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Al Gore's "Truth" is hard to stomach
Published in Daily News Egypt on 21 - 01 - 2007

Climatic shifts could change Egypt forever
Cairo: In his review of global warming Al Gore-narrated documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Pulitzer Prize winner critic Roger Ebert said In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film.
Before entering the sole theatre in Cairo showing the third highest grossing documentary film in history, one could be forgiven for possessing little information about global warming beyond the basic knowledge of the rising temperature of the surface of the earth and its future theoretical consequences.
The hazardous facts Gore and his director David Guggenheim presented for 90 minutes - despite the hopeful ending - are disturbing like no other recent film; perhaps for the reason that, unlike any film, Truth s subject matter is real and that this future of the earth, and its inhabitants, is in jeopardy.
The soon-to-be Oscar nominated documentary is essentially the power-point presentation of the former vice president, intermeddled with little footage of his journeys around the world where he gave this presentation more than a 1000 times.
The prospect of a film based, almost entirely, on a power-point presentation, doesn t sound remotely exciting or encouraging. But this is not a mere lecture and the documentary will leave you enthralled as much as the next installment of Harry Potter.
The purpose of Truth , however, is not to entertain but to educate.
Al Gore presents the facts in a simple, easily comprehensible manner. The documentary starts with Gore introducing himself as once future president of the United States.
Whatever your stance on America, its policy or even Gore s former politics, it doesn t matter. The message of the film is a universal one and the issues it tackles will reach everyone worldwide regardless of their ideologies, religion, age or nationality.
What is global warming? In brief, the atmosphere, which protects the surface of the earth, traps some of the sun s heat (through carbon dioxide and other gases) used for heat and illumination. This is called the Greenhouse Effect, which s a perfectly natural process.
With the rising amount of carbon dioxide resulted from the burning of fossil fuels like gas, oil and coal and wiping out green forests, the quantity of heat stored has been increasing causing this rise of Earth s temperature.
The massive consumption of energy is, contrary to common knowledge, not only restricted to gas or industrial activities; a recent study about the emission of the Greenhouse Gases in the US indicates that 40% of the CO2 emission is produced by electricity consumption and residents excessive usage of different forms of energy inside their homes is responsible for 21% of the emission.
Scientific records have shown that the 10 hottest years in our planet s history have occurred during the last 14 years and 2005 was, thus far, the warmest.
2007 is predicted to be another record breaker.
The broad outcomes of this warming range from current catastrophes like the spread of disease such as Malaria, increase of hurricanes that has almost doubled in the last 30 years (more than other time in history) and, most disastrous of all, the melting of the North Pole s glaciers.
The glacial and ice sheets function is to reflect sunlight and thus, stabilize the earth s temperature. But with the continuous immense concentration of rays, more water areas are created which absorb the sun s energy and, automatically, transmit this heat to the glaciers and speed up their thaw.
The result is something akin to what you ve seen in The Day After Tomorrow; entire cities will drown everywhere from the coastline of Beijing to the Ground Zero in New York with a potential 150 million refugees by 2050.
In fact, 2050 will be pivotal year unless firm measures are implemented right now to decrease global warming. The ice of the Artic Ocean will completely melt; more than a million animal species will perish for good; Antarctica will lose its shelf ice; heat waves, droughts and wildfires will occur more frequently than any other time.
The aftermath of the incessant global warming will not spare Egypt either. According to recent studies, some scientists predict a 98 % drop in the Nile s volume due to changes in rainfall in addition to rising sea levels that might lead to the submerging of some cities as well as some villages that have already been started to be partially submerged.
Some 12 to 15 percent of Egypt s arable land is expected to be destroyed by 2050 displacing more than 14 million Egyptians.
These implications are not far away from our present time; we re talking about the next 50 years where all this will take place in our lifetime.
Gore explains that the US is accountable for 24% of total CO2 emission, topping the list of carbon dioxide producing nations in the world.
Plenty of media outlets have disseminated the false assumption that global warning might be no more than a theory; that there is some argument over this topic.
He points out that there hasn't been a single disagreeing opinion out of the 925 recent articles in major scientific journals written about global warming.
Global warming is a fact and there s no controversy about it.
Most prominent entrepreneurs in the US and elsewhere regard this topic and environmental issues in general, as a threat to the economy and are, fundamentally, a luxurious cause to adopt and fight for.
But as Gore eloquently puts it, without our environment, there would be nothing left, including the much thought-after economy.
The film, as expected, doesn t shed light on the reprehensible record of the Clinton-Gore administration on environment which started the SUVs boom among other things.
These are minor defects though that will smoothly pass through the heads of most audiences members. An Inconvenient Truth is film that will change the way you live not only due to the unpublicized facts it reveals, but because it makes you realize that you can prevent global warming by carrying out the simplest of tasks - such as switching off your lights or planting a tree - that will, certainly, make a difference.
A picture is more worthy than a thousand words and the impact the film will leave on you is a testament to Gore s skill and passion and the grand influence films, in general, enjoy.
An Inconvenient Truth is showing at Renaissance Nile City in Cairo and San Stefano in Alexandria at 10 am, 1 pm and 3.30 pm.


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