An Inconvenient Truth

  • Directors: Davis Guggenheim
  • Producers: Lawrence Bender, Scott Z Burns, Laurie David, Co Producer Line Producer, Lesley Chilcott, Executive Producer, Jeffrey D Ivers, Jeff Skoll, Ricky Strauss, Diane Weyermann
  • Writers: Al Gore
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Actors: Al Gore

An Inconvenient Truth focuses on Al Gore and his travels in support of his efforts to educate the public about the severity of the climate crisis. Gore says, “I’ve been trying to tell this story for a long time and I feel as if I’ve failed to get the message across.”[4] The film documents a Keynote presentation (dubbed “the slide show”) that Gore has presented throughout the world. It intersperses Gore’s exploration of data and predictions regarding climate change and its potential for disaster with his own life story.

The former vice president opens the film by greeting an audience with a joke: “I am Al Gore; I used to be the next President of the United States.”[5] After laughter from the crowd, Gore begins his slide show on climate change; a comprehensive presentation replete with detailed graphs, flow charts and stark visuals. Gore shows off several majestic photographs of the Earth taken from multiple space missions, Earthrise and The Blue Marble.[6] Gore notes that these photos dramatically transformed the way we see the Earth; helping spark modern environmentalism.

Following this, Gore shares vivid anecdotes that inspired his passion for the issue, including his college education with early climate expert Roger Revelle at Harvard University, his sister’s death from lung cancer and his young son’s near-fatal car accident. Gore recalls a story from his grade school years, where a fellow student asked his geography teacher about continental drift; in response, the teacher called the concept the “most ridiculous thing [he’d] ever heard.” Gore ties this conclusion to the assumption that “the Earth is so big, we can’t possibly have any lasting, harmful impact on the Earth’s environment.” For comic effect, Gore uses a clip from the Futurama episode “Crimes of the Hot” to describe the greenhouse effect. Gore refers to his loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 United States presidential election as a “hard blow” yet subsequently “brought into clear focus, the mission [he] had been pursuing for all these years.”

Gore’s book of the same title was published concurrently with the theatrical release of the documentary. The book contains additional information, scientific analysis, and Gore’s commentary on the issues presented in the documentary. A 2007 documentary entitled An Update with Former Vice President Al Gore features Gore discussing additional information that came to light after the film was completed, such as Hurricane Katrina, coral reef depletion, glacial earthquake activity on the Greenland ice sheet, wildfires, and trapped methane gas release associated with permafrost melting.[10]

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