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Quick, see it before it's gone

29 Apr 2020 | News Roundup

No we’re not talking about eco-tourism to an endangered rainforest or glacier dwindling to a sad little puddle. We’re referring to Michael Moore’s new documentary Planet of the Humans. Every revolution devours its children, and Moore is about to be a large meal. He is not our favourite filmmaker but his new movie blows the lid off the green energy movement with astonishing gusto and reveals it as the scientific and economic scam it is. For which Moore, as Executive Producer, and Jeff Gibbs as Director, face “cancellation” as the green mob succeeded in convincing the distributor to yank the film (though they have since relented and put it back up). Green politics being what it is, there are some lines that simply cannot be crossed, and Moore’s film, released free on YouTube ahead of Earth Day and quickly garnering millions of views, ran over them with a biodiesel-powered bulldozer.

There is much to like about Moore’s new documentary, and much to dislike. To start with the positives, it is technically a finely crafted piece of work: well-shot, well-edited, compellingly paced and so forth. A model for documentary-makers, in fact.

Also, it exposes the sad reality of green energy with devastating impact. The detailed critique of would-be green energy schemes is framed in the movie by two amusing anecdotes of hipster eco-music festivals supposedly powered by “100% renewable energy” at which Gibbs wanders behind the stage and both times discovers the diesel generators that are the real source of power for the lights and sound system.

The various supposed technologies of the future cannot survive without subsidies and fossil fuel backups; the latter by necessity being operated so inefficiently in the presence of intermittent wind and solar that there’d have been fewer greenhouse gas emissions if we just used fossil fuels on their own. To point out the inefficiency of all this is not being cold and heartless. We are talking about harm to people and the environment from these wasteful windmills and solar panels.

Some of the stuff not to like in the documentary is a strength not a weakness. It deliberately exposes the enormous financial hypocrisies of those who support alternative energy. (And has a lovely clip in which Bill McKibben claims not to remember who his big funders are.) But it also accidentally exposes the hypocrisies of its Deep Ecology opponents, by showing them discoursing elegantly on the need to end our way of life from within air-conditioned or centrally heated, comfortably lit buildings surrounded by petroleum products from smart phones and computers to desks, buttons and plastic containers.

Something genuinely not to like is that the documentary is neo-Malthusian and anti-human. As Robert Bryce put it irritably in Forbes, at bottom Moore thinks “Humans are like cockroaches. We need fewer of them. That’s the fundamental message of Michael Moore’s new documentary, Planet of the Humans.”

The anti-human finger-wagging is even more tiresome coming from someone whose game of exposing hypocrisy in others is so easily turned on himself. Those who denounce our species as being far too numerous and rapacious owe us an answer not only to the obvious question “Then why are you here?” but, in Moore’s case, “Why are you so rich and fat?” Michael Moore is clearly very fond of the abundant food our horrible civilization furnishes even to its most acerbic critics, and has an estimated net worth of $50 million and a $5 million house, and evidently intends the mass die-off he wants to see happen to be visited on people other than himself, preferably one presumes after he has lived out his days enjoying the luxurious benefits of industrial civilization.

On the other hand, gall has its virtues. And indeed another admirable feature of the documentary is that it exhibits a quality much needed in the modern era as always, namely courage. Moore must have known he was putting the cat among the pigeons. And while to some extent he may be suspected of simply enjoying annoying people for money, he picked a brave target in this case.

Possibly it required more courage than he realized. As someone firmly on the left since he was just an aspiring maker of the low-budget indie Roger and Me, he may not have understood how vicious some of his fellow travellers are. Among those now howling for his hide is Josh Fox, whose 2010 assault on fracking Gasland pushed the boundaries of factual accuracy beyond the breaking point, and who is spearheading the movement to get the documentary withdrawn. (Indeed there is no guarantee that the link we posted above will still work by the time you read this; if it does and you’re interested we suggest downloading a copy for future reference.)

Another who piled on savagely was Michael Mann, or in Anthony Watts’ phrase “serial ringmaster Michael Mann… provides the entertainment”. Mann tweeted that “Only in the Trumpian era of gaslighting could a progressive filmmaker produce a polemic premised on the absurd notion that ultra right-wing plutocrats are secretly funding the effort to end our dependence on fossil fuels. And get progressives to actually fall for it.” (Mann also seems to have tweeted that Moore was “mansplaining” and then, as he has a strange habit of doing, retweeted himself.) But this “nothing to see here” attitude won’t do, philosophically or practically.

