Saturday, May 9, 2020
Dr Sterling Burnett: Leftists Turn on Film Maker Michael MooreLabels: Climate alarmism, Dr H. Sterling Burnett, Michael Moore, Planet of the Humans
Socialist radical environmentalists are repeating history again, eating one of their own, in this case far-left filmmaker and Bernie Sanders supporter Michael Moore. They are trying to destroy the progressive documentarian for honestly pointing out the hypocrisy and lies behind the push for green energy.
Even though America’s free-market economy has made him a multimillionaire, Moore is a longtime critic of capitalism and the United States and is a leader of the Progressive movement intent on replacing capitalism with socialism. Now his socialist fellow travelers say Moore is a friend no more, having committed apostasy by turning his critical lens on the green energy movement.
Planet of the Humans, produced by Moore and directed and narrated by his longtime collaborator Jeff Gibbs, released on YouTube for free viewing on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, shows green energy can’t prevent climate change and efforts to promote it are nothing more than crony capitalism disguised as concern for the Earth.
The film demonstrates every form of so-called “green” energy depends on fossil fuels for its production and/or operation and causes tremendous environmental damage.
For instance, solar panels are made with metallurgical coal and quartz, both often produced by blowing up mountains during their mining. Solar panels require 16 times more materials in the form of cement, glass, and steel than do nuclear plants, and they create 300 times more waste.
Renewable fuels are produced using tractors run on diesel, use water pumped by electricity, often from fossil fuel power generating plants, and the raw materials are delivered by trucks burning diesel to distilleries powered by fossil fuels. The crops used to make biofuels consume millions of gallons of water annually and require the conversion of between 400 and 750 times more land—depending upon the crop grown to produce the fuel—to produce an equivalent amount of petroleum.
In addition to showing the green energy emperor has no clothes, Moore and Gibbs also skewer green energy profiteers, the climate alarmists who profit from and lie about the energy they promote. For instance, billionaire Elon Musk, whose company has benefited greatly from millions of dollars in federal tax credits for electric cars and state property tax abatements for his factories, brags his Gigafactory battery manufacturing plant in Nevada is powered 100 percent by renewables. Gibbs shows it is hooked up to the electric grid, relying on natural gas for much of its power. Gibbs also shows fracked natural gas is essential to the smooth, reliable operation of the bird- and tortoise-killing Ivanpah solar power plant in California.
Additionally, although Germany’s [mis]leaders and homegrown progressive environmental scold Bill McKibben of 350.org claim Germany gets 30 percent to 60 percent of its power from renewables, the reality is Germany gets only 3.5 percent of all its renewable energy from solar and wind combined. “A whopping 70 percent of what passes for ‘Green’ energy in Germany comes from Biomass—grinding up trees in the Amazon and the U.S. Southeast and shipping them to Europe where Germany (and Great Britain) burns them for electrons and get Carbon Credits for doing so!” reports Counterpunch in describing one of the film’s findings.
A review of the film in Forbes by Michael Shellenberger, a Time magazine “Hero of the Environment,” points out “the film shows Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla telling Leslie Stahl of ‘60 Minutes’ that his biofuels plant made ‘Clean green gasoline.’ After Stahl asked what the downside was, Khosla said, ‘There is no downside.’”
However, Shellenberger notes, “One year later, Khosla’s company filed for bankruptcy and defaulted on a $75 million loan it received from the state of Mississippi. It produced biofuels for $5 to $10 a gallon, ‘even without counting the cost of building the plant,’ noted Washington Post’s Steve Mufson in 2014. Two earlier Khosla biofuel ventures had already gone bankrupt after receiving hundreds of millions of federal government subsidies. Shareholders sued Khosla’s company for fraud.”
The film also shows Al Gore, the political godfather of climate alarmism, raked in approximately $100 million dollars when he and his co-owner of Current TV sold the channel to Al Jazeera, a network funded by the government of Qatar, whose operations are funded largely by oil and gas revenues and whose citizens have the largest per capita carbon footprint in the world. Gibbs shows Gore, his billionaire corporate investment fund cronies, and environmental groups such as the Sierra Club promote and are profiting from biomass burning—cutting down and burning trees, often mixed with used tires—to replace coal for electric power generation. This emits as much or more carbon dioxide and even worse toxic pollutants into the atmosphere than coal.
Exploring an allegedly sustainable, green energy investment fund recommended by McKibben’s organization, Gibbs reports, “In the Green Century Fund, recommended by 350.org, I found less than one percent solar and wind and 99 percent things like mining, oil and gas infrastructure, a tar sands exploiter, McDonald’s, Archer Daniels, ... Coca-Cola, … and lots of banks, including Black Rock, the largest financer of deforestation on earth.”
As Gibbs explained in an interview with Breitbart, neither Moore nor he set out to challenge the effort to replace fossil fuels with renewable power. Instead, they wanted to understand why it hasn’t been more successful, wondering why fossil fuels still dominate our energy system. Instead of dark forces and moneyed interests suppressing purportedly green energy, they found corporate interests were behind and profiting from policies subsidizing and mandating renewables, and that renewables actually require the use of fossil fuels.
“It turned out the wakeup call was about our own side,” Gibbs told Breitbart. “It was kind of crushing to discover that the things I believed in weren’t real, first of all, and then to discover not only are the solar panels and wind turbines not going to save us … but [also] that there is this whole dark side of the corporate money. … It dawned on me that these technologies were just another profit center.”
For the sin of telling the truth about the Left’s green energy lies, environmental protest leaders have called for Planet of the Humans to be pulled from viewing. For instance, the electric vehicle advocacy web publication Electrek notes Josh Fox, the director of the anti-fracking film Gasland, led a Twitter and online campaign to have the film taken down and force Moore to issue an apology, claiming “[t]he film is an unsubstantiated, unscientific, poorly made piece of yellow journalism which attacks proven renewable energy and science.” Thus far, the efforts to have the film removed from viewing have failed. As of May 6, the direct-to-YouTube video is still online and has been viewed more than 6.5 million times.
Climate realists have long described the tremendous virtues of fossil fuels when compared to renewable energy sources, including in the authoritative Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels. Realists have also repeatedly pointed out the high environmental and human health costs produced by green energy, as in a recent paper by The Heartland Institute, “Policy Brief: How The Green New Deal’s Renewable Energy Mining Would Harm Humans and the Environment,” which examines the horrendous toll on human health and the environment produced during the mining and refining of minerals critical for wind, solar, and battery power. Coming from conservatives, the mainstream media has largely ignored this research—it goes against their liberal bias.
That’s why Planet of the Humans is so dangerous: it comes from the extreme Left’s own ranks. As such, progressives feel they must the destroy the message and, if necessary, their former hero, its messenger, lest mainstream environmentalists—average people who, although concerned about the environment, are not necessarily wedded to socialism—see it and realize what they’ve been lead to believe about green energy, that it is good for the environment and those pushing it are selfless in their pursuit of the public good, just ain’t true.
Although I have usually disagreed with the messages Moore and Gibbs promoted in their past films, the key message in Planet of the Humans is spot-on. Green energy is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and bad for human freedom. To Messrs. Moore and Gibbs, in the immortal words of celluloid hero John McClane in Die Hard , I say, “Welcome to the party, pal!”
Planet of the Humans; Competitive Enterprise Institute; Climate Change Weekly; Electrek; Forbes; The Guardian; The Heartland Institute
Dr H. Sterling Burnett is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
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