Saturday, February 16, 2008

An Inconvenient Movie

It's been a particularly difficult week for me - and after a particularly difficult week, there's nothing quite like sitting down and watching Al Gore. Refusing to actually pay a dime to see his film "An Inconvenient Truth," I waited for weeks in order to get it from the library. And yesterday it arrived... so my husband and I sat down to watch it together. Now YOU get to benefit from this dastardly experience by reading my review of it!! (Stop pouting - nobody's making you read this...)

First of all, let me lay it all out there and admit that I'm not a scientist. Not of any sort. I don't claim to have vast knowledge of the earth's climate, I don't claim to be able to refute the very idea of global warming, nor do I WANT to. Thankfully, there's very little science to refute in Mr. Gore's movie, so I can criticize it all I want without any credentials. 

I have some extended family who have taken Gore's movie and run with it -- they have officially hopped onto the Global Warming bandwagon and started playing a jig on it. And their entire body of knowledge on the subject appears to come from Mr. Al Gore. So, before watching the film, I expected there to be some information in there that would at least sound convincing... but I didn't find any. 

I'd like to start with the most petty thing I thought during the movie. That Al Gore, while narrating something off screen, sounds an awful lot like Mr. Rogers. Only without the happy sweater, of course. And no puppets. :-)

There were a couple times during the movie where they cut to a cartoon to "prove a point." One cartoon used characters from "The Simpsons" and the other was a frog illustrating the frog in boiling water concept. Of course, in the froggie cartoon, the fated frog was saved -- because Al Gore thinks it's important to "save the frog." His insinuation was we are all about to be boiled alive and we just don't know it... and we should be grateful he's there to save us. 

I remember when I was a kid and there was a lot of worry about "holes in the ozone layer." Remember that? Well, that's no longer the worry. NOW we're worrying about the atmosphere becoming too THICK... so thick, in fact, that the heat which normally escapes the earth into space cannot get out. (Oh, that's right -- this was illustrated by yet another cartoon! I had momentarily forgotten about "Mr. Sun.")

Mr. Gore uses graphs to illustrate temperature patterns for the last (I kid you not) 650,000 years. (Of course, his graphs provide no data -- it's just a squiggly line going up and down over and over until it goes up, up, up... until Mr. Gore himself needs a motorized lift to get him high enough to point to the end.) He CLAIMS that scientists can chip into ice in the arctic regions and determine from the layers of ice what temperatures were in any given year. Now, like I said, I'm not a scientist -- but I'm extremely dubious about this idea. Common sense tells me that there just MIGHT be something fishy going on here. In order for scientists to "determine" temperature from a layer of ice, they are having to make an awful lot of assumptions -- and eventually they have to assume their assumptions are truth and run with them. So I'm not buying it as fact.

He also showed footage of the Antarctic melting in a disturbing fashion -- during January through March!!! You don't say!! Never mind that January is the Antarctic's SUMMER.

Throughout the movie, Al Gore refers to skeptics of man-made global warming as "so-called skeptics." Over and over again, in a derisive and condescending tone, they were "so-called skeptics." This led me to wonder what Al Gore thinks they really are -- not skeptics, but heretics? Ah, yes... that IS what he thinks they are. Because as far as he is concerned, man made global warming is a done deal. He said that the "so-called skeptics" claim that there is scientific debate on the issue, but there really isn't. He then cited a "comprehensive study of all scientific journals" in which they took a very large sample of peer reviewed articles (then quickly stated 10%), and in all (I think it was 986) the articles chose for their study, not ONE was skeptical of man made global warming. Now, this I think is just hilarious. This man who thinks himself absolutely brilliant has declared the debate over because they didn't put any skeptical peer reviewed articles in their study of 10% of all scientific articles. 

He focused a bit in his movie, too, on the fact that he lost the presidency and insinuated that it was stolen from him. Footage of people holding up ballots in total confusion, footage of the evil George W. Bush being sworn in, of the Supreme Court ruling... Oy. Clearly the man is a bit bitter about the elections. And clearly he thinks that if only he had won the presidency, the world would have averted this looming disaster called global warming.

Then, too, he often went back into his personal past... his son getting hit by a car at the age of six... his childhood... snore... 

