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An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It

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Overview

An Inconvenient Truth—Gore's groundbreaking, battle cry of a follow-up to the bestselling Earth in the Balance—is being published to tie in with a documentary film of the same name. Both the book and film were inspired by a series of multimedia presentations on global warming that Gore created and delivers to groups around the world. With this book, Gore, who is one of our environmental heroes—and a leading expert—brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world; photographs, charts, and...

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Overview

An Inconvenient Truth—Gore's groundbreaking, battle cry of a follow-up to the bestselling Earth in the Balance—is being published to tie in with a documentary film of the same name. Both the book and film were inspired by a series of multimedia presentations on global warming that Gore created and delivers to groups around the world. With this book, Gore, who is one of our environmental heroes—and a leading expert—brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world; photographs, charts, and other illustrations; and personal anecdotes and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming. He presents, with alarming clarity and conclusiveness—and with humor, too—that the fact of global warming is not in question and that its consequences for the world we live in will be disastrous if left unchecked. This riveting new book—written in an accessible, entertaining style—will open the eyes of even the most skeptical.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
New York Times - May 23, 2006

Books of The Times | 'An Inconvenient Truth'

Al Gore Revisits Global Warming, With Passionate Warnings and Pictures

By MICHIKO KAKUTANI

Lately, global warming seems to be tiptoeing toward a tipping point in the public consciousness. There has been broad agreement over the fundamentals of global warming in mainstream scientific circles for some time now. And despite efforts by the Bush administration to shrug it off as an incremental threat best dealt with through voluntary emissions controls and technological innovation, the issue has been making inroads in the collective imagination, spurred by new scientific reports pointing to rising temperatures around the world and melting ice fields in Greenland and Antarctica. A year ago, the National Academy of Sciences joined similar groups from other countries in calling for prompt action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A Time magazine cover story in April declared that "the climate is crashing and global warming is to blame," noting that a new Time/ABC News/Stanford University poll showed that 87 percent of respondents believe the government should encourage or require a lowering of power-plant emissions. That same month, a U.S. News & World Report article noted that dozens of evangelical leaders had called for federal legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and that "a growing number of investors are pushing for change from the business community" as well. And even Hollywood movies like the kiddie cartoon "Ice Age: The Meltdown" and the much sillier disaster epic "The Day After Tomorrow" take climate change as a narrative premise.

Enter "or rather, re-enter" Al Gore, former vice president, former Democratic candidate for president and longtime champion of the environment, who helped to organize the first Congressional hearings on global warming several decades ago.

Fourteen years ago, during the 1992 campaign, the current president's father, George Herbert Walker Bush, dismissed Mr. Gore as "Ozone Man" â€" if the Clinton-Gore ticket were elected, he suggested, "we'll be up to our neck in owls and out of work for every American" â€" but with the emerging consensus on global warming today, Mr. Gore's passionate warnings about climate change seem increasingly prescient. He has revived the slide presentation about global warming that he first began giving in 1990 and taken that slide show on the road, and he has now turned that presentation into a book and a documentary film, both called "An Inconvenient Truth." The movie (which opens in New York and Los Angeles on Wednesday) shows a focused and accessible Gore "a funnier, more relaxed and sympathetic character" than he was as a candidate, said The Observer, the British newspaper " and has revived talk in some circles of another possible Gore run for the White House.

As for the book, its roots as a slide show are very much in evidence. It does not pretend to grapple with climate change with the sort of minute detail and analysis displayed by three books on the subject that came out earlier this spring ("The Winds of Change" by Eugene Linden, "The Weather Makers" by Tim Flannery and "Field Notes From a Catastrophe" by Elizabeth Kolbert), and yet as a user-friendly introduction to global warming and a succinct summary of many of the central arguments laid out in those other volumes, "An Inconvenient Truth" is lucid, harrowing and bluntly effective.

