Kevin Grim STA 2023 Arnold 5/3/07 Documentary Extra Credit “An Inconvenient Truth” The movie opens with

Al Gore voice, and a river slowly flowing behind him. Al Gore is describing the nature that is around him, all the sounds, the sights, the smells, even the sensations to touch. Gore describes these feelings and sights as a “gear shift,” inside where you sit back and say “Oh, yeah I forgot about this.” Gore then shows a picture of one the first known photographs taken of earth from space. The movie then cuts through some scenes of Gore presenting his slide show and walking into a large auditorium, introducing himself “Hi, I’m Al Gore, I used to be the next President of the United States of America.” The movie next shows clips of the hurricane Katrina and its effects on New Orleans. “Earth Rise” is presented and explained as the picture that started the environmental movement 18 months later. The next picture Gore shows is the most commonly published photograph in all of history. This picture depicts the full earth taken on the last Apollo mission. Gore then presents a short clip of the earth’s rotation comprised into one day, explaining the wonder of it. Gore explains that the scientific establishment dictates the way science is presented. Gore uses the example his grade school teacher telling the class that the continents in fact never fit together! While in fact, today we know this to be true. Gore presents the quote by Mark Twain “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know…it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” Gore uses this to explain some people’s feelings towards global warming being completely unaccredited to humans. This is because they feel that we a so small in the grand scheme of things that we could never have a lasting affect on something as big as the Earth. Gore states though he will not go into the basic science of global warming but does none the less recap the basics idea behind global warming using several computer generated and animated examples. Gore next introduces the second teacher he mentioned, the one he considered to be a hero of his, Roger Revelle. Roger Revelle showed Gore as well as his college class, the research he had been performing and revealed a red line sharply rising and falling in a continuous trend going up from its initial start. It was this picture, Gore explains, that first got him involved in the subject of global warming. Gore, since this moment has tried to use whatever power he has to try and give this issue attention, the attention it deserves. Gore states that when he went to congress he formed some of the first hearings on global warming, in which he asked his professor to come speak. Gore had thought this would help congress see the importance behind global warming and the need to stop it. In the end congress did not share this idea with Gore; they simply took it as pure speculation. Gores along with others have tried time and time again to make a lasting affect on the American people. Gore has written a book on the subject, passed a carbon tax, went to Kyoto to approve a treaty that is very controversial in the U.S. in order to help solve the problem of global warming. Gore shows a picture of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1970 and then shows another picture of the same mountain in

2000. The pictures greatly differ in the amount of show on the mountain. Gore states that within the decade there will be NO more snows on Kilimanjaro. Gore also shows clips of Glacier Park and how the glacial are actually continuously retreating inward, which he than cuts to a scene where a glacier is cracking off and falling into the ocean, saying this is what people are seeing everyday at this park! Gore continues to show places that once used to be heavily covered in snow now just barely even white, places where giant glaciers used to reside now a barren sea of water. One of the most interesting points Gore speaks about is the core drilling his friend Lawny Thompson does. Gore explains that with these drills they dig down into the ice and see how much CO2 was in the atmosphere the year that snow fell they can also measure isotopes of the oxygen thus enabling them to tell what the temperature was at that time. A man shows Gore in Antarctica ice that they had drilled out and pointed at a specific part of it and told Gore “this is when Congress passed the clean air act,” this difference being able to be seen with the naked eye. Gore makes the comparison to this drilled ice with the rings of a tree, though instead of telling the tale of a single tree, this ice tells the story of the entire planet! Using these mountain glaciers, these scientists can go back a thousand years and predict what the temperature was at the time. In doing so, these scientists have created a thermometer from these ratings ranging through out the years (the graph shown shows the year 1000 leading up to the year 2000). This