(Note from Steve Cleghorn – none of this is my work. I am simply using my blog to pass along electronically to my Facebook page an important message from filmmaker and environmental activist Josh Fox about the movie “Planet of the Humans” which was posted on YouTube on Earth Day. Josh Fox is a trusted source for me and I want others to read what he has to say about this film.)
JOSH FOX RESPONDS TO MICHAEL MOORE’S “PLANET OF THE HUMANS.”
Dear activist and scientific community, community members and friends,
It is very difficult to write this letter because Michael Moore has always been a hero of mine. I’m a first-person documentary maker, I have watched his movies since I was a kid, and they have inspired and delighted me. However, I am compelled to write this letter because his latest film PLANET OF THE HUMANS, which he executive produced and is promoting for Earth Week, is such a blatant affront to science, renewable energy, environmental activism and truth itself.
We are in a planetary climate crisis- the most important and dangerous emergency that human civilization has ever faced. The IPCC and thousands of climate scientists have stated over and over that we have less than a decade to begin the rapid and total transformation of our energy system to renewable energy. I cannot describe my disappointment and anger to see a Michael Moore film which is willfully flying in the face of decades of renewable energy science, planning, and engineering.
The film touts blatantly untrue fossil fuel industry talking points deceitfully misleading its audience on renewable energy, disparages and attacks important climate leaders, ignores science and policy advances in energy, downplays or denounces climate and anti-fossil fuel campaigns and employs specious techniques of misinformation to deliver a deeply cynical and erroneous message. This is a total outrage at this moment when climate action and the leap to renewable energy is more important that ever.
Please see points below and consider signing on to this letter of outrage against this film.
Thank you so much,
New Movie Executive Produced and promoted by Michael Moore is unfactual, unscientific, flies in the face of decades of renewable energy science, engineering and research and is counter productive in the age of urgent need for Climate Action.
Planet of the Humans, directed by Jeff Gibbs and Produced by Michael Moore is a shockingly misleading and absurd film that promotes a thesis that is patently untrue on many levels.
- The film states that renewable energy such as solar and wind are inefficient, useless and dependent on fossil fuels to work. Quote from the film “One of the most dangerous things right now is the illusion that alternative technologies, like wind and solar, are somehow different than fossil fuels….You would have been better off just burning the fossil fuels in the first place., instead of playing pretend.”
This assertion, which is echoed over and over in the film is patently untrue and ridiculous. The notion that solar and wind and other renewable technologies don’t work to produce energy in ways that are cheaper, more efficient and at low or zero carbon emissions over their life span flies in the face of everything engineers, scientists and energy planners have been writing in peer reviewed science for decades.
- The film trades in debunked fossil fuel industry talking points that are specious and meant to disparage the efficiency, durability and affordability of renewable energy. Quote: “Intermittency is one of the major challenges.” “Solar panels are built to only last 10 years, so it’s not as if you get this magic free energy, right? I don’t know if it’s the solution.” These notions, which are untrue, antiquated and outdated do not pertain to the technology and science of today, in which intermittency and efficiency are no longer issues due to the significant advances that renewable energy science, planning and technology. The fact is that RENEWABLE ENERGY WORKS and is currently cheaper than coal and natural gas, other fossil fuel generated electricity sources.
- The film totally ignores the last ten years of peer-reviewed renewable energy planning and policy. Absent from this anti-renewable energy screed are important policy and science innovations such as the 100% renewable energy plans for each state, over 150 countries and the world from Stanford University, Physicians Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy and the Solutions Project. Also absent is any mention of the Green New Deal, which is the most important policy advance on green energy of all time. Bear in mind that this work on renewable energy, such as the 100% plans for New York and California are already well under way and are being enacted now with solar and wind energy growing exponentially- all backed up and predicted by science.
