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Sustainability 52: An Inconvenient Truth

Updated on April 10, 2010
Global warming or just a warm globe?
Global warming or just a warm globe?

Though some may question this or that particular assertion made in the 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth — and, unbelievably, there are still those on this fragile planet that question whether man is having any impact whatsoever on climate — there is no questioning the power and public impact of that documentary.

After premiering at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, the 94-minute film, based on a slide show and presentation made by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and also developed as a book, went on to popular and critical success. In addition to rising to fifth among top-grossing documentaries, it secured Academy Awards for both Best Documentary Feature and Best Original Song.

After receiving special recognition from the Humanitas Prize as well as The Producer’s Guild’s Stanley Kramer Award, the film also went on to win documentary awards from film critics from areas as diverse as Chicago and Phoenix, Ohio and Utah, Las Vegas and Kansas City. On the basis of the film, his simultaneous book on the same topic, and his many presentations of the original slide-show to audiences around the globe to raise awareness of climate change, Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 (awarded jointly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

The documentary has been credited with doing a great deal to help raise public awareness of the potential risks and dangers of human-induced climate change. It has also been seen to help energize the environmental, sustainability and green movements. The film (and/or much of its main thrust) has been included in various science curricula around the world.

Timed for release with the documentary film was the companion book An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. Though the book, lacking a table of contents and index, reads somewhat like a paper version of a slide-show or quick-cut cinema presentation, it is no less compelling. In fact, its coffee-table styling may make it more accessible to the broader public than a detailed and precise scientific tome. Writing in the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani asserts that, “An Inconvenient Truth is lucid, harrowing and bluntly effective.” The book has had strong and broad positive reception.


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    • rickzimmerman profile image

      rickzimmerman 7 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      No — a lot of the assertions stated by Al Gore in his book are NOT based on faulty science. Rather, very few of the generalizations that appear in his book may be interpreted in slightly different ways, depending on one's point of view, and the rigor of one's intellect. What is indisputable is this: though Earth, like other planets, goes through a somewhat irregular pattern of warming and cooling over the millenia, sometimes quite drastic warming and cooling, since the early 1900s there has been an unmistakable and measurable steady increase in global temperatures. Just as it may be arrogance to assume man is the center of everything, and thus the cause of that effect, it would also be blindness and true naivety to think man can't be or isn't having having any effect. There were doubters and deniers of lead poisoning, thalidomide, asbestosis, cigarette contribution to lung cancer, acid rain, coal miner's black lung, dioxin poisoning, and countless other 'man-made' catastrophes. How long will we deny this one? Besides, suppose we use cleaner fuels, clean up our air and water, become more efficient in our use of energy, and stop clear-cutting the forests, and it turns out there's no global warming? Wouldn't that be great anyway? Maybe we should turning our 'doubting' energy into 'doing' energy.

    • traderx profile image

      traderx 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      A lot of the "truths" Gore spouts are based on faulty science and that has been proven, even so far as some of the people who prepared numbers said they fudged the data. This does not mean there is no impact from man but its far from clear. Over centuries of time the earth has warmed and cooled many, many times, it goes in cycles. So have other planets in the solar system, on the same, irregular cycle. Until we know more about how planetary dynamics work, including how to measure direct impact of X on Y, its all guessing in hindsight. I remember growing up in California it used to rain in the summer more. Then it stopped for a really long time. This was far before Global Warming, or climate change or whatever bs of the day was spoken about as it is now. Should I have determined that because it stopped raining as much that it was because of man? We are a bit naive and in the same respect a bit self centered when it comes to this stuff - we do not understand HOW it works, but we want to take the blame for the outcome - the center of the universe again.