thermometer shows several key aspects including what many critics call the medieval warming period saying these events are cyclical. Gore points out this cyclical warming period to be a relatively small red blotch compared to the large red peaks towards the end of the 1900s (if it were a cycle it would be a huge increase from the last warming period). This thermometer shows, as of recently, the temperature is increasing exponentially fast. Gore next shows a giant time-plot that illustrates the CO2 and temperature changes during the last 650,000 years. Gore proceeds to point out all the ice ages ranging back the 650,000 years (7 ice ages in total). CO2 never exceeds 300 parts per million, as Gore points out. Gore then shows the temperature change over the last 650,000 years, using his old classmate’s question of “did they ever fit together?” to introduce the fact that they did in fact. Gore next explains that their relationship is very complicated, but one relationship being more powerful than all others, when there is more CO2, the temperature increases! Gore, using a miniature cherry picker, emphasizes his point of how high CO2 is today or how high it will be in fifty years. The CO2 rises off the chart and sky rockets straight up, breaking out of the gradual increase it had previously had to a pure dramatic increase; being much higher than the normal cycle, almost even frighteningly high. Gore explains that this though does not seem to faze the critics as he paraphrases them as saying “Well, what’s wrong with that?” Gore contrasts that if just being at the bottom of the chart is equivalent to a mile of ice over hour heads, being well above the chart might mean dire consequences! Gore states the issue of global warming has expanded past being just a political issue, and that it has in fact grown into an ethical issue, which begs the question, “Will we allow this to happen?” The movie then flashes back to when Gore’s child was hit by a car. Gore explains this as almost a life changing event, one that which made him ask what he wants to do on this earth. The movie continues this with more internal thoughts from

Gore coming to realize that what we take for granted my not be there for our future children. Gore presents the fact that the ten hottest years on record worldwide have happened with the last 14 years, the hottest being 2005. This temperature increase also is taking place in the ocean; Gore displays the natural range of variability for the temperature in the ocean, and then shows what the temperature actually is right now in the ocean being significantly higher. Gore continues that with an increase in temperature there is also an increase in stronger storms. There have been record high storm rates everywhere, including a record high number of tornadoes in the U.S. As well as a record high amount of typhoons in Japan (beating the old record of seven typhoons by three), the oddest of these storms being the first ever hurricane in the South Atlantic (previously thought to be impossible)! Gore than describes Katrina, and how when it hit Florida it was only a category one (to most South Floridians this means throw a hurricane party and break out the surf board), but as it crossed over the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico it got stronger (Gore showing a quick graph depicting that when water temperature increases so does wind velocity and the moisture content of a hurricane). Thus when it finally hit New Orleans, it hit with immense force and unprecedented power, breaking the levies and plunging this once lively city into chaos. Gore declares there were warnings of how bad this storm truly was and that it could potentially break the levies as it did. Gore states that it is up to the people to decide how to react to these warnings. After a quote from Winston Churchill the movie flashes back to the famous elections and the notorious recount Florida initiated. Using a long bar graph, Gore explains that global warming also causes more precipitation single storm events, and that insurance companies have noticed this in that the recovering loses for insurance companies is going up. With another bar graph, Gore shows that in Europe is also experiencing the same cataclysmic nature phenomena that we are. Gore compares these recent natural storms as a nature hike through the book of Revelations. Gore also continues in stating that not only goes global warming cause an increase in flooding but also causes an increase in drought. Gore explains that this is because global warming actually relocates the precipitation. This is because evaporation by the sun is increased ten-fold, sucking water right out of the soil. While at the same time the increased evaporation has also made Lake Chad, once one of the world’s largest lakes, into a long circular river. The Gore then reminisces back to Gore as a child on the farm, stating the climate has been relatively the same since the last ice