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Don’t talk about An Inconvenient Truth: watch it instead…

02 Feb

Yes there is hype around this movie (that’s where the images in this post are from) but don’t let that put you off, and yes I could have lived without the opening one-liner “I was once the next President of the United States”, and yes it is not extraordinary as film art. But all that is beside the point. Gore is an excellent communicator and the DVD is an ideal vehicle, especially with its extras updating the story.

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Plain and simple – all the negative comments here are from people that simply haven’t seen it. See the movie before you try to disprove points that it’s not trying to make. See the movie even if you think the globe is in a cooling pattern for some reason (then you can debate the evidence it lays out before you.) … Don’t get bogged down by anyone trying to turn the film into a political issue. It’s a right or wrong issue, plain and simple.

So writes chefboyargee from the United States, just one of the many opinions you can find on International Movie Database, and I agree. The movie is a must see for all humanity, not only the skeptics on the Right, but in developing countries too (for all that it is somewhat America-centric) and it should also be seen by those in terrorist training camps to underline how pathetic and self-centred, in terms of all humanity, their particular solutions to a sick world really are. Their zealotry blinds them to the possible apocalypse we all face, believers and unbelievers alike, about which something can actually be done if we all can agree on it.

The movie is a call to action, increasingly heeded even by the likes of John Howard here in Australia, even if the thoughts on that subject by the current Australian of the Year are sadly too true.

Arguments for and against have been pursued here before. At this time I simply repeat: see An Inconvenient Truth; whatever you do, whatever you think, see it.

Sixty years ago, Winston Churchill wrote about another kind of gathering storm. When Neville Chamberlain tried to wish that threat away with appeasement, Churchill said, “This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste, of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year — unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we rise again and take our stand for freedom.”~~Al Gore

Thanks to Ellen Beth Gill of Illinois, whose review there is worth reading.

Later

I wrote this and the earlier entry simply because I managed to purchase the DVD yesterday. I hadn’t then heard what is in the news today, and hadn’t even thought about The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The issues are being discussed at the moment on the 7.30 Report and, to borrow from Joel Levy’s Conspiracies for a moment, you may now put a 90% believability rating on the conclusions outlined in An Inconvenient Truth. See also Radio National’s The World Today:

DANIEL HOARE: Barry Pittock is a world renowned climate change expert, and the author of the book, Climate Change – Turning up the Heat. He says the [The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report to be released in Paris tonight is the first of three scientific reports which form the most influential analysis on climate change in history.

BARRY PITTOCK: It’s the end product of very serious discussions by hundreds, if not thousands of scientists and it’s been peer-reviewed twice and the report, when it is released will also have been looked at by representatives of government and agreed to unanimously, that’s at least the usual procedure.

DANIEL HOARE: Is it the most significant climate change report we’ve ever seen?

BARRY PITTOCK: Undoubtedly, yes. Particularly as we’re at the stage now where there’s no doubt that the climate is changing and increasingly rapidly, so it’s really a call to action.

DANIEL HOARE: What are the messages from this report, given some of its conclusions to world leaders, particularly, obviously politicians? What is the message to them on how to deal with climate change?

BARRY PITTOCK: Well I think we have to wait to get the full message until the other two working group reports are released later in the year. But the implications from the scientific findings is that the impact will be severe and costly to the world economy. And as we saw in the Stern report, which came out from the UK, the cost of reducing emissions to reduce the extent of these climate changes may well be much less than the cost of not reducing emissions and having these impacts.

DANIEL HOARE: So this initial report concludes, fairly categorically that humans have caused climate change. Can humans now attempt to reverse that damage?

BARRY PITTOCK: Well the first things humans have got to do is limit the amount of climate change that they’re causing. There’s a backlog of emissions which are still having effects because it takes a long while for the oceans to warm up and so we’re going to see greater warming even if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide straight away. But what is most important is to reduce emissions drastically within the next few decades because otherwise, the warming is going to get a lot greater later this century.

See also, with something of a South Australia focus, Climate Change (Flinders University).

Update 14 March 2007

While fewer doubt the fact of global warming, there were some cogent objections to aspects of Al Gore’s presentation in an article from the New York Times reproduced in today’s Sydney Morning Herald: Scientists have inconvenient news for Gore.

There is a rising chorus of concern, extending even to “moderate” scientists with no political axe to grind, over the former US vice-president’s tactics and advocacy.

The nub of their concern is a belief that he has over-egged his case…

The main charges are that he has skated over the Earth’s history of climate change and that his talk of impending doom ignores that change is a slow-motion process.

Even a top adviser to Mr Gore, the environmental scientist James Hansen, admits the former vice-president’s work may hold “imperfections” and “technical flaws”…

Some of Mr Gore’s centrist detractors point to the report last month by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The panel said humans were the main cause of the globe’s warming, part of Mr Gore’s message that few scientists dispute. But it also portrayed climate change as a slow-motion process. It estimated that the world’s seas would rise a maximum of 58 centimetres this century. Mr Gore envisions rises of up to six metres and depicts heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves…

Although Mr Gore is not a scientist, he does rely heavily on the authority of science in An Inconvenient Truth. Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Centre for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr Gore for “getting the message out”, Dr Vranes questioned whether his presentations were “overselling our certainty about knowing the future”…

Some backers concede minor inaccuracies but see them as reasonable for a politician. James Hansen, Mr Gore’s adviser, and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said: “Al does an exceptionally good job of seeing the forest for the trees.”

Still, Dr Hansen notes the imperfections. He points to hurricanes. Mr Gore highlights the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and cites research suggesting that global warming will increase storm frequency and deadliness. Yet the past Atlantic season produced fewer hurricanes than forecasters predicted (five versus nine), and none that hit the US.

“We need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is,” Dr Hansen said of Mr Gore. “On the other hand,” he said, “he has the bottom line right: most storms, at least those driven by the latent heat of vaporisation, will tend to be stronger, or have the potential to be stronger, in a warmer climate.”…



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3 responses to “Don’t talk about An Inconvenient Truth: watch it instead…

  1. Lexcen

    February 3, 2007 at 8:10 am

    IPCC report is conclusive. Finally we can start doing something rather than debating the issue.

     
  2. Daniel

    February 3, 2007 at 9:49 am

    I think the more immediate problem is how to stop George nuking Iran. The firestorm that will result will dwarf global warming at least in the short term. Cheers!

     
  3. ninglun

    February 3, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    We’ve been on that brink before (Cuba under Kennedy/Kruschev for example). Let’s hope as then a degree of sanity gets the upper hand.

     
 
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