Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Cyclone

I have been waiting for this, but I didn't think it would come from Al Gore:
Al Gore Calls Myanmar Cyclone a 'Consequence' of Global Warming
Former vice president tells NPR's 'Fresh Air' cyclone is example of 'consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming.'

By Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
5/6/2008 4:04:54 PM

Using tragedy to advance an agenda has been a strategy for many global warming activists, and it was just a matter of time before someone found a way to tie the recent Myanmar cyclone to global warming.

Former Vice President Al Gore in an interview on NPR’s May 6 “Fresh Air” broadcast did just that. He was interviewed by “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross about the release of his book, “The Assault on Reason,” in paperback.

“And as we’re talking today, Terry, the death count in Myanmar from the cyclone that hit there yesterday has been rising from 15,000 to way on up there to much higher numbers now being speculated,” Gore said. “And last year a catastrophic storm from last fall hit Bangladesh. The year before, the strongest cyclone in more than 50 years hit China – and we’re seeing consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming.”

This is just a ridiculous claim, completely unsupported by the science, and the Al Gore's and Chris Mooney's of the world who keep doing this are doing a serious disservice to science and to the cause of responsibly addressing the CO2 problem.

No one is, ultimately, going to believe anyone who stretches and twists the truth. It might get you a headline, it might sell you a few books, but in the end it damages the credibility of everyone trying to responsibly report on climate change. In some ways this damage has already been done.

To repeat: There have been big storms forever. No one storm can be proof of anything. Climatology predicts storm intensity and frequency only in a statistical manner.

This is getting very frustrating.


Michael Tobis said...

Would you accept "we’re seeing events that scientists have long predicted might be consequences of continued global warming" instead? That is probably what he was trying to say. It's hard to be nuanced in real time.

At least I can see your problem there, though. What is your beef with Mooney? RealClimate thought he was pretty much on the mark, saying

"Mooney doesn't come down on any particular 'side' of the debate. Instead, he explores the nuances of the scientific findings and views of the various protagonists, and helps the science and the scientists speak for themselves."


"There should be no misunderstanding. While Mooney is indeed balanced, he is not completely agnostic either. He recognizes that hurricane characteristics are indeed changing and that, while we may not yet have arrived at definitive answers to the underlying scientific questions, we ought to be concerned."

I admit I have yet to read my copy of his book entirely but what I have seen of it seems nuanced, fair and remarkably thorough.

Dano said...

David, the text doesn't match the headline. Maybe that's what threw you off.



Anonymous said...

It turns out the Gore quote was doctored to change its meaning.

John Mashey said...

David assigns *strong* credibility to:

a) Jeff Poor, who writes for newsbusters.org, and the next:

b) Business & Media Institute, whose archive of environment articles is:

Wouldn't it be a good idea to check out what Gore *actually* said?

The relevant REAL piece starts about 27:00 into the audio file at:

This is useful for the whole story:

Indeed, Poor's audio was not only cherry-picked to remove context, but spliced out of order: this is easiest to see if you put the Wonk Room's actual transcript up, and in another window play the doctored version:

Anonymous said...

The story there is very short, and Gore's comment quoted there clearly states that any individual storm cannot be linked to global warming. The ability to miss this -- the 5th, and large, paragraph in a six paragraph story -- looks like blindness to me:

“It’s also important to note that the emerging consensus among the climate scientists is although any individual storm can’t be linked singularly to global warming – we’ve always had hurricanes,” Gore said. “Nevertheless, the trend toward more Category 5 storms – the larger ones and trend toward stronger and more destructive storms appears to be linked to global warming and specifically to the impact of global warming on higher ocean temperatures in the top couple of hundred feet of the ocean, which drives convection energy and moisture into these storms and makes them more powerful.”