“An Inconvenient Truth” Review

A few friends and I saw the Al Gore An Inconvenient Truth film last night.

I’m very pleased that the public is interested enough in this type of film for it to make it into mainstream theaters. Maybe there is some hope after all.

I think they did a good job explaining what global warming is and how we can use ice core samples to judge temperature and CO2 levels back thousands of years. While the film focuses on “consequences” of our inaction, Gore does remind us that there is plenty of time to act and that we have reversed our environmental damage before – the elimination of chlorofluorocarbons, for example.

The visuals do a good job keeping the audience’s attention, and I was excited to see them using an Apple computer. At the same time, there were several statistical flaws. The flaws are relatively minor, but this film is going to become the Fahrenheit 9/11 and you know that people are going to attack it. Whether Gore planned on it or not, he might end up being a poster child for the film. I can already see the oil industry saying “Al Gore says he invented Global Warming.” Among the errors I thought I caught:

  • list of deaths did not add up to the same number Al Gore says in the narrative (35,000)
  • Some of the temperature graphs indicated a range of only two degrees. The temperature in the theater probably fluctuated more than that.
  • During the end sequence about technology, photos of the Very Large Array, a radio telescope, are used to represent “satellite communication”

I would feel better about the representations if they put the charts and graphs on their web site. Many of them fly by faster than you can read. “These are not the statistics you are looking for.” To make this even funnier, one of the commercials during the previews was about subliminal messages.

Whether you believe in global warming or not, I think it is easy to see that our society’s pollution is not a good thing. If you don’t understand what us environmentalists are talking about, seeing this film will help you understand our perspective. I recommend it, but you might want to wait for it to come out on DVD. Hopefully they will fix the above errors, plus you will be able to pause and back-up.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the “follow-up” movie Who Killed the Electric Car? that was advertised during the previews. I don’t think electric cars are the whole answer, after all we create carbons and nuclear waste to make our electricity, but it seems to me that it should be a commercially available option at this point.

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