Film-maker Michael Moore's exposé raises questions about eco bandwagon

A VERY inconvenient truth: Film-maker Michael Moore’s latest exposé raises a host of troubling questions about the eco bandwagon… and the green lobby are seeing red

  • The documentary is titled Michael Moore Presents: Planet Of The Humans
  • Moore, 66, has produced a film that tries to pull apart the green movement
  • His fan club, so loyal for decades, is boiling with fury at what it sees as disloyalty 

Don’t be fooled by the mild-mannered delivery and shambling, cuddly teddy-bear appearance of the Oscar-winning documentary maker Michael Moore. 

Whether he’s skewering George W. Bush’s ‘war on terror’, the cynicism of America’s gun lobby or railing against the evils of capitalism in general, he’s a Left-wing rabblerouser who knows better than anyone in the film world how to stoke the passions of his viewers.

The large and dishevelled American — his messy hair permanently stuffed inside a baseball cap — won an Academy Award for Bowling For Columbine, his 2002 documentary about the Columbine school massacre of 1999, in which 15 were killed, and the terrible ubiquity of guns in the U.S.

Don’t be fooled by the mild-mannered delivery and shambling, cuddly teddy-bear appearance of the Oscar-winning documentary maker Michael Moore, writes TOM LEONARD

He hasn’t looked back, with a raft of films about conservative and corporate America’s awfulness — Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko, Capitalism: A Love Story and Where To Invade Next — winning him ever more followers and cementing his hero status on the Left.

Of course, he’s always polarised opinion. 

Critics complained for years that his self-important films were simply partisan rants full of slyly edited ‘gotcha’ moments and dishonestly simplistic arguments.

The late writer Christopher Hitchens dismissed him as a ‘silly and shady man’ while others labelled him a puffed-up provocateur and obsessive who couldn’t get past his hatred for the likes of President Bush and Big Business.

However, left-wingers have fallen over themselves to rhapsodise about the great man — the Guardian columnist Owen Jones adoringly described him as one of the Left’s ‘great communicators’ and recalled misty-eyed how ‘for young Leftists, myself included, Moore’s work was something of a political life raft’.

And when Moore has, from time to time, been tripped up over embarrassing mistakes or over-the-top rhetoric — such as claiming George W. Bush ‘deserted’ the U.S. military reserves as a young man or comparing Donald Trump with Hitler — his supporters have looked elsewhere.

As a talented polemicist spurring action over great injustices, he apparently deserved forgiveness.

Until now. Moore, 66, has suddenly turned his fire on his own side by producing a new film that tries to pull apart the green movement.

Embracing renewable energy and ending the global economy’s ruinous reliance on oil, coal and natural gas is one of the most cherished shibboleths of today’s planet-saving Left.

A pity, then, that the emotional energy generated by the documentary Michael Moore Presents: Planet Of The Humans, can’t somehow be used to power the national grid. 

The Moore fan club, so loyal for decades, is boiling with fury at what it regards as his unforgivable disloyalty.

Moore, who is the film’s executive producer, must likewise find it excruciating that the sort of conservatives at whom he’s spat vitriol for so long are now rallying to his side.

Moore, 66, has suddenly turned his fire on his own side by producing a new film that tries to pull apart the green movement

Breitbart, the virulently Right-wing news site, praised ‘this bold, brave documentary’ and predicted that in offering ‘a great deal of succour to Moore’s avowed enemy Donald Trump [it] might even help Trump clinch the … presidential election’.

It certainly might. 

President Trump’s refusal to take climate change seriously, and his continued support for ‘dirty’ energy, such as coal and oil, has been a boon for the pro-green Democrats given two-thirds of adult Americans believe Trump’s government is doing too little to address climate change.

If even hardened Lefties like Moore are now saying the Democrats are barking up the wrong tree, then that certainly would be a blow to their election chances.

It’s never a pretty sight when the Left turns on itself, and Twitter has been a sea of impassioned recrimination against Moore who has more than six million Twitter followers.

His admirers suddenly don’t know whether to cheer or boo him. 

The Moore fan club, so loyal for decades, is boiling with fury at what it regards as his unforgivable disloyalty

When Moore appeared last week on a late-night talk-show, the presenter smiled approvingly when Moore called on Americans to ‘liberate’ their country from the ‘Trump virus’ but chose not to engage the director too closely on the arguments made in his new film.

To cause maximum impact and annoyance, Moore and writer-director Jeff Gibbs released the documentary free on YouTube on the 50th Earth Day last week. 

It has notched up more than five million views.

Despite Moore’s insistence that he has huge admiration for most environmentalists, you wouldn’t know that from watching his film, which describes itself as a ‘full-frontal assault on our sacred cows’.

Its main thesis is that the green energy ‘revolution’ is a hypocritical and environmentally ruinous racket.

Despite its New Age, muesli-crunching image, Moore argues, the eco movement has sold out to corporate interests. 

At the same time, solar and wind energy components, and electric cars, rely too heavily on deforestation and electricity generated from coal and natural gas.

The way to really save the planet, says the film, is for people to have fewer children.

But the corporations that now control the green economy would never allow it as it would shrink consumption and hit profits.

Accompanied by a soundtrack with music from arch eco-warriors Radiohead (one has to wonder if the British rock band’s earnest lead singer, Thom Yorke, actually watched the film before he reportedly gave permission), the film-makers tour the U.S. exposing the double standards of the green energy ‘revolution’.

Solar and wind energy components, and electric cars, rely too heavily on deforestation and electricity generated from coal and natural gas

Examples include a zoo that claims to power itself on ‘renewable’ elephant dung but only produces enough to heat the elephant house.

They film a supposedly solar-powered music festival that quietly plugs into the grid and a similar arrangement at General Motors’ HQ at the launch of a hybrid, plug-in car, where the electricity grid powering the vehicle is ’95 per cent’ fed by coal.

