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3. Al Gore - An Inconvenient Truth

An Inconvenient Truth is an Academy Award-nominated documentary film about climate change, specifically global warming, directed by Davis Guggenheim and starring former United States Vice President Al Gore.

Al Gore

An Inconvenient Truth is also the title of a companion book by Gore, which reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller lists of July 2[1] and August 13, 2006, and again during several months on the list.[2]

The film premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and opened in New York and Los Angeles on May 24, 2006. It is the third-highest-grossing documentary in the United States to date.[3] Both Gore and Paramount Classics, the film's distributor, have pledged proceeds from the film to further educational campaigns about climate change. The film was released on DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment on November 21, 2006.


A documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth explores data and predictions regarding climate change, interspersed with personal events from the life of Al Gore. Through a Keynote presentation (dubbed "the slide show") that he has presented worldwide, Gore reviews the scientific evidence for global warming, discusses the politics and economics of global warming, and describes the consequences he believes global climate change will produce if the amount of human-generated greenhouse gases is not significantly reduced in the very near future.

The film includes many segments intended to refute critics who say that global warming is insignificant or unproven. For example, Gore discusses the risk of the collapse of a major ice sheet in Greenland or West Antarctica, either of which could raise global sea levels by approximately 20 feet (6m), flooding coastal areas and producing 100 million refugees. Meltwater from Greenland, because of its lower salinity, could halt the Gulf Stream current and quickly trigger dramatic local cooling in Northern Europe.

In an effort to explain the global warming phenomenon, the film examines annual temperature and CO2 levels for the past 600,000 years in Antarctic ice core samples. An analogy to Hurricane Katrina is used for those familiar with the 30-ft to 45-ft (9 to 14m) waves that destroyed almost a million homes in coastal Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.

The documentary ends with Gore noting that if appropriate action is taken soon, the effects of global warming can be successfully reversed by releasing less carbon dioxide and growing more plants or trees. Gore calls upon viewers to learn how they can help in this initiative.

Gore's book of the same title was published concurrently with the theatrical release of the documentary. The book contains additional, detailed information, scientific analysis, and Gore's commentary on the issues presented in the documentary.

Scientific basis

Scientific opinion on climate change

Gore's basic claim—that global warming is real and largely human-caused—is supported by current research.

Gore presents specific data that supports the film's thesis, including:

The retreat of numerous glaciers is shown in before-and-after photographs (see Retreat of glaciers since 1850).

A study by researchers at the Physics Institute at the University of Bern and the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctic presenting data from Antarctic ice cores showing carbon dioxide concentrations higher than at any time during the past 650,000 years.[8]

A 2004 survey by Dr. Naomi Oreskes of 928 peer-reviewed scientific articles on global climate change published between 1993 and 2003. The survey, published as an editorial in the journal Science, claimed that every article either supported the human-caused global warming consensus or did not comment on it.[9]

The Associated Press contacted more than 100 top climate researchers and questioned them about the film's veracity. Because this was at the time before the film's general release many of those surveyed had neither seen the movie nor read the book, but all 19 climate scientists who had done so said that Gore conveyed the science correctly.[10] The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Sen. Jim Inhofe, a global warming skeptic, issued a press release criticizing this article.[11] Inhofe's statement that "global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" appears in the film.

RealClimate, a group blog maintained by eleven climate scientists, lauded the film's science as "remarkably up to date, with reference to some of the very latest research."[12]

Michael Shermer, science historian and founder of The Skeptics Society, wrote in Scientific American that An Inconvenient Truth "shocked me out of my doubting stance".[13]

However, in a June 26, 2006 editorial in the Wall Street Journal, climatologist and global warming skeptic Richard Lindzen criticized the movie and questioned its claims.[14] A response to Lindzen's piece disputes the basis for his claims as allegedly not supported by currently available data.[15]

Gore discusses the possibility of a sudden rise in sea level of 20 feet if a major polar ice sheet collapsed. This should not be confused with the more certain, gradual and moderate rise due to non-catastrophic ice melting and the thermal expansion of water. The IPCC's Third Assessment Summary estimates the latter as between 0.1 to 0.85 meters (0.3 to 2.8 feet) by the year 2100, but notes that "this range does not allow for uncertainty relating to ice dynamical changes in the West Antarctic ice sheet."[16] The Antarctic as a whole contains enough ice to raise sea level by an estimated 60 m (200 ft) if it were to melt entirely[17] and the collapse of the grounded interior reservoir of the West Antarctic ice sheet alone would raise sea level by 5-6 m (16-20 ft).[18]



