An Inconvenient Truth

WWF had an advance screening of An Inconvenient Truth last night at the Dendy Opera Quays. We had around 250 people come to the night, and by all accounts it was a successful night.

For those that missed it, Dendy is running preview screenings at various cinemas this week – they’ve got more info on their website.

On the second viewing I still had the same minor qualms I had the first time round, but I did pick up on a few things more clearly this time. I do wish they’d modified the closing credits to reflect each local release (“write to your MP” rather than “write to congress” for example), but again, that’s a minor thing.

I do really hope that a wide audience gets to see the film, although I suspect the sceptics will remain sceptics given Margaret Pomeranz’s odd response to the film on last night’s At the Movies.

Despite giving the film four stars, she apparently (I’ve heard this second hand – would love to know if there’s a transcript somewhere?) says she wants to see an unbiased presentation and that we should get an unbiased body to report on it.

Update 2006-09-12: David posted a review that, among other things, includes Margaret’s statements.

In the film I think Gore goes out of his way to cover off all the typical objections in an unbiased manner. In one part of the film, and last night this stuck out as the most important point, he demonstrated that a review of roughly 10% of all the scientific studies (one assumes these would be reasonably “unbiased”) showed that none of them contradicted the fact that global warming is happened. That’s right – 0%.

And yet media reports of the global warming suggested that there was still some doubt about global warming 53% of the time. Little wonder, then, that people are confused.

Would Margaret consider the findings of NASA, the IPCC, or the U.N. unbiased? ‘Coz they all accept global warming as a real problem that needs action. Hopefully, over time, that message will break through the confusion.

Update 2006-09-12: David also suggests why Margaret asks the question:

…people are used to social documentaries that concentrate on conflict – where people from two very different viewpoints are interviewed and their opposing views and stories presented. Documentaries do this because they want to appear to be balanced (though they rarely are) and perhaps more so because playing up the conflict creates drama and interest.

When that format is absent from a movie, I think people naturally ask whether they’re being told the whole truth. I guess it’s also because climate change science is presented popularly as much more controversial than it truly is. I would have liked to see Gore engage some of the main opposing arguments a little more – even if they don’t truly deserve airtime.

Well put – much better than I did 😉 I thought some more about this on the weekend too, and I actually came to the conclusion that I’m glad Margaret asks the question – for a couple of reasons.

The first is that hers was an honest reaction to the film. I live in a bubble of sorts where I’m exposed to the science and frustrated by the so-called “sceptics” and media skew (see above). So it’s important that I hear what Margaret has to say to pop that bubble and get me back to reality – as well as giving me some insight as to the issues other people are likely to come across when watching the film.

The second is that she’s obviously been touched by the film and is thinking about the issue. Her awareness has been raised and I suspect she’ll dig a little deeper, and hopefully will find the evidence she felt was lacking in the film.

I think that second point is amplified with David’s final comment:

It certainly gets people thinking and talking about the issues. Our Saturday night was spent talking climate change, Kyoto and politics until the early hours of Sunday morning – not the usual Saturday night fare.

If that’s all the film does, I think it has been a done a tremendous service.