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Judge rules Gore's film an inconvenient catalogue of errors

No drowning polar bears on this planet, Al

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A UK judge has ruled that schools are allowed to show Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, but only if the film is accompanied by guidance highlighting the areas where the ex-vice president of America strays off the scientific terra firma, the BBC reports.

Mr Justice Burton said teachers could show the film, but must highlight nine assertions in the film that are not supported by mainstream scientific consensus, including a claim that polar bears are drowning on long swims between icebergs.

Despite these rogue Arctic ursines, the judge seems to be happy that the main thrust of the film is not political, nor likely to indoctrinate anyone.

Other problem areas included an assertion that the sea would rise up to 20 feet "in the near future" as ice in Greenland or Western Antarctica melts. The judge said this was an alarmist statement. He added that scientific consensus held that that kind of sea level rise would be possible if Greenland's ice melted, but that that melt would happen "after, and over, millennia".

The judge also dismissed Gore's claim that the retreating snowline on Mount Kilimanjaro could be directly attributed to human-induced climate change, saying that the science to establish such a link does not exist.

The government sent copies of the film to all secondary schools in England, while the ruling administrations in Wales and Scotland did the same. But school governor Stewart Dimmock of Dover, a member of the New Party, took the government to court, saying the distribution breached rules governing what may be shown in schools.

The judge said Mr Dimmock has "substantially won" the case. He found that "but for the new guidance note, the film would have been distributed in breach of sections 406 and 407 of the 1996 Education Act". These sections cover political indoctrination and the treatment of political issues in schools.

Dimmock said he was "delighted" with the outcome, which also saw him awarded two-thirds of his £200,000 of legal fees.

The government also professed itself happy with the ruling, noting that the judge had not taken issue with the mainstream arguments in the film. ®

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