I finally performed my civic duty as a citizen of the world and audited “An Inconvenient Truth” featuring Al Gore. I also spent some time on the companion Web site: http://www.climatecrisis.net/.
I am not going to share my opinion on Global Warming; check out “Global Warming is Too Hot To Handle” for my feelings on that topic. I will, however, give you my opinion on “An Inconvenient Truth”. I believe someday history will remember Al Gore as the person who saved the institution of the American Presidency by stepping aside after the 2000 election. However, I doubt he will be remembered as a Global Warming savior. A significant concern for this movie is that between sequences in which Gore discusses the science of climate change, there are interludes concerning Gore’s childhood, his family, his failed presidential bid, and the death of his son. While an attempt is made to weave Gore’s personal life into the Global Warming message, these interludes make “An Inconvenient Truth” feel like a commercial for Gore’s 2008 presidential campaign. More focus is needed on the science of Global Warming; Gore should not have used the film as a platform for personal political promotion.
In addition, there were two serious omissions in “An Inconvenient Truth” that give me further reservations. First, much of the “scientific” data used in the movie does not actually arise from reputable scientific sources, and formal citations are not given in the movie. The purpose of scientific citations is to provide a “paper trail” for scientists and engineers to trace the evolution of a scientific concept and determine what assumptions, if any, are built into the relevant conclusions. However, the citations provided at http://www.climatecrisis.net/thescience/ reference sources like the Washington Post and Time Magazine, which are not peer-reviewed scientific journals. Furthermore, several citations given for bona-fide scientific publications are incomplete. Even brilliant scientists need to know a paper’s page and volume number to locate it. The Web site’s citations of Nature and the World Heath Organization with no reference to specific articles or documents do not cut it.
The second serious omission in the documentary is lack of any suggestions for serious solutions to the alleged Global Warming crisis. Gore repeatedly states that we are capable of reversing Global Warming, but he fails to tell us how. The movie’s credits suggest some disappointingly pedestrian steps to reduced carbon footprint: use compact fluorescent bulbs, walk or bike to work, and change the thermostat setting. I think my blog does a better job than “An Inconvenient Truth” at suggesting novel approaches to improve our use of resources, and I don’t get paid Gore’s $100,000-per-speaking-engagement salary.
My general assessment of “An Inconvenient Truth” is that this documentary is suspect. It’s a Gore political propaganda film masked as a scientific documentary. Its citation of scientific references is poor, and the film only illuminates the alleged problems without providing any serious solutions.
This film critic gives “An Inconvenient Truth” two thumbs down.