‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ Conveniently Compelling

inconvenient

Undoubtedly the filmmakers and Former Vice President Al Gore expected their powerful new documentary – “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power” – to end with the Paris climate accord achieved in 2016. But the current administration’s shortsighted, stunning decision to pull out of the accord made the sequel to the Academy Award-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and the timing of its release July 26, 2017, conveniently a more compelling must see.

A lot has changed in the decade since “An Inconvenient Truth” debuted featuring Gore in his quest to increase awareness of the earth-wide climate crisis and imperiled polar bears. At the time, there was scientific discord on the human, economic and planetary costs if the world did nothing to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Changes Between Films

Since then, the political sparring, natural disasters, and naysayers continue. However, they were met with tremendous investment in renewal energy, a 150-nation global climate accord, and greater awareness of the issues. Yet, at the breathtaking opening images of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power” compellingly depict – the ice is still melting and the climate is rapidly changing.

The film continues with an exhilarating “ direct cinema” style that captures nature in all its glory and grime. it follows Gore on an odyssey across Greenland, India and other parts of Asia, Europe, and various parts of the U.S. At each stop, he talks with government officials, scientists, everyday people, and/or executives about the environment and changes being seen.

At one point, Gore notes that one of the most criticized scenes in the first film dealt with an animated rendering of New York City streets being flooded with storm surge and rising ocean/river levels. The visualization showed water pouring into the 9/11-memorial site then being constructed. Gore reports that people said it was a ridiculous exaggeration.

Then, the new film shows footage from October 2012 when Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York and flooded the World Trade Center site. After that, it shows New York governor Andrew Cuomo recounting the billions of dollars in damage and calling the storm “a wake-up call” about climate change and its potential impact.

At other points, it shows the worst typhoon ever hitting the Phillipines. The documentary also shows flooding in Miami, Louisiana, Kiribati, and other parts of the world where the population is impacted by rising waters.

The movie touches briefly on the causes of the super storms that have emerged, devastating droughts, and shrinking glaciers. It largely does not matter if one believes that the issue is manmade or not. Only fools and POTUS agree nothing should be done. Someone may not believe burning coal is harmful, but why not use renewable sources wherever possible? As the movie illustrates, more people and cities are moving that direction.

Progress Made

Success stories touted in “An Inconvenient Sequel” include markets turning away from fossil fuels and electrical utilities and planning for an economically expedient low-carbon future.

  • Solar and wind power adoption fair exceeded expectations. In 2015, the gigawatts achieved in wind power capacity reached 14 times expectations. Solar expectations called for installation of one gigawatt of solar power per year by 2010. It was 70 times that in 2016.
  • Information is shown on cities in the U.S. and elsewhere that are achieving the goal of using 100 percent renewable electricity.
  • Countries in Europe achieved entire days where all their electricity needs were met using wind, solar, and other renewables. For example, now, more than one third of Germany’s electricity is delivered with renewable energy.
  • In parts of the world, electricity via wind and sun is cheaper than from fossil fuels.
  • Chile grew from 11 megawatts of solar power in 2013 to 400 megawatts the following year to a whopping 850 megawatts in 2015 and is now in the process of adding 13.3 gigawatts of solar power capacity.

“An Inconvenient Sequel” is a compelling reminder that more needs to be done, and augmented conveniently (and unfortunately) by Trump’s actions. The documentary actually premiered at the Sundance Film Festival before the 2017 inauguration, but includes the U.S. withdrawal to drive whom the message of the film’s subtitle. “Truth to Power” really empowers viewers with the truth, even if some in power think it is fake news.
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Note:  The Los Angeles area’s first ever environmental film festival is timed with the opening of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power.” On Saturday, July 29, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, there will be a free, all-day event with environmental organizations, vendors and the screening of four films:

  • “Water & Power: A California Heist” about the California water barons in a real-life version of the 1974 film “Chinatown;”
  • “RISE: Sacred Water – Standing Rock (Part 1)” which will be screened along with “RISE: Poisoned River” about the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline and the massive toxic spill in Brazil that contaminated the drinking water of the Krenak people;
  • “Tomorrow,” about the beginning of a movement to encourage local communities to make changes; and
  • “The Age of Consequences” about the impact of climate issues on migration, national security, and potential instability in parts of the world.

By Dyanne Weiss

Sources:
Screening of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power”
Earth Focus: Environmental Film Festival Press Materials
NPR: ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ Is An Effective, Cautiously Optimistic, ‘I Told You So’

Photo of Gore in “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” by Jensen Walker/Paramount Pictures, courtesy of KCETLink.

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