Thursday, June 15, 2006

"An Inconvenient Truth": When Spin Wins

My first piece of advice on Al Gore's new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth": Don't go expecting to see "Fahrenheit 9/11" or "Super Size Me." This isn't a typical Hollywood documentary with high production values, one-liners, and an emotional ending. It's a sobering look at the inconvenient facts of global warming that politicians of both parties have chosen to overlook.

You don't get a sense of anger from Gore that you do from a Michael Moore. Rather, Gore comes across as a frustrated man realizing his lifelong crusade against air pollution and global warming is winding down, and as Gore himself admits, we're no better off now than we were when he started.

Gore rationally lays out the facts of climate change, making the same PowerPoint presentation that he has hundreds of times across the country and around the world. Carbon dioxide levels spiked two or three times as high as they've been in the last 650,000 years. Global temperatures shattering records year after year. And disturbingly, reports of polar bears drowning in the Arctic Sea, despite their ability to swim up to 60 miles, due to the lack of sea ice. (For more details,
click here.)

And for all this, Gore blames ... us. Well, not directly. He says despite broad -- maybe even unanimous -- scientific consensus, we've allowed spin to win the argument over science. Because the mainstream media focuses so much on balance of opinion -- "supporters say this, while opponents say that" -- the truth is blurred, and we're given the mistaken impression that just because conservatives don't want global warming to be happening, that in fact there's some question about it.

But there's no doubt temperatures are going up, local climates are changing, and glaciers are disappearing. The only question is whether we'll allow those disasters to continue, or make the hard personal and political choices to slow or reverse the process. So I hope you choose to see this movie, and to bring a friend!
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