An Inconvenient Truth was accused of having about 20 errors. The court judged the
the claims, not against reality, but against the IPCC’s positions, that of Dr. Stott
and, in some cases, agreement between the parties.
Cite as:  EWHC 2288 (Admin),  1 All ER 367.
1. 'Error' 11: Sea level rise of up to 20 feet (7 metres) will be caused by melting
of either West Antarctica or Greenland in the near future.
24. In scene 21 (the film is carved up for teaching purposes into 32 scenes), in
one of the most graphic parts of the film Mr Gore says as follows:
"If Greenland broke up and melted, or if half of Greenland and half of West Antarctica
broke up and melted, this is what would happen to the sea level in Florida. This
is what would happen in the San Francisco Bay. A lot of people live in these areas.
The Netherlands, the Low Countries: absolutely devastation. The area around Beijing
is home to tens of millions of people. Even worse, in the area around Shanghai, there
are 40 million people. Worse still, Calcutta, and to the east Bangladesh, the area
covered includes 50 million people. Think of the impact of a couple of hundred thousand
refugees when they are displaced by an environmental event and then imagine the impact
of a 100 million or more. Here is Manhattan. This is the World Trade Center memorial
site. After the horrible events of 9/11 we said never again. This is what would happen
to Manhattan. They can measure this precisely, just as scientists could predict precisely
how much water would breach the levee in New Orleans."
25. This is distinctly alarmist, and part of Mr Gore 's 'wake-up call'. It is common
ground that if indeed Greenland melted, it would release this amount of water, but
only after, and over, millennia, so that the Armageddon scenario he predicts, insofar
as it suggests that sea level rises of 7 metres might occur in the immediate future,
is not in line with the scientific consensus.
2. 'Error' 12: Low lying inhabited Pacific atolls are being inundated because of
anthropogenic global warming.
26. In scene 20, Mr Gore states "that's why the citizens of these Pacific nations
have all had to evacuate to New Zealand". There is no evidence of any such evacuation
having yet happened.
3. 'Error' 18: Shutting down of the "Ocean Conveyor".
27. In scene 17 he says, "One of the ones they are most worried about where they
have spent a lot of time studying the problem is the North Atlantic, where the Gulf
Stream comes up and meets the cold wind coming off the Arctic over Greenland and
evaporates the heat out of the Gulf Stream and the stream is carried over to western
Europe by the prevailing winds and the earth's rotation ... they call it the Ocean
Conveyor … At the end of the last ice age … that pump shut off and the heat transfer
stopped and Europe went back into an ice age for another 900 or 1000 years. Of course
that's not going to happen again, because glaciers of North America are not there.
Is there any big chunk of ice anywhere near there? Oh yeah [pointing at Greenland]".
According to the IPCC, it is very unlikely that the Ocean Conveyor (known technically
as the Meridional Overturning Circulation or thermohaline circulation) will shut
down in the future, though it is considered likely that thermohaline circulation
may slow down.
4. 'Error' 3: Direct coincidence between rise in CO2 in the atmosphere and in temperature,
by reference to two graphs.
28. In scenes 8 and 9, Mr Gore shows two graphs relating to a period of 650,000 years,
one showing rise in CO2 and one showing rise in temperature, and asserts (by ridiculing
the opposite view) that they show an exact fit. Although there is general scientific
agreement that there is a connection, the two graphs do not establish what Mr Gore
5. 'Error' 14: The snows of Kilimanjaro.
29. Mr Gore asserts in scene 7 that the disappearance of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro is
expressly attributable to global warming. It is noteworthy that this is a point that
specifically impressed Mr Milliband (see the press release quoted at paragraph 6
above). However, it is common ground that, the scientific consensus is that it cannot
be established that the recession of snows on Mt Kilimanjaro is mainly attributable
to human-induced climate change.
6. 'Error' 16: Lake Chad etc
30. The drying up of Lake Chad is used as a prime example of a catastrophic result
of global warming. However, it is generally accepted that the evidence remains insufficient
to establish such an attribution. It is apparently considered to be far more likely
to result from other factors, such as population increase and over-grazing, and regional
7. 'Error' 8: Hurricane Katrina.
31. In scene 12 Hurricane Katrina and the consequent devastation in New Orleans is
ascribed to global warming. It is common ground that there is insufficient evidence
to show that.
8. 'Error' 15: Death of polar bears.
32. In scene 16, by reference to a dramatic graphic of a polar bear desperately swimming
through the water looking for ice, Mr Gore says: "A new scientific study shows that
for the first time they are finding polar bears that have actually drowned swimming
long distances up to 60 miles to find the ice. They did not find that before." The
only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates
that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm. That is
not to say that there may not in the future be drowning-related deaths of polar bears
if the trend of regression of pack-ice and/or longer open water continues, but it
plainly does not support Mr Gore 's Description.
9. 'Error' 13: Coral reefs.
33. In scene 19, Mr Gore says: "Coral reefs all over the world because of global
warming and other factors are bleaching and they end up like this. All the fish species
that depend on the coral reef are also in jeopardy as a result. Overall specie loss
is now occurring at a rate 1000 times greater than the natural background rate."
The actual scientific view, as recorded in the IPCC report, is that, if the temperature
were to rise by 1-3 degrees Centigrade, there would be increased coral bleaching
and widespread coral mortality, unless corals could adopt or acclimatise, but that
separating the impacts of climate change-related stresses from other stresses, such
as over-fishing and polluting, is difficult.