An Inconvenient Truth: A summary after seeing the film for the first time, Summer 2006


The film, “An Inconvenient Truth” has taken the tactic of a slow release, building with word of mouth, and is doing unusually well for a documentary. Al Gore has been on every show everywhere since mid-May, patiently and passionately starting from scratch and walking through the issue again and again and again. And he doesn’t even take the bleakest position, but what he believes is, never-the-less, extremely alarming.

He’s been voicing his concerns for about 25 years. Had a professor that predicted a lot of it. Gives a high-tech slide show that he’s evolved over the years. Extremely informed and sage, with actual warmth, personality and charm. Clearly an expert.

Doesn’t state dire outcomes, rather, he presents what’s been happening, what’s projected — all of which is overwhelming — and lets us draw conclusions. Below, I’ve attempted to recall and summarize some of the major points he makes.

* * * * *

Says that everything that’s been predicted by scientists has consistently proven to be happening faster and to much greater extremes than expected. Characterizes the situation as an immediate, planetary emergency.

Says the leading scientists — who he agrees with — now fear that a tipping point may be passed around 10 years from now and that expansive action must be taken as soon as possible to have any hope of avoiding it.

Shows a CO2 chart of the last 650 thousand years. Huge spike now — as you might expect. But already near the danger point of particles per million in the atmosphere that would cause all ice to melt, and way beyond that threshold by 2050.

Says world population was 1 billion 100 years ago, 2 billion in 1950, 6 billion now, 9 billion by 2050. Too many people using too many of the world’s resources irresponsibly. Utterly unprecedented and unsustainable.

According to a visual he showed, Greenland already appears to have melted a lot. If the rest goes it would effect a very important cooling swirl in the ocean nearby that is a crucial calibrator and conveyor of world weather. This would cool Europe, for instance…a lot (described as a deep freeze). It would also change all weather worldwide by raising ocean levels, altering coastlines, halting the circulation of the world conveyor belt and, therefore, halting the rain patterns that prevent massive, worldwide drought.

Shows how the Antarctic, a place scientists had predicted would never melt, is melting, and how essential it is for our survival — yes, literally the world’s survival — that we not let that happen.

Talks about the efforts of the present administration to carry out a campaign to smother the information and consensus from scientists about global warming in the interests of big oil.

Quotes Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it.”

Quotes Winston Churchill: “The era of procrastination, of half-measures of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”.

Quotes Mark Twain: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Speaks about entering a new period of consequences where we can no longer afford to be soothed into believing things will be okay and must now act, participate, take responsibility.

The 10 hottest years on record occurred in the last 14 years — the hottest being 2005. It was also the worst storm season ever.

People dump 25 million tons of CO2 into the oceans every day.

The world’s ancient forests are being cut down at the rate of about a football field every SECOND.

Canada’s global emissions = 2.3%

U.S. = 25%

China and India are also huge. China is incredibly polluted. Their main energy is coal and is expanding rapidly (by hundreds of mines) because it is so cheap and profitable.

A side note: The March 2006 issue of “Scientific American” reported: “If China and India were to catch up [with consumption levels in North America and the EU] then the resources of an entire second planet Earth would be required to sustain just those two economies.”

Another side note: Over the last 30 years, precipitation worldwide has increased by 20%.

Gore sums up all the people who are dying from droughts, disease, pollution, famine, hurricanes, flooding, forest fires — prematurely, RIGHT NOW, let alone 40 years from now, as well as critical changes to animal habits, projected extinctions into the thousands.

On Charlie Rose, he said that the American political system is, presently, no where near being able to address even the modest version of what is necessary to attack this problem within 10 years.

However, his hopeful argument is that, when political will takes over, huge change is possible, and he sites examples in history like Lincoln freeing slaves, women getting to vote, the fall of big tobacco, success with the ozone hole problem (industries curbed their use of the chemicals that caused it and now it’s drastically improved), etc.

Points to how technology changed warfare. Suggests it could similarly change energy.

Concludes passionately that it’s not too late, the process can still be interrupted, but that it will take an unprecedented world effort which he characterizes as an absolute, moral responsibility that civilization can no longer ignore.


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