24/05/2004. Contributed by Jessica Martin
Climatologist says this movie's special effects may be great, but the science is shoddy.
The multimillion dollar Hollywood blockbuster "The Day After Tomorrow" is being released in the USA on May 28th. In the film, global warming causes the polar ice caps to melt, stopping the Gulf Stream, the current that brings warmth into the north Atlantic. As a result, New York and Northern Europe are catapulted into an ice age.
The film's director Roland Emmerich doesn't hide his political motivation. "My secret dream is that this film will move politicians to act," he says.
And they already are. Former Vice President Al Gore is hosting a discussion of the film in New York City next week. "The Earth's environment is currently sustaining severe and potentially irreparable damage," Gore says.
However, the state climatologist for Oregon, George Taylor, has a different spin on the science in the film, saying: "Yes, according to the film, global warming causes global cooling. Despite what the former Vice President says, the science it (the film) is based on is extremely flawed. The prestigious journal Nature recently wrote about the film that 'many [scientists] question the basic premise that global warming could trigger a sudden, cataclysmic climate change.'
"They took a bunch of pieces of bad climate science and made a movie out of them. A lot of people will see this movie and mistake science fiction for science fact. Hollywood should not be the source for information on climate science."
George went on to say: "Gore and others are using the film to push for extreme environmental policies - such as the Kyoto Protocol and the McCain-Lieberman climate change bill - that will do enormous economic harm without any environmental benefit. Some estimates put the cost of Kyoto at $2,700 for every family in America."
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