An alternative guide to the trailer for Bj¸rn Lomborg’s ‘Cool It’ film

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"An alternative guide to the trailer for Bj¸rn Lomborg’s ‘Cool It’ film"

Unless you are prepared to go to the theater wearing a head vise, you’ll probably want to skip Lomborg’s new film, Cool It.

Heck, you are probably going to want to put on your vise just to watch the trailer below, since it features the now-discredited Richard Lindzen and the renowned confusionist Freeman Dyson of all people saying how much he admires Lomborg — along with Lomborg’s alone standard disinformation (see “More on the Lomborg Deception” and Caldeira calls the geoengineering vision of Lomborg’s Climate Consensus “a dystopic world out of a science fiction story”).

Of course, the head vise is analogous to a geo-engineering solution to watching Lomborg’s film: It doesn’t actually prevent most of the dangerous impacts and it might well cause its own problems.  So, if you’d rather skip even the trailer, you can read the excellent “alternative guide” by Leo Hickman, features journalist and editor at the UK Guardian:

Cinema-goers now have less than a month to wait until they get the chance to see Cool It, the new documentary made by Bj¸rn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. Cool It promises to be the antidote to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, with Lomborg “exploring the real facts and true science of global warming and its impact”. But, as all keen Lomborg watchers know, the Danish economist has been repeatedly challenged about his own use of the “real facts”. So one awaits Cool It’s interpretation of the global warming debate with some interest, if not a little trepidation.

In the meantime (the film is released in the US and Canada on 12 November), we must make do with the recently released trailer, above. Condensing a feature-length documentary into a 150-second trailer is always going to be a challenge, but it at least gives us a flavour of the feast ahead. So let’s see what we can expect:

00.11: Rapid-edit montage showing flooding, hurricanes, ice shearing off glaciers etc, all set to a dramatic score featuring jagged strings.

Voiceover of concerned children: “All the ice is going to melt”; “Trees will die and fall down”; “Countries will be underwater”; “I’m scared it’s going to happen quite soon.”

[Translation: Those naughty environmentalists; they've been terrifying our children again with their apocalyptic tales about how climate change is going to bring about the End of the World.]

00.26: Sudden softening of score signals arrival of the authoritative tones of film’s hero, Bj¸rn Lomborg: “Fear has been ruling the climate debate.”

Black-and-white footage of children in a cinema jumping on their seats in fear.

Lomborg: “It’s about time we realised that the current approach is broken.”

[Translation: Phew, at last: a voice of reason. Our children don't need to wet themselves with fear, after all.]

00.32: Uncaptioned, middle-aged English man (who is, in fact, Professor Gwyn Prins, joint author of the hotly debated Hartwell Paper) pointing his thumb at viewer: “If you want to get the attention of people on a complex issue you scare the pants off them.”

Footage of pyroclastic flows from volcano and children hiding under their desks during a Cold War drill.

[Translation: We're not into scaring people like these pitiful folk brainwashing our children, but we're going to use footage of a pyroclastic flow to ram home our point anyway, even though it has nothing to do with climate change. By the way, did we tell you that environmentalists are freaking the living bejesus out of our children? In fact, they're no better than those evil Commies we fought in the Cold War. They probably are Commies, to be honest.]

00.42: Lomborg: “If we only listen to worst-case scenarios, we are likely to be spending our money on the people who shout the loudest.”

JR:  A truly inane comment.  First off, if we listen to Lomborg and do virtually nothing to restrain emissions, then we just about guarantee the “worst-case scenarios,” which, in fact, are really just business as usual scenarios (see U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: “Recent observations confirm “¦ the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised” “” 1000 ppm and Our hellish future: Definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year “” and that isn’t the worst case, it’s business as usual!“)  Second, if we listen to the worst-case scenarios, we wouldn’t be spending our money on people who shout the loudest — we’d be spending it on energy efficiency and renewable technologies that reduce emissions, cut oil consumption, and improve public health.

Cut to archive footage of Al Gore: “The future of human civilisation is at stake.”

[Translation: Gosh, doesn't Gore shout loudly? Best to ignore him, then, and spend your money on my causes instead. See, I don't shout very loudly, do I?]

00.50: Cut to Freeman Dyson, labelled as “professor emeritus, institute of advanced study, Princeton”. Dyson is sitting in front of crammed bookshelves and a blackboard displaying equations.

[Translation: Sit up straight, people. This is a very wise man, indeed. He's also a darling of climate sceptics, but you don't need to know that for the purposes of this trailer because it might lessen his impact if we told you now that he actually accepts that mankind's carbon dioxide emissions are warming the planet - a point often ignored by his adoring fans.]

