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Inconvenient Truth 1: The Controversy, Policy, and the Media
'An Inconvenient Truth' is
the name of a movie by former U.S. vice president Al Gore. The movie is
a presentation about climate change and its effects. The purpose of the
movie is to inform the people of the world, and especially the U.S.,
that global warming is real and caused by humans. It also shows
how we can change global warming. It aims to change public opinion with
scientific facts, but why does public opinion need to be changed? Why
is the public confused? What is the controversy?
Some people say that global warming doesn't exist. Some people
say that it may exist, but it's not caused by humans. They say it is a
natural phenomenon like the ice ages. They say that there have always
been long-term variations in the climate.
President Bush has said that he won't agree to the Kyoto
Protocol because it would decrease profit for the U.S. businesses. This
of course mainly means oil businesses. The oil businesses and others,
like car companies or coal companies, are afraid that they will lose
too much money if there are new policies like the Kyoto Protocol in the
U.S.. Changing technology is expensive. These companies are very
powerful in U.S. politics and try to prevent such policy changes. One
way they try to prevent policy change is to say that global warming is
a natural phenomenon, in other words it's not their fault. However, if
only these companies said this, nobody would believe them. That's why
the oil companies pay money to other people to say it.
For example, Exxon Mobil, a large oil company, pays several
million dollars a year to organizations that say global warming is not
caused by humans. These organizations then pressure the politicians not
to make policies to combat climate change because they say climate
change is natural. The politicians listen to the organizations and the
companies even though there are virtually no real scientists that
disagree that global warming is caused by humans.
It is a pity that big businesses can affect the politicians in
In the U.S. media too, nearly half of the newspapers, magazines,
and TV programs say it is uncertain whether humans cause global warming
or not when close to zero percent of scientists say it is. One reason
for this could be that the media is also a big business, and would
naturally be affected in the same way the politicians are.
The message we receive from the media is confusing but the facts
are not. This semester we will learn about the things presented in 'An
Inconvenient Truth' and research ways we can deal with this
inconvenient truth. It may be the most important current event ever.
Al Gore's site from the movie:
Wikipedia 'Global Warming':
How Exxon Mobil effects policy: