REVIEW: An Inconvenient Truth

Post ImageSharon and I went to see Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth a few days ago at the Garneau. I thought the film was very well done, and unlike Sharon, I didn’t think it was too long. Gore is an incredibly engaging speaker, and he does a super job of getting his point across. I do have a few issues with the film though:

  • This is a very one-sided story. Which is okay, as long as you make the effort to find out about the other side.
  • Gore uses lots of numbered lists in the movie, which gets confusing after a while. Lists such as, “three reasons for this” and “four causes for this” and on and on.
  • A picture really is worth a thousand words, but I found myself wanting to know more about the flashy graphs Gore kept showing. I mean you could take them at face value, but how responsible would that be?
  • His self-introduction as “the former next president of the United States” is funny, but I have heard it a few times now, so it has lost that special ring.

If you want a good argument for “the other side”, I would suggest reading some of Michael Crichton’s work. He’s written some great stuff, such as:

Kill the wolves, and save the elk. Move the grizzlies, and avoid the lawyers. And on, and on. Its this simplistic, cause-and-effect thinking that must go.

And for that matter, who believes that the complex system of our atmosphere behaves in such a simple and predictable way that if we reduce one component, carbon dioxide, we will therefore reliably reduce temperature? CO2 is not like an accelerator on a car. Its not linear (and by the way, neither is a car accelerator.) And furthermore, who believes that the climate can be stabilized when it has never been stable throughout the earths history? We can only entertain such an idea if we dont really understand what a complex system is. Were like the blonde who returned the scarf because it was too tight. We dont get it.

I like that excerpt, because most of An Inconvenient Truth is focused on explaining how CO2 causes temperatures to rise.

There are some great non-climate-crisis gems in the movie. At the beginning, Gore shows some images of the earth, and explains how they were taken from space, and that one of them is the most commonly published photo in history. Fascinating stuff.

As a skeptic not of the earth’s temperature rising at the moment but of global warming, I didn’t leave the theatre preaching Gore’s gospel. I do think his movie is the best argument for global warming that I have seen though.

Interestingly, Sharon and I both had the same reaction when leaving the theatre – “I wish he had been president.”

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