Warning: spoilers!

A rather distressing movie experience, Al Gore's documentary on the coming end of the world has been met with almost unanimously positive reviews. An enhanced movie version of a slideshow Gore has given thousands of times, it shows why global warming is real, relevant, and can lead to disastrous consequences if left unchecked.

Of course, it's all stuff you've heard before; stuff the hippies have been pandering for decades. Temperatures are rising, the ice caps are melting, the climate is changing, and unless we're willing to make some sacrifices, it's going to get a lot worse. In An Inconvenient Truth, Gore presents those ideas to the public in an altogether alarming fashion, with footage of everything from glaciers melting to polar bears drowning to Hurricane Katrina. And he's not just spouting BS either; Gore's got the figures to back up the visuals, with facts and graphs and fancy little charts of greenhouse gases and global temperatures, as well as computer models of how the next few years will be even worse. An avid environmentalist, Gore delivers his message passionately and with great enthusiasm, and after watching the film it's apparent that he really does care about the cause he's representing.

As far as documentaries go, this one was top-notch, a film you should probably see if you get the chance. At the same time, however, don't expect a completely unbiased cinematic experience. Gore manages to insert some irrelevant politics and life details into the presentation, and frequently neglects to cite his sources. Also, his computer-generated data is of dubious credibility, as given the inability of computer models to reliably predict weather more than a week in advance, I seriously doubt they are able to accurately simulate the global climate five years from now. That said, this movie still has a solid grounding in fact, and personally it has greatly strengthened my belief in global warming as an actual occurrence.

Movie statistics:
An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
Starring Al Gore as himself
Directed by Davis Guggenheim
Produced by Lawrence Bender, Scott Burns, Scott Z. Burns, Lesley Chilcott, Davis Guggenheim, Laurie Lennard, and Jeff Skoll
Running time: 100 min.
Rating: PG

all statistics taken from imdb

All told, Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth was quite impressive. The combination of factual information and moral or political argumentation was generally well done, though some of the personal asides about Gore’s life were somewhat tangential to the point being made. This is a film I would recommend to almost anyone: regardless of your level of knowledge or existing stance on climate change. It certainly helped to change my thinking on some of the issues.

Gore’s basic argument is really the only sane position on climate change right now: We know for sure that it is taking place. We know that human beings are causing it. Finally, we are not at all certain what the consequences will be, or even their magnitude, but there is reason to be concerned, on the basis both of evidence in the world as it is now and on the basis of reasonable projections. His massive chart showing world temperatures and Carbon Dioxide concentrations over the past 650,000 years is an especially convincing element of the film. While natural cycles are certainly evident, we are already outside all previous ranges for CO2 and will go far, far beyond in the next fifty years if nothing is changed.

I am increasingly convinced that the potential consequences of global warming justify efforts to stabilize greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, ideally at a point lower than their present concentration. While doing so will certainly have costs, it is also likely to have considerable benefits. Products of greater energy efficiency and alternative energy sources could include reduced dependence on places like Venezuela, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Likewise, improved urban design has the prospect of making our cities rather better places to live, undoing some of the enormous harm done to human population centres by the ready availability of automobiles.

By the end of the film, I had the unusual feeling that it just might be possible to do something effective about climate change in the decades immediately ahead. The barriers are arguably mostly in the form of entrenched interests, as is so often the case when big changes in policy are needed. Hopefully, at the very least, the Canadian government can be pressured into living up to the modest promises we made in Kyoto, though it seems unlikely the present Harper government will work seriously towards doing so.

This node was originally a post on my blog, at: http://www.sindark.com/2006/09/27/an-inconvenient-truth/ As always, the best general information on any film is at IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0497116/

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