62 pages • 2 hours readAl Gore
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In the Introduction, Gore stresses the urgency of the rapidly-changing climate situation. He talks about his personal journey in creating his case for global warming, detailing how the book came to be. Gore outlines some of the facts he will tackle in more detail later on, as well as obstacles in understanding the topic. His tone is both pressing and optimistic as he reminds readers what is at stake, but also points out the opportunities involved: “we can build clean engines, we can harness the Sun and the wind; we can stop wasting energy; we can use our planets plentiful coal resources without heating the planet” (11). He finishes this reflection with an appeal to consider what the next generations will think.
The next pages show images of the Earth from space, and explain why these images are so extraordinary. Gore segues into a discussion of the atmosphere and follows it with a discussion of the basic science of global warming. The sun heats up the earth, and then the energy is re-directed back into space as infrared rays. Some of this radiation is trapped by the atmosphere, which keeps the temperature within livable limits.