To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” online movie service Vudu is making the Oscar-winning documentary available to own for free today.
“I am Al Gore. I used to be the next President of the United States.” With those words, Al Gore began his transition from former U.S. vice president and failed presidential candidate to one of the most well-known advocates for environmental regulation and climate change awareness in the world.
Director’s Davis Guggenheim film showed Gore making a presentation about the dangers of global warming through detailed infographics and scientific research. He also put forth worst-case scenarios that showed how widespread ecosystem destruction and loss of homes for hundreds of millions could occur if major ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica melt.
In an interview with Wired commemorating the anniversary, Gore admitted that he didn’t think the documentary would be successful and needed convincing before he agreed to do it.
“It’s a dumb reason. I didn’t think a slideshow could translate into a movie,” he said. “I thought back to my days in school, when I tried to take a shortcut studying Shakespeare by watching filmed versions of the plays, where they just set up a camera and filmed the stage. It didn’t translate.”
In the decade since “An Inconvenient Truth” came out, the annual rate of carbon dioxide released by humans into the atmosphere has increased from 8.3 billion tons to 10 billion tons, according to a University of California, Riverside study. An NOAA report shows that April 2016 was the 12th consecutive month to break global heat records.
Despite the grim news, Gore remains optimistic. In February, he gave a TED talk (shown above) in which he emphasized the good news on the climate change front, including the recent COP21 climate agreements made by world governments in Paris and the new investments in alternative energy made by the private sector. In his Wired interview, he also said he believes that Republican resistance against government regulation to deal with climate change is starting to thaw.
“There were 11 Republican members of the House of Representatives who joined in a very powerful statement last fall,” he said. “The city of Georgetown, Texas, announced that it’s going to switch to 100 percent renewables. And one of the city officials said, ‘I’m about the furthest thing you can imagine from Al Gore.’ Great! That works for me!”
Guggenheim‘s reflection on his Oscar-winning documentary was more measured. In an interview with TakePart, he agreed with Gore’s optimism on the increasing response to environmental issues, but also noted that the science looks grim. Guggenheim was also critical of the portion of the film dedicated to simple steps viewers could take to reduce their carbon footprint. The solutions offered included changing lightbulbs and driving hybrid cars, which Guggenheim said in retrospect feels akin to “putting a Band-Aid on a massive head wound.”
“My fear is not that we aren’t going to respond. We will respond; we have to respond,” he said. “My question is, will we respond fast enough?”