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Critique on the Movies “An Inconvenient Truth” and “The Great Global Warming Swindle”

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As taught in our primary school, “Global Warming refers to the increase the temperature of the earth due to the absorption of infrared rays of sun by the greenhouse gases — Carbon dioxide being the major one.” After watching the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, I began to realize what we humans have been doing to our home planet. It forces one to think that humans are the major cause of this hazard. It encourages one to believe the fact that there are ways in which we can reduce the effects of global warming. On the other hand, the movie “The Great Global Warming Swindle” has forced me into thinking if global warming is an issue so large or not. It suggests that political factors and funding drive the scientific opinion on climate change. My understanding of global warming as a man-made threat has changed completely after watching this film.

An Inconvenient Truth depicts Al Gore’s efforts in raising awareness about the severity of the climate crisis in public. The movie is based on the presentation given by Al Gore at different places, which is embedded with lots of data, detailed graphs, flow charts and eye-catching visuals which reveal frightening trends. It also includes pictures of the devastation of earth due to global warming — disappearing glaciers around the world, dying polar bears, disappearing coral reefs, destruction due to Hurricane, collapsing ice shelves, disappearing green patches of forests due to rise in the number of beetles (which were not a problem when the temperature was low), data on the stunning number of storms, floods, and other kinds of extreme weather, animations of the effects of rising sea levels, and various new diseases. Short segments offer brief historical flashes that reveal Gore’s personal dedication. At one instance, he is on a nuclear submarine in the Antarctic, where he is recalling the 2000 election and his sister’s death from lung cancer.

These deviations always link back into the film’s argument of being a political matter rather than functioning purely as puff pieces. Gore insists that global warming is not a political issue at all—it is “a moral issue.” With a few more well-selected data plots, Gore shows the choice between economic and ecological well-being is also a false dilemma. Al Gore claims that even after having the knowledge of how immensely worse the consequences of global warming can be, the then government led by George W. Bush didn’t pay the amount of attention that the problem required. The documentary ends with Gore arguing that if appropriate actions are taken soon, the effects of global warming can be successfully reversed by releasing less CO2 and planting more vegetation to consume existing CO2. Gore says the solutions to the problem are within reach. There is room for hope.

However, the movie The Great Global Warming Swindle presents a completely different picture. The documentary questions whether scientific agreement on anthropogenic global warming exists. It presents scientists, politicians, economists, writers, and others who dispute the question. Some of them claim that human activity is responsible for only a small percentage of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Others argue that carbon dioxide itself comprises very little of the earth’s atmosphere and has a negligible effect on global warming. Still others contend that climate temperatures tend to fluctuate over the years, and that the world is cooler today than it was centuries ago. The documentary states that man-made global warming is a great lie. It insists that the current warming is likely a part of the natural cycle of climate warming and cooling that has been traced back almost a million years.

There is no proof that the current warming is caused by the rise of greenhouse gases from human activity. Ice core records from the past 650,000 years show that temperature increases have preceded—not resulted from—increases in CO2 by hundreds of years, suggesting that the warming of the oceans is an important source of the rise in atmospheric CO2. As the dominant greenhouse gas, water vapor is far more important than CO2. But I think the real message of this documentary is much broader: Why should we ignore the real problems the world faces: hunger, disease etc. and devote our scarce resources to what is essentially a not a problem? It also brings to our notice the fact that the models used to compute future levels of CO2 exaggerate the rate of increase in the levels of CO2 to almost twice than they are in reality. I am greatly moved by The Great Global Warming Swindle. I now see the world in an entirely different way as I used to look at it before watching this film.

In the end, we can conclude that Gore’s thesis is familiar to anyone who follows world events: Earth is heating up because human activities put so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. He is only one of many people making that claim, while lots of others are saying we really can’t be sure that’s what’s happening. But what sets Gore apart is his ability to mount a persuasive argument by choosing the right level of detail so that even an interested person who does not have any knowledge can understand his reasoning. On the other hand, The Great Global Warming Swindle brings into play a wider picture of the scenario. It states that the environmental campaigns are politically driven and that global warming is a natural phenomenon —it has been happening since ages and is a part of the natural cycle.

Human activities cannot be blamed for it. Rather we should concentrate on real-world world problems like terrorism, hunger, diseases etc. I think that both the documentaries are true to some extent but both have used false and exaggerated results at one place or the other. Finally, what I think of global warming now is that it is more of a natural and periodic process than it is anthropogenic. Although it may be harmful, I don’t think of global warming as a major man-made threat now. Yet, I agree that we should take steps to reduce the effects of global warming. After all, it’s our planet; if we can do something to make it a better place, then we definitely should.

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