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

by Al Gore

Paperback, 2006

Call number

363.7 G



Rodale Books (2006), Edition: n Reprint, 328 pages


With this book, the author, former Vice President Al Gore 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.

Media reviews

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
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the extinction of a growing number of species.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member jcranium
I would leave this book at 0 on my list, if a 0 didn't signify a lack of rating. This is a boring book, a waste of paper.

I'm a reasonable environmental conservative. I don't believe in using resource that don't need to be used. And I believe that anyone wasting our resources is wasting them for
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everyone and, as such, should be subject to ridicule, ostracism, and perhaps some fines to fund orphanages.

The main problem with this book, though, is that it is utterly boring. When Gore isn't repeating discredited science (the deforestation section), he's lazily mucking through tired examples.

My employer has been focused on helping the environment for over 40 years, so, when this movie came out, they pretty much made it mandatory. When I pointed out that the movie wasn't coming to where I lived, they sent me a copy of the book.

I was expecting, from all the talk around me, and from the endorsement of my employer, that this book would shock me in some way, show me things I'd never known before. And all I got was a Power Point presentation of all the same old crap.

I won't get into all the issues I have with Power Point, but I will say that if you think you're getting shockingly honest, high-resolution scientific information from some blowhard and a few slides, you're in serious need of an education.
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LibraryThing member libmhleigh
In this work, former vice president Al Gore takes a thorough look at the problem of global warming- and does it in a way that the average American can understand- light on scientific jargon, heavy on pictures, maps, graphs, and charts. Gore is striving to 1) convince people that global warming is a
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real problem and 2) convince people there is something they can and should do about it. “An Inconvenient Truth” concludes with a helpful “what you can do” section.

Quote: “We have everything we need to begin solving this crisis, with the possible exception of the will to act.”

I was more impressed by this work than I thought I would be. First of all, whether you agree or disagree with his opinion, you have to be impressed by this work- it is beautiful, understandable, and intelligent. I took a class about global warming, but I don’t think someone who had no particular experience with this subject would find it at all incomprehensible. Furthermore, Gore keeps the political “I told you so” to a minimum, which is to his credit, as is the fact that he focuses on science, not just sensationalism. If you have any interest in this topic, and Al Gore thinks you should, you should read this book.
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LibraryThing member tracyfox
I wanted to read An Inconvenient Truth again now that climate change is a more mainstream topic and the hoopla over the movie has passed. My reread reminded me of how moving I found Al Gore's personal story and how inspiring I found his view that the climate crisis "offers us the chance to
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experience what very few generations in history have had the privilege of knowing: a generational mission; the exhilaration of a compelling moral purpose, a shared and unifying cause; the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the restless human need for transcendence; the opportunity to rise." While it may strike some as overly dramatic, in light of recent events I find this insight from 2006 eerily prescient.

Often books dealing with environmental issues and current events become quickly dated. An Inconvenient Truth mainly deals with the scientific data behind global warming, laying out the case that human activities are releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, causing global warming and ultimately endangering the natural systems that regulate the planet. All of this data still seems relevant. The book still makes the case for taking action on climate change very eloquently (and convincingly in my opinion) with words, charts and graphs, maps and stunning photographs. Its layout and typography seem fresh and contemporary, but serious and scientific at the same time. It closely mirrors the movie and at times leaves the reader with that same "Powerpoint Overload!!!" feeling. Nonetheless, I find it an excellent presentation overall.

To me, it is the fact that only 20 of 320 pages are devoted to solutions that makes the book seem dated. I like to think that most people who would be inclined to take action on an environmental issue now accept the reality of global warming. The only serious points of debate that remain are about the most expedient and equitable way to do so and the book provides little of relevance to this debate.
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LibraryThing member DCArchitect
Documentaries are the exception to the rule that making a movie into a book (rather than the other way around) generally results in a lousy book.

The subject of the book and the points it makes are exactly the same as the movie. In fact, the only real difference is that the pictures don't move and
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the voice of the narrator is your own.

