Persuading Climate Change Doubters with “Cool It”

A new documentary, Cool It, may be able to help some of us in our quest to settle arguments about climate change.  Most readers of this publication probably accept that climate change is a real phenomenon.  But there are still people out there, usually politically charged, who think climate change is nonsense.

Although Cool It was released in theaters late last year, it recently screened at the Anthem Film Festival, part of FreedomFest 2011, in Las Vegas, NV – a libertarian gathering.  It was a surprise to see such a pro environmental documentary given the leanings of this particular event.

Last year at FreedomFest 2010, a debate was held on whether or not global warming was a hoax.  A poll of the audience resulted in the 99% consensus that it was indeed a hoax, hence my surprise to stumble upon such a screening!

Cool It assumes that global warming is real, but may not be as catastrophic as it is said to be. Furthermore, it critiques the fashionable plans of fixing the problem, namely cap and trade.  Rather, Bjorn Lomborg is shown picking brains and brainstorming innovative ideas of how to stop and/or alleviate global warming.  

Lomborg also has a different take on how climate change has been presented to the public.  “Fear has been ruling the climate debate.  It’s about time that we realize the current approach is broken,” says Lomborg.  The FreedomFest crowd seemed a lot more receptive to Lomborg’s approach than that of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

However, the crowd wasn’t without adamant opposition.  One audience member commented that even though Lomborg was known as the skeptical environmentalist, he wasn’t skeptical enough, suggesting that climate change was still a hoax.  But despite such opposition, there was one point that many could agree on, cutting out wasteful spending.

Cool It is especially critical of the wasteful monetary spending on climate change.  It hints that with the amount of money being used to fight climate change, we can do a better job with that fight, and more.  With smarter technological and renewable solutions, we can not only alleviate climate change, but perhaps tackle other problems such as hunger and health in the third world.

“And I think that is the way of the future, is not blowing money in ridiculous ways, but helping human beings here and now,” says producer Sarah Gibson.  The monetary factor is yet another reason why Cool It had a much more positive response to the traditionally fiscally mindful folks of FreedomFest.

All in all, whether you believe in climate change or not, Cool It is eye opening in pragmatic and fiscally responsible approach to dealing with the climate change debate and the phenomena itself.

Jonathan Mariano is an MBA candidate with the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. His interests include the convergence between lean & green and pursuing free-market based sustainable solutions.

7 responses

  1. It’s not surprising that the libertarian crew welcomed Lomborg’s views more than Gore’s. It show why people who argue from a politics first, everything else, including reality, second perspective are dangerous.

    The main problem with Lomborg view is that his root view is that anthropogenic climate change can’t be that bad that we need to make large, sometimes inconvenient, moves to prevent it, so his “delicate” strategy of a little bit of technology here, a little bit of adaptation there must seem appealing to those who abhor any governmental interference in their lives.

    But what if he’s wrong (and just about every climate scientist is right)?

    What if the nature of the problem and the scale of the deleterious consequences is such that large scale action is not only necessary, but extremely urgent? The nature of the climate system is one of gigantic thermal mass and inertia (chiefly in the oceans) so there is thought to be a minimum of 30 years lag between any action and any result – if we do nothing, or not enough, to mitigate the problem, by the time we find out the final verdict on the accuracy of climate science, it will be 30 years to late to do anything about it.

    In essence, Lomborg’s claim to having a cooler head whilst all around him are hot-headed doom-sayers needs to be looked at from a risk analysis perspective. Faced with Dirty Harry’s Magnum, Lomborg would analyse the small chances that there was a bullet left in the gun and compare it with the economic costs to himself and his family if he was late for an important job interview (or his next crime) if he allowed himself to be arrested by the forces of law and order.

    Any normal person would not take the chance of being shot, but Lomborg merrily describes that chance for the rest of us as some sort of wiser path? He is dangerous and as breathtakingly stupid as only an intelligent but severely misguided person can be.

