AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL Will Satisfy 50% of the Country
After his Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth brought greater attention to the climate change debate in 2007, Al Gore is back with AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER. Ignoring the fact that it is one of the worst titles of a movie (or shall we say documentary in this case), Gore hopes to bring renewed attention at a time when the current regime refuses to even acknowledge climate change. At one point, Gore states, “in order to solve the climate crisis, we have to solve the democracy crisis”. With a statement like that, you almost wish that this film had another year in production since you can only imagine how much fodder will come out of Trump’s first year in office. But more on that later.
This time around, Gore takes us around the globe, from flooding streets in Miami to melting streets in India. We learn that 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have taken place since 2000. We see awe-dropping ariels of glaciers exploding under the heat of the sun. And we learn more about the increase in climate related weather disasters occurring across our world. The need for solar energy is discussed ad nauseam.
Gore takes us to his boyhood home (which I still don’t quite understand why) and along to many of his Training Conferences where he is building an army of leaders to continue a fight that is so dear to him. A constant battle made up of “hope and despair”. It all leads up to the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris where the uneducated viewer witnesses a “will they/won’t they” decision by India on whether to partner with the other participating countries to eliminate greenhouse gasses. With 65% of pollution produced by the developing world and India being the second most populous country in the world, it is an important decision, but it is a decision that anyone following the news already knows the outcome. After India makes their decision we fast forward to the 2016 election and we begin to see Trump’s denial of global warming, but it’s what we don’t see and what is not talked about that is frustrating.
AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL is educational and may prove valuable for K12 and college curriculum, but it neglects to represent the opinion of the other side, only providing short sound bytes of Gore’s dissenters in the beginning of the film.
A big misstep is releasing the documentary with Trump only being in office for three months (minus some last minute graphics and updates). In doing so, Gore disregards addressing Trump’s appointment of former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy (a department that Perry once wanted to eliminate as a presidential candidate), and Scott Pruitt, a climate change denialist, as the head of the EPA. Gore ignores that climate change was wiped from the White House website and that half of the scientists who provided scientific guidance on air and water quality were fired once the new regime took over the White House. And because the film has been in the can for some time, it leaves out the fact that just the last few months, the Trump administration reversed a ban on toxic pesticides including Chlorpyrifos which thousands of pediatricians agree is dangerous for the development of kid’s brains, that the administration has rolled back initiatives on pollution in U.S. streams, and of course a deeper dive into Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement. Rather than picking apart the arguments of the political right, Gore simply chooses to show his side and what he believes to be right.
If Gore wants to provide such a one-sided approach as he has with this film, at least pound home the fact that one party is shutting the door on saving our environment. A bit of this being a battle between political parties is demonstrated in the film (take, for example, Gore’s struggle to launch a satellite in space to take daily pictures of the earth to monitor changes), however, no administration has taken such a hard line stance against facts like Trump’s cronies. In fact, this review has officially become “fake news” because it inconveniently disagrees with Trump’s (lack of) environmental policies.
For those who believe climate change is real, they will agree that action is required. For those who claim that climate change is a hoax, they will view this documentary as Democrat propoganda. Fact or fiction, a two-sided approach to climate change would have provided a much more powerful punch at the conclusion of SEQUEL. And, at the end of the day, whereas An Inconvenient Truth spurred people to action, AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL feels repetitive and lacks the media focus on climate change to help motivate change outside of Gore’s followers.
50% of the country will agree that climate change is a real threat.
50% of the country will deny climate change is a real threat.