An Inconvenient Truth focuses on efforts to educate the public about the severity of the climate crisis. It intersperses exploration of data and predictions regarding climate change and its potential for disaster.
Bill Bradbury (former Oregon Secretary of State) begins his slide show on climate change; a comprehensive presentation replete with detailed graphs, flow charts and stark visuals. Bradbury shows off several majestic photographs of the Earth taken from multiple space missions, Earthrise and The Blue Marble. Bradbury notes that these photos dramatically transformed the way we see the Earth, helping spark modern environmentalism.
Bill address the assumption that "the Earth is so big, we can't possibly have any lasting, harmful impact on the Earth's environment.
Throughout Bradbury discusses the scientific opinion on climate change, as well as the present and future effects of global warming and stresses that climate change "is really not a political issue, so much as a moral one," describing the consequences he believes global climate change will produce if the amount of human-generated greenhouse gases is not significantly reduced in the very near future. Bradbury also presents Antarctic ice coring data showing CO2 levels higher now than in the past 650,000 years.
The presentation includes segments intended to refute critics who say that global warming is unproven or that warming will be insignificant. For example, Bradbury discusses the possibility of the collapse of a major ice sheet in Greenland or in West Antarctica, either of which could raise global sea levels by approximately 20 feet (6 m), flooding coastal areas and producing 100 million refugees. Melt water from Greenland, because of its lower salinity, could then halt the currents that keep northern Europe warm and quickly trigger dramatic local cooling there. It also contains various short animated projections of what could happen to different animals more vulnerable to climate change.
The presentation ends with Bradbury arguing that if appropriate actions are taken soon, the effects of global warming can be successfully reversed by releasing less CO2 and planting more vegetation to consume existing CO2. Bradbury calls upon his viewers to learn how they can help him in these efforts.
"Each one of us is a cause of global warming, but each one of us can make choices to change that with the things we buy, the electricity we use, the cars we drive; we can make choices to bring our individual carbon emissions to zero. The solutions are in our hands, we just have to have the determination to make it happen. We have everything that we need to reduce carbon emissions, everything but political will. But in America, the will to act is a renewable resource."