The success of Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” gets a lot of credit in the US press for helping to elevate public awareness of, and concern for, the problem of global warming. I haven’t seen any actual data on this, but the fact that the movie is the third-highest grossing documentary of all time is pretty good supportive evidence.
More evidence comes from Australia: I subscribe to Google Alerts for “Global Warming” and “Climate Change.” That means that I get a daily email with a list of every news article on either subject that Google can find. In early September, Al Gore was in Australia for the opening of his movie, and engaged the government there (which is very Bush-like in its approach) in a public debate about global warming. Australia gets a couple of mentions in his movie, one because Australia is the only industrialized nation besides us that refused to sign the Kyoto agreement, and another because Australia figures to be a major loser (increasing drought and wildfires, the death of the Great Barrier Reef) if the planet keeps heating up.
Not surprisingly, during the time of Gore’s visit the number of news citations on global warming and climate change with an Australian dateline shot up dramatically. What's amazing is that Australian news coverage of global warming has stayed high. Yesterday, a third of the global coverage on the issue emanated from Down Under.
I’d say Al Gore is making not just a splash, but a difference.