“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”

 

            My wife didn't want to come with me to this film because she says that although she agrees with the point of view, she didn't want to go to a movie to be preached at.  Well, her instincts were right.  This is preaching. 

            Al Gore won an Oscar for his documentary about global warming 10 years ago.  He's spent the intervening years giving speeches and “training sessions” to fellow devotees.  And, it would appear from the statistics he's quoting and the pictures he's showing, things have gotten a lot worse.

            We are shown images of flooding in Florida and Louisiana, and also flooding in the Philippines, and in India.  Drought in Syria.  Thuderstorms in Arizona and Kansas.  Melting icecaps in the Artic Circle.  Unprecedented heat waves everywhere.  And all of these weather patterns are attributed to the climate change brought about by our own air pollution.

            The air pollution, of course, comes from fossil fuel emissions, mostly automobiles but also coal plants.  We are also shown bleak atmospheric conditions in China, with the level of pollution literally sickening the populace. 

            Then there is a great deal of footage surrounding the world summit talks in Paris in 2015, unfortunately postponed by a terrorist attack, followed by the accords finally signed in 2016, even by reluctant India, which still has millions of people without access to energy at all, renewable or not.

            But this is also where we swerve into partisan politics.  Since Mr. Gore did not get elected President in 2000, the Discovery satellite he was working on, to relay climate information back to Earth from space, was cancelled by Mr. George W.  Bush, the newly-elected Republican President.  The satellite program was re-instated during, you guessed it, Mr. Obama's Presidency.  Then, at the climate accord talks, John Kerry (the other Democrat who lost to Mr. Bush, in 2004) is portrayed as the can-do American delegate, obviously on the side of Right.

            And that's when it gets most “preachy,” when Mr. Gore, in addressing an obviously sympathetic audience (preaching to the choir?), likens his cause to doing Right, and standing in the great tradition of Abolition, and Women's Suffrage, and Civil Rights, and Gay Rights.  Yes, he said that agreeing with him is the “morally right” thing to do.  Obviously inferring that anybody who disagrees with him is morally wrong.

            Perhaps.  But it's obvious that our current President believes that a lot of this “crisis in the climate” referendum is just another version of partisan politics that's bad for business, and therefore not in our economic interests.  Is that sacrificing the future in exchange for some comfort in the present?  Are we mortgaging our children's well-being for the sake of our own economic gain?

            In this movie, at least, the answers to those questions are as obvious as the next Hurricane.

And about as subtle.

 

Questions for Discussion:

1)                  Do you think that the global climate is in crisis mode?

2)                  Do you think we have the technology, the will, and the wherewithal to move completely from fossil fuel to renewable energy (wind and solar)?

3)                  Do you support President Trump's June 2017 decision to withdraw our participation in the global climate accord?

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association