An Inconvenient Truth, By Davis Guggenheim
The evidence that we have reached an ecological tipping point is incontrovertible. Davis Guggenheim’s An Inconvenient Truth presents the current situation of our environment, as well as its potential future, by utilizing footage from Al Gore’s traveling slideshow presentation interspersed with interviews of the man who “used to be the next president of the United States of America.” While Gore may give this self-description jokingly, this is undoubtedly a political film, not lacking political bias. At its core however, this is a film that addresses a lack of government honesty and responsibility. This is a film that forces the viewer to question why they have not been informed of carbon dioxide emissions before. While an abundance of scientific research is used to back the once controversial idea of global climate change, the film is also teeming with personal stories from Al Gore. Guggenheim uses Gore’s experiences to allegorize larger issues, as well as to make the former vice president relatable and credible. However, the use of a figure of Gore’s stature comes at a price: biased interviews and manifesting large scale environmental problems in the politician-turned-activists forces skeptics to associate an ominous, indiscriminate issue with Democrat Al Gore and the liberal agenda. Al Gore as An Inconvenient Truth’s spokesperson for global warming is, undoubtedly, a double-edged sword.
Throughout the film, Guggenheim develops the technique of using heavy ideas to evoke an emotional response. After Al Gore awkwardly dabbles in romanticism, describing the effect of standing in nature, the film essential begins with the former vice president bringing the attention of the audience to a pale, blue dot in a space probe image taken 4 billion miles away. This pixel, which is later revealed to be Earth, puts into perspective man’s true place in the universe, despite the delusion of self-importance. The idea that Earth, the only habitable location for humans, is worth preserving is further reinforced by a personal story of Gore’s. An emotional retelling of Al Gore’s son’s near-death experience after being run over by a car immediately draws the audience in. This is one of the many emotion-inducing images used throughout the film. This glimpse into one of the most painful moments of Gore’s personal life makes him relatable while also driving home the point that gratitude and obligation are often realized when faced with the possibility of loss.
Guggenheim makes his most poignant analogy between global climate change and Al Gore’s personal life with a story of the tobacco industry. As a tobacco grower, Gore’s father and many others continued to deny and ignore the scientific evidence regarding the dangers of tobacco, primarily because it would have affected their primary source of income. This changed, however, when Al’s older sister, Nancy, died from lung cancer. As Gore states, it is very clear that sometimes it takes too long to “connect the...
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“The Inconvenient Truth” is a 90-minute film version of former United States Vice President Al Gore’s book with the same title. Gore modestly described the film as “slide show”, though it was a brilliantly illustrated and animated lecture about global warming. In fact, Gore did not reinvent the will and tell something new; he just collected and illustrated information. However his film happened to be a great event. It has received many different awards worldwide, including two Oscars, and provoked the vigorous reaction all over the world. A lot of viewers of the film believe the truth of Al Gore, but there were a lot of critics and skeptics. I tried to make my own opinion regarding this movie.
Is the movie just a tool for the political promotion?
The relation of science and politics is always complicated. From the one hand, politician could not spend a lot of time for serious science researches. From the other hand, scientist could not have an influence on the global situation without the help of politicians. That is why every time when a politician starts to use scientific data, his opinion could be considered as the preconceived one.
I think the movie does not exaggerated or erroneous representing global and political interests of one country versus another. In my opinion Gore just talks about what he knows well. He has a plenty of global information, but the USA is the country he knows the best, as well as his Motherland. So the global interests of the USA are in the center of his movie. The problem is that the discussions on global warming traditionally are polarized. “One group says that anyone with any doubts whatsoever are deniers and the other group is saying that anyone who wants to take action is alarmist. We don’t think that approach has a lot of utility for intelligent policy,” – Kenneth Green, a visiting scholar at AE. (Sample, 2007)
However the environmental politics is always connected with global politics and economics, so the Gore’s movie could be used for political pressure. That is why analytics recommend people to get their information about the climate change from resources that are not associated with politician. Gore truly believes in what he says, but new and new mistakes and contradictions in “Inconvenient truth” come to light.
