The Inconvenient Truth About Kony 2012

Recently, a friend of mine commented on a video I reposted about a campaign to remove Joseph Kony from power. This sparked a debate that brought up several issues. An analogy between Kony 2012 and An Inconvenient Truth was made and before long the issue of climate change was added to the debate. Due to size and format limitations of Facebook comments, I figured it would be better to address my friend’s comment in a blog post.

(From my friend): “Let me break down my issue with An Inconvenient Truth.:
In the movie Al Gore presents a scientific theory regarding the cause of “global warming” – CO2. This is really just based on a graph that shows CO2 and temperature move together. There is no science in this video that supports the cause and effect relationship between the two.” 

There are numerous scientific facts in An Inconvenient Truth that support the cause and effect relationship between green house gas levels and global temperatures. These facts are a small sample of the growing body of scientific evidence that suggests that our production of these gases are contributing to climate change. It would be impractical to include all of the research and evidence that led to this conclusion in the film.

“Actually it has been argued that CO2 concentration is impacted by the temperature, not the other way around.”

C02 is a green house gas and this property has been essential for raising the surface temperatures on Earth sufficiently to sustain life as we know it. Increasing the concentration of green house gasses in our atmosphere leads to a greater percentage of solar radiation being trapped which raises global temperatures.  http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/the-lag-between-temp-and-co2/. The balance between the relative proportion of CO2 disolved in our oceans and the gaseous form of CO2 in our atmosphere shifts with changes in temperature. As temperatures rise, a larger proportion of CO2 molecules exist in its gaseous form in our atmosphere. This amplifies the effects of human climate change http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature-intermediate.htm

He then takes it one step further and claims this is not only due to higher CO2 levels but due to higher man-made CO2 .
Not sure how much research you’ve done on the subject but it is argued that of the CO2 produced in a given year only 5-20% is man-made the rest is a result of nature (storms, ocean, volcanos etc.).

The natural gaseous CO2 production from the Earth is balanced by its natural absorption (through oceans, plants etc.). Humans put tonnes of C02 into the atmosphere with the burning of fossil fuels and the Earth has been unable to absorb the excess C02 gasses we’re creating. For a more detailed explanation about the accumulation of human produced CO2 in our atmosphere please read this explanation

There is (sic) minimal to no scientific facts in this video that explain or support how we get from man-made CO2 to higher temperatures. In fact the only real scientific stuff I’ve found supporting global warming is the IPCC, and based on their hockey stick graph disaster I don’t put much faith in their work.

The  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a United Nations body, founded in 1988, which evaluates climate change science. They review and compile research from academic institutions and independent scientists all over the world. This research is peer reviewed prior to being published in a scientific journal though errors have been made and overlooked prior to publication. The research and conclusions are constantly being tested. Even after the errors that have been committed have been corrected, the conclusion that humans are impacting the climate is still supported by the data http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2011/jul/28/ipcc-climate-change-science-pachauri If you still are skeptical of the IPCC, you can review the independent, peer-reviewed journal articles that their summaries are based upon which have been published by hundreds of climate experts (referenced at in all reports). http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.shtml#.T2S7cZfUORM

Here is an (sic) scientific paper/petition signed by over 30,000 scientists which the purpose is (sic) The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of “settled science” and an overwhelming “consensus” in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists.
http://www.petitionproject.org/review_article.php

The “scientific paper” is a hoax. It contains erroneous information and it was never published in a scientific journal (though it was designed to look like it was). It originated in 1999 and was circulated with the Oregon Petition in opposition to the Kyoto Protocol. If you are interested in learning about how the “science” in the fake journal article is flawed you should read the “basic errors” and “full rebuttals” at http://www.realclimate.org/wiki/index.php?title=OISM

Of the “30 000 scientists” who have signed the petition, only 39 are climate scientists (0.1%). In 2009, over 97% of publishing climatologists believed that humans are contributing to climate change http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf. This is the consensus among climate experts that you are looking for.

 So what is my issue and how can I compare this to the KONY video. My issue is that 75% of Al Gore’s video is NOT about supporting his claims why the “global warming” is man-made but actually about getting you to buy into the fact we need to make a change.

Both movies were created to raise awareness and motivate action. Al Gore’s movie was not intended to provide all of the evidence that has been collected by generations of scientists. It was meant to summarize some of the findings and motivate action in those who understand the concept. For the skeptics, hopefully they will be motivated to look into the scientific research and understand why over 97% of climate experts believe humans are contributing to climate change.

Now I don’t disagree we need to treat this earth better (less pollution) and there are some issues with the amount of CO2 we produce in small areas (i.e. smog over a city) but CO2 is a life giving gas. My problem is how Al Gore made people buy into his agenda it was by showing you the damage “You” are causing and this pulled on people’s hearts.

The balance of CO2 between it’s existence in our atmosphere, our oceans and our soil was gradually established over millions of years. The concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere relative to other gases is important for sustaining the Earth’s ecosystem (too much or too little can be deadly). The scientific data and consensus has been accumulating for years and yet there has been a lack of motivation to do anything (due largely to the financial implications on corporations and governments for doing so).

I agree that using an emotional message to inspire an unrelated action is wrong and my understanding is that this is the main issue you have with both videos. However, I feel if you dig deeper, you will see through the arguments and misinformation generated by the skeptics and deniers. The actions that are called for in both videos are related to the emotional messages. Emotion is a key factor in human motivation.

Similarly this KONY video pulled on my heart showing us the injustice that was done. My issue is that there is no real substantiation of why we (the US) need to act now. I mean if they have been in peace for 6 yrs. why 2012? There are claims that they have been at peace before but how long were those periods? Were they this long before, if not then why do we need to act now?

The LRA has not stopped committing acts of violence. According to a UN refugee agency referenced in The Toronto Star on March 8th, 2012, the LRA has killed at least 35 people, abducted 104 others and displaced more than 17 000 people since January 2012. The filmmakers chose 2012 to set a tangible deadline for their goal to remove Kony from power.

If you Uganda fears US military action will provoke him, doesn’t that tell us something?

Military action from opposition will always provoke a power hungry dictator/warlord who is desperate to remain in power. This should be expected and should not deter us from trying to improve the situation.

Also from the beginning I stated that I have no issue with the US getting congress approval to wage war on Kony, find him/kill him/whatever but then be done with it. Based on the other information I’ve read about this its not like that. This will be another base for Team America World Police.

The issue of disarming the LRA is complex. It isn’t as simple as removing Kony from power and Invisible Children is fully aware of this. It’s the first step of many. The inconvenient truth about Kony 2012 is that it is a legitimate organization that has made the world a little less ignorant. There has been considerable backlash to the campaign and life would be easier if we could dismiss it as a scam. Here is a response from the CEO of Invisible Children to the criticism they have received in response to their Kony 2012 video http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1144737–kony-2012-new-video-to-answer-critics Once Kony is removed from power a considerable effort will be required to disarm the remaining LRA members and rehabilitate and reintegrate capable individuals back into society. The fact that the resolution of this issue will be difficult should not prevent capable individuals/nations from acting responsibly.

 

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