Movie: The Climate Hustle

So CFACT's Marc Morano did his late retort to An Inconvenient Truth, in a one night replay of what they showed at the Paris Climate Summit, for $15/ticket. It basically goes through and tries to explain all the fallacies in the pro-Climate Change alarmism, from what are the forcing factors, how do they rank, how does CO2 rank in them, the fake climate consensus claims, the global cooling scare, and all the sensational claims made -- and then debunking them.

Basically, it's point is that if you have science on your side (and a worthy cause) you don't have to lie and tell half truths, attack the other side, sensationalize, and so on. Then it goes on to do all of those things (except the lies part).

It interleaves archival footage of previous scares like Y2K and global cooling, or various claims that many famous people or newscasters reported, and how far off from reality they have been. As well as interview/comment clips from many famous top scientists who were once champions of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming Theory), who are now speaking out against it as going way too far, and getting away from science. And what happened to them, once they started defending science against the Climate dogma. That part is good. 

Audiences generally liked it (getting 71% on RottenTomatoes). And the facts and points in it, were usually on-target. The clips in it were valuable counter-points to the dogma most get in the Press or schools. And I always feel that in order to argue for something, you need to be able to out-argue (and out-know) the opposing view. So that makes this movie valuable, even if it is a rehash of the arguments that most of the AGW skeptics and scientists know, and lays out some of why they're skeptical, in an adequate way. 

It is broken down into 7 chapters, with names like "stacking the deck" and "slight of hand". And my feelings on the movie are mixed. The data in it is good, but often brushed over and explained OK -- it wasn't given context of how many agreed or not, or what it meant. The transitions between segments are long and amateurish -- I don't need 30 seconds of video graphics explaining some sensationalized name for the next segment, and for goodness sake, if you're using a device like this, be consistent between the segments (it had a few formats that it alternated between, driving us OCD types nuts). And they tried to make it entertaining and watchable by using using cheesy graphics and plot devices -- like using a computer generated scissor lift (like Al Gore did in inconvenient truth), over a blue screen to mock the original, or a bucket of water thrown on the narrator during a hurricane scene. So the data presented was good, but these bad effects and the campiness which it was done with, diminished the seriousness of the points. 

Then it spent 5-10 minutes telling me what the next movie would contain (that didn't make this one), and then a panel discussion at the end with Sarah Palin and Dr. David Legates (a real scientists). I don't dislike Sarah Palin, I just don't think she adds credibility to this kind of topic: and her partisan rhetoric will turn too many people off (as well as her voice) and she has no credibility as a climate scientist. I walked out on that part, it was adding nothing of value, and diminished the rest of the effort. A panel discussion or debate with a few Climate Scientists explaining different areas of concerns, would have been far more valuable. 

My movie buddy (who leans left), didn't like a few points:

  1. the author claimed the tone would be above the other side, and for the most part it was. (It wasn't calling for the criminalization of Climate Frauds, as they have done, and so on) -- but the tone still called things "a con", "hustle" and stuff like that. Just lay out the facts and let the audience decide, without three card monty and jabbing the other side. (After criticizing them for doing worse). 
  2. It showed a lot of the violent protests, or worst claims made by Climate Alarmists. To many, this is seen as sensationalizing. Which it kind of is -- but it can also be fact. But you have to back it up -- how many, how severe were these? So while the Climate-Alarmists love to show the most sensational exaggerations by the skeptics, and pretend that's the norm -- doing the same back, doesn't make you any better (or taking the high road). It's tone could have been more neutral sounding. 
  3. It flashed up valid data -- but it was often quick, and a lot of the support for it, was glossed over, and on to the next topic. Some of that was because of how much ground it wanted to cover. Some was just the style. But it came across a little too much like a Michael Moore film (sensationalism), than a fact based documentary that it should have. 

In the end, it was OK. And interesting hour and half rehash for those of us familiar with the arguments. But it was a little too sensational, and spent too much time on distractions and plot devices and graphics than presenting the facts. It tried to entertain, but informing can be entertaining too. So it's worth seeing, to all the people that won't see it, and don't want to hear the other side of the argument. But the presentation is amateurish enough that some who want to close their minds to the other side's points will have plenty of excuses to do so from this film. 

A few years back, I did a Toastmaster speech on the subject, with nearly as broad a topic coverage, with more data, and a more neutral tone, in 10 minutes (instead of an hour and a half). And I felt I could have tightened that up and supported some arguments more. So I wasn't thrilled with my result, and the movie fell below that standard for me: