Temperature measurements show that in the 1940’s certain areas of the world were warmer then than they are now after which there was a cooling trend until the mid 1970’s when a new warming trend began. Because of the abruptness of the change and other indicators, scientists began to become concerned that this warming trend was due to or at least partially due to the release of CO2 from human activities. To date, despite billions of dollars being spent on research and computer modelling, this is still a theory. The modelling to date has in fact only created more uncertainty as it has progressed not less. However this has not stopped the alarmists and activists including many politicians such as Bill Clinton and Al Gore from exaggerating the effects of global warming wherever they observe them and then asserting that humans are totally responsible for those exaggerated effects. In addition they also assert that there is something we can do about it if only we had the will.

Al Gore in particular has a history of exaggeration and hyperbole on anthropogenic global warming. When he was vice-president of the U.S. he oversaw the major science funding on this issue.  Michaels and Balling ask whether he was just a passive observer or whether there was a broader agenda. They answer the question with the following quotations from "Gore’s book “Earth in Balance” where he says:

“We are now engaged in an epic battle to right the balance of our earth, and the tide of this battle will only turn when the majority of people in the world become sufficiently aroused by a shared sense of urgent danger bold added] It is time to come to terms with exactly how this can be accomplished.” (p.269)

“Though it has never been accomplished on a global scale, establishment of a single shared goal as the central organizing principle for every institution in society [bold added] has been realized by free nations several times in modern history.” (p.270)

“Adopting a central organizing principle[bold added] – one agreed to voluntarily – means embarking on an all out effort to use every policy and program, every law and institution, every treaty and alliance, every tactic and strategy, every plan and course of action – to use, in short every means[bold added] to halt the destruction of the environment and preserve and nurture our ecological system.  Minor shifts in policy, marginal adjustments in ongoing programs, moderate improvements in laws and regulations, rhetoric offered in lieu of genuine change – these are all forms of appeasement,  designed to satisfy the public’s desire to believe that sacrifice, struggle, and a wrenching transformation of society will not be necessary.[bold added]” (p.274)

See Gore, A., "Earth in the Balance and the Human Spirit", New York, Plume. 1992

Is this just overblown rhetoric of a politician who got carried away? He certainly followed up on this when he was Vice President.  Does it continue today?  Read on and find out.

Gore says, “The atmosphere is thin enough that we are capable of changing its composition…In particular, we have vastly increased the amount of carbon dioxide—the most important of the so-called greenhouse gases.”

Vast? Compared to what? Over the past hundred years or so, atmospheric CO2 levels have risen from about 280 ppm (0.028%) to about 380 ppm (0.038%).  Increases of more than this amount have been recorded on a regular basis in the past so it really is an exaggeration to say that this increase is vast. Also as pointed out below carbon dioxide is not the most important greenhouse gas.

See Veizer, Jan., "Celestial Climate Driver: A Perspective from Four Billion Years of the Carbon Cycle", Geoscience Canada, V32. N1, March 2005

Gore says, The atmosphere is thin enough that we are capable of changing its composition…In particular, we have vastly increased the amount of carbon dioxide—the most important of the so-called greenhouse gases."

This hobgoblin is wrong. CO2 is not the most important greenhouse gas as Gore says, water vapour is.  Without water vapour in the atmosphere the earth would be too cold to be habitable.  To be unambiguous this observation only applies to clear skies - when clouds are involved things quickly get very complicated. Check out the references below.

See RealClimate.Org, “Water Vapor: Feedback or Forcing?” April 6, 2005,

Also Kiehl, T. J. and Kevin Trenberth. 1997. Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 78, no. 2: 197–208,

The following is a quote from the blog of Professor Emeritus Philip Stott of the University of London.  (Check out Veizer above)
“Professor Ján Veizer of the Ruhr University at Bochum, Germany, and the University of Ottawa in Canada, and Dr. Nir Shaviv, an astrophysicist at the Racah Institute of Physics in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who for some time have been implicating cosmic rays and water vapour, rather than carbon dioxide, as the main drivers of climate change. Indeed, they have put down 75% of climate change to these drivers.”

See October 5, 2006 EnvironSpin Watch

Singer and Avery have a very good discussion of cosmic rays and water vapour because it forms one of their arguments in their book.

See Singer, S. Fred and Avery, Dennis T., “Unstoppable Global Warming”, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007

Gore says “The greenhouse gases on Venus are so thick that its temperatures are far too hot for humans. The greenhouse gases surrounding Mars are almost nonexistent, so the temperature there is far too cold.”

This hobgoblin enormously overstates the importance of CO2 as a greenhouse gas.  Both Mars and Venus have about 95% CO2 in their atmospheres but Mars is colder for the most part because it is about 70 million miles farther from the Sun than Venus. Its atmosphere is also thousands of times less dense than that of Venus.

See Davison E. Soper, “Atmosphere of Mars,” Institute of Theoretical Science, University of Oregon, Eugene OR, http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~soper/Mars/atmosphere.html

Also Rasmus Benestad and Ray Pierrehumbert, “Lessons from Venus,” RealClimate.Org, April 11. 2006, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/04/lessons-from-venus

Carbon dioxide is not only a greenhouse gas it also a plant fertilizer.  Numerous studies show that increasing CO2 levels help trees, crops, and plants generally grow faster and larger, produce more fruit, use water more efficiently, and resist stress from air pollution.  In fact data of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere measured at Mauna Loa over the past 50 years or so show that the annual take up by plants during their growing season has been increasing as global temperature increases.  Maybe plants are doing better with increasing CO2?

See Figure 10.6 - Michaels, Patrick J. and Balling, Robert J. “The Satanic Gases”, Cato Institute. 2000