An Inconvenient Sequel to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth premiered Thursday night at Sundance.
I joined the crowd at the film festival’s Eccles theater where my reaction ranged from bored, to emotional, to appalled that I let this film manipulate my emotions even for a moment.
The film is not aimed at thinking people. If there’s a legitimate case to be made for global warming, this is not it. It doesn’t even try. Instead Gore abandons science in favor of tired global warming talking points that have long been debunked. It’s shameless.
It’s also all about Gore, whom the film portrays as someone anyone can walk up to and chat with in depth. He tries to come off as an average person with a heroic passion. Sadly for Gore, whenever his climate advocacy gets momentum he hits barriers: A satellite he didn’t get to launch, the Bush administration, the terrorist attacks at Paris’s Bataclan, India abandoning renewables for coal, and now Trump. If you’re not careful you actually feel sorry for him.
The film did a good job of taking the famously stiff Gore and (when he’s not showing PowerPoint slides) presenting him as likable, funny and tireless. Not, however, humble. Gore is the hero of his own film, which works hard to chalk up any gains the warming campaign has made to Gore himself. We see Gore after the UN adopted its Paris climate agreement walking down a hall alone in a way that implies that he has just accomplished the great feat of his life. He loosens his tie as if to say, “I did it and now I’m going home.”
In scenes where Gore’s eyes start to water, you could hear and see sniffling and tears in the audience. A man of at least 6 foot 3 sitting in front of me began to cry while his lady partner rubbed his back. Of course (excepting me and few others) this was an audience of true believers. It remains to be seen whether this film can gain a mainstream audience and whether they will be similarly affected.
In scenes where Gore whips outs his iPhone and starts talking to various people in an attempt to coax India away from from coal, you can clearly see that his phone’s screen is black. I’ve had an iPhone for six years and my phone’s face is never black unless it’s off. Those scenes appeared fudged and poked a few little holes for me in their credibility.
In a scene at Gore Farms, where Gore looks at photos in a house built by his parents, I was surprised that the “farm” is decorated with white carpets, white furniture and white bedspreads. None of my friends’ working farms would go all-in for white.
These are nothing, however, to the whoppers the film tells about the climate.
The film shamelessly exploits examples of extreme natural weather (as climate campaigners are wont to do) and the human suffering that comes with them. When the science doesn’t support the warming campaign’s argument they scare, scare, scare. “Every night on the news,” Gore tells us, “is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelations.”
In a scene Gore is so proud of that he released it on the internet, he somberly opines that, “ten years ago when the movie An Inconvenient Truth came out, the single most criticized scene in that movie was an animated scene showing that the combination of sea level rise and storm surge would put the ocean water into the 911 memorial site which was then under construction. And people said, ‘that’s ridiculous, what a terrible exaggeration.'” They then cut to scenes of water from Hurricane Sandy inundating the subway station near the memorial. Next we see New York Governor Andrew Cuomo loudly attributing this to “climate change” and proclaiming that this makes the warming argument “undeniable.”
Gore shows us crosses in the Philippines marking the graves of those who succumbed to Typhoon Haiyan. He shows us melting ice in Greenland and asks his audience where all the water went; Miami of course, as he predicted in his first film. If Gore has an explanation for how the water made it from Greenland to Miami while bypassing the rest of the Eastern Seaboard, he doesn’t share it. Nor does he tell the audience that Antarctica, Earth’s serious ice chest, has inconveniently failed to melt with southern ice hitting record highs.
Gore blames fires, droughts, tornadoes, etc. on “climate change,” but for much of the film remains fixated on floods, the solution to which he tells us, is converting to one hundred percent renewable energy. The fact that sea level is only rising a tiny one to three millimeters per year, as it has since before the industrial revolution, is not the sort of thing Gore feels a need to share with his audience. Nor will you come away from the film informed that climate computer models have been predicting warming that hasn’t occurred since their creation.