Cool It [Import]
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Climate catastrophe? The end of civilization as we know it? Are the current staggeringly expensive actions now being considered really helping to save the world - or are we just burning money? In this eye-opening (LOS ANGELES TIMES) documentary, author Bjorn Lomborg (The Skeptical Environmentalist) asks us to question the facts and the solutions. Why in the world are we spending so much money on green initiativesfor such little gain? Are there better ways to solve the problems? How else could that money be spent? No matter what our opinions are on the environmental movement, COOL IT is an engrossing film (THE NEW YORK TIMES) that asks us to rethink our polarized views. After all, nothing less than the planet is at stake. Perfect for Earth Day - the rare environmental documentary that will appeal to consumers from differing political viewpoints.
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"We should not just solve a problem if the cost of solving that problem will be even greater than the problem itself."
The above comes from this documentary featuring Bjorn Lomborg. According to this film, Lomborg is the author of the best-seller "The Skeptical Environmentalist" (2001) and the organizer of the "Copenhagen Consensus" (a project that seeks to establish monetary priorities for advancing global welfare using methodologies based on the theory of welfare economics). The problem mentioned in the above quotation is climate change or, as the media likes to call it, "global warming." (Lomborg admits that global warming is real, a serious problem, and that it's caused by humans.)
Viewing this film, one might get the impression that this film is based on the best-seller mentioned above. NO. The DVD case also doesn't mention any actual titled book.
This documentary is actually based on Lomborg's book "Cool it" (2007). I found it interesting that this book is not mentioned anywhere in this documentary. In Amazon's "editorial review" for this film (shown above), it seems that Amazon's editors think it's based on Lomborg's best-seller.)
This entire film gives a one-sided presentation based on Lomborg's personal point of view.
In the first third of the film, a few of the topics discussed are:
Scenes from Lomborg's life, the Copenhagen Consensus, the Danish Committee for Scientific Dishonesty case, Lomborg and his mother, and Lomborg's travels.
For this part of the film, I found it quite interesting that we're not told who Lomborg is. Perhaps he's an economist? NO. Perhaps he's a scientist? NO. In Amazon's "editorial review" for this film (shown above), Lomborg is cited as a "Danish scientist.Read more ›
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A.) Global Warming is happening
B.) It is contributed to by man's activity (he doesn't specify how much or how little he thinks man's contribution is).
C.) It is a problem that needs to be addressed.
For this he is routinely pilloried by those that...believe in global warming? Doesn't make sense, right? Well, that is because here are a couple of other things he believes:
D.) While Global Warming is a problem it is not going to lead to the end of the world.
E.) There is too much fear mongering and bad science involved in the current debate.
F.) The most commonly proposed solutions (in large part reducing carbon emissions) have enormous costs and provide almost no benefits (for example, about a 0.1 degree reduction in the projected temperature over a CENTURY, at a cost of 180+ TRILLION of today's dollars).
For this he is attacked and insulted. People try to discredit him and ruin his career.
I have watched An Inconvenient Truth, and now I have watched this. While this movie does indeed easily debunk a number of claims made by Al Gore's movie, I wouldn't consider it the Anti-Inconvenient Truth, but it certainly provides a good counterpoint to that film. I would recommend everyone watch both and decide for themselves where they come down on the issues.
I should also add that this is not completely devoted to global warming. There is an underlying theme that advances the proposition that if we want to generally benefit the planet let's be honest about what we can and cannot do, and what things can be done that have a greater impact and/or a lesser cost per "unit" of impact, as opposed to things which are less effective. For example, see the example of the cost and benefit of attempting to attack global warming above, versus attacking, say malaria, which would objectively save millions of lives over the course of a few short years, and it would only cost a fraction of a penny of every dollar being advocated for combating global warming (and with a return on investment of almost ZERO).
What are the most logical items that we can influence to improve the human condition planet wide? What is the biggest bang for the buck? Global warming ranks second to dead last.
You will see a lot of bad reviews from a lot of people with an axe to grind against the subject of this documentary, and most of them will not have watched the movie. I say if you believe in science and open inquiry then why would anyone object to more voices being present in a debate? Watching this film put me in mind of a few quotes by Burke:
* We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature, and the means perhaps of its conservation.
* Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.
* It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick (sic) to be the most anxious for its welfare.
* The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.
This is a well made and informative film, and the intellectually honest reviewer should credit that, even if s/he disagrees with the subject of this film. See it and decide for yourself.
This documentary illustrates the very real problem of global warming and discusses how best to solve this for the benefit of both present and future generations. And he relates to a cost/benefit way of thinking and takes us through the bureaucratic machine and alternative solutions.
The documentary itself is a little self promotional and the first 30 minutes especially seems like a mushy infomercial. But, as the documentary progress it all fits together and end up forcing you to think sceptically on how to solve problems, not only global warming but many other global problems as well. So don’t let the first 30 minutes discard you.
The documentary is as much about global warming and possible solutions as it is about how the bureaucracy on this level of decision making (and obviously a major critic point in this Documentary). One critic point I have is that COOL IT does not really end up giving us a pragmatic approach or a solid game plan (I was personally hoping for this). It does however give us a better insight and a more diversified overview of possible solutions (some new to me) and not least it disproves what solutions the mainstream suggests today.
Do not skip the deleted scenes section of the DVD - I think it shows some very interesting aspects on the subject at hand.
Bjørn Lomborg's willingness to put a price tag on what he advocates and compare benefits is what make him unique. As always, he asks hard questions, admits they're hard questions, and presents a real answer. The bottom line is that even if human caused global warming is a myth, following his prescriptions will not cause significant economic harm to the world. If humans are to blame for global warming, his solutions are likely to work, something not true of his competitor's solutions.
I have serious disagreements with Bjørn Lomborg. Still, his willingness to admit to limited resources when attempting to save the world is something so obvious and so rare that his value as a humanitarian cannot be overestimated. This DVD is a better example of this.
The teaching that unless the new priesthood of environmental science is believed and obeyed, the earth will end in a fiery destruction, seems a secular version of the teaching of mideveal hellfire for those rejecting the priesthood of that time. Another reminder of religious belief is the idea that God will burn up the earth to punish sinners.
Julian Simon is credited with the ideas that challenged Lomborg's beliefs. He attempted to disprove Simon and failed. Interesting that the only idea of Simon's covered was that economic life is improving. This one thought was enough to start Lomborg in a new direction. Simon's picture is shown with devil's horns added.
Fear is shown to be the goal of the environmental community, not truth, and is needed due to the danger to the human race. Remember the inquisition justified suffering with the idea that the more suffering here and now on earth would remove or prevent suffering in fire in the future next world.