Interview: Cowboys and Indians
Industrial: Seven Deadly Sins
Unions: The IT Factor
Politics: Bargain Basement
Environment: An Inconvenient Hoax
Corporate: Two Sides
International: Unfair Dismissals
History: A Stitch in Time
Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley
The Road to Bangalore
An Inconvenient Hoax
Scientists at "world leading" organisations keep banging on about how we humans have pumped all that stuff into the air and that droughts are worse because of it and ice caps are melting and it will only get worse if some big changes don't happen soon. Scary stuff and hard to stomach, right?
What about then those other organisations, like the 39 of them in the UK and US that ExxonMobil last year generously gave US$2.9 million to, to tell us what's really going on - like that the carbon dioxide that comes from the things Exxon's sells can't really be blamed for anything other than making our lives easier? Ckn' oath. Clears things right up, right?
Then there's the politicians. Our Prime Minister, John Howard, says that he's accepted that climate change, or global warming, is real and does represent a challenge, but says he's sceptical about a lot of the more gloomy predictions. He wouldn't be alone in that view, would he?
Because then there's Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California, and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair getting together recently and instead of shooting some Commies like Arnie used to on screen, they laid down some targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They're checking the earth's pulse and are worried about those gloomy predictions.
So where do we start with this climate change thing when there's politicians telling us its full on and others telling us its not? There's scientists and then there's scientists too, right? There's so many 'what ifs' involved, how do average punters sort out what's what?
Watch the movie.
In An Inconvenient Truth, failed presidential candidate Al Gore (I mean, 'robbed' isn't as obvious a word to use as he obviously didn't work out that Jeb Bush would give his brother a hand in 2000 did he? He's his BROTHER, work it out) takes us on a graphic tour of how smart scientists came to realise man made climate change is alarming enough to tell us that unless significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions - the main culprit - are achieved worldwide within the next decade or so, damage will be irrevocable and life threatening.
Gore's documentary of a lecture series that he has been traveling the US, Europe and parts of Asia with gives a complex issue much needed historical perspective. For many viewers, climate change is a recent phenomena. Most people born before 1980 would think it the same thing as the hole in the ozone layer, while those born after 1980 think global warming and globalisation are the same thing.
Gore is surprisingly engaging as he carefully explains the studies that have been occurring since the 1950s of the planet's heating and cooling cycles and the growing concern about the contribution of carbon dioxide from man made sources to disruptions in that natural cycle.
Luckily, An Inconvenient Truth is not really about Al Gore. He does shed some of the stiffness that made him the butt of jokes while he was, as he describes himself, the man who "used to be the next President of the United States".
The focus of the film is Earth and the drama builds to the point where, for the first time in history, viewers gasp in horror at a graph. That graph, admittedly, is an impressive one as it charts the carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere over the past 650,000 years found in ice cores. From way back then to recently the concentrations of Co2 vary from season to season in a regular pattern until Gore hops onto a forklift and rises up many feet off the ground to point out where our man made contributions have sent the graph and indeed where it will keep heading - up - unless action is taken.
The sort of action needed is, according to those leading scientists, nothing less than a 60 per cent reduction in current carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. To do this is going to take leadership, not risks, because the business case for this type of action has been made by a coalition of leading companies, such as BP, Westpac, Visy, Origin Energy and the Insurance Australia Group.
Early action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be delivered while GDP grows at a strong rate of 2.1 per cent per annum over the period to 2050, those businesses argue.
But the sad reailty is that An Inconvenient Truth will become fodder for the cynical, ideologically facile sniping that often passes for political discourse these days.
There is no doubt it has opened more eyes, started more conversations and sparked new debate but at the end of the day An Inconvenient Truth is a film that should never have been made.
It is, after all, the job of political leaders and policymakers to protect against possible future calamities, to respond to the findings of science and to persuade the public that action must be taken to protect the common interest.
But you only have to glance over to our own Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane who was unimpressed by the film's assertions. He said that Al Gore was just here to sell tickets to a movie. "It's just entertainment," he said. What a hoax.
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