level rise going on, in the Maldives, Tovalu, Venice, the Persian Gulf and even satellite altimetry, if applied properly." -- Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, emeritus professor of paleogeophysics and geodynamics, Stockholm University, Sweden.
- - -
"Gore is completely wrong here -- malaria has been documented at an altitude of 2,500 metres -- Nairobi and Harare are at altitudes of about 1,500 metres. The new altitudes of malaria are lower than those recorded 100 years ago. None of the "30 so-called new diseases" Gore references are attributable to global warming, none." -- Dr. Paul Reiter, professor, Institut Pasteur, unit of insects and infectious diseases, Paris, comments on Gore's belief that Nairobi and Harare were founded just above the mosquito line to avoid malaria and how the mosquitoes are now moving to higher altitudes.
- - -
"Our information is that seven of 13 populations of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (more than half the world's estimated total) are either stable or increasing..... Of the three that appear to be declining, only one has been shown to be affected by climate change. No one can say with certainty that climate change has not affected these other populations, but it is also true that we have no information to suggest that it has." -- Dr. Mitchell Taylor, manager, wildlife research section, Department of Environment, Igloolik, Nunavut.
- - -
"Mr. Gore suggests that the Greenland melt area increased considerably between 1992 and 2005. But 1992 was exceptionally cold in Greenland and the melt area of ice sheet was exceptionally low due to the cooling caused by volcanic dust emitted from Mt. Pinatubo. If, instead of 1992, Gore had chosen for comparison the year 1991, one in which the melt area was 1% higher than in 2005, he would have to conclude that the ice sheet melt area is shrinking and that perhaps a new Ice Age is just around the corner." -- Dr. Petr Chylek, adjunct professor, Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax.
- - -
"The oceans are now heading into one of their periodic phases of cooling.... Modest changes in temperature are not about to wipe them [coral] out. Neither will increased carbon dioxide, which is a fundamental chemical building block that allows coral reefs to exist at all." -- Dr. Gary D. Sharp, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study, Salinas, Calif.
- - -
"Both the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are thickening. The temperature at the South Pole has declined by more than one degree C since 1950. And the area of sea ice around the continent has increased over the last 20 years." -- Dr. R.M. Carter, professor, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.
- - -
"From data published by the Canadian Ice Service, there has been no precipitous drop-off in the amount or thickness of the ice cap since 1970 when reliable overall coverage became available for the Canadian Arctic." -- Dr./Cdr. M.R. Morgan, FRMS, formerly advisor to the World Meteorological Organization/climatology research scientist at University of Exeter, U.K.
- - -
"The MPB (mountain pine beetle) is a species native to this part of North America and is always present. The MPB epidemic started as comparatively small outbreaks and through forest management inaction got completely out of hand." -- Rob Scagel, M.Sc., forest microclimate specialist, Pacific Phytometric Consultants, Surrey, B.C., comments on Gore's belief that the mountain pine beetle is an "invasive exotic species" that has become a plague due to fewer days of frost.

Re:Scientific consensus not quite there yet... (0)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931324)

+1 Informative.

Re:Scientific consensus not quite there yet... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931428)

Consensus does not mean total unanimity.

Re:Scientific consensus not quite there yet... (0, Flamebait)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931568)

Consensus doesn't mean "right" either.

Re:Scientific consensus not quite there yet... (1)

LindseyJ (983603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931624)

Hey mods, I'm having a hard time following this discussion over the sound of your grinding axes. Could you lay of the rediculous bias for a little bit? Thanks.

Re:Scientific consensus not quite there yet... (1)

non0score (890022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931696)

True, consensus doesn't mean "right." But the global warming issue aside...if the majority of real scientists without much financial interest tells you something they agree on, would you bet on or against it? Now add to that the people with financial interest tells you otherwise?

The question is, which way will you bet? (and don't talk to me about finding out more about the issue, because unless you're a climatologist or highly trained in the sciences, I doubt you'll get much more than an amateur opinion on the subject)

Re:Scientific consensus not quite there yet... (2, Funny)

mpitcavage (655718) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931588)

Our information is that seven of 13 populations of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (more than half the world's estimated total) are either stable or increasing..... Of the three that appear to be declining, only one has been shown to be affected by climate change. No one can say with certainty that climate change has not affected these other populations, but it is also true that we have no information to suggest that it has." -- Dr. Mitchell Taylor, manager, wildlife research section, Department of Environment, Igloolik, Nunavut.
You tell 'em, Mitch! That was the stupidest of the populations anyway.

OR: The mysterious 13th tribe of polar bears have gone far away to a place called... Miami?

MY FINAL ANSWER: You won't debunk global warming with facts that support it.

Re:Scientific consensus not quite there yet... (1)

iceperson (582205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931670)

Our information is that seven of 13 populations of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (more than half the world's estimated total) are either stable or increasing.....

Re:Scientific consensus not quite there yet... (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931630)

I'm also not sure when consensus became proof (as alluded to in the summary). And as you have pointed out above there are many scientist already debunking Gores film.

I think the whole issue would get much more traction if they focused not on global warming, but on cleaning up pollution as a whole. It's easy to point to scientific fact that dumping contaminants into the environment does lead to bad things. Instead of pointing to hard to prove concepts like global warming (now) or global cooling (20-30 years ago), lets just focus on dumping poison == bad.

Are you kidding me? (1, Insightful)

devilsbrigade (930153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931228)

Is this a plant or what? This isn't news its an Advertisement pulled from netflix about the DVD release. Want to know my favorite part of the movie? When at the premier, the entire "cast" got into big Lincoln SUV's. Drove Four blocks. And then went to movie. It's movies like these that try to drum up sensationalist support for half hearted causes that eventually push into politics. Like everything else. Besides...Harry Potter and the balance of Earth was a much better story line that he wrote.

Re:Are you kidding me? (1, Informative)

jamie (78724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931380)

This isn't news its an Advertisement

Incorrect.

Want to know my favorite part of the movie? When at the premier, the entire "cast" got into big Lincoln SUV's.

I would suggest you actually watch the movie.

Re:Are you kidding me? (1)

devilsbrigade (930153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931468)

uh....Last i checked...and mind you it has been a while... last i checked...they don't put the movie premiere...in the movie, BUT...i could be wrong. I'm not a bigwig hollywood insider.

Re:Are you kidding me? (0)

jamie (78724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931590)

Yes, I was suggesting that you watch something important, like the movie, rather than latch onto something unimportant, like whether its cast and crew drove four blocks on one occasion.

Re:Are you kidding me? (1)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931654)

It's a convenient "inconvenient" truth...

Another Inconvenient Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931232)

It's to bad Gore lost the election.

Re:Another Inconvenient Truth (1)

Vetitum1 (874554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931364)

For those of you that have seen the movie, how many times does Al Gore mention the influence of the Sun on global temperatures? ...

The answer is once, and only in the oversimplified "green house gasses trap in heat" power point explanation of global warming which has become consensus. Sorry people, that's not science, that's politics.

tags:notscience notproved fud (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931270)

Those who share the opinion that those tags as correct, please tag it as such - this is an alternative form of influencing /. crowd opinion.

The scientific debate has ended? (3, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931282)

Last I heard, they were still arguing over the existence of the medieval warming period and a hundred other possible oddities in recent climatological history. There is quite a bit of debate over what our role in the warming is, and what the climate will do in the next hundred and the next thousand years.

The earth is warming. We may or may not have a role in the warming. We do know for certain that our presence has affected climates at the local level; there *is* some debate still over how much influence we exercise over the global climate. Science has been wrong several times about climate change in the past few decades (The big chill never happened, and warming hasn't progressed nearly as quickly as was once predicted). We've got a lot left to learn before we can accurately predict where this is going.

