Wednesday, March 07, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

I had the opportunity to watch Al Gore's Academy Award winning documentry "An Inconvenient Truth" last night, and it was both scary and inspiring. The message was clear. The delivery was excellent. The facts were sound. I'd encourage anyone who has any moral fibre to watch that movie.

It is not just some handwaving nor vague presentation of global warming as we have glossed over over the years. This documentary actually shows honestly the scientific facts without dumbing down the content. There are no patronising quips and where there are basic points which needed to by explained, the show does it in a humourous manner, so that the people who are new would get educated and the people who already know, would be entertained. Its an excellent way of delivering a message an appealing to the entire audience.

Al Gore's treatment of FUD is also excellent. He gives a history on the misuse and spreading of Doubt. The tactics used against the message of Global Warming is very similar to what the FOSS community is facing. There are many lessons which can be learnt!

On the issue on Doubt about Global Warming, he states that in the scientific community, all 928 peer reviewed papers on this issue does not contradict the proposal that:
"Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations"
None. No scientist says otherwise. And yet, yesterday in The New Straits Times, there was an article stating that there were some 'scientists' who stated that "Global Warming is a Sham." Which highlights Al Gore's findings that 48% (I think that was the figure in the movie) of POPULAR news are 'undecided' or 'cannot confirm' or 'raises questions' that mankind is causing climate change. It shows that the lobbying of oilcos are successfull where it matters: the public's perception on the threat of global heating.

Apple and the 'Keynote' the software used to present "the slide show" was featured prominently, and well deservedly so. The data was well presented in the movie. The graph which was shown which blew my socks off was this:

This is the Wikipedia version. In the Al Gore version, he projected it on a very large screen, and used a cherry picker to demonstrate how high that CO2 concentration is going. This graph shows that our CO2 creation is not cyclical nor is it normal throughout the history of our planet. It is not caused by nature but directly caused by us humans.
He then correlates this with the CO2 levels and temperature. I could not find a suitable graph in Wikipedia as the closest one is not easy to read. They shouldnt have normalised so much.

[note the x-axis is flipped]
What was hard hitting was the collapse of the Larsen B glacier in Antartica. We thought that it would not fall for the next 100 years but in 2002 it did. The immediate impact was that low lying islands had to be evacuated as the islands were literally submerged.

If Greenland (near the Artic) were to thaw out, the sealevels would rise by 6m. If parts of Antartica were to thaw out, where there are current signs of doing so, that would be another 6m. The rise in the water levels will displace over 100 million people worldwide.

There was no need to hype the facts. Al Gore's delivery was even handed and clear. The facts by themselves are so scary.

I urge all of you to see this film, and lets try to save ourselves.

visit Climate Crisis


4 lewsers:

zewt said...

very well written. it's indeed a fact that we so conveniently ignore, in the name of progress and development.

but seriously speaking... can you actually spend the rest of your life in a farm next to a lake with no cars, no astro, no tv and ... no technology?

you and i both are guilty of causing global warming.

looking forward to see the movie.

Yoon Kit said...

Zewt: I dont think the idea is to go back to nature and live like we did 200 years ago. After all, what is the use of being a hermit and being ecofriendly while the rest of the world burns away?

I think it would be best that we use our knowledge and persuasion to make sure that we waste less and be more conscious that we are causing problems with the ecosystem. So, use more virtualization, dont buy bulky servers, and make sure that we turn off the server room light when we leave...


Anonymous said...

I don't know... we achieved what we did is mostly due to exploitation of the energy in petroleum.

We might have to go back to basics if the trend persist or human just will get wiped out.


mza said...

Happy 33rd Birthday, yky. ;)