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Dustin LindenSmith

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"An Inconvenient Truth": Al Gore's new documentary about global warming

This Roger Ebert review is the first I've heard of a new documentary starring Al Gore and directed by Davis Guggenheim which just premiered at Cannes to a warm reception. (Numerous additional resources are available via this Google search.) I sort of doubt that the film will ever get screened in Halifax, but it sounds like it's really worth watching. From Ebert's review:
It is not only an important film, but a good one. Guggenheim has found a way to make facts and statistics into drama and passion. He organizes Gore's arguments into visuals that overwhelm us. Gore begins with the famous photograph "Earthrise," which was the first photo taken of Earth from outer space. Then he shows later satellite photos. It is absolutely clear that the white areas are disappearing, that snow and ice is melting, that the shape of continents is changing. The polar areas and Greenland are shrinking, lakes have disappeared, the snows of Kilimanjaro have vanished, and the mountain reveals its naked summit to the sky for the first time in human history.
Al Gore introduces himself in the movie by saying, "I used to be the next president of the United States." When Ebert interviewed him on the Cannes media junket, he said:
"There is as strong a consensus on this issue as science has ever had. A survey of more than 928 scientific papers in respected journals shows 100 percent agreement. But a database search of newspapers and magazines shows 57 percent of the articles question global warming, and 43 percent accept it. That's disinformation at work.

"Even in the short run," he said, "we aren't heeding the warnings. Two or three days before Hurricane Katrina, the National Weather Service predicted a hurricane so severe it would create 'medieval conditions' in New Orleans. It issued clear warnings that the levees might be breached and the city flooded. Yet look what happened, and how slow the response was. Hurricane season starts again in a week."
In his review of the film, Ebert synopted a few facts presented therein as follows:
[After watching the film, you learn that] they drilled into the polar ice to extract an ice core that's a 650,000-year record of global climatic trends, and the current situation is going off the charts. There is no precedent. You learn that hurricanes in the Gulf and typhoons in the Pacific have suddenly escalated in frequency and strength. That rainfall patterns are being disrupted. That Arctic melting is having an effect on the Gulf Stream. That the 10 hottest years in history have been in the last 14 years. That the number of days annually the Arctic tundra has been frozen enough to support trucks has gone down from 225 to 75.
The film states that within the next 10 years the earth will reach a tipping point past which civilization cannot recover (i.e. the world will no longer function as we know it today). I suppose that's to be expected, but it still gives me pause for thought. And makes me glad I work from home and don't have to drive to work and such. Among other things.

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