LAST week, in a not-very-populated movie theatre, I watched a preview of the latest documentary eco-blockbuster from Al Gore, An Inconvenient Sequel. The polite Southern gentleman preceded his movie with a live chat, beamed across these islands from a London cinema.

The interviewer asked Gore about one behaviour he would want to see change. Gore paused, and said: “Get involved in trying to influence the people who are elected to represent you. It’s important to make the changes in the technologies you use, the products you buy – but it’s more important to change the laws and policies.”

The former vice-president continued: “There has to be a powerful expression to overbalance the lobbyists who are out there – who claim the right to use the open sky as their sewer for free and indefinitely, no matter the consequences for the rest of us.

“That has to stop, but the only way it will stop sooner rather than later, to stop in time to prevent the catastrophic consequences that scientists have been warning us about, is if enough people at the grassroots take the time, expend the energy and express the passion to let [the politicians] know it is important to you. That’s the main thing.”

The film that followed the chat was memorable and moving.

But in terms of identifying the most effective levers against catastrophic climate change, it is mostly the view from the top.

A large part of An Inconvenient Sequel shows Gore moving and shaking at the intergovernmental climate-summit (known as COP21) in Paris last year. He brokers deals down the smartphone between US solar-panel manufacturers and Indian ministers. He pumps the flesh of old statesman pals like John Kerry. He endlessly tinkers with his deck of slides for maximum keynote impact.

Gore does run a citizens’ training programme that has developed tens of thousands of climate advocates. And as he documents his travels, his courtly manners are able to cope with both the Republican small-town mayor, and the tearfully traumatised Phillippine hurricane survivor.

But there’s a mournfully heroic tone throughout – a slightly vain angst around a great statesman not quite hitting his mark. Gore muses repetitively on the ruins of his own political career, as Trump’s ascendancy directly unravels US climate commitments (there is a painfully forlorn shot of the former VP preparing to ascend the garish lifts at Trump Tower). Gore also spends rather too long on the travails around his pet project, an earth-imaging satellite, which the Obama Administration finally gets aloft.

No-one would deny the need to operate on a global level, whether via political or corporate institutions. We must fit climate action to the scale of the problem. But the airborne procession of Al Gore, lacing his contrails from one cavernous summit to another, does leave the citizenry with their noses pressed against the glass.

The role that Gore gives us – “expending time, energy and passion” in making well-drilled campaign noises – is intended to show the observing cosmocrats and moguls that democracy isn’t entirely apathetic yet. But is that enough?

In this particular scrap of the world, the social basis for climate action may have stronger foundations. There is a tiny fist-pumping Scottish moment in the film, when our once “world-beating” carbon-emission targets pop up in one of Gore’s slides, as an exemplar of how governments can act.

This week, both the Scottish Greens and the Climate Coalition – an environmental pressure group representing over 130 charities and NGOs – are urging the forthcoming Scottish Climate Change Bill to set new, globally leading targets. (They’re suggesting being 100 per cent free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and the dial being pushed forwards on electric cars, fuel-efficient homes, and greener farming).

As ever, the Scottish process shows how the country might have arrived at a sweet spot of governance. That is, between a national citizenry small, cohesive and smart enough to build a consensus around progressive goals and a political unit big enough to act on that consensus, in a concrete and standards-setting way.

Yet another Scottish sweet spot is the overlap between the display of one’s national eco-virtues on the global stage (which the first target certainly achieved) – and the thundering reality of the new economic paradigm which climate change is opening up.

An Inconvenient Sequel puts the business case for renewable energy extremely effectively. Gore shows the exponential curve that has driven wind and solar to match and now beat the prices of carbon-based fuel sources.

Economists like Carlota Perez, Jeremy Rifkin, Tim Jackson and Nick Stern (who speaks in the documentary) have been trying to prepare us for decades for these opportunities. That is, the industrial and infrastructural bonanza that ever-toughening climate change targets could trigger.

The construction and design work that needs to happen – around transportation, or building standards, or food systems, or the use of automation and AI – is enormous. It’s comparable to the great social rebuilding that took place after the Second World War.

Again, a Scotland where the citizenry and the Government are ostentatiously pulling together towards this future should be – indeed, already is – a manufacturing magnet for this vast, new economic wave.

One of the instances quoted in the Climate Coalition’s literature is a Scottish company, Star Renewables, which last year successfully tendered to run a Norwegian city’s winter energy supply by heat pumps – which nearly halved their fuel costs and massively reduced their carbon impact. (They are about to start a similar project in the Gorbals, right by the Clyde).

So an enterprising and ingenious eco-engineering sector, using domestic eco-targets to forge new markets at home and abroad, is undoubtedly a motivating story. The planet’s health improved by Scottish invention. What could be better?

The other striking element of An Inconvenient Sequel has a different lesson for environmental progress, and particular lessons for Scottish strategy. The documentary begins with Gore striding carefully across the glacial landscapes of Greenland – sublime nature at its best, beautifully shot.

But we watch unprecedented rivers of meltwater course through the ice, causing massive chunks of glacier to shear off into the sea. Elsewhere, alien-monster-like clouds drop almost comically calamitous “rain bombs” on Midwestern towns.

Gore’s zingers on the rising rate of extreme weather incidents are well-crafted. “Every night’s news is a nature hike through the Book of Revelations … Can’t you hear what Mother Nature is screaming at you?”

But they raise an interesting question: Do you terrify the populace into taking climate action adequate to the challenge?

Or do you seduce them into loving nature, thus becoming passionate defenders of it? However complex the history behind the reputation, Scotland signifies “environmental bounty and grandeur” to the wider world. A “natural larder” underpins the status of our food and drink exports.

Now, a decision on fracking from the Scottish Government is due before the end of this calendar year. From the light of the Gore documentary, the best strategy can only be to ban fracking in Scotland. Indeed, it would seem to pull off the magic trick of answering both the “fearful” and the “loving” appeals to environmental virtue. To turn away from the active exploitation of a fossil fuel resource would show to the world that the Scottish Government took seriously its contribution to emitting greenhouse gases (which fracking has been shown to increase, not decrease, as its propagandists claim). The sheer urgency of this, in order to avoid a multitude of connected disasters – as laid out by the apocalyptic essay by David Wallace-Wells in New York magazine last month – requires nothing less.

But banning fracking would also represent an act of love for nature. It would be a response to the studies showing that fracking would pollute and poison the soil and water that sustains Scottish produce, and affect the health of nearby communities also. (The ban on GM foods is part of the same logic).

The Climate Coalition produces thespian-packed, Ridley-Scott-produced videos, which ask citizens to “show the love” for nature once a year. But I think Scots can act both from ambition, and from love, when we consider collectively our climate change duties and actions. It should be an aspirational, indeed an inspirational, and certainly not an inconvenient truth for this country.

Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel is in cinemas now. For more on the Climate Coalition in Scotland, following this link.