School District Rejects Gore Film

Published April 1, 2007

Al Gore’s 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth cannot be shown in Federal Way, Washington schools unless “credible, legitimate” opposing views are also presented, the district’s school board decided on January 9.

The school board emphasized that a preexisting policy requires teachers to provide balance when presenting controversial issues.

Ensuring Balance

School board member David Larson told the January 11 Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “the principal reason for that is to make sure that the public schools are not used for indoctrination.”

Gore’s movie, while vigorously applauded by global warming alarmists, has been criticized for a selective and frequently inaccurate presentation of the science regarding global warming.

“Gore’s film is a colorfully illustrated lawyer’s brief–one-sided advocacy for climate alarmism and energy rationing,” said Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “The only facts and arguments Gore presents are those that support his scare ’em green agenda, and he often distorts even the evidence he cites.

“Gore’s film is not balanced, and Federal Way has ample reason to insist that teachers fairly present the other side or not show the film at all,” Lewis added.

Producer Outraged

Laurie David, a co-producer of the film, expressed outrage that teachers are required to bring balance to the discussion if they choose to show the Gore film.

“I am shocked that a school district would come to this decision,” David said in a news release. “There is no opposing view to science, which is fact, and the facts are clear that global warming is here, now.”

Loaded with Inaccuracies

Science, however, calls into question numerous misleading and inaccurate assertions presented in the film.

Asserting that global warming is clearly impacting his hometown of Carthage, Tennessee, Gore claimed, “Here on this farm, the patterns are changing. In the course as defined by this river, it’s happening very, very quickly.” Yet temperature stations at the nearby communities of Clarksburg, Murfreesboro, and McMinnville all show cooling temperatures during recent decades.

Gore asserts global warming is causing alpine glaciers in Glacier National Park to recede. However, temperature readings in the nearby community of Telluride show temperatures have fallen 3º F since 1989. Readings in the nearby community of Boulder show temperatures have fallen 6º F since 1953.

Gore claims glaciers in the Himalayan Mountains are rapidly melting, threatening the water supplies of hundreds of millions of people. However, just months before Gore’s movie was released, Insurance Digest reported Himalayan Mountain glaciers are as big as ever.

Rife with False Claims

Also false is Gore’s claim that declining rainfall (allegedly caused by global warming) is leading to a dramatic southern expansion of the Sahara Desert. The New Scientist reported as recently as 2002, “Africa’s deserts are in ‘spectacular’ retreat,” with vegetation reclaiming large expanses of barren land across the entire southern edge of the Sahara.

While showing an animated map of the planet purporting to depict ocean currents responding to a 5º F rise in temperatures, Gore claimed a 5º increase is “on the low end of the projections.” In fact, a 5º rise in temperatures would be on the high end of projections offered by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Gore claims the Antarctic polar ice cap is melting and that this is a “canary in the coalmine” demonstrating dramatic global warming. Antarctica has been cooling for many decades, and its ice cap is expanding, not shrinking.

Lewis noted, “Gore warns that half the Greenland Ice Sheet could break up and slide into the sea, raising sea levels by 10 feet. Yet the current rate of ice mass loss on Greenland translates into about one inch of sea level rise per century.”

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.