I’ve been writing a lot about ‘the movie’ – An Inconvenient Truth.
I even made up my own little tag line:
If they made a movie about YOUR HOUSE, would you go see it? Well, they have.
Many of you have seen it by now and I hope that this weekend the rest of you will.
I am not alone in feeling this way. David Denby, in The New Yorker: ‘Every school, college, and church group, and everyone else beyond the sway of General Motors, ExxonMobil, and the White House should see this movie, and, with luck, they will.’
And Roger Ebert, syndicated everywhere: ‘In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.’
I know some of you see this as a liberal plot to rob you of $10. But once people see the movie, they generally feel differently. Which may be why so many people (our President, for example) don’t want to see it. How inconvenient this would be if we actually had to open our eyes to it.
The good news, of course, is that if we come to grips with this inconvenient truth, we can probably solve the problem – just as we did when chlorofluorocarbons were destroying the planet’s ozone layer. The world actually came together and solved that.
The further good news is that solving this huge threat can be a terrific business, filled with jobs and profits for those nations that take the lead.
We are already doing our best to discourage high-paying American jobs in stem cell research; we’ve already ceded most of our auto industry to other nations (what was Detroit thinking?). Do we really want the same head-in-the-sand approach to our giant environmental challenges/opportunities?
Several of you forwarded a piece from the Wall Street Journal about a famous and brilliant Dane named Bjorn Lomborg (who hasn’t seen the movie), who thinks all these calls for action are silly.
Bob Price: ‘Even granted everything in the movie is correct and not exaggerated, Lomborg’s point still stands (and yes, he says he hasn’t seen it).’
☞ This would seem to be the key paragraph:
In 2004, [Lomborg] invited eight of the world’s top economists – including four Nobel Laureates – to Copenhagen, where they were asked to evaluate the world’s problems, think of the costs and efficiencies attached to solving each, and then produce a prioritized list of those most deserving of money. The well-publicized results (and let it be said here that Mr. Lomborg is no slouch when it comes to promoting himself and his work) were stunning. While the economists were from varying political stripes, they largely agreed. The numbers were just so compelling: $1 spent preventing HIV/AIDS would result in about $40 of social benefits, so the economists put it at the top of the list (followed by malnutrition, free trade and malaria). In contrast, $1 spent to abate global warming would result in only about two cents to 25 cents worth of good; so that project dropped to the bottom.
I don’t buy it. The ‘cost’ of our moving to 125 mpg flex-fuel plug-in hybrids (basically, Priuses that you can plug in at home) is NO cost, over the long run. Quite the contrary. The economic and environmental and national security benefits of consuming one-fifth the gasoline we now do are enormous – and would go a long way to reducing our CO2 emissions.
(The electricity and biofuels that would goose mileage from the Prius’s current 40mpg to 125 mpg do not come free. But they can come a lot cheaper, all things considered, than gasoline.)
And what is the ‘cost’ of not giving people tax incentives to drive Hummers?
The ‘cost’ of switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs?
The ‘cost’ of building energy-efficient homes and office buildings?
See the movie . . . and then see one more: Who Killed the Electric Car. You will not be bored for even one second, and you will leave the theater understanding the world far better than when you went in. At least I did. I was amazed at how much of this I didn’t know.
And as with its perfect companion, An Inconvenient Truth, I think you will find yourself doing what I am: urging everyone you know to see it.
Quote of the Day
To some, the glass is half full. To others, half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.~unattributed
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