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An Inconvenient Truth: Summary, Facts & Quotes

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  • 0:05 An Inconvenient Truth
  • 0:26 Summary
  • 1:33 Facts
  • 3:00 Quotes
  • 4:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Della McGuire

Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.

In this lesson, we look at Al Gore's award winning 2006 film ''An Inconvenient Truth'' and provide a summary along with relevant facts and notable quotes.

An Inconvenient Truth

An Inconvenient Truth is a documentary in which Al Gore describes the problems of climate change against the backdrop of the political climate of the time, including the hotly-debated 2000 election that cost him the presidency. The film won several awards including two Oscars and the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Summary

The film is a collection of clips of Al Gore's environmental speeches that he gave multiple times all over the world. Gore also provides some autobiographical information about his life on a farm as well as his experience in the presidential race.

He begins by explaining the overlap between increases in carbon emissions and increases in global temperature. He provides a brief explanation of the basic foundational theories on how climate change works.

He then goes into the impact of these temperature changes on the weather and increases in major storms, like Hurricane Katrina. Other natural catastrophes worldwide are depicted with powerful, often graphic, photos in a slideshow with several live audiences.

To avoid leaving audiences feeling hopelessly doomed, Gore rounds out the end of the movie with a call to action, with specific things people can do to slow the rate of carbon increases and climate change. He suggests ratifying the environmental treaty Kyoto, taking a more active role in politics, and making more mindful purchasing choices as ways to mitigate these negative impacts.

Facts

An Inconvenient Truth provides several factual statements that have proven true over the time since the movie came out a decade ago. The extent of the catastrophic climate situation has made itself more evident, as confirmed by science. Let's take a look at the main claims in the film and what science says to support these facts.

  • The increase in major storms and high category hurricanes has been substantiated, though some of the increase is attributed to differences in the severity rating systems and the cyclical increase in storms.
  • The doubling of the death toll of global warming in the next 25 years is an extrapolation of data including numbers during deadly heat waves, the likes of which are expected to occur with greater frequency.
  • Over one million species will become extinct as a result of climate change. Scientists identify global warming as becoming as dangerous to animal species as habitat destruction and land clearing.
  • New species that are more dangerous and invasive will proliferate as a result of global warming. Scientists are more concerned about the human influence of moving species around. Even campers cannot bring their own wood to national parks because of these invasive migrations.
  • Melting ice shelves will rise sea levels over 20 feet. Scientists agree that the ice caps are melting, including Greenland's ice sheet, but they disagree on the extent and speed at which it will occur.

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