The Day After Tomorrow: Hollywood Fantasy and Kindergarten Science

Published August 1, 2004

Is this what it has finally come down to? Rebuffed by science and ignored by the public, global warming alarmists are desperate enough for political relevance to trumpet second-rate Hollywood sensationalism as a “teachable moment” for the complex science of climate change.

May’s release of “The Day After Tomorrow” has absolutely nothing to teach us about the science of global warming–even ardent global warming alarmists concede that. A superstorm pumped up on carbon dioxide like East German female Olympians pumped up on steroids will not engulf the globe. Tornadoes will not pound Los Angeles. Tidal waves will not destroy Manhattan. Subtropical Asia will not be buried by blizzards. It is a figment of Hollywood’s imagination.

Scare Tactics

But images are powerful, and some movie-goers will be duped into giving more credit to alarmist global warming theory than it merits. We will hear the “teachable moment” slogan repeated ad nauseam by every alarmist-with-an-agenda from Al Gore to Captain Planet, but the “The Day After Tomorrow” has no more to teach us about global warming than “Independence Day” (not surprisingly created by the same producer) did about astronomy or “King Kong” about African biology.

Indeed, “The Day After Tomorrow” is a teachable moment only with regards to the playbook of the alarmist wing of the environmental movement. An impeachable moment, if you will.

When a heat wave occurs, the alarmists blame it on global warming. When a cold snap occurs, the alarmists blame this, too, on global warming. And if the weather neither cools nor warms, the alarmists can blame that, too, on global warming, as everybody knows the weather is always changing.

The alarmists and their sycophants in the media chant the mantra, “a consensus of scientists believe human activity is causing catastrophic climate change.” But who are those scientists?

Not the scientists who contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, since they were not asked to endorse the “summary for policymakers” that claims a link exists between human activities and climate change. Thousands of scientists worldwide–an overwhelming consensus, it could easily be argued–have explicitly rejected the alarmist’s global warming theory. More than 17,000 of them, including dozens of Nobel laureates, have signed a petition saying no convincing scientific evidence supports the theory of catastrophic global warming. You can read the petition for yourself at

Hot as a Toaster?

And what of the supposed evidence of global warming?

Computer models, whose programs are written by the global warming alarmists themselves, predictably foretell future warming. But we know those computer models are wrong because they inflate estimates of human greenhouse gas emissions and have “fudge factors” larger than the effect they claim to find. According to these computer models, the planet should already be several degrees hotter than it is.

Polar ice caps, predicted to melt due to global warming (and, according to Hollywood’s “teachable moment,” triggering the next ice age), have neither grown nor shrunk during the many decades since man began tracking them.

Sea level has risen slowly ever since the last ice age, long before mankind could have been a factor.

Ground-based temperature readings, which alarmists quote every year, do show a warming trend, but not when corrected for the “heat island effect” of roads, buildings, and appliances in cities. Heat sensors in rural areas show no warming. Satellites, which measure the entirety of the planet’s surface and are immune to the localized false warming indications of urban heat islands, show no global warming trend.

Most recent and unbiased scientific research indicates that temperature change caused by rising concentrations of greenhouse gases will be moderate, perhaps one degree Celsius in the next century; most of the warming will occur at night and during the winter; and higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (which plant life needs to thrive and survive) will lead to a greening of the planet that will enhance global food production.

To be sure, there are some wonderful cinematic special effects in the first half of “The Day After Tomorrow.” But if you plan to see the movie and would prefer not to be insulted by kindergarten science, come prepared to turn off your brain for a couple of hours and enjoy the movie for what it is: Hollywood fancy.

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