Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

About a month ago, I finally got around to watching Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Before I had seen it, I blogged a little about Al Gore's carbon footprint and the business of carbon offsets.
Gore's presentation is pretty well-done. The huge screens and graphs he draws are quite good at illustrating his point.

However, today while doing some data entry for work, I watched The Great Global Warming Swindle over at YouTube. I had expected it to be a cheesy, low-budget documentary (like the aforementioned JFK II).

I was wrong. It's excellently produced by the BBC and is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. Extensive interviews with some of the leading scientists and climatologists, they directly rebut some of Gore's data and arguments as well as give a good history of the man-made climate change movement. When you hear one of the co-founders of Greenpeace say that the whole man-made global warming movement is just a political movement not based on scientific facts, it gets your attention.

Did you know that the volcanoes on earth produce much more CO2 than all of the factories combined? That was part of a larger illustration that blew my mind.

As someone who's had a little exposure to econometrics, the whole "CO2 increases cause temperature increases because they're clearly correlated" argument has always bothered me. You have to account for other variables in your analysis. These scientists seem to have done a better job of that.

They provide much more complete data analysis using the same data sources that Gore does: ice core surveys and the like. Lots of wonderful computer-generated charts and graphs, very easy to follow. According to them, CO2 levels are actually lagging temperature increases, meaning that it can't be driving the climate change.

So, what is causing global warming? Solar activity and sunspots. Maybe Fred Thompson is right after all.

30 years ago, as temperatures were falling, scientists were wondering about a new ice age. As temperatures rose again, scientists (like Al Gore's professor) who had previously been outcasts for advocating a link between CO2 and temperature increases suddenly became vogue. But, their hypotheses aren't borne out by the data at all.

As a Christian I'm always asking "What's the real truth here?" and as an economist I'm always asking "What does the data say?" So, I recommend inviting your friends over one week to watch An Inconvenient Truth. Have a little discussion afterwards and play some games. Next week, have all the same friends over and watch The Great Global Warming Swindle, and have another discussion.

The data definitely warrants further analysis. Here is part 1. The whole show is about 74 minutes.


Anonymous said...

Obviously you've got no personal experience with propaganda and demagogy because you fail to recognise them. You don't need to spend hours in library to find out that e.g. the amount of CO2 produced by all the human activities is in fact about 130 times bigger than what volcanos produce. A little more attention while watching this film and you might find it strange that the makers for some reason cut their graphs around 1980 (hint - to avoid unfitting data). A bit more critical thinking, boy.

JTapp said...

No, I've actually found quite a bit more to substantiate the film than the numbers you are giving out. The film tells the story of how those purporting global warming were demonized in the 1960's... now those who are decrying it are being demonized. I'm not sure what the founder of Greenpeace's motive would be in saying that the movement is more political than environmental...