The film is titled Cool It and was based on a book of the same name by Danish writer Bjørn Lomborg, a contrarian who delights in questioning the gravity of our planet’s environmental problems. The movie was directed by Ondi Timoner, an award-winning documentarian.
Lomborg has raised the hackles of environmental activists since he published The Skeptical Environmentalist a decade ago. Since then he has drawn closer to environmentalists on some issues–for example, he now maintains that global warming should be one of the world’s “chief concerns.” But in the new documentary, Lomborg still argues that money spent on trying to limit carbon output would be better spent on investment in green technologies and geoengineering. The film is currently enjoying a limited release across the United States.
Does the film succeed? “Cool It” is eminently watchable — which is no surprise given Timoner’s involvement. Lomborg, as always, is charming and persuasive, frequently shown riding his bicycle through Copenhagen’s busy streets — in what has to be seen as a dig at Gore, who in his film is often seen racing through airports.
But it suffers from the same simplification syndrome that weakened “An Inconvenient Truth.”… In “Cool It,” Lomborg breezily ticks down a laundry list of high-tech ways to engineer the atmosphere, for example, but punts on the tougher questions related to such planet-scale enterprises — such as the inevitable diplomatic dispute over who sets the planetary thermostat and how blocking the sun does nothing to stem the buildup of carbon dioxide, much of which will stay in the atmosphere for many centuries. [The New York Times]
In the opinion of Wired’s Hugh Hart, Lomborg is a “charismatic tour guide” who ultimately fails to convince.
Has climate skeptics’ favorite Danish statistician, Bjørn Lomborg, changed his stance? In the forthcoming book edited by Lomborg, Smart Solutions to Climate Change, he calls climate change one of the world’s “chief concerns” and suggests investing $100 billion annually on climate change solutions.
The suggestion certainly comes as a surprise. In his previous books, like The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It, Lomborg argues that anthropogenic climate change is real but that it isn’t a “catastrophe”–that the associated “hysteria” was causing us to spend money trying to curb the globe’s warming where it would have been better spent, say, feeding the hungry or curing HIV.
Understandably, that stance has made his work appealing to climate skeptics who don’t want to spend money on curbing emissions–and unpopular among those who see Lomborg as a distraction who misrepresents the science and confuses the issue. In his new book, the statistician apparently reorders his priorities, now arguing that climate change solutions should get more cash.
What’s not a surprise: opinions vary as to the merits of this new book and as to whether it’s a shift, a drastic shift, not a shift, or a publicity stunt. Here, we share some.