Good Movie. Bad Movie?

So last night we saw Thank you for Smoking. It made fun of cigarette companies and nanny state liberals at the same time. Yes, cigarettes are bad and by extension so are the companies that make them, but if you are an adult with a fully functioning brain, by now you should know that. It was great and I strongly recommend it.

But before the movie the trailer for an Inconvenient Truth was shown. Its ninety-four minutes of supercilious,
Al Gore hyperbole about Ga-lobe-al Wharm-ang. Oh lord does it look bad. But of course I must not love the earth or children and enjoy betraying it with my 21mpg car. I agree that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions aren’t helpful to the environment but this is really as far as the scientific consensus goes. Anything else is just reckless, and arguably agenda driven speculation. Is Mount Kilimanjaro losing it’s snowcap a sign of the apocalypse we deserve? Nope and Nope. This was discredited over 2 years ago as caused by regional deforestation causing the air to be more dry, but it does make a pretty picture. Is Antarctic melting a new phenomenon? Nope it’s been melting at roughly the same rate for over 7,500 years, but I’m sure Al enjoyed the imagery of drowning all the Floridians who didn’t vote for him in 2000. Was global warming responsible for what happened in New Orleans? Hardly. Don’t get me wrong, I think the fewer carbon emissions the better, but I’m not willing go chicken-little over what appears to be an admittedly undesirable but highly manageable trend. The real tragedy is the exaggerated claims that are made in this movie do nothing to move the debate any more to the mainstream where it belongs. Joe six-pack isn’t going to trade in his Yukon for a Prius because of some sad, sad polar bears or the rantings of some self-righteous activist scientists who were never too good at math. Climatologists should stick to their day jobs and focus on getting the actual science right and leave assessing the true consequences of what they find to people with some actual perspective; economists.

UPDATE: The Beeb of all places questions the "overselling" of climate change.

FLASHBACK: This puts the movie into context: "Arlie Schardt, who was Mr. Gore's communications director during the 1988 presidential campaign, to warn the candidate in a memo, 'your main pitfall is exaggeration.'"

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg sums up my previous points better than I.


Joe said...

Oddly enough, one of my classes has been doing debates over various issues of global economics. We're assigned a position to defend, and mine is the one you're making...that global warming isn't a big deal. So I'll have more to say in a few weeks after the debate's over.

Andrew said...

Ugh. Good luck Holocau….I mean global warming denier. Everyone knows that our shallow, materialist culture is making Earth Mother sick. Gaia is right to be angry and is wise and just to dole out the punishment we deserve. Oh why won’t we just listen to her cries!?! Can’t we hear them in the cries of the polar bear or the bleaching of her coral?

No, I don’t expect you to have to respond to arguments like that but some degree of this religiosity seems to be internalized by both colleges I went to (even in business school).

Anyways this may help your rebuttal to a “state of the earth” summary you’ll probably get from the correct…. I mean opposing view: