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Is "The Day After Tomorrow" A Lot of Hot Air?
Jon Lebkowsky, 24 May 04

Patrick Michaels, an environmental scientist working with the Libertarian Cato Institute, says the scientific basis for the new film The Day After Tomorrow is "physically impossible." The Cato Institute has published several studies and commentaries contending that global climate change is bad science. Michaels has written another brief article suggesting that scientists (at least those with whom he disagrees) exaggerate global warming and other threats in order to get funding for their research.

Despite the Cato Institutes ongoing protestations, most scientists who study climate agree that global climate change is a very real threat and to some extent irreversible. Those of us who hope The Day After Tomorrow will inspire viewers to take climate change seriously and explore the complex subject further, however, should note that the filmmakers compressed the time frame for possible abrupt climate change. Though carefully researched, the film is fiction and takes some degree of artistic license. The Pew Center for Global Climate Change has a good reference explaining the science behind the film.

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Comments

Well it's an unavoidable opportunity, if not exactly a worthy one. I just don't think bad science is the best way to make a good point. Reality is trouble enough.


Posted by: Gil Friend on 25 May 04

I read the referenced article on-line rather than directly in USA Today, and the biggest problem I had with it was the way he simply threw away any consideration of remediative measures such as Kyoto.

His most damning criticism, and one that I've hear professed by Kyoto critics, is that Kyoto is both too expensive in the short term and provides no benefits in the short term. Completely missing are any positive alternatives. It completely side-steps the question of whether there are any effective short term remedies.

I think most research indicates that there is not, so this argument reduces itself to a recommendation that we bury our heads in the sand. The problem is too hard to solve, so perhaps we should just igonre it.


Posted by: Howard West on 27 May 04



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