If you liked the movie, the book is a great addition to your library. If you dind't like the movie, the book isn't likely to change your mind.
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LibraryThing member EowynA
I was a believer before, but this is overwhelming. It is clear that global warming is a fact (even though some areas, of course, will get colder as the Arctic Ice melts). The parallel pictures are the most telling to me. Pictures of the same place now, and decades ago. Lake Chad in Africa, gone.
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The Aral Sea, gone. Spring arriving earlier, winter arriving later. The world is changing, and will continue to change. Humanity has been part of the reason why. The current federal policies are contributors (thank you, Governor Schwartzenegger for bucking the feds on this issue). The key thing is that we can indeed stop things from snowballing faster. But change is happening. This book is scary down deep. It took longer to read than it might otherwise have, because it is so disheartening. And some people at work tell me Global Warming is a myth. I'm not prepared to debate them, but I do wonder how they can be so oblivious.
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LibraryThing member whiteberg
Extremely unsatisfying. Nice rhetoric but argument is underdeveloped and lacks logic. And what's all this nonsense about Gore's family?
LibraryThing member xicanti
The book that accompanies the documentary of the same name.

As someone with little technical knowledge of these things, I found this book very useful. Gore presents the facts in a clear, logical way that's easy for non-scientists to understand. (Scientists and scientifically-minded individuals, in
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contrast, may find the book too simplistic). He uses powerful visuals and concisely stated facts to get his message across. I found the book difficult to put down. Each segment flows effortlessly into the next, effectively drawing the whole thing together.

Gore has also interspersed short personal essays about his own involvement with the environment and the fight to stop climate change. These pieces added a nice personal touch and gave Gore's involvement some context. The reader learns where Gore's coming from and just why he's so committed to these issues.

Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member IsaacW
This book based on the film by Al Gore is also wonderful. It lets you know everything you need to know about the Environment and the climate crisis. Al Gore does a very good job at portraying and describing his ideas. Right away after you read this you'll be automatically changed to an
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environmentalist if you weren't one already.
You've got to read it!
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LibraryThing member Niecierpek
Very clear, beautifully illustrated, well laid out and intelaced with autobiographical bits, this slide show turned book will surely appeal to most people. If Gore's aim was to have as many people read it as possible, he did it well. The data contained in the book unequivocally point to the global
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warming, and should convert even the biggest skeptics.
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LibraryThing member dlevinson
Review of film on which book is based.

We saw Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth this weekend (July 17, 2006). I had actually already read the book, and was curious to see his Apple Keynote based presentation, just to see what state of the art is in presentations (not a bullet-point to be seen), as
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well of course to be warned that the world as we know it is coming to an end, and if I do nothing, it is my own damn fault. The movie basically stars Keynote, with Al Gore as a supporting actor.

Lots has been said about if this Al Gore was what we saw in 2000, ... maybe he would have been elected President. I am not sure the average American really wants to hear about environmental problems though, but at least he wouldn't have been quite so stiff or in search of himself. He certainly could have pulled some votes from the left, but would he have lost the center?

Unfortunately, this movie is an eye-opener for people. I say unfortunately, for their eyes should have been opened before. The CO2 data is not new, though some of the pictures of receding glaciers are.

The movie remains a brilliant piece of propaganda. (It is propaganda, not science, not even science reporting, since it is in the end a call to action, not merely information). Al Gore asserts consensus in the scientific community about the direction of global climate change (on average it is getting warmer and more carbon dioxidic) and in a bit of a shell game implies there is also consensus about the magnitude of change, and its consequences.

In particular, it is worthwhile to consider the Daisyworld Model as a possible framework for considering consequences.

What happens when CO2 goes up? Temperature rises. What happens when temperatures rise? Things that thrive in a warmer environment are more successful. One question is, does that success then dampen the increase? I.e. does the life in the warm environment (e.g. the increased proliferation of life in what once was polar bear country, the giant frozen landmasses and sheets of ice of the northern hemisphere) then absorb more CO2, limiting the effect? The second question is: how long does it take? (And what people and what species get displaced in the meantime).

The Figure used from the Vostok Antarctica ice core, which was also in the movie, correlates dust, CO2 and temperature over the past 400,000 years. Note that every increase is followed by a crash (there does not seem to be a secular trend). (Interestingly the rises are faster than the falls.)

Some of the variation is due to solar-earth variations, e.g. (Milankovitch cycles), clearly an exogenous source (the earth's weather and biology is not changing the Earth's tilt (we hope)), but that must be coupled with biological responses.

A manmade exogenous force (CO2) might be expected to have effects on climate as well, but perhaps those are self-limiting (see Daisy World or the cyclic evidence), or maybe they will run amok (see the planet Venus), we don't know. It is all very complicated.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't act, but why do humans need propoganda and false certainties presented to us to act?

