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Revisiting An Inconvenient Truth: A Global Warning, DVD Review

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An Inconvenient Truth, DVD Review

How the Controversial Film has Affected Environmental Policy

Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth (2006)Released in 2006, An Inconvenient Truth is a documentary presented by ex-Vice President Al Gore that created quite the controversy for moviegoers as to whether or not global warming was real. The film begins with the image of green grass along a rippling river, rustling leaves, birds chirping, the trill of a tree frog, muddy riverbanks, a cow mooing in the distance; serenity. This is quickly replaced with images of coal burning smokestacks, fires, shrinking ice caps, and Hurricane Katrina. It’s the beauty of the world we had versus the dirty, polluted world we have turned it into and are continuing to do so. What we take for granted may not always be here.

Al Gore feels as though he has failed to make people want to take action against global warming. “There are good people who are in politics in both parties who hold this at arm’s length because if they acknowledge it and recognize it then the moral imperative to make big changes is inescapable,” said Gore. People believe the Earth is so big that we can’t possibly make an impact.

The film does a great job of presenting the impact that global warming is already having on our planet and proposed what can happen if we don’t do something soon. Within a decade there won’t be any more snow on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Glacier National Park will just become a glacier. The Columbia Glacier is retreating every year. In Peru and Argentina glaciers are melting and large chunks are falling into the ocean. Forty percent of all people in the world get their drinking water from melting glaciers and people will experience water shortages as they disappear.

Furthermore, in less than fifty years carbon dioxide will continue to rise off the charts from unrestricted fossil fuel burning, primarily coal. Of the last fourteen years, we’ve experienced ten of the hottest years ever, the hottest being 2005. Scientists predict that heat waves will become more common. Cities are breaking all-time records for temperatures of 100˚ or higher.

Meanwhile, our oceans are getting warmer and producing stronger storms. An all-time record has been set for tornadoes in the US.  Japan has an all-time record for typhoons, seeing ten just in 2004. In 2005, Hurricane Emily hit Yucatan, Dennis damaged the oil industry and Katrina killed lots of people and cost millions in damage. Scientists say hurricanes will only get stronger.

Moreover, global warming causes more precipitation that occurs in larger events at one time. It also relocates precipitation and causes further flooding and drought. Asia experienced flooding after receiving thirty-seven inches of rain in one day. Global warming creates more evaporation off oceans, but sucks moisture out of soil leading to higher temperatures. Climate patterns are changing.

In the Arctic, trees whose roots were in permafrost are now falling sideways as the permafrost melts. The Arctic Ice Cap has diminished forty percent. People used to be able to drive across the tundra in Alaska 255 days out of the year, but now they’re lucky if they can drive seventy-five. Falls are arriving later and springs are coming earlier. If there is a five degree temperature increase worldwide, that means that there was a one degree increase at the equator and a twelve degree increase at the pole. If Antarctica or Greenland melts, maps of the world will have to be redrawn.

Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth (2006)In conclusion, millions of ecological niches are being affected. The peak arrival date for birds and caterpillars is coming two weeks earlier. Whereas caterpillars can keep up and adjust, birds are struggling. Pine beetles are seeing fewer colder days and are causing devastation. Mosquitoes are climbing to higher altitudes and expanding their range. There have been thirty new diseases in the last quarter century. Coral reefs are bleaching and the fish that depend on them are in danger.

An Inconvenient Truth remains informative while presenting much convincing information that elaborates on global warming, how it affects us and what we can do to lessen our carbon footprints. “We are by far the worst contributor to the problem,” Gore said. Technology has made us a force of nature and we are transforming the surface of the Earth. Thirty percent of carbon dioxide comes from burning forests. Because of overpopulation we are putting more stress on our food supplies, water and natural resources.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth the idea of a cap-and-trade system has arisen. This system is already in place in Europe and is gaining incentive globally. Under this program, Congress would establish by law a limit on the total amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted. Businesses could purchase and exchange permits to emit carbon dioxide, methane and other gases. Companies that emit higher amounts of gases would be required to pay more. A percentage of the stipends would be designated to industries at no cost and the balance would be auctioned off. Income generated would support preservation of tropical rainforests as well as low-income families. The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) was accepted by the House of Representatives in 2009, but didn’t surpass the Senate. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has proposed a fourteen percent decrease from 2005 levels by 2020. He also plans to raise the fuel standards on newer vehicles and is working to make solar energy more affordable. A global treaty is being legislated to lessen mercury emissions and other pollutions.

Another concept in addition to the cap-and-trade program is the carbon tax. This is a tax that would be charged on the release of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. Coal would be taxed more excessively than oil and more extensively than natural gas. Carbon produced in goods but not consumed by fire would be waived of the tax. Carbon emissions cloistered from the atmosphere wouldn’t be taxed and may be approved for credit. Most of the profits if not all would be reciprocated back to communities in the US as either profit shares or by federal payroll and state sales taxes being decreased. Most income generated would come from families that are more prosperous as well as corporations and government.

The RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) is a countrywide program obligating the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont to reduce pollution of carbon dioxide in fossil fueled power plants. These states have opted to auction nearly all profits made from carbon dioxide and reinvest in amelioration of energy efficiency as well as renewable energy technologies. Each power plant that is monitored must present one allocation for every ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere during a three year period beginning in 2009.

Kelly Morrisette is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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1 Comment for “Revisiting An Inconvenient Truth: A Global Warning, DVD Review”

  1. Something very strange happens when you talk about Global Warming: science goes out the window and “belief” and “consensus” becomes the topic of discussion.

    It’s because of that fact that I give a failing mark to Al Gore’s documentary.

    Instead of promoting intelligent discussion, he kept the debate at the level of “belief” and “consensus”.

    Of course, when you’re trying to sell the world into spending trillions of dollars to “stop Global Warming” you may thing it’s a problem to tell the scientific truth: we don’t know how much of the current warming was caused by humans. Maybe none of it, maybe some of it, or maybe it has over-ceded the next Ice Age and we got really lucky not to have boiled the planet.

    But the fact remains that we don’t know.

    so we’re asked to “believe” in the “consensus”. Never mind that any scientist that strays from the “consensus” is ostracized. Never mind that scientific inquiry is about straying from the consensus. Einstein didn’t “believe” in the consensus, neither did Copernicus or Galileo.

    So why so much scorn placed on those very researchers who would advance the field by asking the tough questions? If Global Warming is so incontrovertible, surely a few people testing that theory can’t be so threatening.

    What is going on here? That’s the movie I was hoping Al Gore would have made. Istead, he chose to shore up his support with the true “believers” of the “consensus”.

    Sad, really.

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