July 16, 2006 -- If you think there is any scientific controversy about the idea of human-induced global climate change (aka global warming) then you've been watching too much Fox News and listening to too much Rush Limbaugh, Michael Crichton or Dennis Miller. A good antidote to those nabobs of negativism is the new movie on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth” starring Al Gore. This is basically the same slide show on global warming that Gore has given hundreds of times all over the world. In fact this movie is basically a slide show with very little added in the way of cinema. Nevertheless, Gore gives a compelling argument that global climate change is real and it is happening right now, and that action must be taken immediately to avert disaster. Gore's message is essentially positive. Mankind caused the problem, he says, but mankind can also correct the problem, just as was done by global action to reverse depletion of the ozone layer.
Much of Gore's elegant slide show is like an animated powerpoint presentation of before and after pictures. Before and after photos include disappearing snow on Mt. Kilamanjaro, a melting Antarctic ice shelf, melting glaciers, houses settling due to thawing tundra, etc. Many of these images are dramatic. Yet the film is also personal, as we visit the Gore family farm and hear him talk about how he first heard the evidence of global warming from one of his college professors, Roger Revelle, who did pioneering research into the buildup of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. The film also explores Gore's defeat in the 2000 election and the near fatal accident suffered by his son. The film also talks about Gore's sister's death from lung cancer and how that caused his family to stop growing tobacco. These events caused Gore to re-evaluate his own priorities.
The film openly endorses the Kyoto climate change treaty without explaining anything about it. It also claims a unanimity among atmospheric scientists on the issue of global warming that does not yet exist. The film also neglects other possible explanations which may have a hand in global warming. For instance, if global warming is caused only by human activity, how does that explain the global warming being seen on Mars and the global climate change being seen on Jupiter? Maybe the sun might have something to do with global warming. The possibility of global warming affecting ocean currents is also discussed, along with the increasing intensity of storms. Hurricane Katrina was also part of the film's discussion of climate change.
This is a political film, but it is firmly grounded in science. In all fairness to President Bush, while he hasn't publicly reversed his stance on global warming, he has quietly started to take some positive steps in dealing with the issue, including raising fuel efficiency standards for automobiles and trucks. The film does take some shots at Bush on this issue, and that's fair enough. Bush's overall record on the environment was pretty dismal until recently, when he endorsed a huge new wildlife preserve surrounding remote Hawaiin Islands. Global warming is an urgent issue that requires immediate attention. If you are unfamiliar with this issue, this film is a good primer on it. This film rates a B.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.