Like Mr. Gore's 1992 book "Earth in the Balance," this volume displays an earnest, teacherly tone, but it's largely free of the New Age psychobabble and A-student grandiosity that rumbled through that earlier book. The author's wonky fascination with policy minutiae has been tamed in these pages, and his love of charts and graphs has been put to good use. Whereas the charts in "Earth in the Balance" tended to make the reader's eyes glaze over, the ones here clearly illustrate the human-caused rise in carbon dioxide levels in recent years, the simultaneous rise in Northern Hemisphere temperatures and the correlation between the two. Mr. Gore points out that 20 of the 21 hottest years measured "have occurred within the last 25 years," adding that the hottest year yet was 2005" a year in which "more than 200 cities and towns" in the Western United States set all-time heat records.

As for the volume's copious photos, they too serve to underscore important points. We see Mount Kilimanjaro in the process of losing its famous snows over three and a half decades, and Glacier National Park its glaciers in a similar period of time. There are satellite images of an ice shelf in Antarctica (previously thought to be stable for another 100 years) breaking up within the astonishing period of 35 days, and photos that show a healthy, Kodachrome-bright coral reef, juxtaposed with photos of a dying coral reef that has been bleached by hotter ocean waters.

Pausing now and then to offer personal asides, Mr. Gore methodically lays out the probable consequences of rising temperatures: powerful and more destructive hurricanes fueled by warmer ocean waters (2005, the year of Katrina, was not just a record year for hurricanes but also saw unusual flooding in places like Europe and China); increased soil moisture evaporation, which means drier land, less productive agriculture and more fires; and melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, which would lead to rising ocean levels, which in turn would endanger low-lying regions of the world from southern Florida to large portions of the Netherlands.

Mr. Gore does a cogent job of explaining how global warming can disrupt delicate ecological balances, resulting in the spread of pests (like the pine beetle, whose migration used to be slowed by colder winters), increases in the range of disease vectors (including mosquitoes, ticks and fleas), and the extinction of a growing number of species.

Already, he claims, a study shows that "polar bears have been drowning in significant numbers" as melting Arctic ice forces them to swim longer and longer distances, while other studies indicate that the population of Emperor penguins "has declined by an estimated 70 percent over the past 50 years."

The book contains some oversimplifications. While Mr. Gore observes that the United States is currently responsible for more greenhouse gas pollution than South America, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, Japan and Asia combined, he underplays the daunting increase in emissions that a rapidly growing China will produce in the next several decades. And in an effort to communicate the message that something can still be done about global warming, he resorts, in the book's closing pages, to some corny invocations of America's can-do, put-a-man-on-the-moon spirit.

For the most part, however, Mr. Gore's stripped-down narrative emphasizes facts over emotion, common sense over portentous predictions" an approach that proves considerably more persuasive than the more alarmist one assumed, say, by Tim Flannery in "The Weather Makers." Mr. Gore shows why environmental health and a healthy economy do not constitute mutually exclusive choices, and he enumerates practical steps that can be taken to reduce carbon emissions to a point below 1970's levels.

Mr. Gore, who once wrote an introduction to an edition of Rachel Carson's classic "Silent Spring" (the 1962 book that not only alerted readers to the dangers of pesticides, but is also credited with spurring the modern environmental movement), isn't a scientist like Carson and doesn't possess her literary gifts; he writes, rather, as a popularizer of other people's research and ideas. But in this multimedia day of shorter attention spans and high-profile authors, "An Inconvenient Truth" (the book and the movie) could play a similar role in galvanizing public opinion about a real and present danger. It could goad the public into reading more scholarly books on the subject, and it might even push awareness of global warming to a real tipping point—and beyond.

