The Inconvenient Truthteller: Al Gore captivates Montreal

Fri, 2008-04-04 21:19Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

The Inconvenient Truthteller: Al Gore captivates Montreal

Al Gore strode into Montreal Friday evening and the city embraced him as one of its own. In fact, I can’t quite imagine that he gets quite this kind of welcome anywhere else.

First of all, his visit was sponsored by La Presse, which guaranteed a pretty compelling advance. And if the front page coverage wasn’t impressive enough, the full-colour special section on climate change would have to turn your head.

Before taking to the stage at the Place des Arts to deliver his now-famous slideshow, Gore was whisked off to the offices of Power Corporation – a name which perfectly describes the scope, if not the actual activities of the company in question – for a VIP reception hosted by Andre Desmarais and including the cream of the Montreal business and political community. Premier Jean Charest, Opposition leader Mario Dumont, Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, former Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard, Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay and a host of other cabinet ministers and lesser dignitaries. (It only made me wonder: where was Stephane Dion?)

Once Gore took to the stage, it quickly became clear why the denier community hates him so fervently. The man can work a room – even a room stuffed with 3,000 people. He delivered the now-famous Inconvenient Truth presentation pretty much as he did in the Academy Award-winning movie version, hitting all the bases, telling all the jokes. He even found time to work in the self-deprecating reference to the day’s unseasonal snowfall, saying, “The weather today was completely refusing to cooperate with my message.”

There were a few differences in the program. The slides were all in French, and a few were slightly modified for Canadian content. And he pitched some of his comments more directly to the Canadian audience. He said, for example, that “What we decide to do in this decade will affect the whole course of human history,” and at such a time “the world looks to Canada.”

He said that Quebec has such an influence in Canada, that Canada has such influence in North America and that North America has such influence in the world that that action those in the audience had a responsibility to act and a real hope that their actions would be worthwhile.

A final difference, in this presentation, was the passion – perhaps even anger and frustration – that he brought to the delivery. Although he pretty carefully avoided commenting on the current U.S. administration – “with which I fear I am losing my objectivity” – he seemed more obviously emotional than he was in the film or than he has been in the presentations attended by others in this audience.

He certainly touched a chord. The standing ovation was quick, convincing and prolonged.

So, it turns out that finding Al Gore was not really that difficult: in Montreal, at least, you just have to follow the applause.


Richard, did Gore correct the Pacific islander evacuation gaff and address, clarify or qualify any of the other 8 so-called 'errors'?
(ice melt-driven sea level rise, slowing or halting of thermohaline circulation, CO2 trailing temperature in the ice core record, Kilimanjaro, Lake Chad, polar bears, coral reef impact)

Gore did NOT mention a current Pacific Island evacuation and he was pretty careful in the way he discussed the other points that you raise. But given that his presentation was declared valid and credible after an extensive and critical court case, it's interesting how excitedly the denier community likes to cling to a couple of issues that are still being argued as controversial.

"Gore did NOT mention a current Pacific Island evacuation"

Good, because that was the only clear and outright error of fact in the film. Some of the other points needed clarification, and some were quite correct as originally stated, but could be misunderstood.

I wouldn't call how the denier community likes to cling to a couple of issues 'interesting', I'd call it desperate, since, as you pointed out both the science community and the British judge have found the film to be "substantially founded upon scientific research and fact."

Of course, you'll only see the errors you want to see, as you seem to desperately want Gore to be right.

Error one

Al Gore: A sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting of either West Antarctica or Greenland “in the near future”.

The judge’s finding: “This is distinctly alarmist and part of Mr Gore’s ”wake-up call“. It was common ground that if Greenland melted it would release this amount of water - “but only after, and over, millennia.”

Error two

Gore: Low-lying inhabited Pacific atolls are already “being inundated because of anthropogenic global warming.”

Judge: There was no evidence of any evacuation having yet happened.

Error three

Gore: The documentary described global warming potentially “shutting down the Ocean Conveyor” - the process by which the Gulf Stream is carried over the North Atlantic to western Europe.

Judge: According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it was “very unlikely” it would be shut down, though it might slow down.

Error four

Gore: He asserted - by ridiculing the opposite view - that two graphs, one plotting a rise in C02 and the other the rise in temperature over a period of 650,000 years, showed “an exact fit”.

Judge: Although there was general scientific agreement that there was a connection, “the two graphs do not establish what Mr Gore asserts”.

Error five

Gore: The disappearance of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro was expressly attributable to global warming.

Judge: This “specifically impressed” David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, but the scientific consensus was that it cannot be established that the recession of snows on Mt Kilimanjaro is mainly attributable to human-induced climate change.

Error six

Gore: The drying up of Lake Chad was used in the film as a prime example of a catastrophic result of global warming, said the judge.

Judge: “It is generally accepted that the evidence remains insufficient to establish such an attribution. It is apparently considered to be far more likely to result from other factors, such as population increase and over-grazing, and regional climate variability.”

Error seven

Gore: Hurricane Katrina and the consequent devastation in New Orleans to global warming.

Judge: There is “insufficient evidence to show that”.

Error eight

Gore: Referred to a new scientific study showing that, for the first time, polar bears were being found that had actually drowned “swimming long distances - up to 60 miles - to find the ice”.

Judge: “The only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm." That was not to say there might not in future be drowning-related deaths of bears if the trend of regression of pack ice continued - “but it plainly does not support Mr Gore’s description”.

Error nine

Gore: Coral reefs all over the world were bleaching because of global warming and other factors.

Judge: The IPCC had reported that, if temperatures were to rise by 1-3 degrees centigrade, there would be increased coral bleaching and mortality, unless the coral could adapt. But separating the impacts of stresses due to climate change from other stresses, such as over-fishing, and pollution was difficult.

Rob: There were many more problems with AIT than the 9 sited in the british judgement.
As a science fiction flic, it was a cheezy but ok effort.
It can not be classified as a documentary however.
It is a crime to show it in schools to children and pass it off as factual science.

I hope to be able to support the law suit against Gore to stop this farce.

If they show Al Gore's movie to kids, then they might as well show L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth as well. Whether it's the Scientologists or the Glowtards, a cult is a cult.

C'mon Rob. Open your mind for once. Read the judgment. Exusian quotes the judge correctly: AIT was “substantially founded upon scientific research and fact.”  As a result of which, Dimmock LOST THE CASE.

Get over it. 

Yeah, nine errors.

According to denialist maths(*), we should now multiply this figure by 1,000 -- then we'll find that Gore made 9,000 errors.

Add to that the fact that the errors are freedom-hating errors. This means we should further multiply by 1,000 -- so Gore's presentation actually contains 9,000,000 errors.

And the fact that Gore actually decided to correct -- yeah, correct -- the errors during his Canadian presentation, shows that we should multiply the number of errors by 1,000 once more. In other words, after the corrections, Gore's presentation in Canada actually has 9,000,000,000 errors!

Oh, the horror. The treason.

- - -

(*) as in, how 19 scientists became 19,000, or is it the other way round

Frank Bi,
"Al `Fat Al' Gore [is fat]" -- Harold Pierce