The Age of Stupid--a movie review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:45 PM GMT on September 24, 2009

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I attended an interesting film premier Tuesday night--the international release of the anti-global warming pseudo-documentary The Age of Stupid. The movie opened at 440 theaters in the U.S., plus hundreds of theaters in 63 other countries, for a total viewing audience organizers estimated at one million people. This was a Guinness World Record for largest simultaneous movie premiere, according to the organizers. The evening began with a live satellite simulcast beamed from New York City, hosted by Gideon Yago of MTV/CNN fame. We were treated to live interviews with British director Franny Armstrong, producer Lizzie Gillett, as well as movies stars like Gillian Anderson (X-files) and Heather Graham ("we need to stop climate change, or else we're screwed"). Some humorous moments were provided by several protesters pretending to be corporate CEOs, who wore Model X7 Survivaballs as they rolled down the recycled pop-bottle green carpet (survivaballs' motto: "while others look to Senate bills or U.N. accords for a climate solution, we look to our best engineers"). We also heard rock star Moby perform on a sound stage powered by four bicyclists peddling on an specially-designed stationary bike rack. Very cute.

After about twenty minutes of these preliminaries, the 92-minute long Age of Stupid movie began. It opens with some beautiful computer animation of the Big Bang and four billion years of evolution, terminating in the year 2055. As the animation screeches to a halt, we are shown jarring scenes of London drowned by rising seas, Las Vegas drifted over by sand dunes, Sydney burning (eerily appropriate after yesterday's fiery red-orange skies spawned by Sydney's record dust storm), and a ruined Taj Mahal in a scorched landscape. I thought this was a bit overdone, since it is highly unlikely that climate change will be able to cause any of these effects by 2055. The scene then shifts to a futuristic building in the ice-free Arctic, where actor Pete Postlethwaite stars as the curator of an archive of human knowledge. He begins looking at old documentary footage from 2008 and asks the question, why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?


Figure 1. A flooded London in the year 2055 in The Age of Stupid.

The rest of the movie is a documentary, shot over the past four years in the UK, Nigeria, New Orleans, Iraq, Jordan, The Alps, and India. Six separate stories are followed:

Alvin DuVernay, a Shell Oil scientist who rescued 100 people after Hurricane Katrina
Layefa Malemi, a woman living in Shell's most profitable oil region in Nigeria
Jamila and Adnan Bayyoud, two Iraqi refugee kids trying to find their brother
Piers Guy, a wind farm developer fighting the anti-windfarm lobby in England
Fernand Pareau, 82-year old French mountain guide
Jeh Wadia, a businessman starting a low-cost airline in India

The six stories are interwoven and told in multiple sections, with jumps back and forth to curator Pete Postlethwaite in the future, who is viewing these documentary clips on his futuristic video screen. I found this creative approach to story telling a bit disorienting, but give the film maker credit for trying something innovative. Interspersed with the documentary footage are some fairly compelling animations. My favorite was an illustration of how America's excessive consumption is responsible for at least 1/4 of China's greenhouse gas emissions, since we buy so much cheap junk from China (which often ends up back in a China landfill). A lot of preaching goes on in the movie, with the film maker criticizing our excessive consumerism and our willingness to fight wars over oil. I thought the most compelling story of the six documentary pieces was the tale of the Nigerian woman living in the toxic mess that the oil industry has made in Nigeria. Cheap oil at the pumps in America has huge hidden costs that we don't appreciate.

While the movie did have some interesting sections with messages Americans need to hear, I thought overall the movie was too long and too dull to be worth spending a full-price movie admission ticket for. At least one of the six documentary sections should have been cut--92 minutes is too long for a documentary. It's pretty hard to make a gripping documentary movie about global warming, and The Age of Stupid and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth are not gripping. You're better off viewing these at home on DVD. Rating: two stars (out of four).

After the movie, the live simulcast from New York City resumed, and we heard speeches from Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary General, who called climate change "Perhaps the biggest challenge we face today". Also speaking was the President of the Maldives, an island nation mostly situated less than two meters above sea level. Sea level rise from climate change is a huge threat to his nation, and the president made a pledge to make his nation the first country to be carbon-neutral, by 2020. We also heard from the scientist who heads the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra K. Pachauri, who affirmed the movie's contention that we need to have global emissions of CO2 stop increasing by 2015 in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

The Age of Stupid as part of a media blitz
The release of The Age of Stupid this week was timed to bring visibility to the climate change issue and help mobilize public opinion in advance of the crucial U.N. Climate Change Conference, which will be held December 7 - 18 in Copenhagen, Denmark. At that meeting, the leaders of the world will gather to negotiate an agreement to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The new agreement will be the world's roadmap for dealing with climate change, and the stakes are huge. The Age of Stupid is key part of a major push green lobby push this week to publicize their key goals:

1) Reducing the 3% per year increase in CO2 emissions we've seen this decade to 0% by 2015.
2) An 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.
3) An eventual return to CO2 levels of 350 ppm--well below the current level of 388 ppm.

Activists are targeting the G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh this week as part of their effort; four Greenpeace protesters hung a "Danger: Climate Destruction Ahead, Reduce CO2 Emission Now" banner from a Pittsburgh bridge and dangled beneath the bridge for two hours yesterday. Greenpeace activists were also present as I walked out of the Age of Stupid premiere Tuesday, gathering signatures in support of a petition to urge CO2 controls be agreed upon at the December Copenhagen conference.

A return salvo from the fossil fuel industry and its allies is coming in the next few weeks. They have their own British film maker, Ann McElhinney, who has created a documentary titled, Not Evil Just Wrong, which premiers October 18. They've stated their goal of beating the record for simultaneous theaters airing a movie premiere set by The Age of Stupid. I'll be sure to write a review on Not Evil Just Wrong when it comes out.

Tropical update
There is a new tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa yesterday that is generating some disorganized thunderstorm activity over the Cape Verdes Islands. This morning's QuikSCAT pass showed an elongated circulation two hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verdes Islands. Wind shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots over the disturbance, and some slow development is possible over the next few days. The disturbance will have to overcome some dry air to its west, though. None of our reliable computer models are forecasting tropical storm development over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

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AOI

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For anyone who is looking at the weather... that Blob off Africa, and the next one look interesting :)
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Quoting PcolaDan:
You believe like I do, you believe like I do
Flashback to 1976 and Hurricane Belle, wow man!
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Quoting Murko:


Yes, but they didn't have evidence to back them up. I understand what you're saying, I'm an atheist, but these days we have evidence to back up and form opinion.


well how bout this, let's agree to disagree? ok?
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352. Murko
Quoting tornadodude:


just because a lot of people agree doesnt make it fact. Look at how many people mocked Galileo and Copernicus for believing that the sun was at the center of the solar system, when probably well over 90% of the population believed earth to be the center.


Yes, but they didn't have evidence to back them up. I understand what you're saying, I'm an atheist, but these days we have evidence to back up and form opinion.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
I see the lights are burning brightly, but not a lot of people are home.


Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
4. Tornadodude isn't as nice as you think (j/k, dude).

hey now :P ha jk
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Quoting mikatnight:


At what point does information become fact?


Well of course that would be when the media tells us it is, silly!
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Quoting Murko:


I think that would be perfect, but it doesn't mean I endorse killing off 95%. There is absolutely nothing wrong at all in saying population needs to be 5% of what it is now.


Me too!!!!!!
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Teenager invents £23 solar panel that could be solution to developing world's energy needs



link
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Quoting mikatnight:
Yes Master.


Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting gator23:
OK seriously I am done here. This is a weather blog not a religion blog.
I dont have a religion I didnt come here to hear or talk about religion and I certanily think that if there is a god he is probably to busy to be worried about the dumb things we humans do. But since I am leaving i am going to say a few thigns that have urked me over the last 3 years.
1.Texas is a piece of [snip] and the people from Texas on this blog just reinforce my notion that they are all dumb republican hicks. Seriously guys you thought Bush was a good idea?
2.Katrina Cryers, yes it was terrible yes it sucked but man if you didnt evacuate you failed yourself the levees didnt fail you
3.The conservative element on this blog that talks about how the government sucks and even going as far as to say that scientific research is unconstitutional are crazy. i swear that the entire element of the Rush Limbaugh audience is ont his blog. [snip] him [snip] Glenn Beck they are morons
4.Tornadodude is a nice guy and I like him alot he is always trying to be helpful and i dont think he gets the recognition.
5.dont ban me as i am deactivating my account after this.
6. I am sorry for the flame here on this blog but I am tired of the conservative/religious element on this blog being able to say whatever they want and if you disagree you get the WORLD of hate, but i shouldnt expect any less because this used to be a place of opinions and know it sucks
7.this blog gives the south a bad name.

I don't know whom whizzed in your wheatees, pal, but your attempt at pretending you are not grossly generalizing people is wrong.
1. I don't like Texas all that much, but you need to get to know what you are bashing. "It's like a whole other country" is true. Complete with all of the cultural diversity of the US. Sounds like you would enjoy Austin, particularly. I didn't like Bush one bit, and neither did many Texans.
2. Paying a maintenance fee (taxes) to keep the roof (levee) from leaking and then it fails miserably would please you?
3. I am pretty conservative in the realm of policy, but I do not like the Limbaughs and Becks of the world one bit. And my conservative stance towards government has nothing at all to do with party membership, religion, etc. Just my belief that however little the government molests our lives, the better. And our religious beliefs aren't very different. You are making a ton of prejudicial statements here...
4. Tornadodude isn't as nice as you think (j/k, dude).
5. whatever
6. again
7. Have you wondered whom you might be giving a bad name given you are at least a fan of UF and likely a resident of that state.
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I see the lights are burning brightly, but not a lot of people are home.
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Today's Tropical Update

Good afternoon all
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Yes Master.
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Quoting tornadodude:


just because a lot of people agree doesnt make it fact. Look at how many people mocked Galileo for believing that the sun was at the center of the solar system, when probably well over 90% of the population believed earth to be the center.


