who wrote an inconvenient truth (book)?
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It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the cinematic release of An Inconvenient Truth (2006), the controversial film featuring former U.S. vice president Al Gore that attempted to convince the moviegoing public that the problem of global warming was indeed happening. The “inconvenient truth” of the film was that because of our efforts to increase our affluence and comfort, the world was warming quicker than would be expected under natural conditions.
We humans were changing the atmosphere, and most of the effects of this change would be bad—bringing more misery to the poor, uncertainty to our crop harvests, and death to many other species we share the planet with. Although the main precepts underlying the notion of global warming were known and accepted by science at that time, Gore and his film added fuel to a simmering political debate. Pro-industry conservative politicians and their supporters (many of whom saw global warming as a hoax designed to bilk taxpayers out of their money) lined up on one side, while scientists and more-liberal politicians (who pressed that global warming was among the most important issues humanity would face) teamed up on the other.
An Inconvenient Truth: 10 Years Hence
Most remember the film as part motivational science lecture with slick graphics and part self-reflection. Gore got much of the science correct. His overall thesis, that activities that added more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere were changing the climate—that is, allowing the atmosphere to retain a greater share of the energy delivered by solar radiation—was solid, though some of the facts presented in the movie need to be revised slightly because of new research.
For example, Gore emphasized the role of the planet’s thermohaline circulation (the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt, which replaces seawater at depth with water from the surface and slowly replaces surface water elsewhere with water rising from deeper depths, moving water around Earth’s oceans), but 10 years hence, this phenomenon may not be that critical to regulating climate.
What ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ Got Right (And Wrong) About Climate Change
Eleven years later, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” — a sequel directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk — premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, Jan. 19, and received a wide release in July. That makes this a good time to look back at the original “An Inconvenient Truth” and ask: Given what’s been learned about climate change since then, how accurate was Gore’s dire warning and call to action? What did the film get right, and what points might need revision?
At the time of its release, “An Inconvenient Truth” generally got good reviews from climate researchers. In this 2006 interview, for example, National Snow and Ice Data Center scientists Walt Meier and Ted Scambos said that Gore’s message was on the mark, and that he got most of the science right, save for a few details. In a recent email, Scambos says that’s still pretty much his view today as well.
An Inconvenient Truth
In former Vice President Al Gore’s best selling book, An Inconvenient Truth he lays out a case for the climate crisis and why it is imperative that we solve it.
Our climate crisis may, at times, appear to be happening slowly, but in fact it is happening very quickly-and has become a true planetary emergency. The Chinese expression for crisis consists of two characters. The first is a symbol for danger; the second is a symbol for opportunity.
In order to face down the danger that is stalking us and move through it, we first have to recognize that we are facing a crisis. So why is it that our leaders seem not to hear such clarion warnings? Are they resisting the truth because they know that the moment they acknowledge it, they will face a moral imperative to act? Is it simply more convenient to ignore the warnings?
Perhaps, but inconvenient truths do not go away just because they are not seen. Indeed, when they are responded to, their significance doesn’t diminish; it grows.
Additionally, just as Gore’s film depicted, carbon dioxide levels have continued to rise. “Carbon dioxide has now crossed the 400 parts-per -million mark,” Scambos says. “The level for the 6,000 years prior to about 1900 was rarely more than 280 ppm.”
In the decade since 2006, Scambos says, our understanding of climate change has evolved, but that data doesn’t challenge the basic conceit of the film. “What we’ve learned are details–how warm ocean water is playing a role in both sea ice and ice sheet retreat; details in how the glacier and ice sheet flow speeds and thicknesses on Earth are changing; details on the past history of the ice ages and the triggers and timing of abrupt climate change.”
Additionally, he notes, “Arctic sea ice continues to shrink in extent and thickness, setting new summer minimum records in 2007 and 2012, and showing a dramatic reduction this fall relative to the rate at which it should be growing. Greenland is losing mass at the rate of 200 billion tons per year; Antarctica is losing mass at about half that rate; and the world‘s mountain glaciers are shrinking.”
an inconvenient truth: the crisis of global warming
An inconvenient truth: the planetary emergency of global warming and what we can do about it
The truth about the climate crisis is an inconvenient one that means we are going to have to change the way we live our lives. Our climate crisis may at times appear to be happening slowly, but in fact it has become a true planetary emergency and we must recognise that we are facing a crisis.
So why is it that some leaders seem not to hear the clarion warnings? Are they resisting the truth because they know that the moment they acknowledge it, they will face a moral imperative to act? Is it simply more convenient to ignore the warnings? Perhaps, but inconvenient truths do not go away just because they are not seen, rather, their significance grows.
Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States, has been a passionate advocate of action to halt climate change for many years. In ‘An inconvenient truth’, Gore writes about the urgent need to solve the problems of climate change, presenting comprehensive facts and information on all aspects of global warming in a direct, thoughtful and compelling way,using explanatory diagrams and dramatic photos to clarify and highlight key issues.
The book has been described in the New York Times as one which could ‘push awareness of global warming to a real tipping point’. The documentary film of the same name, based on the book, premiered at this year’s Sundance Festival to great acclaim.