Wednesday, 9 August 2017


Paramount Pictures

In 2006, former US Vice President Al Gore won an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth; his alarming documentary wake up call to the world about the devastating effects of climate change. A decade later, and Gore is still campaigning. But is anyone listening?

Yes they are but with this doco, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power, Al Gore is very much preaching to the converted. In 2017, you either believe in the real threat of climate change or you're an idiot.

And sadly, one of the biggest idiots is in the White House: US President Trump announcing earlier this year that the US would be backing out of the Paris Climate Agreement; signed at the 2015 Paris climate summit where the world's leaders agreed to tackle climate change through greenhouse emissions reductions.

Much of Bonnie Cohen and Jon Shenk's documentary concerns itself with the behind-the-scenes wheelings and dealings in Paris, as Gore, and others, try to convince nations like India to sign-up to the emissions cutting agreement.

And An Inconvenient Sequel would have been much more fascinating had it focused solely on these proceedings. For while An Inconvenient Sequel does not deliver its message as powerfully as its predecessor, it is arguably more cinematic (An Inconvenient Truth, directed by Davis Guggenheim, was essentially a filmed presentation). The politic-ing, the to-ing and fro-ing, and the way Gore engages with all sides is persuasive rather than didactic.

While he no longer holds a public office, Al Gore very much remains a statesman, and we get to see just what America, and the world, missed out on when he lost the US presidential race to George W. Bush in 2000. Intelligent, articulate and impassioned, Gore is everything that Bush wasn't (and what Trump will never be).

Then again, perhaps it is because he is not in Washington that Gore gets to advocate so openly and freely for his pet cause; doing much more good unshackled by the limitations of bureaucracy. But is Gore -- and the planet -- fighting a losing battle?

When Australia's own government is trying to sell us on the idea of "clean coal" (yeah, I don't know either), change is going to have to come from a grassroots level and not from the top down. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power is a necessary rallying cry that may well convert climate change believers into climate change activists.

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