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Monday, August 07, 2017

Movie Review: An Inconvenient Sequel


Ten years after his climate change slide show became the Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore is back with an update, "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power." It has both good news and bad news.

The good news is the vastly increased number of homes and businesses and municipalities now getting electricity from solar and wind power instead of coal. For instance, Gore goes to Georgetown, Texas -- the reddest city in the reddest county in that state — which has moved off of the old electric grid and is now powered completely by renewable energy sources, thanks to Mayor Dale Ross. He's a very conservative Republican, but he's also a CPA. Ross ran the numbers and figured out that if Georgetown ran on solar/wind, it would save lots of money, and it has.

The bad news is that climate change continues to be a problem, particularly in coastal cities like Miami. Gore visits there to find that, at high tide, the water level of the Atlantic Ocean has risen and now encroaches on the city so much that fish can swim along some of its main roads. Gore also shows footage from the first movie, in which animation showed that the sea level rise was enough of a problem that during a major storm, much of the southern end of Manhattan -- including the 9/11 memorial site -- would be flooded. He explains that he was hounded and criticized by the right for that scene, but then follows it up with actual footage of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, in which the prediction came true.

Though "An Inconvenient Sequel" contains lots of talk of the dangers of climate change -- more severe storms, longer heat waves and droughts, massive impact on poorer populations around the world -- it could have used more scenes like those, and more footage of meteorological events like Rain Bombs, which reminded me of some of the extreme thunderstorms we've been experiencing in recent years in the midwest.


The documentary spends a little too much time with Gore at the 2015 Paris climate accords as he tries to negotiate a way for India to join the rest of the world in a pledge to reduce carbon emissions. We know from our recent history that India did sign on to the agreement along with nearly every other country on Earth, including the United States under President Obama, but that Trump has since pulled us out, leaving us on the outside with only two other nations (Syria and Nicaragua -- the latter wouldn't sign on because if felt the accords didn't go far enough).

Sadly, "An Inconvenient Sequel" won't change the minds of climate change deniers, as they're unlikely to go see it in the first place, leaving Gore preaching to the choir -- those who believe what the overwhelming number of climate scientists tell us, rather than the loudmouths of the right on TV and radio. However, if the documentary urges a few more people to become environmental activists, it will have done some good.

I give "An Inconvenient Sequel" a 7.5 out of 10.