age 11,000 years ago. Gore regrets that as of recently, the climate has been changing, very quickly at that. It is here where Gore introduces the two canaries in the coal mine, the Artic Ocean/North Pole and Greenland being the first, with Antarctica being the second. Both the Artic Ocean and Greenland are the two regions that are experiencing faster impacts from global warming. Gore next shows some clips of some places, including the “Drunken Trees” that rely on the perma-frost as a form of foundation. Gore also makes mention that the Alaskan Pipeline would be very hard to reach now only having less than 75 days possible in the year to drive on it. Gore continues to explain this melting by speaking about his experience with the submarines that patrol around the North Pole and occasional rise up through the ice. The subs however can only rise up in areas where the ice is less than 3 ft, and so the records they keep are next to flawless. Their records show, starting in 1970, a steady decline more so than usual. Than in 1970, the thickness of the ice began to sink

rapidly continuing to do so to this day. As of now the level of thickness in the ice has diminished by 40% in 40 years (an enormous 10% decrease in thickness per decade). Gore next uses an illustration to show the mirror effect the sun’s rays actually have on the ice. When the sun’s rays melt through the ice and begin to hit the ocean, more than 90% of the ray’s heat is absorbed, heating the ocean and causing the rest of the ice in the ocean to met even faster (somewhat like a boiling effect). Gore next turns to the issue that with the ice melting animals like the polar bears will begin to die off. As of recently there have been reports of Polar Bears actually drowning while in search of any form of ice or land to rest on. Here Gore goes very deep in detail into the issue of ocean currents comparing it to an engine. Gore implies that while people say that a one degree increase in temperature is nothing, in the North Pole that one degree escalates to a twelve degree increase! Gore next presents the “ocean conveyer” explaining it in detail as the warm and cold currents running along together in a cycle. The salt being the key component to this cycle keeping the cool water weighted down so that the warm water can continue to pull the cooler water. At the end of the last Ice Age, as Gores explains, what is today the remnants of the Great Lakes used to be a giant glacier that melted into a pool of fresh water. This pool, finally when the ice dam on the east corner broke, all flooded out into the ocean. This fresh water then mixed with the salinity of the ocean diluting it, making the water fresher and lighter essentially stopping the ocean conveyer! This led Europe to go into yet another Ice Age. Gore points out that even the seasons are shifting, leading to the death of innocent animals and the rise of pestilence and disease. Gore then moves on to the second canary in the coal mine, Antarctica. Gore explains that ice selves the size of Rhode Island have been breaking off for the last fifteen years, causing the land based ice to fall into the ocean and thus melt. Gore gives the example of the water based ice being a single ice cube in a glass of water, when it melts it does nothing. As opposed to a glass of water with ice cubes stacked from the bottom up, when it melts the glass over flows. Antarctica though unstable however is more stable than Greenland is at this point, if melted would increase sea level world wide by almost 20 feet! Gore shows a picture where he uses people for scale to compare the size of a free running river of melting ice above Greenland! It is here where the most shocking part of the documentary (in my opinion) is revealed. Gore assures that if Greenland or half of both Greenland and Antarctica were to break up and melt the consequences would be extreme. Gore then shows several clips of land masses including Florida, and what this increased sea level change would do to these places. Half of Florida is underwater (I live in Ft. Lauderdale so I pretty much out of luck, maybe I’ll move to Gainesville…), along with many other cities and countries. Gore considers there to be three main factors that are causing this collision between our civilization and the very earth we live on. The first of these factors contributing to this collision is population, with the expected population of earth in 2050 being a staggering 9.1 billion people. This exponential increase will increase the strain on food and water supply, natural resources, and an increase poverty and disease in poorer countries. The second of these factors is new technology used for the wrong reasons; for example, weapons now-a-days consist of the simple pressing of a button to murder a thousand people. New technology also leads to the manipulation of nature, something in which the cycle is so perfectly set up the slightest change may set everything off.

