NOTE: This was originally posted during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
An Inconvenient Sequel shows how far we have fallen, how far we need to go, and that we won’t get anywhere unless we educate others.
Title: An Inconvenient Sequel
Director: Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk
Summary: A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change into the heart of popular culture comes the follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution.
The documentary An Inconvenient Truth premiered back in 2006 and was mocked by many as fear mongering. There were people who thought all of the predictions and everything else in the documentary were just the ramblings of former Vice President Al Gore. While the movie ended up winning an Oscar, it was still mocked by a majority of those with the power to make a difference. It’s been ten years now and Al Gore has returned, to once again force us to heed his warnings about the damage we are doing to our planet. An Inconvenient Sequel is likely a movie that Gore hoped he wouldn’t have to make, but as the Bush years came to an end and the Obama years began, it became more and more obvious that this was going to be a warning that he would have to repeat more than once.
The documentary mostly follows Gore as he prepares for the Paris climate talks that happened in Paris in late 2015. It also shows various clips of him teaching classes as he explains the consequences of the various super storms that have hit over the years. He spoke about how he was mocked for saying the ocean could spill into ground zero, then Hurricane Sandy dumped the ocean into ground zero. It shows Gore as he negotiates with the Indian government over energy. He makes sure that the Indian government gets to make their point of view known, as they point out how the developed world flaunted fossil fuels for 150 years, and now that India is about to join that they are telling them ‘no’. The film makes sure that we understand that even as they ask first world countries to go to renewable energy, asking developing countries without offering assistance is just as wrong as ignoring the problem entirely.
By the end of the talks, the tone of the movie is hopeful as Gore helps the Indian government get better financial credit to help them expand their use of solar energy, and everything feels like it’s moving in the right direction. Gore makes sure that we see the good that is happening, such as how much Chile depends on renewable energy now, and large towns which are depending entirely on renewable energy. However, just as it feels like everything might be getting better, we watch Gore react to the election results. He quotes boxer Mike Tyson who once said “’everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth.’ We just got punched in the mouth.” However, Gore also seems to realize that progress must come through education.
An Inconvenient Sequel shows the many different ways that climate change is affecting all of us on a daily basis. On a more personal level, in a city that suffers from terrible air quality, it makes sure that we understand the damage we have done, but that all hope isn’t lost. There have been setbacks, and there always will be, but truth and justice will prevail in the end.
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