Strong opinions, weakly held

An Inconvenient Truth

I finally got around to watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth last night. I hadn’t been in a big hurry to see it, because I already understood how global warming works (thanks to an excellent National Geographic article from awhile back). I even thought I was pretty decent at explaining it to people. Now that I have watched it, I’m very glad I did so. Gore lays out the argument powerfully and effectively, and needless to say, he has plenty of visual documentation of what’s going on that’s not available to most of us. I thought the movie itself was well done, and was about as entertaining as a movie about a guy giving a slide show could be.

One thing that bears mentioning (and I know that because I’ve seen it mentioned in every other review of the movie I’ve seen) is that the movie is hopeful. Yes, we have problems, but these are solvable problems, and as technology advances, they will become more solvable. That’s something that can’t be said often enough.

The other good news is that not everyone has to agree on global warming for society to take action to fight it. For real change, all we need is for a majority of people to take it seriously. In the best case scenario, after a herculean effort, we will lower our carbon emissions enough to reverse the trends we’re seeing now, climate change will be slowed or even halted, and 75 years from now some group of people who haven’t paid attention will make fun of the crazy liberals from way back when who said that global warming was going to put an end to civilization, completely ignoring the fact that it would have had we not taken action.


  1. We showed it last night at a bar on the north side of Chicago. We did it as part of MoveOn’s “See the Truth Movie” Parties. We were in the back room of the bar and I was amazed to see over 75 people stream in and fill the place.

    I asked the people before the thing started how many were seeing it for the first time and a majority of people raised their hands. Wow, I thought I was the only one.

    In any case, the movie is two-parts depressing, one part hopeful. The hopeful part is about us making the necessary changes in order to survive (and flourish). I guess the unstated hopeful part is that we’ll eventually have leaders who’ll recognize the challenge.

  2. Jared Diamond, author of “Guns, Germs and Steel”, wrote another very interesting book called Collapse. He shows that not every society faced with catastrophe responds well to the crisis. Thus the Easter Islanders denuded their forests, and we have people like Senator Imhoff who declares global warming a fiction, along with a president who punishes scientists who mention the phenomenon in their governmental reports.

    Yes, An Inconvenient Truth is hopeful, but we still have an incredible number of idiots in our government who control the purse strings, and along with it, our ability to respond to environmental crisis in a meaningful way.

    Let’s hope that 2008 changes all that.

  3. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
    — Ghandi

    Are we in the laugh or fight stage with the Global Climate Change Deniers?

  4. Fight stage, for sure.

  5. David E. Anderson

    December 18, 2006 at 10:09 pm

    In the late Seventies I interned with Art Rosenfeld at UC Berkeley. Art is deservedly known as the “Father of Energy Conservation” It is estimated that his work has saved the US about $1 trillion in energy costs over the last thirty years. He is the reason we have compact fluorescent light bulbs as well as the California programs to subsidize their sales. Art was recently re-appointed to the California Energy Commission and turned 80 years old. A celebration of his work was held in April and is available online – I highly recommend it as a followup to “The Inconvenient Truth.” Art shows that we can make a difference through programs that are palatable to the public.


    the presentations are here: http://www.energy.ca.gov/commission/commissioners/rosenfeld_docs/rosenfeld_effect/index.html

  6. If you liked “An Inconvenient Truth” you’ll love Chris Angel, the Mind Freak. His slieght of hand is much better than Gore and his minions. How can you people be so arrogant to think that man can change the climate? Thirty years ago the same mindset was warning against the new ice age being right around the corner. The liberal gang has been sold another sack of goods that advances their new world agenda, it’s as simple as that… nothing more.

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