I watched “An Inconvenient Truth” this weekend, and afterwards, wanted to watch it again. I had seen an earlier version of Gore’s slideshow from a TED conference, so I was familiar with what he was going to say, but I was completely captivated by him as an individual, and how he’s been driven by a quest to prevent catastrophic climate change.
As many other have said, this is a completely different Al Gore than we saw on the campaign trail. He comes off as warm and human. And it’s clear that this is his passion. It was interesting to note that Tipper was only included as part of the narrative about his son.
Watching the extras with Al talking about new studies that came out during the editing of the movie, was also very revealing. Here again was the almost robotic Al Gore, who sounds like a cross between a school teacher and a politician. During the main narrative, Gore often falls back to his southern accent while speaking passionately about the data. His strange broken linguistic pacing we all saw during the campaign seems to be an artifact from trying to suppress his natural accent along with reading material from a prompter.
That being said, it’s clear that when given material that he really understands and feels comfortable with, he is an incredibly powerful speaker delivering a finely honed message.
Talking with a friend of mine today, she criticized that the movie ultimately was about Gore, and not the science he was presenting. She thought he would have better served his message by having the scientists themselves present it. I countered that scientists have been presenting this information in one way or another since the 70s, and we’ve seen the success that it’s brought. Gore is in a unique position to preset the information, and I’m glad he’s doing so. Of course this doesn’t preclude climate change scientists from doing the same.
The movie underscored a big current topic for me, which is the rampant abuse of science and research in public policy making. Having a politician who is willing to listen to our scientists and let that inform his decision making, rather than setting a policy and getting cranks to back it up, regardless of the facts, is a refreshing change.
On the data itself: If you’re a liberal, you’ve undoubtedly seen much of this data before. But Gore has an impressive way of putting it all together that is provocative and disturbing. Probably the best slide of the whole presentation is the graph showing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere along with temperatures for the last 650 thousand years. Much like this one. He showed that the earth’s normal CO2 varied between 150 – 300 ppm over that time period. It’s now over 380. His point was that differences between 150-300 represent a nice day vs. a mile of ice over your head.
The glacial information was probably the most disturbing. Break ups in Greenland and Antarctica would cause some pretty bad things to happen to the world, raising sea levels and disturbing the ocean and air currents.
Highly recommended. Check it out.