Michiko Kakutani
… as a user-friendly introduction to global warming and a succinct summary of many of the central arguments laid out in those other volumes, An Inconvenient Truth is lucid, harrowing and bluntly effective.
— The New York Times
Warren Bass
Al Gore may have missed his calling: He would have made a fine science writer. The former vice president's new book -- a movie tie-in entitled An Inconvenient Truth, like the film hitting screens in New York and Los Angeles this week -- shows an impressive talent for explanatory journalism. Based on a slide show that Gore has been perfecting on his Mac laptop for years, this handsome volume doesn't pack quite the same punch as the celluloid version, but it's still very effective: a book on global warming that's downright chilling.
— The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594865671
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/13/2006
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 204,320
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Al Gore

Blair Underwood is an author and award-winning actor, director, and producer. He lives in Los Angeles, California. Visit his website at www.BlairUnderwood.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

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(18)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 23, 2009

    Great logic and presentation of data

    This book is well organized, has wonderful photography and presents the information in a clear and concise manner. The general public would do well to read this book and appreciate the world's need to change its perception of what is happening to the environment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2008

    ain't that something

    I think its interesting that all the reviews that give this book 1 star came from reviewers that talk about Al Gore as a politician, instead of a person who wrote a book about the environment. How easy it is to write a critical review instead of taking any action. We're ALL living on the same singular planet, folks. You either want to help it or not.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2007

    A reviewer

    Excellent - do buy this book! I loved it. While you are here, check out Trash Talk (ISBN#141372518X) which helps individuals make a real and measureable difference in their communities and in the world... simply through better waste and resource management!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2007

    Liberalism at its Worst

    The weather changes, people! The Earth goes through warm spurts. Now, you can't tell me something that has been happening long before cars or lightbulbs or anything like that were invented is now our fault. Despite his 'Inconvenient' thought process, there is many convenient things about this book. Namely, it gives Gore money and power. The publicity and popularity of this book is sickening. How much more gullible can you get?

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2007

    A warning to be heeded.

    This book, by the former U.S. Vice President, serves or should serve, as a 'wake up' call to all of the inhabitants of this (our only, so far) planet. Mr. Gore gives many instances of how humanity's wasteful, and dangerous, consumption of fossil based fuels, primarily oil, have contributed to 'green house' gases which have let global warming develop at an alarming rate. It's easy for Conservatives to dismiss this a 'tree hugging' and 'liberal nonsense'. They are endangering all of us with such as dismissive view. It is not too late to save our planet, if we would heed Mr. Gore's words. Let's hope more of us are listening.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2007

    Exaggerated Hyperbol

    As a scientist who has studied this issue for decades, I can tell anyone interested in the science that this book is garbage. If you love him and his politics, go ahead and read it, nothing I say about the true science will sway you anyway. But on a scientific basis, this book is trash and yellow journalism of the highest order.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2007

    Politics or common decency?

    This book is very compelling, but the video is better. The current administration has set this nation back at least 50 years, and its environmental policies are actually inimical to the general welfare. We really must get away from red or blue and start doing the right thing. Addressing our impact on the environment is not a political issue, it is a moral one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2006

    Brilliant and persuasive

    This is an awesome book even if you know nothing about the climate whatsoever. Provides excellent background knowledge and all counter arguments i thought of have been discussed by the end of the book(not a scientist so i dont know everything about the subject, just a few tidbits). A must read book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2006

    Seeing the big picture

    This book is highly educational and very accessible, even if you don't know much of anything about climate change before you read it. I found it very compelling, because Gore makes a very strong case for all of us to stop viewing the global warming crisis in terms of politics. It is indeed an 'inconvenient truth' that no matter how much power or money a person has, it's utterly meaningless if the planet is dying. You will really see the big picture if you read this book. The strongest example is in the fact that Gore only discusses the political aspect of global warming in the context of the crisis as a whole. This is not a politically motivated book, and that is the whole point in my opinion. Let's just get past this red-vs.-blue thing and focus on what matters, the earth that sustains us and that we must work harder to sustain.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2006

    Act now

    I think it was an outstanding movie although I have not yet read the book. People should act now on what you are trying to persue. Although I am only 13 years old (I want to start to help out the enviornment at a young age.)I have a great impact on things like this. We should all be aware of these disasters that are happening in the world and help now. Thank you Al for making a difference in me and in many others out their. ( can't wait to read the book!)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2006

    This is truth, not politics.

