An Inconvenient Truth

I’ve just got back from seeing An Inconvenient Truth. It was a well-made and interesting film. but not as life-changing as other people seem to have found it.

The film largely consists of a lecture about climate change that Al Gore has given many times (he says over a thousand) over the last few years. It’s a smooth and compelling introduction to the subject. It covers the causes, the effects, the evidence and, perhaps most importantly, what we can do about the problem, but personally I thought this was all covered far better in David Attenborough’s Are We Changing Planet Earth? and Can We Save Planet Earth? which were broadcast earlier this year. But perhaps Americans are more likely to take this kind of news from an American politician than a British naturalist. The film was certainly squarely aimed at the American audience (for example, a caption at the end encouraged the audience to write to congress about the problem) and a lot of time was spent underlining just how much of the problem could be laid at the USA’s doorstep.

Of course, the very fact that the film is made by a politician means that many of the people who would gain most by seeing it will dismiss it as political propaganda and will ignore it. Gore is very eloquent and interesting in his exposition, but he’s still seen as the antichrist by the current administration and their supporters. Add to this the fact the the lecture is intercut with some rather oversentimental autobiographical sections (including a strangely neutral section on Gore being cheated out of the presidency in 2000) and you end up with a film which Republicans aren’t exactly going to be rushing to see.

But maybe that’s alright. Maybe enough floating voters will watch it and be convinced enough to switch to the Democrats in 2008. But isn’t that what we all hoped for with Fahrenheit 911? Let’s not get our hopes up.

So, to summarise. It’s an interesting introduction to the problem, but I find it hard to believe that any reasonably well educated British person will hear anything that they don’t already know. However, the credits do contain some good tips about changes that everyone can make to their lives to help reduce the problem and there’s a lot more good information on the web site.

If you have any doubt about the cause or the extent of climate change, then please go and see this film.

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