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Category: International 06 Aug 06


Turn on ten ovens in a tiny room. Put them all on broil for three hours. Open them all. Stand there. Breathe. That’s New York today.


People are panting on the street, t-shirts wet with sweat, shirts open, chests moist, huge armpit stains... While walking I saw a blob of blood fall on the pavement with an ugly plop. First nose bleed in years. The reports state that over 100 are dead in California and a heat wave in Europe.


My eyes catch a little newspaper advertisement saying, “If you want to know why we are experiencing searing temperatures go see Al Gore’s An Inconvenient truth.”


It’s unusual that a man who lost his presidency of the most powerful country in the world over a judicial ruling is now screening liberal films at Cannes.


Beyond belief


At the time I didn’t like Al Gore even though the alternate was cowboy Bush.


Then I at least felt Bush was real. Red neck but real. There was something too smarmy about Gore. He was too good-looking, too glib, too urbane, too smug, to trust. Power in the hands of a man like that could bring hubris that’s beyond belief. How wrong I was.


It was the hubris of the cowboy that now has started two wars in the Middle East in Afghanistan and Iraq and is tacitly backing the third in Lebanon that was the more fatal choice.


With no sign of Osama Bin Laden’s phantom weapons of mass destruction, and no abatement of terrorism worldwide perhaps finally we can wearily connect the dots and say it was about the oil, or the reconstruction billions. Perhaps it was about the greed.


Which brings me back to this heat and Al Gore’s documentary.


Al Gore’s documentary meanders through his personal and political life. He goes from his own epiphany of life’s precious fragility as his perspective shifts when his six-year-old son gets run over and nearly dies; when he “connects the dots” between his father’s tobacco farm and his sister’s smoking and death from lung cancer to the devastating blow that despite the fact that more Americans voted for him over George Bush, he was not going to the White House. Instead he went on a crusade giving his slide show on global warming “over a thousand times” worldwide, America-wide.


Too inconvenient


Gore claims, backed by scientists, that America is responsible for 40 per cent of the carbon dioxide emissions worldwide that is responsible for global warming. Explaining the consequences, he noted that glaciers that take thousands of years to melt have now done so within ten years. The last 14 years were the hottest in human history.


This has created deadly hurricanes and record typhoons. If emissions continue at this rate, sea levels will rise by at least 20 feet; drown all the islands off the Caribbean; sink half of Florida, Mexico, Bangladesh, and Calcutta; and create a much larger catastrophe than 9/11 ever did. It could be soon. Like in the next decade.


Using a graphic of a scale weighing gold and a globe, Gore shows the imbalance of yummy yummy gold to that of world.


If we continue with the emissions for money, the world is sunk. He also uses the graphic of a frog slowly boiling in a pot, but scarcely aware that he is about to die. Someone rescues him. It’s about rescue says Gore.


To this extent the documentary explores alternative energy sources: solar, wind, tidal and, yes, nuclear. Moving towards hybrid and electric cars. He supports pouring money into public transit with subsidised fares and saving energy in our houses. But no one in politics is willing to connect the dots because it is too inconvenient.


I find it sad vacationing in this amazing country that the politics of greed are poised to prevail, that unlike the frog we might be sunk everywhere before we notice.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur