Global Warming: a Critique

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Global warming: A critique
Mihir Kulkarni 12D020007 ES 200
Great movies, they say, make you think. And the two movies I’ve seen in the past week certainly have. While Al Gore’s multi-million grossing and revolutionary documentary An Inconvenient Truth seemed have to strongly entrenched pre-existing beliefs about the massive role of humans in global warming, the movie I saw just a couple of days later in LCH seemed to challenge all of them. Was almost everything we’d been hearing about our in global warming a lie? The Great Global Warming Swindle certainly seemed to suggest that, and much more. But such reactions are momentary. The rational person must necessarily analyze and critique the contents any self-proclaimed sources of information before forming any conclusions. So what do we have? It’s important here to note that both movies acknowledge that global warming does indeed occur. All scientific studies point towards this fact, so it is reasonable to assume that global temperatures have consistently been rising over the past 30 or so years. An Inconvenient Truth relies primarily on Al Gore’s riveting personality, gripping story and brilliant communication skills, backed up by what seems like solid scientific data and statistics covering a whole range of causes and effects. Through Gore’s experiences, it tries to show us how the Earth is being irrevocably altered by global warming. Pictures often convey what thousand words can’t, and the melting of ice the world over depicts a bleak reality. The movie displays data and statistics which show a strong correlation between the level of CO2 in the atmosphere and global temperature, which one would find very convincing. This is particularly evident in the past few years, where both CO2 levels and global temperatures seem to have skyrocketed. It showcases the opinions of leading scientists the world over, each reinforcing the statement that it is indeed humans who majorly cause global warming, and something urgently needs to be done to stop it. The fact that it’s presented as an almost personal crusade by Gore and his supporters adds a wonderful human touch. As he says, it is really not a political issue, so much as a moral one. It goes on to show us how we can change the situation and why we must. The movie received an overwhelmingly positive response, going on to win awards at most major events and achieving success that was unheard of for documentaries at the box office. More importantly, it changed the mindsets of tens of thousands of people around the world. While it did receive criticism for possible misrepresentation and vested interests, it by and large impressed both viewers and the

scientific community; the latter expressing pleasant surprise at how accurately the facts had been portrayed. The Great Global Warming Swindle tries to drive home the belief that the whole theory of humans being the single biggest agent for driving global warming is bunkum. It tries to showcase it as something backed by political and economic causes, rather than science, and claims that the real reasons for global warming are things beyond our control, such as (majorly) the Sun’s cycles, animal respiration, and volcanic activity. It claims vested interests by media bodies and certain powerful institutions, and that anyone who is anti-establishment is swiftly made to pay. It especially targets the IPCC and the scientific establishment. It shows correlation between sunspot activity and global temperature, which to a layman seem very revealing. It claims that while CO2 levels do show a correlation with temperature, the power of CO2 as a greenhouse gas is limited, overpowered by water vapour and methane. It asserts that harmful effects of the movement are an unhealthy focus on human-caused global warming, severe restrictions on developing nations that are cruel on the poor people living in them, and an overall wastage of resource, leading to economic slowdown. It is natural to reflect and...
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