Monday, June 19, 2006

Review: An Inconvenient Truth

Over the weekend temperatures hit 95 F (35 F), which is miserably hot for mid-June roundabout Exit 151. DH and I took refuge in an air-conditioned movie theater and saw An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's movie about global warming. IMHO, it's a must-see.

The movie makes effective use of solid science, nonpartisan advocacy, and personal memoir. Its famous narrator neither avoids nor dwells upon his political past; the tone is gentle and wise. Viewers familiar only with the wooden presidential aspirant may be surprised to discover Gore's self-deprecating charm, command of the facts, and long-standing commitment to the cause. The movie is beautifully photographed and easy to watch; the science is accessible and strikingly illustrated. Its point – that action to reverse global warming is needed now – is well made.

As I've followed the global warming debate fairly closely, the biggest and most appalling surprise for me was how backward U.S. energy technology is compared with other developed nations and even with developing nations such as China and India. Our standards are abysmally low. We are falling behind when it comes to applying existing, tested technology. We are not innovating and developing new technology as others are. And we are losing ground at an ever-increasing rate. Our technology not only works less well than it could, it works so poorly that, increasingly, U.S. products aren't competitive in the world market.

I've also been following the flap on Roger Ebert's website. Ebert is a Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic who gave the movie a highly positive review. He since has been deluged by letters and emails, the majority from people who have not seen the movie, but denounce it anyway. He's written a follow up article on this curious phenomenon.

For more information on the movie and on global warming, see the Climate Crisis website, particularly for the Carbon Calculator, which estimates one's personal annual carbon emissions, and the list of Ten Things to Do. I was happy to learn that each mile I bicycle rather than drive lowers my personal emissions by one pound of CO2.

1 comment:

--Deb said...

Interesting. Thanks for the links to R.E.'s site--I'd seen his review, but not that followup.

And, I feel guilty about having to drive, but . . . at least it's only a 4 mile commute each day, and I don't drive a guzzling SUV . . . that's something, anyway!