Study Shows “An Inconvenient Truth” Impacted Carbon Offsets

Almost every filmmaker sets out to alter public perception or at least insight on an issue, but just how successful is a film on impacting viewers?

According to a recent study by University of Oregon professor Grant Jacobsen, quite successful, as he wrote in his soon-to-be-published paper in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.  According to the study, “An Inconvenient Truth” appeared to have influenced a temporary breed of environmentalists.  People who lived within ten miles of a movie theater showing the film were found to be 50 percent more likely to buy carbon offsets during the months after the film’s release than those living more than ten miles away from one.  

To conduct the study, Jacobsen contacted the film’s distributor Paramount Vantage and obtained the 1,389 U.S. zip codes where the film was shown.  Carbonfund provided him with a list of 12,902 carbon offsets that were purchased between March 2006 (two months before the release of “An Inconvenient Truth”) and May 2008, along with purchasers’ zip codes.  Numbers started matching up in the timeline, and Jacobsen started finding trends.

According to AOL News, the film’s effect was only temporary.  One year after its release, Jacobsen found no significant trends or differences in carbon offset purchases that could be attributed to people seeing the film.

To be fair, let’s put this in perspective.  It’s not like “An Inconvenient Truth” was showing at the nearest Imax cinema.  Gore’s documentary was an indie film house hit, and most independent movie theaters are in liberal-minded neighborhoods, already populated by people who are more likely to believe in global warming and buy carbon offsets, than say, conservative suburbanites or those who typically drive gas-guzzling SUVs.  It’s basically preaching to the choir.

Photo courtesy of openDemocracy via Flickr


ilse D.
.7 years ago

Thank you, I noticed as well people are more aware

Priscilla G.
Priscilla G7 years ago

Everyone should see this movie, show it in our schools as part of the curiculum.

Phil H.
Phil H.7 years ago

When will we see the truth about this , 10 years from now ? The admissions that this is simply another RORT so the true culprits and the moneymakers in all of the environmental vandalism dont have to repair the damage they have done out of their ill gotten , illegal and immoral financial gains . Time to have a social revolution and put these greedy pigs on notice to fix it and stop what you are doing now or face some very serious personal retaliation and consequences . Stop them now or there will be no planet and no decent world for the next generations .

Marianne Good
Past Member 7 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Past Member 7 years ago

what absolute hypocrisy...gore?? no way..i remember when the oscars came up and he might win one...he was in new york right he "flies" to hollywood to attend (all the after parties and associate with the 'stars')...that was really worth the trip!!!...and it's not like he flew on a scheduled would have been a private plane....along with all his little minions he needs to salve his ego wherever he i support the environmental movement...i don't support the hypocrite...

David N.
David N7 years ago

Thanks for the article. It's great to know that Al Gore has had an effect. Too bad he didn't win the presidency. Think of the changes then.

Sumit jamadar
Sumit jamadar7 years ago


Roxana J.
Roxana J7 years ago

It takes a little bit of energy..... try to make a bigger effort and do something good for the environment....

Colin Hope
Colin Hope7 years ago

Noted and signed!!

Mahalingam Sundararaman

I am one of the admirers of Mr.Al Gore for his far-reaching analysis presented in his "Inconvenient Truth".We,in India, made special efforts to procure the DVD immediately and translated into Tamil with the co-operation of a Non-profit Organisation called EXNORA and sensitised a fair percentage of the population including students and children.Even much earlier than this ,we started another NPO called "The Shade of A Tree" mainly for planting Avenue Trees in Chennai in Sept 2005.We have similar organisations for planting Trees by enlightened Citizens in other Major cities in India also.Hence if an average American is wantonly oblivious to the happenings around, blame cannot be thrown on Al Gore for his far-sighted warnings.Another International NPO "Trees for the Future" has also started making inroads into other African contries and India for propagating Tree-planting as a mission. It is a matter of environmental record as assessed by a n Authority at the highest level that the year 2010 has enjoyed the hottest summer after 1997. For India, the Hottest summer was in the year 2009 as assessed by the Meteorological Dept of Govt of India.If the World citizens and World Governments are indifferent to the phenomenon of "Global Warming" ,it is truly an unfortunate situation.