Dyson: “Al Gore’s film, that’s a brilliant film. The only problem is that a lot of it isn’t true and all of it that’s true is misinterpreted.”

[Translation: Gore's a clever manipulator. But I'm a lot smarter than him and have the evidence to prove it. Well, not in this trailer, obviously. You'll have to see the movie to see how I do that.]

JR:  In fact, RealClimate explains here how the film’s supposed errors are not in fact erroneous.

00.58: Cut to Richard Lindzen, labelled as “professor of atmospheric science, MIT”. As with Dyson, Lindzen is sitting in front of a bookshelf.

[Translation: Look smart, people. We've got another clever person here to dazzle you with their intellect and authority. Yes, that's two of them in a row! Boy, doesn't this Lomborg fella mix with some seriously brainy people? His thesis about global warming must, therefore, be completely compelling. But we won't bother telling you here that Lindzen is among the most famous of the handful - count them - of climate sceptic scientists who has long revelled in his role as contrarian-in-chief.]

Lindzen: “[An Inconvenient Truth] was designed to scare you.”

01.02: Lomborg, giving a lecture: “The tag line of Al Gore’s movie is: ‘This is the most terrifying film you will ever see.’

[Translation: Just in case we haven't rammed home the point enough yet, Gore is a scaremonger.]

01.06: Cut to Paul Reiter, labelled as “professor of medical entomology, Pasteur Institute”, sitting in a garden: “Science has been hijacked by alarmists and the public are given to believe they are to blame.”

[Translation: Yes, that's right: we've got another sciency person for you. As with the previous two, he happens to be from a tiny cluster of scientists who hold views convenient for my thesis, but this is just a trailer so you don't need to bother with that. Nor, for that matter, the fact that Paul Reiter was also a go-to guy - hey, it's a small pond so who can blame him! - for Martin Durkin in his discredited "documentary" The Great Global Warming Swindle.]

01.12: Montage of celebrities pronouncing what to do to help the environment: “We started washing our clothes with stones”; “I’m completely off electronics” (Larry David); “Energy-efficient lightbulbs” (Ed Begley Jr); “Recycling more, drive hybrids.”

[Translation: We'd like you to believe that Lomborg has arrived at the conclusion that millionaire, jet-setting celebrities who espouse green advice are dumb, vapid and just a teeny-weeny bit hypocritical. But we don't really want to simultaneously give you the impression that most environmentalists have arrived at the same conclusion, too.]

01.21: Lomborg, giving a lecture: “These are great things. By all means let’s do them, but let’s not kid ourselves and believe that these things are going to fix the problem. Even if everyone changed to Priuses, it would only cut by about half a percent of what we need to cut by mid-century.”

[Translation: Lomborg sees through all this BS about how tiny steps make a big difference. As did many environmentalists long ago, but, again, we won't raise that here because we want to maintain the idea that Lomborg is the first person to reach this conclusion. Hey, we've got a film to promote here!]

01.36: Cut to montage of Lomborg’s critics.

Uncaptioned voice: “Bj¸rn Lomborg is a traitor.”

Uncaptioned man [who is, in fact, the late Professor Stephen Schneider]: “Now all of a sudden a guy no one’s ever heard comes along and he’s got the answer.”

Lomborg: “People got incredibly upset and said that can’t be true.”

[Translation: The calm, smart Lomborg is being unfairly maligned by over-emotional no-nothings.]

01.47: Freeman Dyson in his study: “Lomborg is someone I admire very much.”

Dyson’s statement is mixed with an image of a newspaper cutting: “Bj¸rn Lomborg is the devil incarnate.”

[Translation: Lomborg's critics sure are a crazy bunch, aren't they? Hey, they even call him the "devil incarnate"! Actually, that's not really true, but we're deep into this trailer so can probably get away with it. That quote actually comes from a 2001 Daily Telegraph article comparing Lomborg's "inquisition" to that experienced by Galileo. This is what the article actually said: "Among environmentalists, Dr Bj¸rn Lomborg is the devil incarnate, an academic Beelzebub determined to convince us that, contrary to everything we have been told, our planet is not really on the brink of eco-disaster at all." Anyway, back to the trailer"¦]

01.49: Footage of Lomborg being “cream pied” by Mark Lynas, the environmental author, at an Oxford book signing in 2001.

[Translation: Lomborg's critics can't reason with him, they can only resort to childish pranks. But let's ignore that Lomborg and Lynas have had many civil public debates since this event nine years ago.]

01.52: Uncaptioned man [the late Professor Stephen Schneider again]: “This guy needs to be taken down.”

[Translation: Wow, here's a critic calling for Lomborg to be "taken down"! Does he mean intellectually, or physically? You decide, because we haven't supplied you with enough context to know. You also don't need to know that Schneider was himself the victim of violently abusive hate mail due to the views he held about climate change.]

01.54: Uncaptioned man in white coat: “Bj¸rn is contributing significantly to our awareness.”

[Translation: Did we tell you that Lomborg is a hero? Look, a man in a white coat says so!]

01:56: Footage of Lomborg pacing with intent towards Capitol Hill.

[Translation: Watch out, any politician who dares to tackle climate change! Your nemesis has arrived and he means business.]

Lomborg (on BBC Hardtalk): “Global warming is happening.”

[Translation: Lomborg is not - I repeat NOT - one of those people who refuses to accept that mankind is contributing to global warming. He's on the side of actual, y'know, science.]

Lomborg: “It’s a discussion of how do we actually tackle it.”

[Translation: That's the nub, really. This film is just a debate about choosing the best policy response to climate change. It's the kind of debate environmentalists have been trying to spark for the past three decades. But we couldn't sell you a film on that premise because it's kind of dull, so we've spent the past two minutes trying to whip this all up into some kind of message about how Lomborg is peering fearlessly into a new paradigm of human knowledge despite attacks from the Luddites surrounding him. It's neat, isn't it?]

01:58: Text on blue-sky background: “Sundance Award-Winning Director Ondi Timoner”¦ Takes You On A Journey”¦ Where Speaking Out, Might Just Save the Planet.”

[Translation: So what if we've slipped into just the sort of hyperbole we accuse environmentalists of using? This is a Sundance award-winning director we're talking about here! Comprende?]

Uncaptioned narration: “When we put our minds to things, and when we invest, we could do amazing things.”

[Translation: Yep, another line we've conveniently cribbed from environmentalists, but it's a positive, rousing message so we're going to borrow it for the climax of our trailer.]

02.11: Quote from a review of Cool It appears on blue-sky background: “‘Enlightening, Eye-opening, Brain-Nourishing Stuff’ Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times.”

[Translation: See, even the liberal-loving Los Angeles Times buys into Lomborg. Everyone loves him - except for those unenlightened, eyes-closed, brainless environmentalists, of course. And, honestly, we just didn't have enough room on the screen to provide the full quote from Steven Zeitchik's review: "Cool It isn't always convincing, but it's enlightening, brain-nourishing stuff." We also couldn't squeeze in this other quote: "The accuracy of some points is hard to divine from the doc itself, but, if true, they are thought-provoking." If true! How dare he? To think that anyone could even think such a thought about the facts Lomborg's uses to underpin his arguments. Shame on them!]

02:18: Uncaptioned scientist in a laboratory: “There are a lot of scientists and engineers all over the world who are fully energised. We’re going to do it.”

[Translation: Again, Lomborg has uncovered solutions that, like, no one has ever thought of before. Scientists and engineers have been waiting for decades for Lomborg to come along so that their previously unnoticed and ignored innovations could be aired to the world.]

Lomborg: “What are the smart ideas and what is the cost and what is the benefit?”

[Translation: Holy bat cave! This man has dreamt up something that will come to be known to future generations as cost-benefit analysis! It will revolutionise how we come to see the solutions to climate change, because until now no one had even thought to consider their cost, or even their benefit.]

Graphic shows some options: “Alternative Energy, Wave energy, Water Splitting, Wind Energy, Urban Cooling, Geo-Engineering.”

[Translation: "Hello, is that the Nobel Prize jury? Ah, yes. I would like to nominate someone called Bj¸rn Lomborg for next year's peace prize"¦"]

– Leo Hickman, reprinted with permission from The Guardian website.

A reporter asked me today if there was a silver lining to the election.  Hmm.  Well, at least everyone’s gonna get to see just how wrong confusionists like Lomborg were — and because he’s a young guy, he may well live to see it himself.

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12 Responses to An alternative guide to the trailer for Bj¸rn Lomborg’s ‘Cool It’ film

  1. An untold number of lives depend on getting our response to climate change right.
    But some are milking it for ego’s sake.
    Have they no shame?

  2. Lomborg is a skilled economist, with the truth at least!

    I am surprised that he has only been awarded with the custard pie prize once.

  3. Bill R says:

    What’s weird is that the feeling of the trailer at the end comes across as someone who is trying to pivot from his past positions. It makes me doubt that the conclusions of the film will be consistent with his past work or even his book. The trailer suggests he will be promoting (many of) the solutions he formerly said were not of value. You can bet though he will have some ideological belief that the free-market will do it all without a price or cap on carbon, because above all Mr. Lomborg is a free-market economist and his most important value is to not let government get involved in the functioning of the economy.