    All those doubters who believe global warming to be a hoax should take careful note: the information in this book systematically shows that our best science in the present era is indisputable. Global Climate Change as accelerated by human fossil fuel use IS occuring. Mr. Gore does a fantastic job of presenting evidence that anyone can relate to. Someone unfamilliar with the topic might not understand 600,000 years of ice core data, but they can understand that birds are migrating differently, species are cropping up where they shouldn't be, and wild weather disasters are more common. This book is not going to teach a seasoned environmentalist much, but the stunning clarity of the writing and the presentation of the facts as such is enough to prompt a thorough reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2006

    Take politics out of it, this is just plain true...

    No matter what your politics the overwhelming majority of scientific evidence points to the fact that we, as a species, are changing our environment in a way which is already detrimental to our wellbeing and that of future generations. We do have the ability to turn this process around, but first we have to accept the reality of our impact and then we have to CARE... if not for our own wellbeing then for that of our children - who will inherent our legacy. We simply must realize that we cannot continue to see ourselves as somehow seperated from the earth system, somehow immune to all of the toxins that we continue spill onto the surface and into the atomsphere of what is the only home that God gave us to experience as human beings. We simply must take seriously our responsibility as stewards of the planet. If we continue to function under this delusion of psychological disconnect - or lack of responsibility - we will nonetheless be held accountable. It is as simple as cause and effect. Truly everything and everyone is subject to the laws of cause and effect. Gore's message isn't about politics. Democrats and Republicans alike, we are all down stream from somebody and we are all upstream from somebody. We are in this together.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2006

    Important and compelling

    [Note: Not reviewing the man here, just the book, and I urge other reviewers to do the same - as tempting as it is, this is not a political forum.] Gore's facts are legion, and his way of stringing them together is intelligent and compelling, building a powerful picture of a world ecology at risk. Have you been wondering if it's your imagination that the lilacs are blooming earlier and earlier ... no, it isn't. It's just one of the 'Inconvenient Truths' that we don't want to look at about how our globe is changing faster than we imagined was possible. Without being alarmist, this is an important, worthy and well-researched book, well worth your time, and will provoke thought. My only wish is for more solutions to the dilemma we seem to have created for ourselves.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    A great book and movie. Al Gore will be remembered for his abil

    A great book and movie. Al Gore will be remembered for his ability to present the facts as to why we must change in order to be successful in the natural world. I have personally interacted with the USA government regarding inconvenient truths and I can confirm that they have an extensive web of deceit in place to enable these “Inconvenient Truths” to be simply ignored. Keep on drinking the Kool-Aid! This book is a great starting point for those who want to understand environmental problems and where it is taking us all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    Gore misses with this book. As with Silent Spring (Rachel Carson), it presents a shallow, one sided story that uses junk science and misleads the reader. Yes, the environment is something special that should be nurtured, but I find it funny that all the Global Warmists are also anti-capitalist and that the only countries that are screamed at are capitalistic countries. Like Silent Spring, this book is important for raising the the questions, but harmful in trying to squash any real debate about the subject

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2007

    Should be called 'Convenient Lies'

    Without getting into the obvious political slant and nature of this book, Al Gore's book and movie do not represent the issue accurately. It is slanted to the 'Average American' who does not have the desire or ability to do their own research or even checking both sides of the issue. As a scientist myself, I am not in agreement that the 'debate' is over. Although we are most likely in a warming period, the earth has gone through these in the past...well before fossil fuels came into large-scale use. So before we go accepting these 'facts', lets not ridicule nor slander and unfund those seeking to look at the alternate views.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2007