You bring up an interesting point TD.

At what point does information become fact?

I mean, there's still a bunch of folks who think the moon landings were made up.
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.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


From 1 Indiana Dude to another....During NCAA Basketball.....one could say there is too many in Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, and some within the State of Indiana too.....LMAO


hahaha yessir!
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Quoting Murko:


Do you mean the ones that originally started warning in the 70s & 80s? Or the ones a few years ago who said "our calculations were wrong... it's gonna be worse"? I think you'll find that these days, 90% of SERIOUS climate scientists would agree that man is having a significant impact on the current warming of the Earth. But, hey, we can always find one guy who says the oposite, it's just a case of who you want to agree with. Some people believe in faeries. I don't agree with them, call me supid.


just because a lot of people agree doesnt make it fact. Look at how many people mocked Galileo and Copernicus for believing that the sun was at the center of the solar system, when probably well over 90% of the population believed earth to be the center.
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335. Murko
Quoting Legion:
"sustainably"(code word for eugenics


??????????
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For those of the spiritual persuasion - I just saw this message:

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332. Murko
Quoting Legion:
"A total world population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels would be ideal"



I think that would be perfect, but it doesn't mean I endorse killing off 95%. There is absolutely nothing wrong at all in saying population needs to be 5% of what it is now.
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Farting – excuse me, posterior gaseousness – is also a major contributor to GW from what I understand. I know that when we were worried about the ozone layer, it wasn’t until George Carlin reminded people that the ozone was the barrier that held all the spent farts aloft and that if the ozone depleted all the farts would fall back to earth (and not back to their original owners) before the hole in the ozone started getting smaller.
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Quoting tornadodude:


haha or is it "too freaking many"?


From 1 Indiana Dude to another....During NCAA Basketball.....one could say there is too many in Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, and some within the State of Indiana too.....LMAO
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Anybody up for going on Tropics Chat?
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Watch the low crossing into the southern Carribean. It is late september, but there is still hot water there!
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325. Murko
Quoting sarahjola:

obviously the scientist who started this global warming thing didn't have the right info either, because they retracted their story. their words"our calculations were off". but its ok, not all people believe all scientist. i guess its just a matter of which one you want to listen to. i choose to believe the ones who started this gw debate. they admitted they were wrong and i believe them. its harder to admit your wrong than to continue something that fills your pocket with the cash of hard working tax payers.


Do you mean the ones that originally started warning in the 70s & 80s? Or the ones a few years ago who said "our calculations were wrong... it's gonna be worse"? I think you'll find that these days, 90% of SERIOUS climate scientists would agree that man is having a significant impact on the current warming of the Earth. But, hey, we can always find one guy who says the oposite, it's just a case of who you want to agree with. Some people believe in faeries. I don't agree with them, call me supid.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Too Freaking Funny!


haha or is it "too freaking many"?
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Quoting tornadodude:


human beans? LOL


Too Freaking Funny!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
322. hercj
According to AP, Al Gores house uses more energy than any other private residence in the state of TN.
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I don't believe anybody has posted the 2PM TWO yet.

Still yellow around the CV stuff.

ZCZC MIATWOAT ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT THU SEP 24 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

1. A TROPICAL WAVE LOCATED JUST WEST OF THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS IS PRODUCING DISORGANIZED SHOWER ACTIVITY. SOME SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH. THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...LESS THAN 30 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

2. TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BEVEN



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Quoting TampaSpin:
The answer to GW is too stop growing all forms of BEANS. Navy, Brown, Butter, Lima, etc......LMAO


human beans? LOL
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Quoting Legion:
Ted Turner has 5 kids, btw. If everyone followed his example, we'd have alot more people than presently have, and I'm sure his carbon footprint is above average, too.


so what if he has 5 kids??? I'm sure a lot of us have an above "average" carbon foot print, including Al Gore, a big time "going green" activist.

p.s. (did you know he invented the internet??)
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The answer to GW is too stop growing all forms of BEANS. Navy, Brown, Butter, Lima, etc......LMAO
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
amen!!apocolyptic-induced misanthropic environmental nervousness.
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Quoting presslord:
keith...she's playing stupid golf...


How does your wife play golf on this blog? (Get it? "Age of Stupid" blog title...n/m..)
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Quoting mikatnight:
Thanks T-dude.

Arrrrrrrgh!


haha you can look it up in wiki and it describes "flaming"
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Thanks T-dude.

Arrrrrrrgh!
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Quoting Legion:
There are many alive today that still believe it, though most are a little more discreet about it nowadays. Look at these Ted Turner quotes, former ownwer of CNN and largest private landowner in the U.S.:


"We're too many people; that's why we have global warming,"

"Too many people are using too much stuff."

"A total world population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels would be ideal"



use protection??
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BTW, what happens when you get “flamed” on this blog?

here ya go link
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Ohhhhh...it buuuuuurns!
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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