Global Warming - Beyond An Inconvenient Truth

Submitted by Stanley Robinson and Tonia Madenford

“Global warming is real. It is caused by human activity. Mankind and its governments must begin immediate action to halt and reverse it. If we do nothing, in about 10 years the planet may reach a 'tipping point' and begin a slide toward destruction of our civilization and most of the other species on this planet. After that point is reached, it would be too late for any action.” Al Gore states these facts in the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” “There is no controversy about these facts,” Al Gore says in the film. “Our of 925 recent articles in peer-review scientific journals about global warming, there was no disagreement. Zero.”

With an audience, Al Gore stands on a stage in front of a large screen with an audio/visual presentation he has been developing for six years, which includes dramatic visuals and well polished graphics. I would love to attend his live presentation sometime. There's the famous photograph called “Earthrise,” taken from space by the first American astronauts, along with a series of later space photographs, clearly indicating that glaciers and lakes are shrinking, snows are melting, and shorelines are diminishing.

The statistics: The ten warmest years in history were in the last 14 years. Last year South America experienced its first hurricane. Japan and the Pacific are setting records for typhoons. Hurricane Katrina passed over Florida, doubled back over he Gulf, picked up strength from unusually warm Gulf waters, and went from Category 3 to Category 5. There are changes in the Gulf Stream and the jet stream. Cores of polar ice show that carbon dioxide is much, much higher than ever before in a quarter of a million years. It was once thought that such things went in cycles. Gore stands in front of a graph showing the ups and downs of carbon dioxide over the centuries. Yes, there is a cyclical pattern. Then, in recent years, the graph turns up and keeps going up, higher and higher, and finally it goes off the edge of the screen.

Al Gore's presentation in the movie made one point abundantly clear: The primary man-made cause of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels. We are taking energy stored over hundreds of millions of years in the form of coal, gas and oil, and releasing it suddenly. This causes global warming, and there is a pass-along effect. Since glaciers and snow reflect sunlight but seawater absorbs it, the more the ice melts; the sea retains the more of the sun's energy. Gore quickly adds, “The world won't 'end' overnight in 10 years, but a point will have been passed, and there will be an irreversible slide into destruction.” That statement is the eye opener, whatever we try to do at that time won't stop it.

We can turn this around just as we reversed the hole in the ozone layer. But it takes action right now, and politicians in every nation must have the courage to do what is necessary. It is not a political issue. It is a moral issue.”

As “An Inconvenient Truth” ended, the big question because “What can we do?” During closing credits these items dissolved in and out: Switch to and encourage the development of alternative energy sources: Solar, wind, tidal, and, yes, nuclear. Move quickly toward hybrid and electric cars. Pour money into public transit, and subsidize the fares. Save energy in our houses. The website has more ( I stopped by the website, and, yes, I signed should everyone.

This documentary is a MUST-see. It enlightens, entertains, and the importance of the subject matter is of epic proportions to the survival of our planet.

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