This year’s Nobel Peace Prize justly rewards the thousands of scientists of the United Nations Climate Change Panel (the IPCC). These scientists are engaged in excellent, painstaking work that establishes exactly what the world should expect from climate change.
The other award winner, former US Vice President Al Gore, has spent much more time telling us what to fear. While the IPCC’s estimates and conclusions are grounded in careful study, Gore doesn’t seem to be similarly restrained.
Gore told the world in his Academy Award-winning movie (recently labelled “one-sided” and containing “scientific errors” by a British judge) to expect 20-foot sea-level rises over this century. He ignores the findings of his Nobel co-winners, the IPCC, who conclude that sea levels will rise between only a half-foot and two feet over this century, with their best expectation being about one foot. That’s similar to what the world experienced over the past 150 years.
Likewise, Gore agonizes over the accelerated melting of ice in Greenland and what it means for the planet, but overlooks the IPCC’s conclusion that, if sustained, the current rate of melting would add just three inches to the sea level rise by the end of the century. Gore also takes no notice of research showing that Greenland’s temperatures were higher in 1941 than they are today.
Gore also frets about the future of polar bears. He claims they are drowning as their icy habitat disappears. However, the only scientific study showing any such thing indicates that four polar bears drowned because of a storm.
The politician-turned-movie maker loses sleep over a predicted rise in heat-related deaths.There’s another side of the story that’s inconvenient to mention: rising temperatures will reduce the number of cold spells, which are a much bigger killer than heat. The best study shows that by 2050, heat will claim 400,000 more lives, but 1.8 million fewer will die because of cold. Indeed, according to the first complete survey of the economic effects of climate change on the world, global warming will actually save lives.