Policy Peril: Looking for an antidote to An Inconvenient Truth? Your search is over.

by Marlo Lewis on July 29, 2009

When Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth (AIT), came out in 2006, I expected to see some hard-hitting criticism by scientists of Gore’s unfounded alarmism and by economists of his blithe disregard of the human suffering that energy rationing (cap-and-trade) and mandatory reliance on costly and under-performing renewable energy would inflict on low-income households and poor countries. However, with a few notable exceptions, Gore’s film got mostly rave reviews, earned an Academy Award, and later helped bag him the Nobel Prize.

Because few specialists in the science and economics fields took Gore to task, I jumped into the breach. At first, I thought I could write an adequate expose of Gore’s errors and exaggerations in about 20 pages. But as I dug into the book version of AIT, I found that nearly all of Gore’s assertions about climate change and climate policy were either one-sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or just plain wrong. My critique-published by CEI in March 2007 under the title Al Gore’s Science Fiction: A Skeptic’s Guide to An Inconvenient Truth [1]-grew to 150 pages.

I gave several talks based on this research, including an hour-long presentation on C-SPAN [2]and a minute and fifteen seconds of fame on the Oprah Winfrey Show [3],* along with several video shorts [4]produced by CEI.

Conversations with friends and colleagues persuaded me, though, that the best strategy was to fight fire with fire-produce our own “documentary” about global warming.

We teamed up with Jared Lapidus, a talented young New York-based filmmaker. Jared and I interviewed over 20 experts during 2008 and early 2009. The result is a film titled Policy Peril: Why Global Warming Policies Are More Dangerous Than Global Warming Itself. To view the film, click here [1].

Policy Peril reviews the science to assess whether global warming is the “planetary emergency” Al Gore claims it is. We take a critical look at what Gore and other alarmist claim regarding heat waves, global temperature forecasts, air pollution, malaria, hurricanes, ice sheet disintegration, sea level rise, and the paradoxical scenario in which global warming causes a new ice age. We conclude that global warming is not a catastrophe in the making. There is no climate “crisis.”

We then review the human costs-the health and safety risks as well as adverse impacts on jobs and growth-of Al Gore’s proposed “solutions”: carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, fuel economy standards, bans on new coal-fired power plants, mandates to “repower America” with renewable energy, and carbon tariffs.

The film concludes that these policies have potentially devastating impacts on human welfare, especially to the extent they are exported to developing countries-which they must be if the world is to reduce global emissions 50% by 2050, as Gore and others advocate.

Finally, the film examines alternative strategies to enhance human well-being in a warming world. It concludes that “focused adaptation”-solving with proven methods existing health and environmental problems that global warming might aggravate (such as malaria and hunger)-would save far more lives at less cost than Kyoto-style energy rationing schemes. Moreover, the best climate protection strategy for the world is free trade and economic growth.

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be posting one excerpt from the film a day along with comments and links to newer information that has since come out. The global warming debate is very far from “over.” In fact, the scientific, economic, and moral case against Kyoto-style energy rationing keeps getting stronger.

I look forward to your comments on the film, the individual segments, and the supporting materials.

– Marlo Lewis, Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute

[1] Al Gore’s Science Fiction: A Skeptic’s Guide to An Inconvenient Truth: http://ceiondemand.org/2009/07/17/policy-peril-the-truth-about-global-warming/

[2] C-SPAN : http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_climatechange04.htm

[3] Oprah Winfrey Show: http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/oprahshow/oprahshow1_ss_20061205/12

[4] video shorts : http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=askepticsguide

[5] last word : http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/oprahshow/oprahshow1_ss_20061205/13

[6] Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXw17pIuL0w

EDIT: Links to the individual segments.

Part 1 — Heat Waves

Part 2 — Air Polution

Part 3–Hurricanes

Part 4–Sea Level Rise

Tony August 17, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Seems to me if the very vast majority of scientific circles in the industrialized nations all agree global warming is real and exacerbated by man’s activities (fossil fuel consumption) then it would be prudent to try to reduce it. Simply pointing at limited time studies as proof of one’s opinions makes for a very unconvincing argument. This is real and it will get worse if we don’t try to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.
And even if it’s not real, are you willing to risk your children’s and your children’s children’s futures on such small “evidence”? I’m not.

Rockhound August 18, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Tony wrote, "Simply pointing at limited time studies as proof of one’s opinions makes for a very unconvincing argument."

Upon what do you think all of the hype over global warming is based? It is based on very limited time studies.

Jim Hollingsworth August 19, 2009 at 9:06 am

Marlo, thanks for taking the time to research and write. One writer (above) talks about what is in fact the precautionary principle. The problem is that what if you are wrong, and your precautions cause great harm? What if you happen to believe that pouring gasoline on a fire will somehow put it out? That is similar to what people are saying about climate change.

I have written a paper “The Myth of Global Warming” which was published in several places on line and I would be happy to share it with you if you are interested. Please contact me for a copy as the ones on line have a couple of mistakes in them.

Also, where and how can I get a DVD copy of Policy Peril? I would very much like to have a clean copy.

Thanks so much.

Jim Hollingsworth jimhollingsworth@verizon.net

Jim Hollingsworth August 20, 2009 at 8:50 am

Here is the location of the paper I wrote a couple of months ago. The article is The Myth of Global Warming. It was posted on a number of web sites, but there was one serious editorial mistake which we found and posted at the following web site: http://www.idahovaluesalliance.com/files/2-GlobWarmHoll.doc
We had a great time a couple of weeks ago in Denver for the 27th annual meeting of Doctors For Disaster Preparedness. There were 17 presenters and over half spoke about Global Warming. Fred Singer and Arthur Robinson are just a couple. You would have been in good company. Also, Marc Morano. Thanks. I would be happy to share my notes from the meeting if anyone is interested. Jim Hollingsworth

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