Exploring The Worlds Current Climate Crisis

An Inconvenient

 Truth is a documentary, which explores the world, current climate crisis, lead by former United States Vice President Al Gore. The film is a collection of presentations given by Gore around the world. Gore, show, has brought a huge awareness to global warming and calls for more government action in regard to the climate. The film contains a copious amount of fascinating information. Personally, the aspects which stand out most to me are: the examination of annual temperature and CO2 levels for the past 650,000, the melting ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland, and Philip Cooney.

The most visually striking and memorable element of the film was Gore, impressive graph of the Earth, temperature and CO2 levels for the past 650,000. The chart not only illustrated the past but an alarming future. Using ice core samples scientists conclude CO2 levels have never gone above 300 parts per million. As of 2005, there were approximately 380 parts per million. (Brook 2005) This number is rapidly climbing each year. These samples come from the deepest ice core in the word located in East Antarctica on a site called Dome Concordia. (Brook 2005) Using a 10 centimeter wide drill bit in 3 meter sections, samples are extracted, leading to the examination of minute CO2 bubbles within the ancient ice. (Brook 2005) This truly amazing science is vital for understanding the climate crisis. As CO2 levels go up so does the temperature. As temperature climbs so do the seas. Thus a large, seemingly never ending, deadly domino effect begins.

An Inconvenient

 Truth is rich with pictures and computer graphics indicating the effects of rising temperatures. None are more effective then the images of the Larson B ice shelf in the Antarctic Peninsula. From January 31, 2002 to March 5, 2002 about 3,250 km2 of the ice shelf, area broke apart. (NSIDC 2002) Meaning a massive 720 billion tons of ice, larger then the state of Road Island, disappeared in just thirty-five days! (NSIDC 2002) Less stable then Antarctica is Greenland. The island nation is melting at such a high rate that Tony Blair, scientific advisor warns the maps of the world will have to be re drawn.

A total meltdown of the ice sheet of Greenland would raise sea levels approximately seven meters. (UNEP 2007) Sea level would increase by five meters if 20% of Greenland melted and a 5% of Antarctica melted. (UNEP 2007) Where would the water go? The only place it can, the back yards of hundreds of millions of people. Gore shows tremendous computer generated graphics of the areas most likely effected (Manhattan; Florida; the San Francisco Bay, The Netherlands; Beijing; Shanghai; and Calcutta, India). Philip Cooney was the chief of staff for George W. Bush, White House Council on Environmental Quality. This is the office that helps develop and endorse administration policies on environmental issues. Mr. Cooney is summed up best with an Upton Sinclair quote given by Gore: It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. Mr. Cooney is notorious for altering government climate reports to downplay the scientific consensus of climate change.

The day after resigning in 2005, Mr. Cooney went to work for ExxonMobil. An example of Cooney, work includes the revision of this sentence from the October 2002 draft of "Our Changing Planet": "Many scientific observations indicate that the Earth is undergoing a period of relatively rapid change." Cooney tailored the sentence to read, "Many scientific observations point to the conclusion that the Earth may be undergoing a period of relatively rapid change." (Revkin 2005) Cooney is a reflection on the whole Bush administration downplaying global warming which has put the United States at odds with other scientific nations. (Revkin 2005) Urged by Tony Blaire for reform, President Bush has done very little. An Inconvenient Truth is an excellent film and should be apart of every educational curriculum. Adolescents to adults can all learn from Mr. Gore, well thought out , Nšslide show., No I learned so much from the film. I was especially interested in learning more about how scientists discovered the CO2 levels of the past 650,000 years. Unfortunately, Mr. Gore did not go into detail on the ice core sampling process. I was somewhat skeptical of the ability to chart 650,000 years of anything, let alone CO2.

After reading the journal Science I am in awe of the technology and have a firm understanding on ice core sampling. The whole demonstration of the ice caps melting and flooding the world was very powerful and served as a wakeup call. As bad as global warming is, the corrupt politicians are what disturb me the most. I am quickly losing all faith in our current political system. Presidential candidates are stressing cleaning up the environment in the upcoming election but what if they are bluffing? I think the ExxonMobil of the world might bribe convince them to rethink their pro-green stance.

Bibliography

  • Brook E. 2005. Tiny Bubbles Tell All. Science.
  • [Internet] Available from: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/310/5752/12852. NSIDC. 2002.
  • Larsen B Ice Shelf Collapses in Antarctica. National Snow and Ice Data Center.
  • [Internet] Available from: http://nsidc.org/iceshelves/larsenb2002/3. Reykin A. 2005.
  • Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming. The New York Times.
  • [Internet] Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/08/politics/08climate.html?pagewanted=14. UNEP. 2007.
  • Melting Ice-A Hot Topic? New UNEP Report Shows Just How Hot It's Getting. United Nations Environment