The Truth About Global Warming

An Inconvenient TruthAn inconvenient truth - movie poster is a movie about global warming:

Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world’s scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.

It stars Al Gore. Yeah, that guy who lost to Dubya. Gore describes the science behind global warming along with his passion to learn, teach and do something about the consequences our fucked up society is having on the environment.

What got my attention was Roger Ebert’s review of it:

In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.

Update (June 6, 2006): James Berardinelli wrote an enlightening review of it:

If you have studied the subject at any length, the film is not going to provide any new material. This is a well-packaged recap of known facts. If you accept that Global Warming is real and understand its implications, you can easily skip An Inconvenient Truth. If not, then this becomes an important film to consider.

I’ll wait for the video, if I see it at all.

Update by Phillip (June 23/06): This one’s worth watching even if you think you already know everything about global warming.

The Inconvenient Truth does need to be seen (or heard), because despite what some politicans think, global warming brought on by human activity is real. The message of the movie, which seems to be backed up by indisputable scientific data, is that the human race is screwed unless we do something about global warning now — within the next 10 years. There’s nothing wrong with the science that leads to this conclusion, but I would have picked a different messenger. I agree with James‘s main criticism of the movie:

The problem with An Inconvenient Truth isn’t the message; it’s the messenger. If the film’s goal is to educate and warn about Global Warming, why use one of the most divisive political figures of the last decade as the spokesman? I don’t have a problem with Al Gore, but how many Republicans [or Conservatives in Canada] (and possibly even Independents) are going to be interested in spending 100 minutes listening to the ex-Vice President talking about Global Warming? Thus, instead of a wake-up call, this film — which is an excellent primer about the situation — turns into a sermon for the choir.

But if you can get past Al Gore, the scientific facts presented are clear: The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is directly linked to the temperature of the planet. CO2 levels rise and fall with the natural cycle of planetary heating and cooling that takes place over millenia, but the current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are unprescidented, well beyond anything the natural cycle has ever produced.

As a result, the temperature of the planet is trying to catch up with the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (because there’s a lot). The rapid melting of glaciers, the polar ice caps and the Antartic ice shields are evidence of this. If the ice, which is melting, continues to melt at the current rate, ocean levels will rise and, in about 50 years, low-lying countries like the Netherlands will disappear from the map. Many coastal cities around the world will be under water. Much of the world’s fresh water supply, which comes from the ice reserves, will be gone. By the end of the century, it’s likely there won’t be any natural ice left on the planet. If you think the mosquitos get bad in the summer now, you haven’t seen nothing yet. What’s alarming about the ice shields melting is how they melt: the ice falls off in huge hundred-mile chunks that then melt away within weeks. If the Greenland ice shield ever begins to fall off in huge chunks, all I can tell you is run for the hills, especially if you live in the Netherlands. A global climate shift would happen within months.

There’s more depressing news, but I recommend seeing the movie for yourself (the DVD should be out soon). There’s a web site too.

The good news is, we can reduce our CO2 emissions and stop global warming by doing stuff most of us have already heard about: Install energy-efficient lightbulbs; drive energy-efficient cars, or electric-gas hybrids; take the bus; ride a bike; turn down your themostat; develop renewable energy resources such as wind power and solar energy; plant trees; make sure our governments set standards for CO2 emissions that will make a difference — you know the drill.

The message of the movie is, “Okay, we’ve studied it long enough now. Global warming isn’t just a theory. It’s real. Let’s stop it now before it’s too late.” Good message.

8 Replies to “The Truth About Global Warming”

  1. Yeah just got in from burning my garbage,fertilizing my lawn, adding the chemicals to my pool, cleaning my 3500 square foot suburban castle with a list of wonderful cleaning products and yeah i think I will jump into my suv chug along to the hollywood lit, hydro sucking multiplex and watch this film…yeah…but hey I recycled my overpriced bottled water and fizzy italian sodas….that makes it better dosen’t it…

  2. yeah yeah…go watch darwins experiment….”us huge living”..north americans and europeans…we are what have to go….recycle, change a light bulb….meanwhile live a lifestyle that is subsidized by the other 90 percent of the planet….i mean i am a hypocrite…im well fed…living like a king…this environmental crusade really is starting to bug me…cause ultimitley we will only do what is convient….the best thing for the planet would be we all commit hari kari…yeah i am teaching my kids japanese..

  3. yeah,,its in the mail…no really…it sat on my desk for two weeks…no no I had to get coffee that was grown organically, roasted between the thighs of some migrant worker, and it will arrive by mule train all of this so as to reduce the co2 emmissions…just trying to do my bit…

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