“An Inconvenient Truth” Film on Global Warming


Directed by Davis Guggenheim, An Inconvenient Truth, is a 2006 documentary-type movie about the former American vice president’s (Al Gore) campaign on global warming. The film is a representation of Gore’s illustrative talk on climate change aimed at informing the public about the dangers of global warming. He re-enacts events from his life to trigger concerns about environmental issues. Throughout the film, his keynote presentation is referred to as the slide show, a comprehensive demonstration complete with visual flow charts and graphs. Several photos of the planet, taken from numerous space missions are displayed depicting how people view Earth, which helps to spark notions of environmentalism. Gore then displays anecdotes that stimulated his interest in the issue, such as his college diploma, the death of his sister caused by lung cancer, and his son’s near-fatal mishap. The documentary type film ends with Gore’s argument on the appropriate actions to be taken to successfully reverse the effects of global warming, for instance, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and planting more vegetation to capture emitted carbon dioxide.

Analysis of Al Gore

The extent of Al Gore’s experience in holding a variety of high-ranking government positions and later becoming a key figure in the Democratic Party and his ability to effectively communicate ideas to voters was an interpretation of his capabilities and skills. During his tenure as a senator, a vice president, and a prospective presidential candidate, Gore addressed a range of diverse audiences on issues regarding political changes (Guggenheim, 2006). His lectures on environmental matters added to his popularity, making his legacy the advancement of a more notable cause while out of office than when he held political positions of direct influence and power.

In his film, Gore employs pathos and logos to emphasize the urgency required to address global warming. He begins by establishing his character, as a public servant whose main concerns are founded on moral and ethical obligations rather than his political aspirations (Guggenheim, 2006). Providing an increasing amount of information by using various technical and multimedia assistance, he contrasts what is known with what might happen in the future to appeal to pathos. He extends this appeal by acknowledging numerous counterarguments which he refutes with humor or in some cases, alternative explanations using his personal experience as a brother and a father.

Although Al Gore asserts that he was prompted to make this documentary by his ethical and moral obligations, the film can be viewed as a vague disguise geared towards promoting his bid for the presidency. During his speech, he combines his scientific and technical arguments with criticisms of the policies implemented during the Bush administration, contrasting his successful political career (Guggenheim, 2006). He adds to this appeal to ethos by manipulating his audience into creating a sense of urgency to deal with environmental issues. He also exaggerates global warming effects and uses his personal experiences, which are not directly linked to the subject, to appeal to the emotions of his listeners. While he might have had sincere concerns about the future of the environment, the film, which won Gore the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, can be viewed as a platform used to further his political ambitions.

Having received numerous positive reviews for highlighting the urgency of global warming as a moral rather than a political issue, Gore’s approach was also criticized. One of the major causes of the criticism comes from Guggenheim, the director, through his choice of words, images, and Gore’s invocation of facts to create a film that is considered to be both relentless and fascinating. The director’s actions can be viewed as an admission of being unrestrained in praising Gore by believing that the exaggerations are warranted (Guggenheim, 2006). Gore was also criticized for using his family tragedies, viewed as exploiting his personal experiences, to seem as though he is sympathetic to the suffering of other people. However, it must be pointed out that the effects of global warming were greatly accelerated during his tenure as the Vice President of Clinton’s administration.

Societal Difficulties for the Changes Advocated by Al Gore

As the issue of climate change becomes increasingly serious, society has remained resistant to inclusive actions. Given its severity and the potential effect on the human race and the planet, the lack of action can be attributed to the complexity associated with environmental issues. In this case, the causes of global warming are diverse, involving carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane emissions, which affect glaciers and trigger a rise in the sea level. After being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Gore offered to explain the underlying scientific processes that result in the dangers of global warming. However, the complexity of inherent causes and effects has impaired political and individual actions on the matter with Gore advocating for continuous lifelong learning.

The recently recorded increasingly hot summers are derived from the high demand for air conditioning that adds to heat emission in the environment. Scientific studies relate emissions from air conditions to the intensity of the island effect, an occurrence in which highly populated cities experience hotter temperatures compared to rural areas. In this case, Guggenheim (2006) reports that the continuous use of air conditioners may increase the heat of a city by an average of one degree Celsius. Gore calls for collective action to remedy the environmental effects. However, people have found it increasingly difficult to participate in these efforts because of the belief that numerous other individuals will continue in the bad practices. The lack of trust is a major barrier to the effective implementation of collective actions.

Principles and Practices to be Followed by Change Leaders

Based on the magnitude and the irreversibility of effects created by climate change, there is a need for the implementation of collective actions. The multi-sectional dimensions of global warming create difficulties in dealing with the issues due to the mandate limitation instituted by international organizations, mechanisms, and processes. While governments implement measures based on their respective national interests, combatting global warming will require a universal action. Change leaders are advised to recommit to the Paris climate accord, which states that no nation, state, or individual is immune to the effects of climate change. It is vital that the United States, a leading carbon emitter, assumes a leadership role in reducing such emissions to set an example for other countries. Embracing change will facilitate the United States’ support for other nations in implementing similar policies via technical and financial assistance.

Additionally, embracing long-term policies and practices that are goal-dependent, such as aiming at net-zero emissions by the year 2050, while specifying technologies necessary for the achievement of this milestone is critical. In this case, climate policies should be inclusive through embracing solutions that are environmentally friendly, helping organizations, employees, customers, and countries execute de-carbonization plans. These plans will require the elimination of existing inequities in clean energy regulations with an aim of promoting efficient practices that reduce waste. Embracing technological advancements will require significant investment in research, development, and deployment. Enacting solutions to climate change will also need advancing community knowledge in terms of educating them on the effects of global warming. It is projected that people of color, indigenous settlers, the elderly, and communities living in low-income settlements will experience the worst effects of climate change. Hence, various stakeholders should be involved in creating holistic climate policies that address the social inequities that ensure benefits derived from such strategies are enjoyed by all.


Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, is a science-based prediction of the future effects of global warming on the planet. Davis Guggenheim follows Gore throughout his lecture circuit as the former Vice President seeks to increase public awareness of climate change while calling for immediate actions in an attempt to curb its perceived destructive effects. Using visual aids, such as graphs, Gore intersperses scientific information with personal tragic tales to highlight the human and social aspects of the issue. Although the film played a major role in him receiving a Nobel Peace Prize award, critics suggest that the documentary-style movie was Gore’s attempt at furthering his political aspirations. On the issue of society’s rejection of Gore’s suggestions to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, the complexity of the subject and a lack of trust are seen as the major barriers.


Guggenheim, D. (2006). An inconvenient truth [Film]. Lawrence Bender Productions.

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