Don't do science a disservice and proclaim an end to debate. One of the key tenets of science is that very few things are absolute, and our knowledge of climate certainly isn't one of them. As often as science has proved itself wrong in the past, to proclaim an end to debate over a subject like global climate change and declare once side to be fact is to spit in the face of science.

Re:The scientific debate has ended? (4, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931614)

>Science has been wrong several times about climate change in the past few decades (The big chill never happened, a

Here's a bibliography of 1970s era scientific papers about climate change [wmconnolley.org.uk] .

>We may or may not have a role in the warming.

If it's possible to put as much CO2 in the atmosphere as we have and *not* get a climate effect, that would be one of the most astonishing scientific results in history.

Partisan != Nerdy (1)

mpitcavage (655718) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931286)

I don't think the message has been suppressed because Gore is a "nerd", it has more to do with politicians being, in general, idiots. Many elected officials, especially in the big leagues are more concerned about quick fixes for minor issues that will raise their visibility to get them elected again to do more of the same. I don't think many of them are capable of grasping the severity of the problem. Then there's big oil lobbyists manipulating their decisions in ways big oil lobbyists don't understand.

As we've always known if you're smart enough to understand the impact of these issues, you're probably too smart to want to run for office.

This review says more about the reviewer's issues as a nerd in high school, which he either graduated from last year or harbors such deep seated issues that he'll go "falling down [imdb.com] " at his reunion.
how do you respond when you try to say something serious and the cool kids laugh at you?
Seriously, who thinks Republicans are "the cool kids"?

Re:Partisan != Nerdy (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931606)

Seriously, who thinks Republicans are "the cool kids"?


Other Republicans?

Drop in the bucket (2, Insightful)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931298)

And yet, despite all this, what has really been accomplished? Sure, there's more "awareness" but have people started scrapping their SUVs for Priuses? Have there been any major governmental (in the U.S., at least) commitments to renewable/carbon neutral technologies? Have we come any closer to an idea of how to deal with the fact that two of the most populous nations on Earth, China and India, are increasing in their use of fossil fuels as we speak?

Kudos to Gore for doing his part; Lord knows it's been a thankless task so far. But so far it seems like his is a voice in the wilderness, and as long as big oil has more lobbying power than the environmental movement any sweeping changes will be a long time coming.

Re:Drop in the bucket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931528)

Change takes time. While it's probably not completely due to "An Inconvenient Truth," I think it's remarkable how quickly public opinion has shifted recently from a majority saying that the jury was still out on global warming, to realizing that the scientists had pretty much made up their minds about it a number of years ago.

While perhaps no really concrete action has taken place on a large scale (although several state governments have put legislation into motion to curb greenhouse emissions, so I'd say the problem is more at the federal level in the U.S.), the mere fact that we, as a society, have collectively acknowledged the problem and changed the discourse is absolutely huge. It's the first step towards real change.

Dissecting idiotic /.ers (2)

TheDoctorWho (858166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931332)

See, idiots, does it really matter what causes global warming?

So many of you are caught up in your little meaningless life's that you can't comprehend the mere fact that man kind is dumping it's waste all over the place like a big disgrace.

Who gives a fuck that we are causing global warming or not. It's painfully obvious that the human race needs to stop dumping it's shit all over the earth.

So, to all you idiots out there, I really hope you die, you are not needed here.

The scariest horror film of 2006 was a documentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931340)

Woah. SAW III was a documentary? That's messed up.

Scientific Debate has Ended? (1)

javelinco (652113) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931354)

Wow, then it isn't scientific. Debate about theories, for true scientists, can never truly end - that's a basic property of science. Everyone may agree - all the evidence may point towards the hypothesis being correct - but true science means that if new evidence comes along that casts the hypothesis in doubt, then the debate begins again. Either the evidence is incorporated into the theory, or the theory is changed or discarded. It's statements like these that have some people wondering just how scientific the theories being touted are. The good news is that people who say these things are generally not the scientists studying the problem. And to those saying these things? I'll just remind you that you are hurting your "cause". Learn to speak with care - it truly helps!

Peak Oil vs Global Warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931368)

The two are mutually exclusive Malthusian catastrophes. If conventional oil peaks within the next decade or two then the economic fallout will kill much of the pollution causing global warming. The nontraditional sources of petroleum that have been deemed as replacements such as tar sands and coal liquification would be too expensive for all but the upper classes, so those would not be a threat.

Global warming is really an assumption that the world has an infinite supply of cheap petroleum that will continue to feed the problem. Most studies show this is not the case.

The 1500 year global warming/cooling sub-cycle (2, Interesting)

stankulp (69949) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931382)

"It has long been accepted that the Earth has experienced climate cycles, most notably the 90,000-year Ice Age cycles. But in the past 20 years or so, modern science has discovered evidence that within those broad Ice Age cycles, the Earth also experiences 1,500-year warming-cooling cycles. The Earth has been in the Modern Warming portion of the current cycle since about 1850, following a Little Ice Age from about 1300 to 1850. It appears likely that warming will continue for some time into the future, perhaps 200 years or more, regardless of human activity."

The Physical Evidence of Earth's Unstoppable 1,500-Year Climate Cycle [ncpa.org]

Re:The 1500 year global warming/cooling sub-cycle (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931688)

A climate physicist... and an economist? Who just happen to have a new book out that will explain, for a mere $24.95, how they're the only people who have figured this out?

Come on, you can do better than that.

How much truth (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931388)

From what I have seen the only debate that is settled is the debate over whether the earth is getting warmer, how and why are still up in the air. I watched a program a few weeks back where this group of scientists were looking at layers of earth and talked about how they thought global warming was a natural phenomenon and was basically cyclic. Others claim there is no proof. In the end its all a guess. What happens if we guess wrong? If it is cyclic and nature is performing a partial do-over, wont doing everything in their power to change it make gore and company the ulimate anti-environmentalists? Quite the conundrum, I surely wouldnt want to be the one guessing which answer was right.

Yep. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931394)

"We are entering a period of consequences."

the final conclusion is essentially... (5, Interesting)

xlurker (253257) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931398)

I have seen the movie; it is well done.

There are some conclusions that I think are inevitable... The final ultimate conclusions is essentially:

  • Wind or solar energy-farms should be build in gargantuan scales. If one is dubious about such large scaling, just think of Google, they use tens of thousands of computers to power the search machine, all are centrally controlled and maintained.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, says it can't be done with energy-farms on colossal areas. These farms are used for sequesteration and also as an energy source. This does not depend on changing human nature, it will work and it will pay itself of. All it needs is for someone to propagate the idea.



Runup to that conclusion:

Sadly recent news and statistics can let one only draw the following conclusions:

