An Inconvenient Truth is a very persuasive film. An eye opener. An important film for all US and Australian citizens, because it is these two nations that have shamefully done most to baulk international efforts to prevent the climate change crises from becoming unstoppable.

Like many at a pre-season screening, I didn’t need persuading on greenhouse science. Green campaigners have campaigned on this issue for some 20 years plus, and our predictions have been well and truly vindicated.

If there is any temptation to shout from the rooftops “We Told You So”, this temptation is sobered by the knowledge that there are no winners. In short, it is too late to avert serious trauma to humanity from climate change, rising sea levels, desertification, loss of coral reefs, loss of glacial water flows and a multitude of human effects.

But An Inconvenient Truth is not about fatalism. It is about turning things around before the trauma becomes truly cataclysmic. My prediction is that if enough Australians get to see this film, of its own accord it will turn around our nation’s blinkered political response to the Greenhouse crises.

Al Gore’s film piles up the evidence — clear graphic evidence — in terms that makes even the seasoned greenhouse lobbyist gasp, then gasp again. The evidence presented is solidly scientific, and includes an enumeration of the unimaginable human suffering that will emerge, and the amorality of politicians who refuse to respond to the bleeding obvious. Did you hear that, John Howard?

As a presidential candidate Gore lost the plot. Politics was not his forte, he was wooden, a captive of the Democrat party machine, a disappointment. His passion was killed off. Gore is a stiff character for sure — his attempts to lighten this serious film with humour have a hint of contrivance — but you can’t detract from his commitment and perseverance. And, more saliently, the solidity and clarity of his presentation.

This film is probably not for audiences in Europe. They already know about climate change, and the European community is way, way in advance of Australia in its response.  But the film is vital and timely for Australian audiences because debate here is still retarded by apparent skepticism of Greenhouse science. Gore convincingly slaughters the science skeptics.

From my experience, scientific skepticism has never been the key problem anyway. Nor are the few remaining skeptics necessarily amoral people. Skepticism is just the face of denial. It is the shooting-of-the-messenger, because the news is not all that good. It is a natural human response. It is the fear of having to act.

In this department, the film annoyingly stops short. Gore does little to dispel the fearful (and erroneous) notion that acting on climate change means hardship — taking cold showers, going back to the caves. Or in national terms, damaging the economy, putting people out of work. The missing message is that we can look forward to a far saner, more convivial, healthier future.

That said, An Inconvenient Truth, convincingly demonstrates that failing to act with urgency will cause immense hardship — both to our individual well being and the global community. The luxury of choice is not with us any more. Nobody is spared.

Not convinced. Go see the film!

Chris Harries
August 30, 2006

Chris Harries

An Inconvenient Truth …

I don’t normally promote box office takings. But you owe it to yourself to see this film. If it’s the only film you see this year, just do it. Then get others to go as well.