An Inconvenient agenda mars Truth

Gore’s political rhetoric dampens climate change doc’s impact

Despite Gore’s political complaints, he marshals impressive scientific data to bolster his case.
Despite Gore’s political complaints, he marshals impressive scientific data to bolster his case.
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Photo courtesy of climatechange.net

Film Review: An Inconvenient Truth @ The Screening Room

According to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, if our dependency on cars and gasoline continues, we can expect to be below 20 feet of water within the next 100 years.

Thanks mainly to our use and abuse of the automobile, the glaciers of the North and South Poles are melting, causing water levels to rise. Losing their glacial homes, polar bears are dying off quickly. The increased temperature of ocean water is changing weather patterns dramatically, resulting in more hurricanes, droughts and floods.

But here’s another conundrum: Al Gore is a politician, not a scientist. Most rational individuals don’t trust politicians, so why should we trust Gore’s documentary?

It’s unfortunate that such an important and vital lecture on global warming must be given by a man forever associated with losing an election to Dubya. Although one should commend Gore for his environmental efforts, using An Inconvenient Truth as a platform to discuss the outcome of the 2000 presidential election is ultimately counterproductive. Gore introduces himself as someone who “used to be the next president of the United States,” and throughout the film, makes political digressions to the effect of “if I were president ...” This doesn’t improve Gore’s reputation as a whiner. And in light of the United States’ hostile climate of fiercely partisan politics, neither does it help to convince the world’s leading polluter to curb its consumption. Bush supporters have already relished the opportunity to post mock trailers for the film on the video website youtube.com.

As Gore claims, global warming “is really not a political issue so much as it is a moral issue,” but he makes it difficult for audiences to set aside their own political biases when Gore’s rhetorical style reinforces political divides.

Incorporating interviews—a more traditional component of documentary filmmaking—would have strengthened Gore’s case. Had he talked to the scientists he spends so much time talking about, An Inconvenient Truth might have seemed more credible, relevant and unbiased.

Gore’s argument, although scientifically sound, seems more like fear-mongering than a clear-headed presentation of facts. Perhaps that’s because all the evidence points to the same conclusion: we’re doomed if we don’t act quickly. However, Gore lightens up near the end of the film, moving from anger and concern towards constructive protest and action by suggesting we should “prepare against other threats besides terrorists.”

Regardless of the film’s shortcomings, An Inconvenient Truth transcends critical boundaries because of its moral implications. This is a film everyone should, or—dare I say—must see.

Ultimately, the point Gore tries to make is clear: no matter what political party you belong to, we all share the planet’s resources, and we’re doing a deplorable job. An Inconvenient Truth isn’t just a film worth seeing, it is a film that everyone must watch, revealing the unsettling fact that without massive changes to our consumption patterns, we really will end up swimming with the fishes.

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