An Inconvenient 100 Minutes

If Al Gore wanted to convince the country to mobilize against global warming, he went about it the wrong way. His documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” – basically a collection of speeches, slides, and awkward recreations of poignant moments in the former presidential candidate’s life – is mostly comprised of scare tactics. Admittedly, some of his points are pretty frightening, particularly when accompanied by images of ominous flood waters creeping up to drown large (and quite pricey) sections of important international cities. But c’mon – even if you believe global warming is something to be concerned about, which I happen to, this film is way too long, way too boring, and way too peppered with personal, sometimes interesting, but ultimately irrelevant information about Gore himself. And it ultimately fails to address the real questions involved in the climate change debate.

To the film’s credit, it doesn’t go so far as to suggest that the U.S. should stop all oil and gas drilling, as do many of the big environmental groups and as Gore himself has at different points during his promotional tour (he is also pushing E85 as a major fuel source). But neither does the film offer a lot of solutions. Its facts and figures are spliced with footage of Gore lamenting the 2000 presidential election, revisiting his father’s tobacco farm, staring out the window dejectedly on 9/11, and recalling the horror of his young son’s car accident – things that probably appeal to a vast number of audience members who bought tickets so they could catch a glimpse of Gore’s personal life. But the disruptions actually act to slow the movie down and diffuse any momentum it might have had.

Despite all the praise it has gotten, and despite its good intentions, Gore’s film doesn’t talk about the most important issue surrounding climate change today: how do we stop it and still get enough energy to meet our worldwide increasing demand? His solutions (renewable fuels and efficiency) are those echoed by environmentalists everywhere, who still seem to lack any real answers. That’s not to say that solar power and wind energy and more efficiency won’t help, but we at ET remain unconvinced that the U.S. – or for that matter the rest of the world – can become a “carbon neutral” place anytime soon, and we don’t see the point in pretending.

A lot of research clearly went into this film, and it paints Gore as a practical politician who is attempting to discuss a matter that no one in Washington wants to discuss. It’s not hard to believe that climate change is real, or that it will become a big problem at some point in the future, but at a time when energy is one of the hottest issues all over the world, you just can’t have a discussion about climate change solutions without also discussing the broader energy debate. Gore’s “Truth” could have done with a larger dose of the practicality that drove his climate studies, and a little less of the ego stroking that seems to drive this movie.

Al Gore

© 2013 Energy Tribune

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