Let's not mince words here. The world, friends, is pretty much f**ked.

"It's worse than ever," Jon Shenk says. "It's worse than the scientists predicted 10 years ago. There's just no denying that we are in a very dangerous place."

As co-director of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Shenk should know. The documentary, which picks up a decade after Al Gore's climate change conversation-starting documentary An Inconvenient Truth, has regrettably followed today's movie trend of going darker and grittier.

The film is not an easy watch. It's filled with troubling scenes that highlight the catastrophic effect of global warming all over the world. But movies - even documentaries -are made for maximum dramatic effect. So, to kick things off, I ask Shenk just how bad it really is?

Advertisement

I find no comfort in his answer.

"The world is really suffering. The ice is melting at our poles, the oceans are becoming acidic and warmer. The air in our atmosphere is warmer and full of humidity-causing storms that are more intense, and affecting human lives. There's no question we're really in a dangerous place. We're in real danger."

Oh.

"On the other hand, there's this incredible hope that's come through in the form of alternative energy and sustainable solutions to energy needs. We're really on an exciting cusp of a technology revolution that might be a significant as the computer revolution or maybe even the industrial revolution. We are so close to these sustainable alternative methods providing energy and electricity."

This revolution is powered by the ever-decreasing cost of implementing and installing solar and wind technologies. Rather than overwhelming scientific evidence and personal experience it appears low, low prices could be the thing that saves us all...

Of course, there are still people's prejudices to overcome. But Shenk says even the staunchest anti-greenies are starting to reconsider their stance.

"Republicans are starting to flip simply because the economics makes sense to move towards sustainable energy," he says, citing both the cheaper electricity provided by renewable energy and the explosive job growth that goes along with it, currently 17 times higher than America's average job rate.

In one of the movie's more surprising and encouraging scenes, Al Gore visits the conservative mayor of Georgetown deep in the blood red heart of Texas, who has converted the city to being powered 100 per cent by renewable energy.

Although the mayor concedes this decision was purely financial and that saving the world was simply a nice bonus, that may have just been lip service to his hardcore Republican constituents. He looked pretty chuffed about it.

"A lot of these Republicans, once they find the truth and see the real picture, they become really proud of the fact that they're part of the solution and part of the forces trying to make the world a cleaner healthier place," Shenk says. "It's very interesting times in the US, and around the world in general, for the political debate because I think that it's flipping and flipping fast."

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Al Gore in
This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Al Gore in "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power." (Jensen Walker/Paramount Pictures via AP)

Of course, there's one person who hasn't flipped, won't flip, will never flip and is actively working to strip as many environmental protections as possible.

"It's really unfortunate that Trump has made good on many of his campaign promises to have the White House and his administration act as an enemy to the environment.," Shenk says. "Most significantly he made good on his promise to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accords. We felt like we had to put that news into our film.

"But we also felt it was important to put in that so many people have stood up in defiance of Trump around our country. Mayors, governors, CEOS, and many countries around the world, including New Zealand, recommitted themselves to the commitments that they made in Paris. Almost like sticking it in the eye of Trump and saying, 'look if you're not going to lead on this issue we will'.

"We half expected Trump to do what he did. What we didn't expect was the excitement and fortitude that other countries and many leaders in the US would respond with once he made that decision."

So, despite everything, it's not too late?

"I don't think it's too late, no. We followed Al Gore around for two years, we met with scientists... we ended up in a more hopeful place after we made this film."

Shenk stops for a second and launches into a story that will bolster even the most sagging of spirits.

"We met with a scientist in Greenland who said, 'look, we've done some damage. We 've injured our pinky finger on one of our hands and we might not ever get it back. But we still have nine and a half other fingers to save'. There's a lot to save out there."