Review: ‘An Incoherent Sequel’ – ‘Anecdotes vs. data in Gore’s follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth’

Gore is a smug man, and he perhaps reaches peak smugness in the new film when he is seen telling an audience: “Ten years ago [now eleven], when the movie An Inconvenient Truth came out, the single most criticized scene was an animated scene showing that the combination of sea-level rise and storm surge would put the ocean water into the 9/11 memorial site, which was then under construction. And people said, ‘That’s ridiculous. What a terrible exaggeration.’” Smash cut to: Hurricane Sandy, and the flooding of downtown Manhattan and the World Trade Center area, in October of 2012. If Gore had a sense of humor, he would play a sample of Nelson Muntz’s iconic “HAW-ha” from The Simpsons. Except Gore is here misleading us about his own earlier prediction. In An Inconvenient Truth Gore didn’t say anything about lower Manhattan getting inundated because of a passing storm. He showed the tip of the island disappearing underwater because of melting ice in the North Atlantic, not because a hurricane happened to strike the area at high tide and during a full moon. There’s a fairly critical distinction between the two scenarios: One is permanent. Lower Manhattan may someday be uninhabitable by anyone who doesn’t have gills, but it’s silly for Gore to claim this happened five years ago.

It isn’t the only time in An Inconvenient Sequel that Gore proves disingenuous. Throughout the film, he never hints that he has a financial interest in the technologies he’s promoting. A firm he co-founded, Generation Investment Management, was a very early investor in Elon Musk’s company SolarCity and held an $80 million stake in it as of 2013, according to the finance site Insider Monkey. Gore portrays SolarCity as a first-rate outfit, both in itself and because the company supposedly pushed the Paris Climate Accord over the top with a bold, philanthropic decision to share its solar-panel technology with India, which then withdrew its objections and signed the agreement. (Earlier Gore is seen browbeating India’s energy minister, who, not without wit, tells Gore to get back to him in 150 years, when the coal-powered country can afford the luxury of renewable energy.) Gore doesn’t tell us that SolarCity ate up billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies before its stock price tanked, at which point Musk folded the company into Tesla in an all-stock deal, meaning any shares Generation had in SolarCity stock turned into Tesla stock. Oh, and Gore’s only son, Albert Gore III, served as deputy director, policy and electricity markets–finance for SolarCity and now works in Washington for Tesla, according to LinkedIn. If you’re wondering why Tesla requires a Washington office, or why it might enjoy having politically connected people working for it, there are about 4.9 billion reasons why. It’s hard to imagine Tesla (in which, Gore told Insider Monkey in 2015, he personally held shares) would even exist today without its ability to transmute climate-change hysteria into government subsidies. Throughout the film, Gore never hints that he has a financial interest in the technologies he’s promoting. Gore is the machine through which the conversion happen. It’s quite a racket, being the Goracle. Senators clamor to meet with you and are even willing to be filmed doing so (as they were for this film). You welcome the opportunity to proselytize for green-energy firms. Meanwhile, to the public you preach the gospel for the same industries, turning the most glamorous Hollywood talent into your apostles. All of the above helps you line your own pockets. Gore stands to profit from green energy both directly, through Generation, and indirectly, as a senior partner in the venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, for which he specializes in finding green-energy investments. His response to all of this has been that at one time he didn’t make any money off Big Green. He really cares about the environment! His motives are pure! Are they, though? Gore is the man who made $100 million by buying a cable channel nobody watched, building its value not by making it watchable but by personally lobbying Rupert Murdoch and others to carry it on their systems, then selling it to Qatari oil sheiks so they could turn it into Al Jazeera. What part of that strikes you as putting idealism first? Besides, would we buy Gore’s argument that he has always been on Team Green from anyone else? If Warren Buffett insists that he genuinely liked Coca-Cola as a kid (and still does), does that somehow mean he doesn’t have a conflict of interest if he tries to use his government connections to win a contract for Coke now that Berkshire Hathaway, of which Buffett owns about 19 percent, holds 400 million shares of Coke? How did Gore get to be the only corporate oligarch in America (net worth: $300 million) whose blatant conflicts of interest are mostly ignored by the media?

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