Saturday, July 29, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth


I saw Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Friday night. As I assume most readers know it’s about the very real near-term consequences for our planet of the fact of global warming.

The film does three things. First it explains in detail how and why global warming takes place. Second, it shows, through simply astonishing pictorial evidence, the effect of the warming that is now taking place and establishes that this process is not merely some natural cycle but the unique result of Man’s effect on the environment. Finally, it spells out the disastrous consequences with which we may be faced, not in some far off future but in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren.

Gore’s message of hope is that we need not resign ourselves to an inevitable disaster. There is something we can do, but it requires a political will that has so far been lacking.

Immigration, reform of health care, and facing up to the energy crisis are certainly important issues that require political will to resolve. The inconvenient truth is that it may be that the greatest potential threat, not only to the United States, but to the whole world, the greatest potential killer, is climate change.

The home page for the film, which contains trailers and info, you can get to here: An Inconvenient Truth. This is a fascinating web site. And, finally, it seems that three out of four conservatives agree. (link)

7 comments:

Lutwytche Jupiter said...

"An Inconveniant Truth" that Gore will run for president again... actually that might be a conveniant truth, and this film would be very conveniant for his chance too

Art Jacobson said...

Should Gore run for President again this film would certainly do him no harm. I doubt that a run is really in his plans...but what do I know.

Housekeeping note. I've started up my second blog again: "Dataport Motorcycles." That way posts with no real political content won't be picked up by Lefty Blogs.

wearetribal said...

I was there too. But I have to say that the film actually avoids some inconvenient truths, in my opinion.

First is the truth that cars are a major factor, and therefore that we need to change our cities so that we need and desire to drive less. Alternative fuels are great, but we need to look at all means to achieve the goals we must reach.

Second is the truth that being a vegetarian creates far less Global Warming gases than being a meat eater. Besides taking far more fuel to create meat than the equivalent nutrition of a vegetarian meal, cows are methane factories and methane is actually a far more potent agent of warming than CO2.

I was very disapointed. It continues the myth that we can just make a few small little convenient changes in our lives to deal with the largest crises that the world now faces. Call our politicians and tell them to do this and that. Heaven forbid it should in any way inconvenience us.

x4mr said...

Art,

I think this film and post tie rather well to the earlier frustration you voiced in your “Therapeutic Rant” post regarding the messes we are in. As I commented there, 2000 election was a real tipping point, and the bad guys won. This White House has been and continues to be abhorrent. Imagine if Gore had won in 2000. It just makes me sick.

Robert Reich, Clinton’s former labor secretary, refers to this film at his blog and calls for Gore to run. Could he win? I actually think he would have a good shot at it given current temperament.

I would consider it productive to inquire into the motives for resisting action to reduce global warming. One of my favorite parts of the film is where Gore stands by an image that shows a balance scale with bars of gold on one side, and the entire planet on the other. Economists have an expression called “externalities” to describe how a corporation (or individual, for that matter) may do something "bad for everyone" (pollute) because for that one entity the rewards exceed the costs. Unfortunately the rest of us are along for the ride, and we all pay.

Is it really as simple as a very small number of folks that own "everything" paying our politicians to give them even more? I fear with this administration we have drifted perilously far from democracy towards oligarchy, and sometimes when I hear Rove speak, panic we are borderline fascist, although thankfully they don’t have what it takes to cancel the 2006 and 2008 elections. I’d bet the farm they wish they could create the kind of emergency to pull it off. Well, Lincoln couldn’t cancel the 1864 election, so we’re probably ok.

Why resist efforts to address Global Warming? Just last quarter earnings: ExxonMobil, 10.36 billion, BP and RoyalDutchShell, 7.3 billion each, Houston based ConocoPhillips, 5.2 billion (65% increase).

While oversimplified (and we would have to discuss corporations to get into it), it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that basically a small number of people have amassed so much wealth that they have essentially bought the planet, now own it, and can pay a ton of money to a lot of people to help them keep it and have things go their way.

And the fact that the place is heating up is damned inconvenient. Perhaps this truth, and some other systemic forces such as this thing called the internet, will provoke and stimulate all of us to figure a way to get out of this mess.

Kralmajales said...
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Kralmajales said...
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x4mr said...

The Bush administration's suppression of scientific findings supporting global warming is on 60 minutes as we speak.

The White House had NASA refuse to allow Jim Hansen to speak to National Public Radio.

The White House is not just editing global warming science, but numerous scientific reports, before they go to congress or to the public.

One of the major editors was a lobbyist for the petroleum industry.

I would encourage everyone to get hold of this story.