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March 26, 2007 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

An Inconvenient Truth

Not only is An Inconvenient Truth about something topical, the fact that it stars Al Gore and had success at the Oscars means that the film itself has become a topical issue.

This film shows a transformed Al Gore. When he was Vice President, he was generally regarded as the most boring man in American politics (a hard fought over title), as well as being a rich conservative. In this film we see a new personality that is funny, engaging and earnest. There has been a lot of PR training.

Beyond the star of An Inconvenient Truth, the film can be divided into two aspects: science and politics.

Being a left-winger who has never doubted that capitalism has been damaging the environment, I have always been skeptical that this damage manifested itself in climate change. However, Al Gore puts forward a solid and convincing scientific argument. Through a series of slick and easy to understand presentations, we are shown some disturbing and seemingly irrefutable facts.

One thing this film certainly did not change my opinion of was the uselessness of the right-wing liberal politics of Al Gore and the Democrats. While justifiably attacking Bush for his environmentally unfriendly policy and ties to big oil, Gore neglects to mention the same thing was going on when he was Vice President. The hypocrisy only grows, with the film saying that one of the ways individuals can combat climate change is to plant a tree. However, under the Clinton/Gore administration more old growth forest was logged than ever before.

Gore was part of a government that gave carte blanche to the biotech industry, dropped depleted uranium on Yugoslavia and Iraq, undermined environmental laws and paved the way for Alaskan oil drilling. It seems that Gore will tell ordinarily people to recycle and buy “green” products, but let his corporate mates plunder the earth.

In the end Gore is trying to fix a systemic problem, while defending the system. In fact, he says the system is the cure. On the contrary – a corrupt and ineffectual electoral system and a free market that cares only about profit do not hold the answers. If Gore really wanted to help stop climate change, he should have made a film about why he couldn’t do anything about it when he held a position of power. At least that could have destroyed the illusion that there are any solutions to the world’s problems in parliamentary politics.

DAVIS GUGGENHEIM

[ssba]

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