Among many realities, however inconvenient and disconcerting, these two: (1) Planetary temperatures are in a warming trend. (2) Al Gore.
Hollywood just gave Big Al an Oscar for his "Inconvenient Truth." It states this case: Man is causing global warming. Carbon emissions from automobiles and industry are sending temperatures into the wild blue (now gray) yonder. Polar ice is melting at scary rates. Hundreds of millions living less than about 30 feet above sea level will be swamped. Species will disappear. For the survivors, life will forever change.
In fact, Gore has overstated the case:
"Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem," he has said. "Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis."
Freshly crowned with his Oscar, Gore made his way to Congress as though carried in a sedan chair - there with religious fervor to preach his gospel about the warming fen we are in ("the most serious (crisis) we have ever faced") and - if we can - how to extract ourselves from it.
Among his paths out: (a) trashing the internal combustion engine, (b) taxes on carbon dioxide, (c) bans on new coal power-generation plants lacking "sequestration technology," (d) a "carbon-neutral mortgage association," and (e) banning the incandescent light bulb.
(Scientists presenting a 166-page report to the United Nations did him one better: impose temperature ceilings worldwide (never mind the difficulty, just contemplate the arrogance). And, right there on high-tone Fifth Avenue, the environmentally sensitive are forgoing the use of - yes indeed - toilet paper.)
Congresspersons went goo-goo. So did, for instance, cute Katie Couric:
"As the throngs of celebrities greeted Al Gore as a secular saint, I wondered if this might usher in a backlash against environmentalists. It seems like we're reaching critical mass when it comes to this issue. And all the experts agree. Well, almost every expert. (There are a handful of scientists - many of them on the payroll of big oil companies - who wonder if global warming is a reality.) But my fervent hope is that Hollywood's embrace of Al Gore doesn't give people an excuse to condemn and mock the effort - and oppose taking steps that we as a society need to take to deal with the issue of climate change."
More inconvenient realities:
Greenland: (1) Eric the Red took Viking settlers there in 986. Greenland sustained them, their crops, and their flocks for 300 years before plunging temperatures and advancing glaciers doomed the colony. (2) Greenland actually cooled during the 20th century. (3) It has lost ice in some areas (losses now seemingly stabilized), while gaining ice in others.
Mars: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says photographs from flybys and orbiting satellites indicate Mars - lacking as far as we know both humans and manmade carbon-emitting industries - is warming and ice caps near its south polar region are melting.
The sun: On precisely the day Congress was cooing over Gore, with some suggesting he should ride this wave all the way to the White House, NASA announced solar activity is rendering the sun hotter than previously believed. Beginning in 1991, with periodic updates, the Danish Meteorological Institute issued findings showing direct correlations between solar flare-ups (sunspots) and rising temperatures on Earth.
Scientific dissent: Notes Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist: "Governments are trying to achieve unanimity by stifling any scientist who disagrees. Einstein could not have got funding under the current system." Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at MIT, concurs: "Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves labeled as industry stooges."
Given the reality of Al Gore's inconveniently long record of exaggeration (inventor of the Internet and (with wife Tipper) the model for the novel "Love Story," etc.), why the widespread easy agreement - the near unanimity - regarding his Cassandra sermons on the imminent end of the world unless we tax carbon emissions, give up our cars, and turn off the lights?