  1. it is not possible to change human habits even if the first world nations reduce CO2 emmisions, the second and third world nations will compensate by buying oil and coal no longer being bought by first world nations [1]
  2. for us as a developed and civilized world to (really don't want to sound melodramatic) survive this, we will need to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere. As much as I would like humanity to finally change its habits and maybe become a bit more conscious of itself as a whole: what I would like has little influence on what "is" ; in particular little influence on 6 billion+ people ... (e.g. China will likely overtake the US concerning CO2 emmisions in 10 years...)
  3. Since (1) will happen no matter what, reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere by reducing emmisions will not be enough
  4. the conclusion from (3): sequesteration of CO2 requirement: large amounts of energy
  5. the amount of energy needed for (4) will be large, it cannot come from other limited sources such as gas or atomic thus it must come from renewable sources: wind, solar, tidal/water (I exclude fusion since this is still too uncertain for the next 30 years)
  6. no matter what the source of energy, the industry needed to provide the amounts of energy will be huge, it cannot only be used for sequesteration but also (obviously as an energy source)
  7. a second conclusion of (1) is that humanity cannot change one of it's habits: consumption of resources / pruduction of goods, both need energy; if we cannot solve the problem by reducing consumption of energy, then we solve the problem by producing more means of producing energy
  8. based on (7) look for systems that have a positive energy return on energy investment scale the good candidates to very large levels basically I think (8) is the only way to go for humanity, (8) is then applied to (4) examples of (8) can be found : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_energy_develop ment [wikipedia.org]
  9. first example: a wind turbine produces enough energy for a bit more then 300 homes, the US has approx. 300 million citizens, and maybe 80 million homes, thus 1000*1000 wind-turbines would supply enough energy for all households and sequesteration of CO2 just lining them up next to each would not work since there is only so much wind availible, spacing them at a distance of 1km to each other might work, thus one would need 1 million square kilometers, the US itself occupies 10 million square kilometers. wind turbines could be setup on the same areas used for agriculture the energy return on energy investment is more than twenty-fold, amortization after approx. 3 years. Amount of time to build: decades
  10. a further maybe quicker to implement example for (8) would be to create large industries that create huge amounts of solar panels, not based on silicon but instead on the energy/resources-cheaper version: copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar panels [2] [3] claims that approx 10 square meters of solar panels per person provide enough energy per year, thus for the US an area of 100*100 square kilometers would supply enough energy for all households and sequesteration of CO2, approx. 2% of California for example The US uses approx 500*1000 MegaWatts a year At the moment one CIGS factory can produce 1 square kilometer of solar panels the produces 100 MegaWatts of energy Amount of time to build: decades
  11. of (10) it is known that the total energy return on total energy investment is positive (in constrast to silicon-based panels), also this would be a large job-creation industry on all levels, since not only high-levels skills are needed but also basic maintenance work drawback: electric resistance, I do not know how large the losses are... with "scaling to very large levels" I mean covering 10,000 square kilometers with panels, not just a few acres
  12. an interesting conclusion of the examples (9, 10) is that it may become possible to actually control basic weather patterns
  13. a further conclusion of (9, 10) is that this is inspiring to people, since it is monumental in thought as in sight; consider:
    a) curtailing consumption of energy and resources does not really make a person gasp in awe a the technological marvels that may be needed;
    b) the mere though of covering such vaste amounts of area and from that generating energy, produces - at least for me - quite an opposite reaction; it is awe-inspiring, breath-taking, it is a testament to engineering, technology, science, logistics and human determination.
    It is the Apollo program of the 21st century.
I can guess that the numbers of energy consumption for solar and wind don't match up, I botched it all up fairly quicky...

The main idea is that such energy-farms should be build in gargantuan scales. If one is dubious about such large scaling, just think of Google, they use tens of thousands of computers to power the search machine, all are centrally controlled and maintained.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, says it can't be done with energy-farms on colossal areas. These farms are used for sequesteration and also as an energy source. This does not depend on changing human nature, it will work and it will pay itself of. All it needs is for someone to propagate the idea.

[1] http://www.innovations-report.de/html/berichte/umw elt_naturschutz/bericht-73891.html [innovations-report.de] New global analysis shows 400% increase in carbon dioxide emissions growth 13.11.2006 Due to the phenomenon of environmental inertia, even when anthropogenic emissions do begin to decrease, atmospheric CO2 will continue to rise for up to as much as a century. Global temperatures will continue to increase for two or more centuries locking the world into continuing climate change for this period. Effective management of Earth system inertia depends on early and consistent actions.

[2] http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-6130312.html?pa rt=rss&tag=feed&subj=zdnn [zdnet.com] A solar-panel production plant costs a tenth of what a silicon-based solar panel plant costs. Both plants producing the amount of solar panels a year, so that these panels produce the same amount of energy a year.

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy [wikipedia.org]

www.globalorgasm.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931400)

http://www.globalorgasm.org/ [globalorgasm.org] is the only way to synergistically channel orgasmic energy into the fight for Gaia. I believe that with the number of young, passionate, single men on Slashdot with the resources to take part in this effort, we will truly be able to make a difference.

