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An Inconvenient Truth:

I saw "An Inconvenient Truth" this weekend - finally. There has been much talk about this film (dubbed the highest grossing PowerPoint presentation ever made - funny because he uses a PowerBook) especially in the Bay Area were I live. I must admit I put off seeing this film as I am not a huge fan of Al Gore - his comment of "inventing the Internet" way back during his run for office had me thinking that he is a bit of an exaggerator. I expected this film to be a soap box and political launching point to a possible run for office once again.

In watching the film, I quickly learned this was not the case.

Before I go on to the film, I found an error early on that I am surpised no one caught. At the beginning of the film he shows a video of the Earth which was taken from the Galileo Space Probe. At the end of the film, he shows another image of Earth, this time as the probe was leaving our Solar System - the "Pale Blue Dot" as coined by Carl Sagan. The error is the probe that provided the video of Earth and the Pale Blue Dot was from Voyager 1, not Galileo. The Galileo probe was sent to Jupiter in 1989 and was destroyed (by atmospheric impact on Jupiter) in 2003. The Pale Blue Dot image was taken in 1990.

Pale Blue Dot

Al Gore makes a strong case in the issue of Global Warming - an issue I happen to strongly believe in. He provides a very impressive array of data - from temperature trends from Anarctic ice cores to migration trends of mosquitoes. The most dramatic parts of the movie in my opinion are the images of various mountains and glaciers from around the world comparing images from decades ago to today.

For me, and Al Gore says this too, its a matter of connecting the dots: increased CO2, increased population, insect migration, melting glaciers and ice caps, increased global temperatures, rising ocean temperatures and increased hurricane activity and strength (he does use hurricane Katrina as an example) does point to a valid conclusion.

I do have a problem with his "oceans rising by 20 feet" when (if) the polar caps melt. I think this is a worse case scenario. This statement has some people complaining that the whole list of evidence presented by Al Gore is all a worse case scenario. Even so, I think some people need this kind of shock value to get the message.

He does make a few (not many) political shots below the belt, but they do fit well with the theme of the movie - or should I say documentary. I have heard complaints that there were political motives towards the second half of the documentary, but I did not pick this up - but there was some political talk, again inline with the theme. If there are political motives, I am fine with this - whatever it takes to get this message out there!

The end of the film gives the website:, and gives a few tips on what we can do. One of the tips I found a bit insulting and that was "buy a hybrid car if you can." I say this is insulting because of another film I saw this weekend: "Who Killed the Electric Car." I am surpised Al Gore did not include this little tidbit on the film or the website. Here is a car that GM produced - the EV1 - that had ZERO emissions, was affordable, had descent range (150 miles) and required little (if any) maintenance. This is a pure electric vehicle - or should I say was because EVERY electric vehicle made by GM, save one (it's in the GM museum) was destroyed.

This is what I want to do to help lower my contribution of CO2 emissions: I want an EV1, or some equivelent.

Bottom Line: see this documentary, and check out "Who Killed the Electric Car" as well.


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