  2. A Former Climate Blame Believer Speaks:
    Climate Change was not sustainability; it was a CO2 death threat to billions of children.
    So just what DOES have to happen now to convince you remaining faded CO2 Doomers, that we former climate change believers are correct and climate change was wrong, exaggerated and not a real danger at all? What has to happen now to prove we were right? 25 MORE years of wrong predictions and warnings? What has to happen now?
    Instead of trying to find reasons to believe in this coming misery of climate crisis, if you took the time to look, you would see that scientific climate change consensus means every single publicly funded scientist and publicly funded science organization, has their own personal and unique definition of climate change’s coming effects. It was a comfortable lie fueled by political correctness on steroids and still believing in this CO2 blunder makes one voyeuristic car accident rubber-necker who wishes and hopes and prays for other peoples misery. Continued support of the CO2 blunder isn’t about love for the planet, it’s now about hating humanity and history is watching this madness.
    What has to happen now to prove we former believers are correct?

    1. meme mine wrote:

      So just what DOES have to happen now to convince you remaining faded CO2 Doomers, that we former climate change believers are correct

      Well I guess I would need to be converted to your beliefs. The only problem is that would require me giving up my acceptance of the overwhelming, and growing ever stronger, scientific position (I was talking to Professor Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the British Government on Thursday). You are simply wrong. No doubt about it.

      It would require me believing in the disinformation propaganda spread by those with powerful financial or political biases and an interest in distorting the truth – clearly their crafted “spin” has sucked you in, along with hordes of other naive “sceptics”.

      Seriously. People like you, with your over-confident ability to ignore the credibility of your sources and who instead eagerly believe half truths, cherry picked “facts” and B.S. are a danger to everybody else.

      I’m believing reality, not a manufactured denialist fantasy.

    2. “if you took the time to look, you would see that scientific climate change consensus means every single publicly funded scientist and publicly funded science organization, has their own personal and unique definition of climate change’s coming effects”

      i challenge you to come up with 5 substantive examples where this is even remotely true

    3. I cannot express how outraged I was by this comment. How much hard, scientific evidence do you naysayers need to see that climate change is not only real, but will have vast ramifications that we are already beginning to see today. The record-setting heatwave plaguing half of the country shows some of the tipping point effects that a few degrees can have on energy consumption, health, food production, etc. I’m sure it is pointless to postulate this to you, but what if you are wrong? The consequences of your position being wrong, compared to the other 99% of the scientific community, are far greater.

  3. Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist was so full of misconstrued or falsified, cherry-picked statistical bs, that he has forever tainted himself. That book, and the statements he was making during and after its publication, were some of the touchstones of the denialist belief system. Talking about “delicate” strategies in response to AGW simply ignores the massive train of global effects that is slowly building speed, becoming more and more difficult to stop (or even slow down).

  4. I did not hear Bjorn Lomborg’s talk, nor have I read his book. However, one thing is very clear, and that is: additional Carbon Taxes put on by governments are not going to solve anything. All they achieve is the opposite, as more and more people are not able to afford to do anything to reduce their use of fossil hydrocarbons. Furthermore, big business, simply continues to use more and more – they rate Growth as the only answer. When taxed it does not affect them or their Directors’ salaries, they simply pass it on by putting up their prices to the public, or move their production to another country e.g. China, who is then blamed for being a bad polluter. When they can make use of ROCS then they do so gladly as it allows them to pollute as much as they wish, simply by planting trees somewhere else in the world, that will take many years to absorb the extra CO2 that the companies are releasing in the first year!

    I believe that the earth is a dynamic entity no matter what we do. As in volcanoes release gas and soot without any interference from us; and if the poles reverse soon then that too will not be a man induced change. However, by burning fossil hydrocarbons we are altering the balance of gases in our atmosphere. CO2 is increasing and O2 is decreasing; infact probably the fish should be more worried than us. For I have heard politicians state that the loss of a wee bit of O2 is not important. The fact that it requires a high concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere to allow enough to dissolve in the water to support our fish and bottom livers, is unknown to them.

    It is a sad fact that our politicians and their advisers seem to know very little of the ‘whole picture’. They all study political science, but there are very few, if any, who combined this with an indepth study of Zoology, Botany, Biochemistry, Geology etc. and it needs an understanding of all, to see the full situation that we are in.

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