As it stands now the United States has the largest carbon emission than any other country in the world at 5.60 per person and 5.47 billion metric tons per country/region. Gore using a frog in a boiling pot of water as an example, explains that we as a people must become aware of this danger now! Gore uses the past example of tobacco companies and the measures they took to hide or manipulate the truth, and explains that this is exactly what is happening now. These scientists who said years ago, when global warming was not a hot issue, that global warming was real as of recently have said it is a swindle. This was based on the study of 928 scientific articles (10%). Gore states people are simply trying not to realize this inconvenient truth. Gore reads out a memo leaked from the few who want to call global warming a lie. This memo stated that their objective is to reposition global warming as theory rather than fact! As of recently, another sample was taken this time of 636 articles where 53% expressed their doubt of the existence of global warming. There have been reports of scientists who have been treated differently just because they know the truth about global warming, that they know it in fact does not just exist but is happening. Gore brings up an example of a man named Philip Cooney who before being hired by the President to Chief of Staff for the Environmental Office, had worked for American Petroleum Institute and was a lobbyist in charge of global warming disinformation. Upon resignation, Cooney then got a job working for Exxon Mobil; bring up the quote “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Gore next names off all the places he has given this slide show. Using another time plot Gore shows that the U.S. is actually way behind in fuel economy being, saying a U.S. car could not be sold in Japan because it is considered to be inefficient. Gore introduces another bar graph depicting the market capitalization for American cars is way below that of Toyota and Honda (more fuel efficient cars). Gore shows another colored time plot showing the current and expected carbon emissions from 1970 to 2050. Gore shows with the plot that by changing out lifestyle and becoming more efficient our predicted carbon emission will drop from 2.6 to 0.9! Gore lists all the nations that have signed the Kyoto Treaty, the U.S. and Australia being the only major countries that have not. Yet, cities are beginning to show support for the Kyoto Treaty, hoping that maybe one day the government will be obliged to sign. Gore next says that we can make a difference and gives examples to all the times we have overtime difficult times and crisis. Gore recalls when the hole in the ozone layer was first seen and how the U.S. successfully fazed out the harmful chemicals that were causing this, something that was considered to be impossible. Gore retracts back to the single video clip of the earth rotating in space. Gore shows another picture depicting our earth as a small dot and how fragile this planet really is. The movie closes with the same river it began with; Gore’s voice in the background saying basically it is up to us to preserve our planet for future generations, our children and our children’s children. The movie ends with Melissa Etheridge’s “I Need to Wake-Up” (great song) playing in the background. I was interested more about this and looked at the special features in the DVD. I clicked on the option “Update with Al Gore,” in which Al Gore talks about what he has stated in the movie in some instances are starting to show more warning signs. Gore also corrects a misunderstanding many people had in the movie; Gore did not state global warming made more hurricanes, Gore did state though that global warming makes them stronger! Gore goes through each of the issues such as glacier quakes and such and

explains how the situation stands. Gore states that we already have started to change and improve the world around us but warns the warning signs are still present and we must continue with our efforts to lower CO2 emissions. Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” really puts the world we live in into context. Gore also did a great job in following the area principle rule perfectly. I could not find a single graph, going back through the movie (I watched it four times from start to finish), that did not follow this rule. All Gore’s graphs were flat (plain and simple) and easy to understand and see. The graphs were at no time 3-D, oddly colored (in a manner where data maybe confused because of colors being very similar in appearance), were always proportional, equally distributed, and properly labeled. Gore did though neglect to mention the margin of error involved in these graphs, but if you watch the film the most complicated graph he uses is a time plot. Gore, through out the movie, used mainly between two types of graphs, bar graphs and time plots, being two of the most common and easily understood graphs. Gore did this in order to allow a wider range of people to understand this information. Before I took Statistics, I can honestly say I had no idea what a histogram was or even how to read it, same with a scatter-plot. If I had ever encountered a scatter-plot previous to Statistics I probably would have just connected all the dots assuming that is what I was supposed to do. Once or twice in the movie a histogram would have been a better choice over the extended bar charts he used, but for the sake of simplicity Gore decided not to make the people worry so much about reading the graphs. The sole reason for this was that he was trying to get them to focus more on the issue of global warming, rather than trying to comprehend the graph itself and what it actually means. The data Gore uses appears to be well sourced and definitely plausible (even though the numbers