Peer reviewed NY 100% plan: https://web.stanford.edu/…/Articles/I/NewYorkWWSEnPolicy.pdf
Stanford University plans: https://thesolutionsproject.org/why-clean-energy/
PSE Research: https://www.psehealthyenergy.org
- The film attacks important environmental campaigners, scientists, policy leaders and activists in unfair and misleading ways. The climate movement, the anti fracking movement, the movement for renewable energy and against fossil fuels has been an important part of the advancement of thinking and policy towards changing our energy system away from coal oil and gas. The film attacks movement leaders like Bill McKibben, Van Jones and others as well as taking pot shots at important local campaigners like Nathan Sooy of Clean Water Action, accusing them of supporting forms of energy that they do not (like biomass) and taking money from fossil fuel interests (which they do not). See the extensive and detailed rebuttal by Bill McKibben here:
- The film ignores that the IPCC and other scientific bodies are saying that we must cut our carbon emissions in half in the next ten years and that the only way to feasibly do that is what a total transformation of our energy systems. These scientists point overwhelmingly towards transformations in our economies towards renewable energy.
The film is dangerous, misleading and destructive to decades of progress on environmental policy, science and engineering.
We are demanding an apology and an immediate retraction by the films producers, director and advocates.
Oscar-Nominated, Emmy Winning filmmaker
Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC).Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001
R. Ingraffea, Ph.D., P.E.
Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering, Emeritus
Senior Fellow, PSEHealthy Energy
Distinguished Member, American Society of Civil Engineers
Mark Zachary Jacobson
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and director of its Atmosphere/Energy Program.
Laura Dawn, Founder, ART NOT WAR, former founding Creative & Cultural Director, MoveOn.org
Writer, Director, Producer, and Activist
Tom Dinwoodie, Rocky Mountain Institute, Sun Power
Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, founder, Ocean Collective
Julian Brave NoiseCat
Vice President of Policy & Strategy, Data for Progress
Narrative Change Director, The Natural History Museum
Fellow, Type Media Center & NDN Collective
Tommie Sunshine – Activist/Musician
Legislative Director for Senator James Sanders, NY State Senate
Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara
Damascus Citizens for Sustainability
Environmental Director – Secaucus New Jersey
Adjunct Professor – World Sustainability, Ramapo College of New Jersey
United Nations Representative- Foundation for Post Conflict Development
Mark Paul, Assistant Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, New College of Florida
Geoffrey Supran, Research Associate, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University
Nathan Sooy, Formally of clean water action
Steve Liptay, Documentary Filmmaker
FOLLOW-UP LETTER FROM JOSH FOX:
Thank you to Films For Action for responding to our demand for a retraction and an apology from the filmmaker. See below.
And thank you to the early co-signers of the letter demanding an apology from Michael Moore
Michael Mann , Frances Fisher, Ayana Eliza Johnson, Mark Z. JacobsonLeah Stokes, Steve Liptay Tommie Sunshine and many others…
Like all the distributors of the film that I spoke to they FFA not seen the film prior to posting it. I don’t blame Films For Action for this-they did it because of Michael Moore’s reputation. But I think it’s strange that Michael Moore would not let anyone see the film before distribution.
Also, this is not censorship. Michael Moore is free to put his film up where he pleases, This is one distributor who is issuing a retraction. Newspapers do this all the time, when a story they publish is deemed to be untrue, they take it down. That’s what is happening here.
So many people have speculated as to why Michael Moore would put up a movie with so many fossil fuel industry talking points and with so many errors, falsehoods and misinformation. I can’t guess. We can only ask Michael these questions. He has not responded to our letter. If you wish to cosign please add your name in the comments below and your title.
I will add here, with deep regret and sadness, that my hero has fallen. I have watched Michael Moore PUNCH UP at authority and hypocrisy with glee for his whole career. He has deeply inspired me and taught me. But now he’s the Goliath in the room, PUNCHING DOWN at us.
A multi-millionaire many many many times over, with incredible access to the media, Michael Moore is now attacking environmental heroes like Bill McKibben and others, and even local organizers like the great Nathan Richard Sooy of PA.
I cannot sit by and watch that happen. This is not fun, this is terrible.