Web Issue 2729 January 20 2007   
All secondary schools to see Gore climate film
DAVID LEASKJanuary 17 2007

A film made by former US Vice President Al Gore on climate change will be shown in every Scottish secondary school.

Starting in August, every fourth and sixth-year pupil in the country will get the chance to see An Inconvenient Truth, Mr Gore's stark warning on the future of the planet.

They will do so courtesy of the Scottish Executive and ScottishPower, the energy giant which owns the massive coal-fired Longannet station.

The announcement was made yesterday as Mr Gore attended a conference in Glasgow along with former United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix.

Ross Finnie, Scotland's Environment Minister, said he had been inspired by the film's "powerful message" and thought the nation's young people would be too.

An Inconvenient Truth holds up hope that changes, some quite simple, can be made to prevent the worst effects of global warming.

Mr Finnie dismissed any suggestion that the film amounted to propaganda.

He said: "I am very clear that climate change is with us and is a real problem and that there is scientific backing to that.

"Anybody who has observed the pattern of this year's winter and who thinks that nothing is happening has got to be on planet Mars."

Each school will get two DVDs. But, Mr Finnie said, it will be up to teachers to decide how they are used.

The minister said he saw no problems with the executive co-operating with a private power generator to distribute the film.

ScottishPower, which will invest tens of thousands in the scheme, is currently developing renewables, including controversial wind power schemes.

Susan Reilly, the company's head of strategy, said she believed youngsters could bring important messages, in issues such as energy efficiency, into their homes.

"We are talking about things such as switching off chargers for mobile phones or not leaving appliances on stand-by," she said.

Mr Gore in his film spells out simple ways of reducing carbon emissions.

They include driving less and making sure tyres are properly inflated. The former presidential candidate, who lost the disputed 2000 elections to George W Bush, yesterday declined to face the Scottish media.

On a previous visit, however, he praised the Scottish Executive for going one step further than the targets set by the UK government.

"I think that is smart,"

Mr Gore said. "It's not just a question of PR and image, it actually helps the economy to move quickly into and through this transition.

"The areas that do it first and do it boldly are going to reap real advantages, I'm convinced of that."

Mr Finnie spoke of readying Scotland for a "second, third or even fourth industrial revolution''. Schoolchildren, thanks to Mr Gore's film, should be at the vanguard.

Friends of the Earth Scotland's chief executive, Duncan McLaren, said: "Scotland's young people are already very environmentally-aware, and the showing of this film in schools will help encourage this further. From school kids and parents to politicians and world leaders, An Inconvenient Truth is a film that should be seen by all."

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