Gore's Latest '24 Hours of Reality' Promotes Tragic Mistake

After each of Al Gore’s prior 24 Hours of Reality broadcasts, climate experts have publicly corrected his many basic science errors. But he pays no attention whatsoever, committing the same blunders year after year. As a consequence, the former vice president’s initiative encourages the continuation of one of the greatest tragedies of all time.

Leading up to the fourth annual Climate Reality marathon starting at noon EDT on Tuesday, Gore is promoting Climate-101, a website dedicated to the science of the issue as he understands it. Like his global warming presentations, Climate-101 is riddled with fundamental mistakes. Especially irksome to anyone with a science background is the statement:

Carbon pollution is warming our planet and creating dirty weather like extreme droughts, flooding, wildfires, and superstorms.

Gore frequently says this sort of thing. During last year’s Climate Reality broadcast he told a worldwide audience of millions:

The Earth’s atmosphere is awfully thin and we are now filling it up with 90 million tons of global warming pollution being spewed into the atmosphere every 24 hours as if the atmosphere is an open sewer.

Scientists have repeatedly explained that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which are Gore’s principal concern, are neither “carbon” nor “pollution.” Reporters on both sides of the debate understand this, of course, but give him a pass on the error. They should no longer do this. Carbon is a naturally occurring, non-toxic element found in all living things. Everything from medicines to trees to oil to our own bodies and those of all other creatures are made of carbon compounds. Pure carbon occurs in nature mainly in only two forms: graphite and diamonds.

Ignoring the oxygen atoms and calling CO2 merely “carbon” makes about as much sense as ignoring the oxygen in water (H2O) and calling it “hydrogen.”

This is not just an academic point. This is part of the way in which Gore distorts language to bolster concerns about human-caused climate change. University of Florida linguist M.J. Hardman explains:

Language is inseparable from humanity and follows us in all our works. Language is the instrument with which we form thought and feeling, mood, aspiration, will and act[ion], the instrument by whose means we influence and are influenced. (Language and War, 2002)

It is not surprising that language has always been a crucially important weapon of war. Gore, President Obama, and their allies use language tricks to justify the unjustifiable in the war of words over global warming and its recent offspring, the “war on coal,” coal being the world’s least expensive and most abundant energy source. Calling the gas “carbon” encourages people to think of CO2 as pollution or something dirty, like graphite or soot.

Calling CO2 by its proper name would help people remember that -- regardless of its role in climate change -- it is an invisible gas essential to plant photosynthesis and thus all life.

Commercial greenhouse operators routinely run their internal atmospheres at up to 1,500 parts per million (ppm) CO2, more than four times the “safe” limit of 350 ppm that Gore promoted at the 2008 UN Climate Change Conference. Yet there is no hint of any consequent temperature rise, while the plants inside grow far more efficiently than at the 400 ppm in the outside atmosphere. This is not surprising. Grade school students understand that CO2 is plant food.

Interestingly, CO2 concentrations in submarines can reach levels well above 10,000 ppm -- thirty times the “safe” limit -- with no harmful effects to the crew.

While 90 million tons/day of CO2 emissions sounds like a lot, scientists tell us this is only a small fraction of the amount nature emits on its own. Almost ten times more comes each year from the consumption of terrestrial vegetation by animals and microbes (i.e., rotting). Respiration by vegetation also emits almost ten times that produced by human activities.

Similarly, depending on temperature and rates of phytoplankton photosynthesis, parts of the oceans release over twelve times as much CO2 as we do. Environmental consultant Dr. Tim Ball, former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, explains that the uncertainty alone in our estimates of CO2 emitted by oceans and decomposition of vegetation is greater than the emissions of all human sources combined.