[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 October 2007, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
UK scientists defend Gore film
By Roger Harrabin
BBC Environment Analyst

Al Gore in promotional still
The movie can be viewed in UK classrooms
Two of the UK's leading climate scientists have hit out at the judge who made the controversial ruling last week on Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth

Professor Chris Rapley, head of the Science Museum (and also a Gore science adviser) and Professor John Shepherd from the National Oceanography Centre accuse the judge of misleading the public by ruling that Gore had made "errors".

The professors have no grouse with Mr Justice Burton's main conclusion that Al Gore's film should be accompanied by guidance notes in class. And they agree that Gore presented some climate extreme scenarios.

But they say the judge's comments themselves were liable to misinterpretation. The trouble, according to the professors, was that the judge referred to "errors" in the film.

He put the word "errors" in inverted commas because the points were debatable rather than wrong. But the professors say the judge should have known the error word would be repeated in the media without its inverted commas.

They say in general Gore's film presented an exceptionally high standard of scientific accuracy. And they warn that the judge himself expressed unwarranted confidence on several issues subject to considerable scientific uncertainty.

Professor Rapley, former head of the British Antarctic Survey, told BBC News that the atmosphere over climate science was so confrontational that some scientists were reluctant to discuss uncertainties in their work for fear that they would be seized on by others anxious to discredit the whole theory of manmade climate change.

This, he said, was very unhealthy - and would lead to bad science.

Mr Justice Burton was asked to rule on whether An Inconvenient Truth could be shown in UK schools. He agreed that it could, provided the "one sided" film was accompanied by guidance notes for teachers.

The case was brought by school governor Stewart Dimmock, from Dover, a father of two, and who is a member of the New Party.

Mr Dimmock did not want the movie distributed to schools. He called the Oscar-winner a "shock-umentary" and objected to children being "indoctrinated with this political spin".



SEE ALSO
Gore says prize must spur action
13 Oct 07 |  Americas
The heat and light in global warming
11 Oct 07 |  Science/Nature
Gore climate film's nine 'errors'
11 Oct 07 |  Education
Climate film allowed in schools
02 Oct 07 |  Education



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific