In Part 1 (read it here) renowned scientist, speaker, author and Heartland Institute Science Director Dr. Jay Lehr and Colorado State University Atmospheric Science Professor Dr. Scott Denning debated two film clips from Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. The debate was hosted by The Heartland Institute on Wednesday, August 31, 2016, to determine how the movie has fared through the test of time on its 10th anniversary.
The first two film clips debated in Part 1 were; “Solar Radiation in the Form of Light Waves Passes Through the Atmosphere,” and “The Coral Reefs Off the Coast of Australia Are Being Bleached and Destroyed Due to Global Warming.” (View the entire debate here.) In Part 2, I will recount how Lehr and Denning debated the final four of the six featured film clips.
Film Clip #3: Fresh Meltwater is Tunneling Straight Down Through Greenland.
Claim: Tony Blair’s Scientific Advisor said in 2005 that if Greenland breaks up (even half of it) maps will have to be withdrawn because the Netherlands and other low lying areas would be covered with water. Among areas affected would be San Francisco Bay, Beijing, Shanghai, and Calcutta.
Denning: Sea level rising has gotten much worse because of melting ice. Ice can melt very fast with a huge impact, such as in property loss and the creation of a refugee crisis worse than the one that exists today.
Lehr: This is fear mongering at its worst, a global warming fraud that is casting an extremely negative impact on the future of the world. Between 1000 and 1250 there was farming in Greenland during a mini warming period. Corn and barley were grown. As far as loss to our economy, billions have already been squandered trying to develop green energy to replace fossil fuels. Why? Because green energy sources are more expensive to operate and maintain.
Film Clip #4: Polar Bears Are Endangered Because Ice Is Melting.
Claim: Polar bears have drowned when having to swim 60 miles to find ice and food.
Lehr: Polar bears can swim 100 miles. This cuddly little icon of global warming was a poor choice for Gore. Polar bears have been around for 500,000 years and are thriving today, with ample evidence population is increasing. Some 10,000 visitors come every year to view the polar bears feed at Churchill Matoba (Hudson Bay) where polar bears have been studied for 21 years. Polar bears coming to feed at Churchill increase every year.
Denning: Denning didn’t deny the increase in polar bear population at Churchill, but as ice is the habitat of the polar bear, due to melting ice there is less habitat available for polar bears. As Denning did when he spoke about the exposure of the Great Coral Reef as being a side issue to global warming, he likewise considered the polar bear a side issue in the overall discussion of climate change. Economics once again became the dominant issue for Denning as he reiterated the lost economic growth that would take place if 10 times more fossil fuel were burnt as has occurred to date.
Film Clip #5: Are We Capable of Rising Above Ourselves and History?
Claim: After all, freedom and self-determination was established here in the U.S. and spread around the world. We landed on the moon and defeated fascism.
Denning: We are fortunate global warming is a problem that is not all that expensive to solve. Our problems today aren’t as difficult to deal with as were some that faced our forefathers. Our grandparents did well for themselves by building roads, bridges and highways. Our generation built the Internet. The American people are capable of solving problems. We know how to do it. Economics was again cited: A 1 percent reduction in GPD over the next century beats a 25 percent reduction if we fail to deal with the global warming problem now.
Lehr: The mention of economics by Denning raised his dander. Lehr mentioned that we have already spent well over $1 trillion with zero results in trying to develop alternate scalable and affordable sources of energy to reduce CO2. The U.S. and France were cited as the only countries that have reduced CO2 levels: France because of using nuclear energy, and the U.S. because of scrubbers installed on coal plants. As a nation, we are capable of doing great things. However, the so-called global warming crisis is fear mongering, which hasn’t yet, nor will ever, come true.
Film Clip #6: Gore compared a photo of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa taken 30 years ago with one recently taken.
Claim: Human-caused global warming is causing the famed Snows of Kilimanjaro to disappear.
Lehr: Lehr had no quibble about the photos. At 19,340 feet high, Kilimanjaro was losing ice long before man began pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. Since the temperature at the top of Kilimanjaro has never risen above freezing, why then is the ice melting? Lehr attributed the melting to what is known in physics as “sublimation” from solid to gas. Because of deforestation over the centuries at lower levels, the resulting dry air rises up the mountain and causes ice to go from solid to gas. Like the polar bear, Dr. Lehr considered Kilimanjaro a poor choice by Al Gore to include in his movie.
Denning: The melting is not just happening at Kilimanjaro, but at every mountain in the world. 70 million people depend on water from melting mountain snow. In Colorado, a state Denning is familiar with, snow pack is down 20 percent since 1980, and this has happened with only 1 degree F of global warming. What will happen if 10 times more fossil fuel is burnt?
Debate Wrap up
Denning: He noted again his three S’s of climate change: Simple, Serious, Solvable. In referencing how Lehr denies climate change is taking place even if 10 times as much fossil fuel is used, Denning challenges Lehr’s inability to explain why. According to Denning, it’s very easy to explain: heat in, heat out. When six-and-a-half watts was added to the world for 100 centuries, the sea rose hundreds of feet. When either heat or cold is added, temperature changes occurs as they did during the Medieval warming period and the mini ice age which followed.
If we deal with the problem now, it will cost our kids a hundred times less than if we fail to take immediate steps to solve global warming. Denning strongly suggested that as a free market think tank The Heartland Institute must become involved or else the Left will take over completely. The market system is not weak. We must be brave. Modern free-market solutions must be applied. As civilization comes from inside us, this nation will be just fine if our kids remain creative and hardworking.
Lehr: In offering a critique of his challenger, Lehr questioned how it was possible to like someone yet disagree so much with everything he says? Lehr spoke of global warming as a political ploy to gain power. Global cooling was tried during the ’70s, but that didn’t scare the world. Global warming is not about the environment; it is about reducing individual freedom. It’s also about the elimination of fossil fuels. But why eliminate fossil fuels when they are improving the quality of live all across the world? This nation is awash in shale gas. In Colorado, for instance, there is more oil and gas reserves than in all of Saudi Arabia. Yet the push continues to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar power when both require backup energy sources.
Climate alarmists are predicting how the weather will be much warmer 100 years down the road with possible catastrophic results, even though predicting the weather one week ahead is risky to attempt. Eliminating the generous subsidies given to developers of wind and solar power will bring out new and better things. As an self-described extremely optimistic person, Lehr opined how the future is always better than what went before, but this still doesn’t prevent a new scenario of doom and gloom from being offered up during next year’s Earth Day celebration.