    Weak Writing

    Gore has a good topic here but he fails to describe it in a techncially unbiased manner. There are better books on this subject.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2007

    Al Bore spreads more lies

    Please read the political Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and learn the truth. Global Warming is much like the 1970's Global Cooling (remember that Al?) and is based on the same lies and pseudo science. The liberal media here and in Europe is either lazy and wont invest in the truth or is just as guilty as Al Bore.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2006

    Bad Power Point in Book Form

    The only redeeming value of this book is that is does have some really cool pictures, besides that, the actual content is rather flawed. First off, most of what is spit out from this book is made to just be taken as 'fact.' However, much of global warming is still very much 'theory' and is a matter of where one is taking their data points. There is still very much we still do not understand about climate, but Mr Gore just presents that the Earth, for sure, will die by 2050 as a result of our carbon emmissions. It is also missing several characteristics about carbon dixoide as a greenhouse gas. Graphs and figures are at many times highly exaggerated for effect and some citations are poorly referenced. I have no problem with the message that he tries to convey in this book in that as human beings we should be concerned about conserving our resources, but he does not present the full picture and seems to have 'magical' solutions for many issues concerning our enviroment. If you want to have a book where you can roll your eyes at for a couple hours, this is it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2006

    Why didn't Al tell us that Kyoto won't save us?

    Al Gore has been pushing the Kyoto Treaty on Americans since he was Vice-President, as the solution to global warming. Here's the sum total of all that he had to say about Kyoto in his book: Mr. Gore 'helped ... at the negotiations in Kyoto, Japan,' 'helped to write' the treaty, listed U.S. cities living with the Kyoto Protocol, and countries that ratified it. [Intro, p. 41, p. 288, p. 282] Thus, Al Gore was an 'insider' with inside knowledge of the limits of the Kyoto Protocol, yet he gave us no detailed information on it whatsoever. Richard Lindzen, PhD, the chair professor of meteorology in prestigious M.I.T. university, reviewed the movie version of this book. He said that he found Mr. Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' highly inaccurate, and in regard to Gore's 'shrill alarmism,' commented 'To believe it requires that one ignore the truly inconvenient facts.' [Wall Street Journal, 'There is no 'Consensus' on Global Warming,' June 26, 2006] That's what I found, too. When I noticed that both the range of temperature rises to 2100 and the value of Kyoto's cooling were missing from the book, I put together the math involved in the action of the Kyoto Treaty on the final temperature in 2100 and saw the whole picture. Using the best known values* in F [preferred by Gore], we have: [4.5 to 7.2] - 0.3 = [4.2 to 6.9]. In other words, the range of the temperature increase by 2100 is only reduced by 0.3 degrees F and thus remains almost the same as without Kyoto. THUS, KYOTO WON'T SAVE US FROM GORE'S DISASTER NIGHTMARES AT ALL! It only cools the increases by about 5%, leaving 95% of the temperature increase by 2100 untouched! Either those disasters aren't going to happen anyway, per the actual convictions of many scientists who disagree with Mr. Gore, or we may as well get prepared to withstand whatever amount of them happens, Kyoto or no Kyoto! Now, I see why Mr. Gore withheld the values. He probably saw this result and recognized the same conclusion, since he wrote the book and must have known all the numbers. He knew he couldn't get people to make the economic sacrifices of Kyoto if that wouldn't even save them from his disasters. So, like Richard Lindzen commented, he just 'ignored the truly inconvenient facts.' *The numbers 4.5 to 7.2 come from an average of modest estimates by global warming advocates that predicted increases from 2.5 to 4 degrees C all the way to 2100. That translates directly to 4.5 to 7.2 degrees F. The 0.3 F given as the cooling effect of Kyoto comes from the definition in the Kyoto treaty, modified by estimates of scientists since then to about .08 degrees C by 2050. That is .144 degrees F, extrapolated to .288 F by 2100, rounded up to 0.3 F.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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