Inconvenient truths and awkward untruths

Al Gore’s documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth is set for Australian release on 14 Septembe. I’ve already missed a couple of opportunities to see it, first at the Australian Leadership Retreat on Hayman Island a couple of weeks ago (I went on the sunset cruise instead) and then today at RiverSymposium in Brisbane (it clashed with my presentation).

In addition to the commercial release, ACF is putting on special screenings around the country, and the Brisbane event is on Friday September 15th, 7pm sharp, film starts 7.20pm, Palace Centro, 39 James St, Fortitude Valley. For all enquires email or call toll-free on 1800 332 510.

And even the Howard government is getting in on the act. Andrew Bartlett reports a screening in Parliament House put on by Greg Hunt, who is the government’s Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.

With the denialist position in tatters, the deplorable performance of our alleged national newspaper is in sharper relief than ever, and the Oz finally seems to be copping the criticism it deserves. Andrew Bartlett mentions it, as do Ben Oquist, Grant Young , Tim Lambert and Tim Dunlop (who focuses more on the coverage of Iraq, which is also poor).

The Oz has even attracted international attention. As Crikey reports, the Scientific American has slammed it, while the reliably silly Arts and Letters Daily gives a favorable link, as does Matt Drudge. For a comprehensive demolition, you can’t go past Real Climate.

If the Australian wants to salvage any credibility as a newspaper, it needs to correct its errors on this topic fast, and acknowledge the lapse in journalistic standards represented by its reporting and editorial comment.

62 thoughts on “Inconvenient truths and awkward untruths

  1. We could develop a sustainable tropical agriculture. In a very minor example we imported indian cattle to beef up the cattle industry in the northern cattle country. (sorry I cannot resist a weak and obvious pun they need supporting).

    I’m a believer in the theory that humans do not do anything till they have to. The aborigines courtesy of the swings of the el-nino never increased their numbers to make agriculture worth while. Though I understand modern scholarship supoorts the view that in some areas they were well on the way to developing it.

  2. taust – “The aborigines courtesy of the swings of the el-nino never increased their numbers to make agriculture worth while.”

    According to Diamond they did not have access to an easily domesticated animal or plant that yeilded a large amount of protein and carbs. The book is worth a read.

    “We could develop a sustainable tropical agriculture.”

    Yes we could but how do you know we will have enough water to grow them and fertilisers to increase yields?

  3. I read and enjoyed the Diamond book and TV series but why would you domesticate etc if there is no percieved need.

    Despite the greenhouse effect being correctly appreciated over 100 years ago we waited and waited.

    When the aliens very much belatedly arrive (unless of course you believe they are the Hungarians) probably the first thing they are going to say about us is that we never invented X energy source even though it is perfectly obvious how much better it would have made our life.

  4. taust – “I read and enjoyed the Diamond book and TV series but why would you domesticate etc if there is no percieved need.’

    Why do you you think the ancestors of the Europeans domesticated animals?

  5. I would guess because they were starving each winter.

    My guess is that the aboriginals did OK day to day until the much less predicatable Australian weather swings linked to the el-ninio exposed them to longer periods of starvation than a season.

    The use of fire to manage the kangaoos etc shows that the aboriginals were developing ways of ‘domesticating’ the kangaroo (or at least making sure the kangaroos were around when the aboriginals needed to kill them.).

    This is not to deny the northerns may have had an easier set of problems to solve. nature is not well known for equity.

  6. taust – “I would guess because they were starving each winter.”

    And they had access to easily domesticated animals like the sheep, cow and goat – all native to Eurasia. They also had another incredible stroke of luck that 2 varieties of wild grass hybridised and produced a grain that the seeds did not fall off easily – we call it wheat now.

    “Most tetraploid wheats (e.g. emmer and durum wheat) are derived from wild emmer, T. dicoccoides. Wild emmer is the result of a hybridization between two diploid wild grasses, T. urartu and a wild goatgrass such as Aegilops searsii or Ae. speltoides. The hybridization that formed wild emmer occurred in the wild, long before domestication.[13]”

  7. They were not worried about the uncontrollable spread of undesirable genetic components by cultivating such gross genetic modifications.

    Their EU commission wouldnt allow them to take advantage of their luck today. I suppose they are lucky to have such a body to protect from the unknown risks of life.

  8. Crikey reports: Rupert’s Sun goes green and admits: we were wrong on global warming

    Only the severity and immediacy of the threat is open to debate. This week The Sun will present the evidence and suggest how every one of us can help.

    This is not just a backflip for Murdoch, it’s a double pike with twist.

    This is fantastic news! How long can the Oz hold out? Will Bolt turn? Akerman? Will Fox News turn green?

    But it looks like Murdoch’s global warming memo got lost at the branch office and never made it to The Oz — today’s editorial, “An inconvenient cost” reads…

    Oh well, perhaps Rupert can spell out the new editorial policy on climate change the next time he’s in the colonies.

  9. Murdoch regularly sends around a internal news corp newsletter though which, Pravda like, his thoughts are given and the corporation line is thus discerned. It will reach the Oz and percolate through no doubt. However the place has become a hard core neo-liberal and neo-conservative institution and it may require a purge.

    The transcipt of the interview with Gore on Denton is at

    His optimism is refreshing and energising

  10. Watching Gore did anyone else see a strong resemblence to the TV evangalists?

    Is he going to visit India and China? Flying proportionally has a huge effect on climate change. Hence why the European mitigators want to destroy cheap airlines.

    Hands up all those willing to invest in a shipping line that is going to offer sailing trips from Australia to Europe.

  11. News from the real world

    Kyoto protocol: Adapt or fry
    09 September 2006
    From New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.
    IS IT all over for Kyoto? Should we accept that global warming is inevitable and plan accordingly?

    Yes, says Frances Cairncross, president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA) which held its annual festival in Norwich, UK, this week.

  12. Congratulations, John, on missing two opportunities to see Al Gore’s film. A rare instance of common sense from you.

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