Love them or hate them, politicians are persuasive. Al Gore is no exception. In his Academy Award winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, the former presidential candidate tries to convince the United States that Global Warming is happening, and it is our responsibility to stop it. Despite the unlabeled graphs and curious photos from friends in every corner of the globe, Mr. Gore makes a argument. He mostly bases his argument in emotional appeal, but he also uses facts and figures to support his claim that global warming is an immediate danger. He also mocks the skeptics on the other side of the issue. All together, Mr. Gore makes a great argument about Global Warming.
Al Gore is not a scientist. Calculating facts and figures is not Al Gore’s strong suit. He is not the face of the issue because he discovered that carbon dioxide is being trapped in the atmosphere and that is causing issues. He is the face of Global Warming because he knows how to persuade people. While there are charts and graphs in An Inconvenient Truth most of the movie is an emotional appeal to evoke action. As an appeal to ethics and emotion, Gore talks about his son’s horrific accident, so that his audience understands that he is a father who cares about the next generations, and that he has had a crystalizing moment in his life. He wants us to think that he has faced something that made everything in his life clearer, and so he is a person to be trusted. You can see this emotional appeal again when Gore uses Hurricane Katrina in his argument. We all have a twinge of regret when we think about Katrina, because if the levees had been properly maintained, she would not have been nearly as dangerous as she became. Mr. Gore knows this. He also know that a picture of someone standing on the roof of their house waiting to be rescued while their street floods is one of the best ways to evoke emotion. Katrina was one of the worst disasters in American history, and if we could go back and prevent it we would as quickly as we would prevent 9/11. Gore uses this regret to his advantage by implying that Global Warming was why Katrina was so big and so deadly. There is no way to know if this is true or not, but just by implying it, he puts the idea that all that pain could have been prevented into our heads, and it makes us want to believe that something can be done.
He furthermore uses the photos of Earth from space to stimulate emotion. When we look at those photos, there are no facts accompanying them. All we see is our beautiful home. At the start of the documentary, while the audience is looking at the close up photo of Earth (from the moon), Gore is giving a little soliloquy about the beauty of the Earth. Then, at the end of the film, Gore shows a picture of the Earth as shown from a great distance. This time, he appeals to emotion with a similar speech about how there is only one Earth, and it is our home, and we need to save it. That final speech really makes the audience think. That tiny, pale blue dot is all we have in the universe. He is trying to make us understand that we only get one Earth, and if we destroy it, there is nothing else.
In An Inconvenient Truth Gore uses a lot of charts and numbers to appeal to logic. He uses graphs that all show a rapid rise in temperature or carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the last ten or twenty years. He explained, half jokingly, that the Earth is more important than gold. He says that the 10 hottest years of the last thousand have been in the last 14 years. He throws a lot of big, dramatic numbers at his audience to show them that Global Warming is not a myth.
When Al Gore acknowledges the skeptics of Global Warming in An Inconvenient Truth he mocks them. When he talks about the people who believe that this warming in the Earth’s temperature is just temporary like the one during medieval times, he makes a joke about the huge difference between that warming and this one. In this way he discredits the opposition while making his argument more valid. It is brilliant, and it works.
An Inconvenient Truth is set in the tone of a passionate politician who dedicated his life to persuading not just America but the whole world to stand up and make change, because that’s the amount of rigorous measures it will take to make a change. Much more and no less. Which is Mr. Al Gore is the face of this movement.
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