Panel reacts to N.H. premiere of ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’

  • Melissa Birchard (center) of the Conservation Law Foundation speaks after the premier of “An Inconvenient Sequel” on Thursday at Red River Theatres in Concord. LUCAS MASIN-MOYER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Thursday, August 03, 2017

In 2006, five years after he left the vice presidency, Al Gore was instrumental in releasing the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which detailed the consequences of climate change for the earth’s future.

Eleven years later, with climate change thrust back into the spotlight thanks to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, a follow-up to the original documentary, was put into production and released.

Thursday evening, Red River Theatres in downtown Concord screened the New Hampshire premiere of the film, hosted by the League of Conservation Voters and ReVision Energy, and was followed by a panel discussion.

During the panel, state Representative Howard Moffett, Mike Behrmann of the New Hampshire Clean Tech Council, Melissa Birchard of the Conservation Law Foundation, and Dan Weeks of ReVision Energy discussed the film, the potential effects of uncontrolled climate change and what New Hampshire residents could do about it.

Weeks said the movie made him very emotional, especially because many of the effects of climate change were being felt in his wife’s home country of South Africa.

Because of this first hand witnessing of the calamity, Weeks said leaders will have to act swiftly.

“Will their generation ... be the one that experiences the greatest climate refugee crisis,” he asked. “Or will they be the generation that saw the turning point toward a sustainable, healthy earth?”

Behrmann similarly stressed a dire need to work toward solving climate issues, even if it meant enduring some hard failures.

“Despite all the challenges, we might not achieve the end goal as we want it, but every day we should strive to achieve that goal.”

To achieve anything, Behrmann said, community members must devote time and energy to the cause.

“In the state, no matter what you’re dealing with ... invest, invest, invest,” he said. “This isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon.”

The pure scope of the crisis and the work that needs to be done gave Moffett “emotional whiplash,” he said.

Moffett, who serves on the Science and Technology committee in the state House of Representatives, said he drew inspiration from Dale Ross, the Republican Mayor of Georgetown, Texas, who was portrayed in the film.

Georgetown has transformed its energy sector to be close to 90 percent renewable during Ross’s tenure.

“That’s where we need to get. He’s shown it can be done it takes work, but it’s going to be worth doing,” Moffett said.

Birchard said to achieve this change on a local level, residents needed to agitate lawmakers, especially Gov. Chris Sununu, who recently denied that carbon emissions contributed to climate change.

“You can call him up, and he has to listen to you,” she said. “The more of us that call him up, the more likely he is to act.”

Ultimately, the panel members said each and every citizen ought to take responsibility to help deal with climate change, especially with a lack of governmental support.

“The question is what each one of us can do,” Weeks said.

(Lucas Masin-Moyer can be reached at 369-3306 or lmasinmoyer@cmonitor.com.)