  4. L. Carey says:

    I am betting on Lomborg proceeding along the lines of the BTI mantra: We want big bucks to spend on research into pixie dust, magic ponies and geoengineering, which will make everyone feel better than that nonsense about actually reducing CO2 emissions (and, even better, since the Republicans would never go along with wasting money on that, this approach won’t even cost anything!)”. I think I smell not only the Nobel Prize, but also an Oscar nomination here! What a guy! So what if he’s not a climate scientist. Or any other kind of scientist. Or an environmental economist. Or any other kind of economist. Or an environmentalist. Or even very careful with what some folks classify as – oh, what is that elusive word? – oh, yes: FACTS.

  5. MapleLeaf says:

    WTF? I’m confused. Where does Lomborg stand on this issue? (My hypothesis on this below. Anyhow, this looks and sounds like parts of the trailer are from a Koch brothers’ video, or one by CATO or CEI for goodness’ sakes. Now that is alarming Mr. Lomborg.

    I have noticed this ambiguity paractisd by so-called “lukewarmers” before. It is a very clever way of confusing people and misleading people into thhinking that you are a so-called “voice of reason”, when in fact the opposite is true– you are an ideologue posing as someone who is reasonable so as to gain people’s trust and to try and give yourself an air of credibility (see I’m not one of those nasty “deniers”). And if you criticize them then they argue that the climate scientists are closing ranks and silencing dissenting voices of reason et cetera….

    Mosher does this, Fuller does this and now even Curry is playing this nefarious, disingenuous game of ambiguity. It disgusts me that people are playing mind games on the AGW/ACC file.

    Gore should bring out a sequel to AIT-1, fixing some of the problems with the first one, and also showing how things are actually eveolving as planned, even worse so than initially thought in some cases.

  6. This movie amounts to digging in and doubling down… And it is a very risky action for Lomborg to take.

    When a crazy man commits a violent act, society excuses much of the harsh punishment out of pity for the momentarily deluded action.

    But when a diabolical man persistently campaigns and conspires to misinform or acts as an agent for others then it is not so easy to excuse harmful behavior… Especially when many have suffered, and so many more will.

    Lomborg, by promoting such a dangerous attitude is cementing his place in line for judgement not only today, but in an increasingly warming and destabilizing future.

    If he was wrestling with politics and human culture, then I can see how he might apply marketing principles to make a buck. .. But he is not facing economic trendiness, he is sacrificing human future as he fails to face physical laws of thermodynamics and atmospherics.

    Not very smart.

  7. pete best says:

    Lomborgs stance on the issue is to make money and tell a lot of tales.

  8. Anne van der Bom says:

    “If we only listen to worst-case scenarios, we are likely to be spending our money on the people who shout the loudest.”

    That would be money spent on Alternative energy, Wave Energy, Water Splitting, Wind Energy.

    So what does this genius propose instead?

    “Alternative Energy, Wave energy, Water Splitting, Wind Energy” But wait, there’s more: “Urban Cooling, Geo-Engineering.”

    Seriously, are there actually people buying into this?

  9. Rob Honeycutt says:

    At risk of being called a heretic, I’m not so sure this is a bad thing. I’m personally put off by Lomborg but he is a denier that has now come out and said that he now believes AGW is real.

    THAT, in itself, is a good thing. We want lots of people – lots and LOTS of people – to do exactly the same thing. If Lomborg can find a way to turn more flat-out-deniers into “well-maybe-it’s-not-so-far-fetched” people, then you almost have to step back and give him just a little room.

  10. Mark Shapiro says:

    The scientist at 2:18 is Dan Nocera at MIT, looking for catalysts for solar hydrolysis. Useful research, but Lomborg, like the Breakthrough Inst, is saying “don’t worry, a miracle will happen”.

    Lomborg is a slick burner. “Don’t worry, keep burning coal, oil and gas. The best inventors will save us painlessly.”

  11. NicM says:

    I’m reasonably certain the uncaptioned voice at 1:36 (“Bjørn Lomborg is a traitor”) is the Australian 60 Minutes reporter Peter Harvey. So instead of finding someone who has called Lomborg a traitor they have to rely on the audio of a journalist reporting that someone else is calling him a traitor.

  12. Chris Winter says:

    The film was made in the U.S. (I had the feeling it would have been done in Europe.) Executive Producer is Ralph Winter (no relation), associated with 40 films — mostly science fiction, including the four X-men films.

    Full details can be found at the IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1694015/

    The film has its own Web site, of course, complete with a blog that is pining away for lack of comments: http://coolit-themovie.com/blog/