Even the Guardian ran a positive review of the documentary that included “All the green, liberal A-listers – Bill McKibben, Al Gore, Van Jones, Robert F Kennedy Jr – are attacked in this film as a pompous and complacent high-priest caste of the environmental movement, who are shilling for a fossil fuel industry that has sneakily taken them over.” And it actually chided the director because “for all his radical bravado, Gibbs does not dare criticise Thunberg”. In the end, the Guardian isn’t quite sure what to make of it, saying “Gibbs doesn’t mention nuclear and – a little lamely, perhaps – has no clear lesson or moral, other than the need to take a fiercely critical look at the environmental establishment. Well, it’s always valuable to re-examine a sacred cow.”

Precisely. In showing courage, chutzpah or some combination of the two, Moore has forced a great many people to confront something we skeptics have been saying for decades: If the climate crisis is as bad as the alarmists claim, the solution isn’t simply a few toy renewables, it will take drastic measures with drastic consequences to implement the policies they favour. It will take an economic shutdown like we have imposed for COVID-19, only one that will never end.

If you doubt alarmists really believe the crisis to be this serious, look no further than Greta Thunberg’s latest video showing a family going about its morning business in a house that is gradually being engulfed in flames. Of course like much alarmist agitprop it backfires since the family’s indifference to the fire (and the cheesy special effects) creates the sense that it’s somehow not harmful, or even real, and thus they have learned to ignore it.

Now it is important to stress here that whether your house or entire planet is in fact on fire has nothing to do with how much you’d prefer that it not be, or how hard it would be to extinguish the blaze. The science of climate change does not change one whit, in either direction, just because you discover something nasty about the economics of various policies advocated to deal with it. If you imagine a scale with the costs of “business as usual” on one side and the costs of the Green New Deal on the other, the discovery that the weight of the GND is far higher than you thought does not change the weight of “business as usual” by one ounce. Something important does change, though. And not just something psychological.

Discovering that “net zero” really does mean going back to living in caves off moss and twigs forces green advocates to take another look at the severity of the problem. It’s one thing to plump for trendy “climate solutions” when you think they’re costless or even economically beneficial. But when you discover that they are economically ruinous and worse for the environment, it surely forces you to ask just how bad living with climate change would be.

Maybe Moore himself will reconsider his views when he sees where they lead. Or when he realizes that many of those who adhere to the ideology he has long espoused have no desire to debate him, only to censor and cancel him. But even if he doesn’t, others are bound to because Moore’s alternatives don’t look good at all.

There is a nasty side to the man, including his view that his fellow humans are basically a swarm of rats. Not that people aren’t capable of horrifying cruelty. But the same species that can pollute a river until it catches fire, and stage genocides, will also produce a 3D-printer prosthetic for a duck that lost a foot, rush into a burning building to save a stranger, and risk death to smuggle Jews out of Nazi-occupied Europe.

To someone like Moore, it’s skin-crawling that retailers would offer Earth Day sales on ecofriendly products. (Though it’s fine that they pay hard currency to see his films.) To others, it’s a sign of the ingenuity of humans at their best, meeting real needs in creative ways. And maybe when you see that getting rid of affordable, reliable energy would amount to genocide, you consider options. Including, dare we say it again, nuclear?

13 comments on “Quick, see it before it's gone”

  1. Gee, like most people I'd forgotten about St Greta Of Stockholm. Are she and her speech writers still "a thing"? There's a very good rundown of the actual cost to the planet of "Clean Green Renewables" by Bryan Fischer at http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/fischer/200303 but I don't know if the link will stop this comment from being shown. It's worth seeing where all those rare minerals to make electric car batteries and windmills etc really come from and how much they damage the environment they're supposed to be saving.

  2. To all those Malthusian who claim there are too many people for the earth to support. Here’s a rope, you can be among the first to help decrease the surplus population.

  3. What's intriguing about this film to me is the total non sequitur between its two primary theses: the illusion (and delusion) of so-called sustainable sources of energy; and the idea that only some radical and terminal defeat of humanity's search for endless progress can save us. How the first is supposed to hurl us into the second is a complete mystery. You could just as easily argue (if you were that way inclined) that the continued use of fossil fuels would get us to the second thesis: that being so, then two quite contradictory scenarios would seem to give the identical, apocalyptic result. What this film does is blow apart the green agenda: that part is relentlessly factual, and scientifically accurate. (The blueprint for the script might have been, but probably wasn't, Professor Ian Plimer's book, "Not for Greens.") The rest is doom-laden, unscientific speculation. A blast of fresh air, then: with just a whiff of sulphur.

  4. I have downloaded the film from YouTube using Replay Media Catcher. It's 1.66 GB. I look forward to watching it later, now it's late at night.

