Scientists: An Inconvenient Truth is true

ASSOCIATED PRESS

June 28, 2006

WASHINGTON – The nation's top climate scientists are giving “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore's documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy.

The former vice president's movie – replete with the prospect of a flooded New York City, an inundated Florida, more and nastier hurricanes, worsening droughts, retreating glaciers and disappearing ice sheets – mostly got the science right, said all 19 climate scientists who had seen the movie or read the book and answered questions from The Associated Press.

The AP contacted more than 100 top climate researchers by e-mail and phone for their opinion. Among those contacted were vocal skeptics of climate change theory. Most scientists had not seen the movie, which is in limited release, or read the book.

But those who have seen it had the same general impression: Gore conveyed the science correctly; the world is getting hotter and it is a man-made catastrophe-in-the-making caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

“Excellent,” said William Schlesinger, dean of the Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. “He got all the important material and got it right.”

Robert Corell, chairman of the worldwide Arctic Climate Impact Assessment group of scientists, read the book and saw Gore give the slide show presentation that is woven throughout the documentary.

“I sat there and I'm amazed at how thorough and accurate,” Corell said. “After the presentation I said, 'Al, I'm absolutely blown away. There's a lot of details you could get wrong.' . . . I could find no error.”

Gore, in an interview with the AP, said he wasn't surprised “because I took a lot of care to try to make sure the science was right.”

One concern the scientists had was about the connection between hurricanes and global warming. That is a subject of a heated debate in the science community. Gore cited five recent scientific studies to support his view.

“I thought the use of imagery from Hurricane Katrina was inappropriate and unnecessary in this regard, as there are plenty of disturbing impacts associated with global warming for which there is much greater scientific consensus,” said Brian Soden, a University of Miami professor of meteorology and oceanography.