"Scientific debate has ended" (1)

TaleSpinner (96034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931432)

You know, no matter how many times you say it, it's still wrong.
The facts are simple: a) the planet is warming up and b) we don't
know why. We suspect that human activity may have something
to do with it, but there is not yet reasonable proof. And we need
that proof before we commit the entire planet to a plan of
action that will cost trillions of dollars, because if it turns
out to be wrong, we won't have the money or resources to address
the real problem when and if we finally discover it.


And the debate goes on.


With algore, the debate has ended, because his constituancy
consists of the extreme loony left who never debated anything anyway.


In short, this film is propaganda, nothing more, and it has no
place here.

NASA Climate Model on your Laptop (4, Interesting)

HoneyBeeSpace (724189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931434)

If you'd like to recreated a lot of the stuff from the movie, using real data as inputs and getting similar results as what Gore gets, the EdGCM [columbia.edu] project has wrapped a NASA global climate model (GCM) in a GUI (OS X and Win). You can add CO2, re-arrange the continents, change the vegetation cover, or turn the sun down by a few percent all with a checkbox and a slider. Supercomputers and advanced FORTRAN programmers are no longer necessary to run your own GCM. Disclaimer: I'm the project developer.

In Soviet Spain... (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931474)

Bull Gores YOU! and in Dyslexic Russia, Bore Gulls YOU!

Regardless of how you feel about global warming... (2, Insightful)

ZipR (584654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931570)

Isn't reducing what we use and making things more efficient a worthy goal in and of itself?

Hmm. Sci...ence? (1)

abaddononion (1004472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931620)

I went to college (I know that doesn't make me an expert on anything, but it's slighty better than "I dropped out of middle school"), and took several earth science classes, and while it wasn't really my field, I fairly distinctly remember several discussion which taught me that in reality, volcanic ash is responsible for over 90% of the actual polution levels in the atmosphere. Meaning that, even if we did STOP GLOBAL WARMING! by destroying all technology, and using a reflected sunbeam from a giant mirror orbiting the planet to melt all of our robots down, we wouldn't really have much impact on the whole situation.

I don't deny that it's possible that my information isn't 100% valid... like I said, it's what I remember being taught. And while I found several resources to support my viewpoint, none of them were reputable enough for me to feel like they were substantial evidence. There's so much back-and-forth on this particular topic that it's hard to be sure who's full of BS. But one thing I do remember, a few years back, scientists somewhere did a simulation of what would happen if all human live ceased to exist, and they estimated that in somewhere around 50 to 100 years, the earth would completely recover from all of the damages we had done to it, and would continue on as if we had never been. If you look back on earth's history, it has been through some serious shit. Like the moon being knocked OUT of the earth's crust (resulting in our 23.5 degree tilt). I think we could strategically drop nukes everywhere, kill everyone, and in a century or two, which is a drop in the bucket of earth's lifespan, it would be trucking along just fine. A bit tangential, I know, but my point is, I personally don't believe that we the people are really having nearly as much of an impact on the mighty earth as we'd like to think.

Also, Gore taking the Lincoln Navigator to the premiere was beyond hilarious.

Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16931626)

Did anybody else have a hard time figuring out what TFA was actually talking about?

Shenanigans? (1)

fatty ding dong (1028344) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931678)

So if we know enough about our planet's climate to know beyond all shadow of a doubt that the Earth is going to warm up to melt the polar ice caps and change the world as we know it over the next few decades, why can't we get a decent 5 day forecast (that's actually correct for more than 2 out of the 5 days)?

Why sell it? Why not give it away? (1)

unorthod0x (263821) | more than 7 years ago | (#16931690)

After seeing this I felt that with such an important message why would this not have been simply 'given away'? Wouldn't that be in the interest of Mr. Gore who feels so passionately about getting this seen as widely as possible?
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