Follow Al Gore around and you can get a close look at what happened behind the scenes at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of 2015 in Paris.
First, the film, set as a follow on to the 2006 film, An Inconvenient Truth¸ first sets up the actions in the summit with recent visits by Gore to Greenland, where things are looking dire. For example, the Swiss weather station is up on stilts from its original location in the Arctic Sea. Now, 12 feet of airspace separate the station from the icy waters.
Scientists show Gore the holes in the glaciers, looking like so much Swiss cheese. Gore talks to Erik Rignot of University of California at Irvine, stationed in Greenland, about the situation. The dramatic footage leaves a sense of urgency as things turn to Paris.
But first, we see how his network of Train the Trainer sessions—which have grown exponentially and which he personally attends—take place. A local Frederick Countian, Ron Kaltenbaugh, who happens to chair the Frederick County Sustainability Commission and is president of the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, DC, is now one of the trainees and attended the film’s screening to provide commentary afterward.
Ron giving a local talk.
Gore discusses to one training group his frustration that the Bush-Cheney administration had cancelled a nearly completed satellite designed to gather data from solar storms that would have gathered data from the earths surface. (In 2015, it was launched https://www.nature.com/news/al-gore-s-dream-spacecraft-gears-up-for-launch-1.16711)
Then, the film turns to the drama of the attempt to have the Paris treaty ratified. Gore and his team’s work to bring together Tesla CEO Elon Musk and India to solve a third world problem with first world technology.
The regional audience, which included many members of the Catoctin Group of the Sierra Club, which sponsored the event, was intrigued with the potential of solar power and peppered Kaltenbaugh and his fellow panelist Dr. Mona Becker, (Below)
a Westminster, MD city councilwoman and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Department Chair at McDaniel College with questions about local solar initiatives. She urged members of the audience from Westminster to lobby the council for more initiatives. Kaltenbaugh recalled that in 2010, the kw price for a 7-watt solar installation was $550 /watt and in 2013 through the solarize program it was $250/watt—a dramatic reduction.
Kaltenbaugh said he has been doing talks since his Climate Reality Project training in Denver with 900 others 2016, and recently mentored at last year’s session in Pittsburgh with 1,200 people.
The pair acknowledged that while many in the environmental community are discouraged at President Trumps actions to back out of the Climate Accord. Currently 174 Parties have ratified the Accord.