Real amount of pollution
I don’t really believe that “everybody lies”. I don’t think that all the top-managers in the world are making insincere statements regarding the amount of pollution. However I believe that it is rather hard to measure the real pollution level and its influence. For example, Gore’s movie displays many graphics of Keeling curve. This curve is showing the build-up of atmospheric CO2 from the middle of 1950th, when Dr. Keeling began to measure the level of CO2 at the top of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. Every year the level of CO2 in the atmosphere increases and Gore tells this is a real evidence of human impact on the environment. I understood that Gore is found of Dr. Keeling measurements of atmospheric CO2, because he took college courses from Dr. Roger Revelle in Harvard. Dr. Revelle was the colleague and like-minded person of Dr. Keeling. However I think that Keeling Curve shows the increase of CO2 level and nothing more. It does not prove that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has to be invariable, that the constant growth of CO2 level is the direct result of human industrial activity, and that the CO2 level is the sole factor of Earth heat. The Keeling Curve is the good example of rather accurate measurement that is useless in its individual capacity. At the same time the independent researches show that the level of air pollution felt in the USA within the last decades.
“…despite large increases in driving and energy use, air pollution of all kinds sharply declined. Motor vehicles, power plants, factories, and consumer products became cleaner much faster than driving, energy use, and economic activity increased.” (Scwartzh, 2002)
The decrease of air pollution in one country could be filled with the growth of pollution in other countries, but in this case the Keeling curve should have its peaks, and on the graphs in the Gore’ movie the curve was almost straight.
From the other hand, the Emission trading program, which is intended on pollution control with economic incentives, as well as trading schemes, could be the great stimulus for data falsification. The main idea of such schemes is a pollution limit. To increase the emission allowance, company or country has to buy credits from countries and companies who pollute less. Thus, the market attempt to control the air pollution could cause the false claims of top managers.
Is global warming the international problem?
First of all, I think that global warming is just the theory, and the controversy on the Gore’s movie is another evidence of this. Gore tells about glaciers melting and the rise of sea level, mentioning Greenland. Now Greenland is covered with ice, but it was named Greenland because it was green when it was discovered by Vikings near thousand years ago. The climate on Earth changed earlier, and current changes could be the part of global climate fluctuation.
However, here is another problem that could not be ignored – intoxication. I am sure that some global organization should care about pollution level, but not because of climate change. It is obvious that scientists should research the natural mechanisms of CO2 regulation – sea plants, tropical forests, and so on; new technologies that allow reduction of carbon emission should become embedded all over the world. Independent commissions should work all over the world, measuring the pollutions, but at the same time “think tank” should develop new non-toxic ways of production. Nowadays people try to use market regulation for the pollution reduction, and the results of such regulations are rather ambiguous.
Developing countries and environment
At the UN climate talks in Copenhagen developing countries split on CO2. Some African countries are vulnerable for climate impact, and other developing countries have the great industry. That is why it is impossible to estimate the question of environment for all the developing countries in general.
The question of environment is very important for global trade, and that is no wonder that World Trade Organization took it in attention. “One of the most contentious sources of disagreement is over how environmental agreements or measures should be treated for trade purposes. Several high-profile cases concerning import bans based on environmental reasons have been struck down by the WTO. Advocates for trade liberalization argue that such decisions are justified, that environmental concerns should be controlled through measures other than trade such as eco-labelling. Developing countries are concerned about some sectors where environmental concerns are mere pretexts for protectionism. Environmentalists, for their part, are concerned that the WTO has not done enough to incorporate environmental protection into its mandate.”
The work of international commissions in developing countries concentrates on the carbon pollutions mostly. However it has inner contradiction. International commissions forces companies in developing countries to buy pollution quotas; to earn money for pollution quotas the developing countries us different ways that could be even worse then carbon pollutions.
Recently the United Nations Environment Programme began to promote its new activity – Online Access to Research in the Environment ( OARE ). This new program helps to expand the availability of information resources.
Economic growth, political stability and world peace.
Actually I have already taken a certain position on this question. In spite of its shortcomings the globalization has its own advantages. I think that the world now is a great family and different members of the family can help others even when make something wrong or stupid. And
“ Eradication of poverty should have the highest priority on the international agenda. One of the adverse effects of poverty, which affects mostly developing countries, is related to environmental and natural resource degradation. The essential task of eradicating poverty is an indispensable requirement for sustainable development in order to decrease the disparities in standards of living and better meet the needs of the majority of the people of the world. Strategies aimed at poverty eradication are also important in avoiding degradation of resources.”(UN,2007)
Though the facts in “The Inconvenient Truth” are rather contradictory and insufficiently proved, the impact of the film is inestimable. The film made people who have seen it more aware of environment. The popularity of Al Gore in the USA is another success factor, because the USA is the largest source of pollution in the world, so every American has to know about global warming and be aware about.
The reason to care for the environment is this is where we live. Mankind is a small subset of the Environment.. Healthy land, rivers, and seas will bred us, but only if we breed them.