For the Sake of the Planet, an Ego-Free Moment

Although the competition this year for the Academy Award in the Best Documentary category is strong, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth is nonetheless expected to win, given that it changed the debate around climate change, stood up to intense scrutiny with no difficulty, and was hugely popular besides. (Peter Bart, a Hollywood legend, currently editor of Variety, claims it was Paramount’s "single most profitable release," but I think he forgot to add "this year.")

This means a potential scrum at the elegant lectern over who takes credit for the film, but the producers have agreed to back off and give it over to the director, Davis Guggenheim, who still has not gotten the credit he deserves for humanizing Gore’s slide show, and to Gore himself, who should take the opportunity to speak on the issue to the infamous billion people who watch the Oscars.

Tom Roston at Premiere has an illuminating backstage look:

I’ll be honest, although Truth is a carbon-neutral movie (meaning it was created with carbon offsets which equalize global warming-inducing emissions), I doubt that this was a totally ego-neutral production. I don’t think such a thing is possible in Hollywood. But these producers managed to harness their pride for the greater good. Plus, they’re hoping for a show-stopping moment that sounds like it could only be scripted in Hollywood: A forsaken son rising from the ashes to fight for justice. If that sounds dramatic, I’m sorry, but I think seeing Gore rising up to the podium and speaking out to millions of viewers worldwide about the effects of global warming will be a moment to transcend all Oscar moments (it may even bump Jack Palance’s open-handed push-ups down a notch).

Predictably, this has right-wingers such as Rush Limbaugh grumbling. Limbaugh tried to mock the Live 7 24-hour concert series from all seven continents that Gore will headline this July. (Limbaugh scoffed because one of the concerts will come from Antartica. Well, why not? Heck, maybe the hot young British band the Artic Monkeys could play that gig.)

But Limbaugh admitted that Gore would probably win the Academy Award for his "stupid movie." Well, if that’s the best you can manage, Limbaugh, I don’t think we need fear your criticism…

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

2 thoughts on “For the Sake of the Planet, an Ego-Free Moment

  1. I thought you might be interested in this new report that is available online

    The Carbon Neutral Myth – Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins is available online at:

    “Carbon offsets are the modern day indulgences, sold to an increasingly carbon conscious public to absolve their climate sins. Scratch the surface, however, and a disturbing picture emerges, where creative accountancy and elaborate shell games cover up the impossibility of verifying genuine climate change benefits, and where communities in the South often have little choice as offset projects are inflicted on them.

    This report argues that offsets place disproportionate emphasis on individual lifestyles and carbon footprints, distracting attention from the wider, systemic changes and collective political action that needs to be taken to tackle climate change. Promoting more effective and empowering approaches involves moving away from the marketing gimmicks, celebrity endorsements, technological quick fixes, and the North/South exploitation that the carbon offsets industry embodies.”


  2. I’ll take a look.

    It’s true, unfortunately, that increased emissions can’t really be negated by off-sets, although depending on the nature of the off-set, they can help reduce the harm.

    For more on this, Grist is a goldmine: here’s one thoughtful piece on the subject from Adam Stein:

    But at the same time, talking about off-sets is talking about carbon emissions. Maybe the discussion will help open our eyes, and who knows, maybe better means will be found to off-set carbon emissions in the future.


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