AIT: The party line

You can read the party line on the AIT 9 “errors”. I think its too kind; e.g. on SLR and Katrina Gore is misleading; on evacuation he is simply wrong. But the lake Chad bit was interesting.


  1. #1 ks

    I’m curious if you are have a follow up to Micheal Tobis’ response to your comment on his wiki. It seems to me that the original complaint attacking the Kilamanjaro example is a bit out of context. When a long list of evidence is provided (aka a trend) of course it will be true that each individual event cannot be directly attributed. The phrasing of the “error” while technically correct seems to me to be somewhat of a strawman.

    William: K [Kilamanjaro] seems to be a complex case; plough through the RC [realclimate] take if you like. I think the bottom line is that whether snowless K is from GW or not is unclear, but that its certainly not a good example to use for attribution. K isn’t good evidence *for* GW. But the retreat of glaciers worldwide is. So we’re back to sexing it up: Gore’s basic point is fine; the icon he uses isn’t. As the guidance notes says.

    mt: but Kilimanjaro was, in fact, just one of a set of before/after pictures illustrating worldwide glacier retreat!

    [Sorry, there is so much on this that I’m losing track. The transcript says And now we’re beginning to see the impact in the real world. This is Mount Kilimanjaro more than 30 years ago, and more recently. And a friend of mine just came back from Kilimanjaro with a picture he took a couple of months ago. Another friend of mine Lonnie Thompson studies glaciers. Here’s Lonnie with a sliver of a once mighty glacier. Within the decade there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro. in the section called “Effects of Global Warming”.

    K isn’t a brilliant one to fight over, though, because its clear that glaciers *are* retreating all over the place and fairly clear that this is due to GW. So I don’t think I’d call this a major mistake, just something that could have been stated more clearly. Looking at the book, and the transcript, Gore is terribly vague about it all, but I think the implication is clear -W]

  2. #2 David B. Benson


    [Sea level rise -W]

  3. #3 John Fleck

    This whole discussion is proof of the problem with Gore’s approach. Whether he stepped over a line or not, he clearly shaded far closer to it than I’m comfortable with, setting up an argument and distracting attention from his more important underlying point, which clearly lies squarely within the scientific consensus.

    Criminy, look at his iconic graphic – a hurricane emerging from a smokestack! He handed his critics a tool with which to whack him.

    That said, this probably isn’t that big a problem, since most of this argument is going on in the echo chamber inhabited by those (on both sides) who have already made up their minds on this issue. So likely no harm done other than a lot of time wasted by Lambert, Tobis et al. And me, I guess. :-)

  4. #4 Michael Tobis

    Yeah, I’m tired of this topic too. But you seem to re-miss the point ks re-raises. Kilimanjaro was one of a half dozen featured glaciers in a sequence in AIT, so Gore’s point was not made in an unsound way.

    [K was the lead -W]

    David, SLR = single lens reflex, or sea level rise, one of those…

  5. #5 ks

    I guess what I’m saying is that singling out Mt. Kilimanjaro is a framing technique, trying to isolate one data point on a trend.

    I meant to link to the wiki in my OP, so here it is

  6. #6 Hank Roberts

    One note — the evolutionary biologists don’t get wrought up defending Darwin’s book when the “anti-Darwinists” attack.

    Gore based his mention of Kilimanjaron on Lonnie Thompson’s ice core and paper. Thompson thought direct warming was happening on all the icecaps he cored, as far as I can tell. But he doesn’t talk about the mechanism, everyone assumed direct warming of the air. Maybe not.

    Science marches on.

    There’s a new paper with a different mechanism for the loss of ice now and the mechanism suggested is indirect.

    This is good news. This is progress. This is how science is supposed to work.

    The movie about Gore was a snapshot of one time in a changing slideshow and talk that tries to present then current science.

    Thank God we don’t have a movie of Huxley speaking and quoting Darwin talking about what he thought when he got off the Beagle, or Wallace when he woke from his fever dreams. Evolution would be completely discredited by it.


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