are shocking and even scary at times). Gore uses a huge amount of quantitative data in this movie to the point where some might think to movie is too “numbery” (a word my girlfriend made up when telling me she did not want to watch the movie with me anymore). Personally though I think Gore presents the quantitative information in a way that really makes you realize what we are doing to our planet. Gore also organizes and limits his number usage to a minimum. I know this because I have seen other documentaries on nature and such and all they seem to talk about is numbers, to the point where you forget what the documentary is even about. Gore also used a wide variety of units to label the CO2 emissions and everything else on his chart. The third time I watched the movie; I did so on my computer so that I could pause the movie and thus take a better look at the graphs. On both axis, Gore correctly labels each unit and in parenthesis describes its association (usually using the metric system). There is a possibility of lurking variables in some of the data collected, but are not addressed specifically as it could jeopardize Gore’s whole argument. In my Ethics class we had to watch this movie called “The Great Global Warming Swindle” (statistically and contextually a joke when compared to “An Inconvenient Truth”), the movie did not follow area principle what-so-ever (it literally violated every rule of area principle) and did not source its data at all only interviewing the same three scientists over and over again (I wonder what gas company they work for). Plus, in “The Great Global Warming Swindle” there was definitely lurking variables present as the graphs

used were not only 3-D but also similarly colored (as if trying to hide some information or manipulate the data thus fooling the audience). One of the major problems I did have with this documentary is when Gore states that he’s not going to go into the basic science of global warming when in reality he should. The number one reason people do not know enough about global warming is because they do not know the basic principles behind it. All many of them know is (conservative friends of mind especially) “they” (environmentalists or as they call them “hippies”) want us to stop driving our trucks! When really this is not the case, the point of decreasing your daily impact is to do things you can afford to do. To make an honest effort to try and get energy saving light bulbs, to buy a hybrid vehicle if you can, when you can ride a bike instead of drive. It is these little things that make the biggest differences. If everyone knew the basics behind the science of global warming, I believe a lot more would be getting done. People, once knowing the basics, are more inclined to go out and research global warming; now wanting to know more about the subject! Though I have to admit I was presently surprised with Gore’s presentation of Matt Groening’s cartoon skit “Global Warming: or None Like It Hot!” from the “Futurama” series, very humorous (big fan of any and all types political humor). Another issue I did have was when Gore stated that the relationship between CO2 and temperature was complicated; I just wish once again he had gone into more detail. Once again though I realize he was trying to keep this documentary in layman’s terms in order for it to be viewed by a much wider range of people (if it was in science jargon it most likely would not have won nearly as much recognition as it has). I also realize a documentary can only state so much before it becomes too informative, making it just plain boring to watch, and even more boring to listen to. I give a lot of credit to this movie in the sense that it really gets you interested in the topic and makes you want to go out and learn more about it! This could be the reason Gore neglected to explain everything in exact detail, maybe he simply did it on purpose hoping that people would be interested and motivated enough to go learn more about it on their own. I did like that Gore went into such detail with ocean currents, I love to surf and likewise love the ocean. I remember in high-school learning about ocean currents and being amazed with how complex a massive body of water, just simple water, could be. One thing I did wonder about as Gore was naming all the different places he had given his speech, I found it shocking that he never gave one in Florida (bad memories maybe…?). Statistically, in my opinion, this movie and the data presented is as accurate as real world data will allow, at least according to the sourcing information Gore provided. The data simply makes sense. In conclusion, I honestly believe that if anyone really looks hard enough you can find something wrong with everything. This is exactly the reason people are able to so harshly criticize Gore’s movie of being less than factual. It is my opinion though, that global warming is a major issue many people have turned a blind eye to only because it I in fact an inconvenient truth. Many people by nature resist change; anti-global warming groups use this as a tool to create doubt about global warming just to line their own pockets. These groups are no better than the tobacco companies years ago (and even today). They simply wish to create doubt and manipulate the data so that they can make

more money; they are in the business of selling lies and deceit. These anti-global warming companies will continue to try and produce doubt until either people stop believing them or it is simply too late. Global warming is becoming a more important issue by the day, one that we must take seriously and act on now, if not for our own sacks than for our future generations. Ask yourself, do you really want to be known as the generation who sat idly by and watched global warming take full effect and did absolutely nothing?