Is Gore an alarmist?

There’s no secret I’m one of those pinko lefty anti-bushies. No question there. I see Bush and his cronies as a wave of darkness engulfing the US political system, tainting not only our own lives, but affecting the world with their ideological ultra-conservative mores.

So I’ve been following Al Gores An Inconvenient truth with interest. It’s gotten a lot of attention and support, with not just a little haranguing from the right. A lot of the chatter has been “Why didn’t we see this Gore in the election?”, but there’s also been support for the ideas he’s presenting in the movie. Is global warming a real threat, and are CO2 levels from carbon emissions precipitating a global temperature change? Surely it must be right. Environmentalists agree, the Bushies disagree and cast doubt on it, so it must be true, right?

Right?

Maybe not. An article on Canada Free Press states that there’s a ton of misleading and flat out wrong information in Gore’s film.

I went into reading this article with a typical skeptical attitude. “This must be just a few anti-ecologists. The few ‘scientists’ drummed up by the right to counter Gore’s arguments, to cast doubt on the whole thing.” But, reading it, no, this isn’t. These are the people who really do make the climate predictions, and they’re saying… Gore is completely off the mark. Read the article all the way through, and you’ll see what I mean.

So, who to believe? I don’t know now. I don’t believe Gore’s ‘imminent death of the world’ scenario. I believe our activities on the planet are having an impact, but we’re not about to turn stretches of the US into desert, nor are we looking at a 30ft change in ocean levels. But, I do believe what we do changes the environment around us, and we need to make sure our ecological footprint is as small as possible.

What’s your ecological footprint?

Here’s how I fared:

	CATEGORY 	ACRES
FOOD 		4.7
MOBILITY 	1
SHELTER 	5.2
GOODS/SERVICES 	5.7
TOTAL FOOTPRINT 	17
IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 24 ACRES PER
PERSON.  WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 4.5 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE ACRES PER PERSON.
IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 3.7 PLANETS. 

Thanks to Slashdot for the initial link.

Update 13:30pmKai has pointed out that the Canadian Free Press hardly an objective, balanced journal. Their front page articles are filled with judgemental and biased commentary. While the article linked is well written, the rest of the content of the site seriously calls into question any of the ‘facts’ stated. Regardless, the ecological footprint information IS valid and interesting.

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10 thoughts on “Is Gore an alarmist?

  1. CATEGORY  GLOBAL HECTARES
    FOOD            1
    MOBILITY        0.8
    SHELTER         2.8
    GOODS/SERVICES  2
    TOTAL FOOTPRINT 6.6
    IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 5.3 GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.
    WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 1.8 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.
    

    Multiply by 2.47 to use acres like Dave..
    Editors note – this is in the UK. 🙂

  2. Kai, I believe you’re right. I didn’t really look into the content of the ‘paper’ before I read their article. (though the article is reasonably well written, looking at the tone and judgement of their other articles calls into question any of the material they’re publishing).
    Thanks for the heads up.

  3. The man (Bob Carter) Harris describes as “one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change.” is in fact an industry appologist whose research was funded by ExxonMobil.
    If you want a real summary of research by climatologists and geologists, see this paper (PDF) on the website of the Pew Research Center on Climate Change.

  4. Last night on Fresh Air:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5484338
    Revkin basically said Gore’s method of presenting is as a 20th century disaster like an oil spill or nuke meltdown, but really Climate Change is going to most affect our kids and grandkids.
    That said, I think it is true that many scientists think we might be close-to (or already over) the “tipping point” due to positive feedback loops related to the “black-water vs white-ice” Albedo Effect. So in that sense, quick action is probably important. It’s just that the real motivation is mainly decades in the future.
    Great book (based on LONG 3-part article in NYer which you might still find online) by Elizabeth Kolbert that I highly recommend.

  5. Also, I think eco-footprint quizzes seem to only look at land-use (“footprint”), which is only one part of a many many part equation as to how unsustainable our lifestyles are.
    A book I recommend on the topic (that would maybe make a great quiz too) is “The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists”
    Basically… worry about cars, homes, food, in considering one’s impact.
    Not “paper vs plastic” bags and “disposable vs cloth” diapers. Everything is important, but follow the $$ as a rough clue of the impact.

  6. How does this fit in with your earlier claim that doing small things isn’t really going to make a difference and we all just have to wait for fission? 🙂

  7. I wonder what the ecological footprint of The Pew Charitable Trusts is. They are spending money from Sun Oil stock and all. I got a 14 which makes me think the results are not all that right. My sleep number is 65. I’m having a hard time believing anything I read or hear unless it’s raw data.

  8. The questions were really random and skewed. I actually produce food, yet there was no place for a credit.
    My footprint (11 acres) is exactly the size of our property.

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