  1. ^ New York Times lists book as #1 Paperback Nonfiction, 02-Jul-2006, [1]
  2. ^ New York Times lists book as #1 Paperback Nonfiction, 13-Aug-2006, [2]
  3. ^ Documentary 1982-Present (film rankings by lifetime gross). Box Office Mojo.
  4. ^ Voynar, Kim. "Sundance: An Inconvenient Truth Q & A - Al Gore on fire! No, really." "Cinematical." January 26, 2006. [3]
  5. ^ Remnick, David. "The Talk of the Town." New Yorker." April 14, 2006.[4]
  6. ^ Booth, William. "Al Gore, Sundance's Leading Man." "Washington Post." January 26, 2006. [5]
  7. ^ Alex Steffen (May 4, 2006). Interview: David Guggenheim and An Inconvenient Truth.
  8. ^ Atmospheric Methane and Nitrous Oxide of the Late Pleistocene from Antarctic Ice Cores Science, 2005-11-25, accessed 2007-01-10
  9. ^ Naomi Oreskes, [ BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change], Science, 2004-12-03, accessed 2007-01-10
  10. ^ "Scientists OK Gore's Movie for Accuracy", Washington Post, June 27, 2006.
  11. ^ AP INCORRECTLY CLAIMS SCIENTISTS PRAISE GORE’S MOVIE. U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works (June 27, 2006).
  12. ^ Al Gore’s movie. RealClimate (May 10, 2006).
  13. ^ The Flipping Point: How the evidence for anthropogenic global warming has converged to cause this environmental skeptic to make a cognitive flip. Scientific American (June 2006).
  14. ^ Richard S. Lindzen There Is No 'Consensus' On Global Warming Wall Street Journal, accessed 2007-01-10
  15. ^ David Lawrence, Lindzen needs a reality check on climate change, Notes from the Abyss, 2006-06-26, accessed 2007-10-01
  16. ^ IPCC's Third Assessment Summary See the chart on page 14 and the accompanying text.
  17. ^ [ Climate Change 2001: Working Group I: The Scientific Basis] accessed 2007-01-10
  18. ^ Michael Studinger, Geological Influence on the Onset of Fast Moving Ice accessed 2007-01-10
  19. ^ 'Last Stand' delivers IMDb, 2006-05-30, accessed 2007-01-10
  20. ^ BIFF EXCEEDS ALL EXPECTATIONS (Adobe Reader format) accessed 2007-01-10
  21. ^ Documentary Movies Box Office Mojo, accessed 2007-01-31
  22. ^ Housewife addresses climate conference Flanders News, dated 2006-11-16, accessed 2007-01-10
  23. ^ Governing Council The Alliance for Climate Protection, accessed 2007-01-10
  24. ^ Roger Ebert An Inconvenient Truth Chicago Sunday Times, accessed 2007-01-10
  25. ^ Ronald Bailey Gore as climate exaggerator Reason, dated 2006-06-16, accessed 2007-01-10
  26. ^ 2006 HUMANITAS Prize Winners. the HUMANITAS prize (2006-06-28). Retrieved on 16 January 2007.
  27. ^ Stanley Kramer Award: An Inconvenient Truth. (2007-01-18). Retrieved on 18 January 2007.
  28. ^ 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Nominations. MSNBC (2006-02-02). Retrieved on 2 February 2007.
  29. ^ [6]
  30. ^ [7]
  31. ^ [8]
  32. ^ [9]
  33. ^ [10]
  34. ^ [11]
  35. ^ [12]
  36. ^ [13]
  37. ^ Full text of David Cameron's speech to the Conservative Party conference, Guardian Unlimited, 4 October 2006, accessed 25 November 2006
  38. ^ Richard Black. "Humans blamed for Climate Change", BBC News, February 02, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-2-02.
  39. ^ Laurie David. "Science a la Joe Camel", The Washington Post, November 26, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  40. ^ Gerald Wheeler. "NSTA Statement on November 26 Washington Post Op-ed "Science à la Joe Camel"", NTSA, November 28, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-1-09.
  41. ^ Robert McClure & Lisa Stiffler. "Federal Way schools restrict Gore film", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 11, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-1-11.
  42. ^ KNDO. "School Delays Viewing of Global Warming Documentary", KNDO, January 24, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-1-24.
  43. ^ David Leask. "All secondary schools to see Gore climate film", The Herald, January 17, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-1-26.
  44. ^ "Gore promotes his 'ultimate action movie'", Chicago Sun-Times, May 5, 2006.
  45. ^ A Terrifying Message from Al Gore. YouTube.
  46. ^ Scientist to CEI: You Used My Research To "Confuse and Mislead". (May 26, 2006).
  47. ^ Up is Down. onegoodmove (June 15, 2006).

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