The film also takes issue with solar panels, highlighting their limited shelf-life and that they are made from non-renewable quartz and coal. 

In another sequence, joshua trees are chopped down in California so a huge solar facility can be built.

Moore’s documentary is particularly damning of ‘biomass’, the supposedly-renewable energy created by burning organic matter. 

The film shows huge piles of trees that have been chopped down to feed a power plant, its chimney belching out smoke that appears far from environmentally sound.

Viewers are told biomass is the biggest single source of renewable energy around the world, and — nonsensically given it is supposed to be about energy conservation — has involved wood chips being shipped to Europe from North America, Brazil and Indonesia.

‘Our anxiety over [global] warming has panicked us into embracing anything green or alternative without actually looking too closely at what is involved,’ the film states. With plans to turn animal fat into biomass fuel, the film asks: ‘Is there anything too terrible to qualify as green energy?’

The film suggests that mega-rich businessmen — including Sir Richard Branson and British timber investor Jeremy Grantham — and banks such as Goldman Sachs — are keen to invest in green energy because they want to make a quick buck rather than because they are worried for the planet.

According to Moore, Toyota, Citibank and bulldozer giant Caterpillar becoming sponsors of Earth Day provided final confirmation that Big Business has taken over the green movement.

When they had picked their jaws off the floor, the first response from some of the climate scientists and environmental campaigners who have been enthusiasts for renewable energy delighted their opponents — they wanted to ban it.

It must have been particularly galling that the Guardian, bible for the green energy posse but an old cheerleader for Moore, called the film ‘refreshingly contrarian’ and gave it four out of five stars.

The film suggests that mega-rich businessmen — including Sir Richard Branson (pictured) and British timber investor Jeremy Grantham — and banks such as Goldman Sachs — are keen to invest in green energy because they want to make a quick buck rather than because they are worried for the planet

An open ‘letter of outrage’ written by Josh Fox, an anti-fracking (or hydraulic fracturing) activist who won an Oscar nomination for his film Gasland, was signed by various scientists and activists.

‘It is very difficult to write this letter, because Michael Moore has always been a hero of mine,’ Fox began. 

The film was ‘a blatant affront to science, renewable energy, environmental activism and truth itself’, he went on.

Fox called for the removal of a ‘shockingly misleading and absurd film’ that ‘trades in debunked fossil fuel industry talking points that are specious and meant to disparage the efficiency, durability and affordability of renewable energy’.

Fox, whose own film was accused of dishonesty when he controversially claimed that footage of inflammable tap water was due to fracking, demanded a retraction and — in an act of particular pomposity — an apology from Moore.

Most pertinently, he pointed out that the man ranting about the super wealthy profiting from green energy is himself ‘a multi-millionaire many many many times over’. 

(Moore, who has homes in Manhattan and Michigan, has been estimated to be worth $50 million).

One of the documentary’s distributors, Films For Action, a Left-wing online library of videos, obligingly withdrew it, describing it as ‘full of misinformation’.

Half a day later, and facing inevitable accusations of censorship, the library reinstated it, saying it didn’t want such claims to give the film ‘more power and mystique than it deserves’.

 

While some have warned that complaining publicly will only encourage people to watch the film, other Leftwingers who once lionised Moore have turned on him furiously.

He has even been labelled a racist and ‘eco-fascist’ on the grounds that his call for population control to tackle climate change would most affect the Third World where people have more children.

The critics have variously dismissed Planet Of The Humans as misleading, wildly unscientific, full of falsehoods and about ten years out of date, reflecting an era when renewable energy was more costly and less efficient.

The critics certainly have a case on that last point — some of the footage could hardly be called new. 

The launch, for instance, of GM’s Chevrolet Volt — at which the film makers discover the green car is being powered by coal power stations —happened nearly ten years ago.

‘Given the film’s loose relationship to facts, I’m not even sure it should be classified as a documentary,’ sniffed Leah Stokes, an academic and clean energy expert.

She and the legions of newly disillusioned Moore fans may care to know that people have been saying for years that his films shouldn’t be classified as documentaries.

Whatever you choose to call Planet Of The Humans, what clearly terrifies the green-energy lobby is that people will believe it, and particularly the sort of Left-leaning, Michael Moore-liking people who might otherwise consider putting a solar panel on their roof or buying an electric car.

In the worst case scenario, some experts fear, they may simply conclude it’s pointless trying be green at all.

Moore and Gibbs insist they are ‘lifelong environmentalists’ and wholeheartedly believe in the need to tackle global warming. 

(There’s noticeably not a single bad word against the teenage eco-icon Greta Thunberg in their film.)

There’s noticeably not a single bad word against the teenage eco-icon Greta Thunberg in their film

 However, as ‘friends’ of the green movement, they felt the need to speak out when its efforts are not working.

Moore said they first envisaged making the film a decade ago when they saw environmental groups ‘hopping into bed with corporate America’, adding darkly: ‘There’s no working with the Devil.’

Moore has rejected the criticism and stands by the film. 

‘When we don’t accomplish what we need to accomplish in life, aren’t we supposed to be somewhat self-reflective and self-critical,’ he said waspishly of his new-found enemies in the green movement this week.

Observers say Moore’s views put him in the same camp as so-called ‘climate doomers’, a subgroup of climate change activists who believe global warming will lead to society’s complete collapse.

Their spiritual leader, Jem Bendell, an academic at the University of Cumbria, has recommended Planet Of The Humans on Twitter.

However, Moore doesn’t sound like he’s waiting for Armageddon. ‘I refuse to accept it’s too late to fix the planet,’ he said a few days ago.

It is, however, probably too late to fix his shattered halo for his old worshippers on the Left.

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