Then footage of Katrina and the devastation of New Orleans (with nary a mention of Mississippi or Florida - apparently it's not as frightening to see people pulling together to help one another after a disaster). Footage of floods and droughts. And a really neat graphic showing how if the arctics both melt, the earth will flood BIG TIME, and millions of people will become refugees... imagine the devastation. 

Of course, if there's an alien invasion from the next galaxy over and the aliens decide they want the prime United States soil, then too there will be millions of people as refugees... imagine the devastation of THAT, will ya? Oops. I'm beginning to sound like a so-called skeptic. I'd better be careful lest the heretic police show up at my door. :-)

OKAY... At the end of the flick, Al Gore directs us to stop the madness by visiting his website www.climatecrisis.net. After going there, I found that I could calculate my carbon footprint (lovely term) at 7.25 which is, according to Mr. Gore, AVERAGE. From here, I am encouraged to "go carbon neutral" with Native Energy by purchasing "carbon offsets." They are graciously willing to charge me every month for breathing, easily billed to my credit card. Hoooo-- weee!!! I can't wait to be charged just for the pleasure of drawing breath. What a racket. 

So basically, the accusation that Al Gore is paying for his excessively large footprint (and I'm talking about his lifestyle here, not his girth - thank you very much) by buying carbon offsets from his own company and then is, in turn, making a killing off all the others in the world willing to pay monthly just to breathe -- is probably quite true. 

According to Native Energy:

Renewable energy projects reduce global warming pollution on your behalf by reducing the amount of power generated by burning fossil fuels.
 
• Under federal law, renewable generators can force utilities to buy their power.
• For efficient grid operation, if the utility has to buy the project's power, it is going to use it.
• As a matter of physics, if the utility uses the renewable project's power, it must, for any given level of demand, use less from other sources.
• For efficient grid operation, they use less from those generators that have the highest fuel costs - fossil fuel plants.

The result is that for every kWh generated by a renewable generator, one kWh less is generated by fossil fuel plants.

Some renewable energy sources, like our family farm methane projects, reduce global warming pollution by reducing the amount of fossil fuels the farms themselves use for heat and colling, or by preventing emissions of methane gas from manure stored in lagoons.

By helping build new clean and renewable energy projects with Native Energy, you'll reduce CO2 pollution by helping change how our power is made.

This has me wondering... why, if federal law already REQUIRES power companies to buy what this place is selling, do they need our money?? I believe strongly in developing new technology for ourselves. Get us off foreign oil! Rah rah!! I think that it's great to create our power by using wind energy and solar energy or (like Duke Power here does) water energy. But I also think it's ludicrous for companies who produce such power to expect us to pay them something for nothing just because we live. And to guilt us or scare us into it by showing footage of the entire earth practically melting away is abhorrent. 

All this to say -- I think that "An Inconvenient Truth" is actually "A Convenient Scam."


2 comments:

Carbon said...

I thought the same thing, but this answers it:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/article/carbon-offsets-build-wind-turbine-schoolchildren_460371_1.html

http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_8266111

-yours in our Lord,

Lauren Walker
Carbondale

4ofusinNC said...

I read your news articles. Thanks for posting them! It's good to know that Native Energy is out there doing some good. I don't pretend to understand how they work -- the articles were talking about Native Energy buying renewable energy credits from the school before the school was generating the energy... does this mean that the school has to pay back Native Energy?

My point in my post wasn't necessarily that Native Energy wasn't capable of doing some good in helping to achieve clean energy production and consumption. My point was simply that I don't owe Native Energy a monthly donation simply because I live and breathe. And the idea that certain people owe more to Native Energy than others based on the way they live is ludicrous. (My "carbon footprint," by the way, is considered "below average" based on climatecrisis.net's calculations -- so I'm not up in arms because I want to keep living an excessive lifestyle and feel threatened.)

I'll reiterate, too, that I am FOR finding clean energy solutions. I like the air I breathe to be clean... and I think there are plenty of reasons for us to be OFF our foreign oil dependency. I would love to drive a car that ran on vinegar or some other clean natural substance. :-) I actually wouldn't mind driving less and walking more, but I live out in the country and that's not really an option for me.

I'm not a rabid anti-environmentalist. But "An Inconvenient Truth" wasn't full of facts and helpful information, but rather propaganda, which leads me to STILL think that it's a convenient scam.