  5. I totally agree with exposing the green movement for what it is. I was not surprised that wind and solar were trashed. What surprised me was that the biomass movement has become so big in the US (in addition to biofuels). To argue that clear cutting forests to burn for energy is ridiculous. And adding shredded tires and creosote (fossil fuels) to increase the burn temperature above what wood burns at is a total betrayal of clean energy practices. Even though it produces some level of reliability it destroys the environment. It was estimated that burning every tree in America would only supply one year's worth of energy. It also requires subsidy to compete and for some reason has been deemed renewable. That's a stretch since it would take several decades to regrow each tree. By that measure coal and oil are also renewable using much larger time scales of course. And even if it is considered renewable it's still not green or low emission.
    As others have mentioned the answer has to be nuclear.

  6. Well, that is a truly thoughtful response to an issue that needs discussion. \sarc off

    When you think of the impact that 6 billion of us have had on the planet so far, and in only a century, do you really think that another 5 billion this century is a reasonable thing to impose on this planet? It is especially bad when you realize that those 5 billion will want to consume just like us westerners do, so the impact will be much worse than if these new 5 billion were living in poverty in the far reaches of africa for instance. Climate change is really nothing to worry about, since it is just the outcome of too many people on the world. Control the population (somehow) and co2, if it is a problem, will take care of itself. I believe that we need to ask ourselves "what is the right amount of humans on this planet?" Certainly most would answer that the right amount of people would be less than we now have, if we could keep our standard of living intact. I suspect that is why many react with anger at the thought of population control - they worry that it will affect their wealth and it will affect the economy since the economy relies on continuous growth. And continuous growth is impossible on a finite planet.

  7. Jon: What number, pray tell, is the right number? This planet has a lot of extra room, Canada being a prime example. One of the reasons Africa is so malnourished is not because there's not enough food, but too much corruption. Also, as countries become developed, people start having fewer children so if we allow them to develop, the population won't increase dramatically. But if 3rd world countries remain poor, then they will continue having multiple children. I don't believe it's up to us to limit the population. That opinion has been spouted since the 1970s and the population has more than doubled since then. The reason the elites want it implemented is because large populations are harder to control and they consider many of us useless eaters (their words, not mine).

  8. Need some help; i'm trying to confirm some information. A friend in Germany watched the movie and we discussed it this morning. When the subject of Gramany and their power use came up he pulled up the link below. In it about halfway down the page they have a pie chart that seems to indicate that renewables contribute almost as much energy in Germany as coal, nuclear, gas and oil. But the chart at 1:04:00 in the movie seems to contradict that. I also recall that renewables were a much small piece of the pie. Can someone help square this?


  9. Thank you for the link. for whatever reason, people only look at the output and never consider the costs of the inputs.

  10. I have never before been able to watch a Michael Moore film to its conclusion till now. I detest how he manipulates the truth and edits quotes to change what someone actually said. But Jeff Gibbs shows there is genuine hypocrisy within the "green" movement and the real truth about renewables, especially biofuels, that genuine greenies must see so that progress can be made both to reduce our environmental impact and to provide the energy needs that 8 billion people need. Bravo.

  11. There is a good reason why the left want him censored. The enormity of the CAGW - "green energy" rent seeking industry, green hysteria merchants (ENGOs) and academics, including Mann and his numerous colleagues can't afford to have the lights turned on to their game. While many of them agree with the premise of Moore's film (the need to eliminate most of humanity), the message is too blatant in that without the politically correct bromides of wind, solar, and bio-fuels, the only solutions to their "climate catastrophe" is de-industrialization, depopulation, or scaling up the "unthinkable" nuclear power (entirely ignored in the film). The need for eliminating most of humanity is the conclusion of the documentary and one which honestly portrays modern pseudo-environmentalism. That level of honesty leaves the masses of superficial followers of the movement where there is no need for the likes of Mann, Al Gore, and thousands of rent seeking green energy scams, nor their pandering politicians as there would no longer be any "hope" of salvation on offer.

  12. Jon, you are right. The human way of life is destructive and it would be better if there were fewer of us. But that's what is happening in an organic way as nations and societies become more prosperous. The birth rate drops below replacement. Humans are concentrating in cities. Less land is being cultivated to feed more humans. Natural gas is cheaper than coal and produces fewer particulate emissions. Although clean nuclear energy has become almost as expensive as wind and solar, a richer society can afford it.

  13. Not for Greens is a fantastic book. I also am reading the book, The moral case for Fossil fuels by Alex Epstein.

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