So, see the film, and act. Or don't see the film and act. Or see the film and don't act. Or don't see the film and don't act. Those are your choices.
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LibraryThing member GoofyOcean110
The market has spoken: Climate change and global warming are real! (Thanks Stephen Colbert for the line!) The book is companion to the eponymous movie and follows the same powerpoint, complete with photos etc. Gore plainly outlines the scientific evidence that has led to the conclusion that
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climates have been changing around the world. This book and the movie, mark a sea change in public opinion regarding climate and human interactions with it.
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LibraryThing member clark.hallman
This is and excellent book that presents frightening, but well-documented information about the increasing levels of CO2 and the resulting global warming that Earth is experiencing. Lots or photographs, charts, graphs, and tables are included, but the test is very well-written.
LibraryThing member Stbalbach
An Inconvenient Truth, book and movie, are probably some of the most historically important works on Global Warming in terms of popular awareness. Even if your a total skeptic, no one can deny its historical role in amplifying the "debate". It's worth reading simply out of curiosity for what all
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the hoopla is about. Given all the scorn for Gore and his book/film in 2006 and 2007, I was expecting extreme scaremongering, and so I didn't read it. But I picked it up in 2010 and found a fairly modest mainstream treatment of the science of Global Warming. He gets the essence of it right and explains some complex things in an easy to understand way. In fact much of the hatred towards Gore was politically motivated out of fear of his running for President in 2008. As it turned out that never happened, and now we can look more objectively at the film and book for what it is - an education tool for beginners on a complex topic. Is it perfect? No, even in the four years since it was published the science has changed, but it is largely correct and a great introduction that will continue to be talked about and read for decades to come.
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LibraryThing member DioceseofOttawa
Former Vice President Al Gore presents an eye-opening and compelling view of the future or our planet -- and out civilization -- in the MUST-SEE documentary of the year.
LibraryThing member Devil_llama
The book to accompany Gore's Academy-award winning movie about Global Warming. The movie reached a lot of people, and the book has followed up on that. Much of what is in the book is simply the same information from the movie, with a few added tidbits. The biggest weakness of this, and the movie,
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is Gore's tendancy to embrace some questionable solutions, most of which are popular with the business community and Hollywood, but which would likely have only minimal impact on global warming.
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LibraryThing member dareone32988
Most people have heart of former presidential nominee Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" which focuses on global warming and its effects. This book is a great adaption of the film for young readers. With its full page to two page picture spreads and illustrations, the book places the topic of
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global warming into a prespective more easily observable by children from ages 8 to 12.

Gore breaks down the complex idea of global warming by dividing the chapters into relatable subtopics. Each subtopic plays a large role in supporting Gore's claims. The only problem, however, is that possibly in an attempt to be brief and to the point, Gore has oversimplified many issues while sensationalizing others. For example, when writing about the effects of Katrina--a storm claimed to be caused by effects of global warming--Gore focuses on only New Orleans rather than mentioning the several other affected cities of the Gulf Coast.

If I were to use this book in a upper grade classroom, it would be part of a larger example of how to use fact-based information in persuasive, informative, or argumentative writing. Gore does well in driving his point home, and I think that is an excellent skill to learn from his book about such a controversial issue.
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LibraryThing member lindseynichols
an accessible, visual way to get a handle on well-labeled data about global warming and climate change. the family anecdotes from al gore's life felt sort of thrown in, but i can see why having them in the book is a good move - people are always calling al gore stiff, unemotional, cardboard, etc.
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but who cares about charisma when the man can fit an enormous amount of useful data into a book that's *easily readable and absorbable*, with lots of arresting photographs. charts are labeled, sources are cited. i dunno. i think this is a dazzling reach-out to a broad spectrum of people, including the folks who don't read that much; it looks like a coffee-table book, but it actually contains substansive and useful data! and that's really an achievement. i'm glad i read it and i'm glad al gore is around, doing what he does. maybe we can all pull ourselves together and avoid a global cataclysm for another hundred years or so.
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LibraryThing member themulhern
This is very tolerable pop-science. Gore keeps it rather simple, and changes voice pretty frequently. Sometimes he gives personal details about his own involvement in various political efforts having to do with global warming. Other chapters simply discuss the extent, mechanisms, and impact of
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climate change.

The talk about God is, no doubt, politically necessary, even for an erstwhile presidential candidate.
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