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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Ohhhhh...it buuuuuurns!
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
BTW, what happens when you get “flamed” on this blog?

it rains?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
303. hercj
Quoting pottery:
Legion. You need to know that J.Huxley died about 150 years ago.
His views must be understood in the context of the time he lived.
Much has changed, and WE are here now.
I am not sure that we can blindly proceed with the status quo. Just in case 50% of the Doom and Gloom spread by the Environmentalists of TODAY are correct, it would seem prudent to me to try to control/reduce some of the activities we perform that are causing concern among people in the know.
The fact that this may cause us some minor inconvenience is beside the point.
Come to think of it, the virus thing sounds good. The strong will survive.
Again, if I may. What do you want to do? Everything that these people who are wrong, want to do totally and completely changes the way we live our lives. We go back to the stone age. It is never going to happen. Now, data. It does not stack up. I have been involved in this for over 5 years now and so much of this comes down to conjecture. The global models that are being used to forecast this are incomplete. The part that they do not have, and can not have are the most important data sets that are needed to be able to forecast a climate shift. I am much more concerned at this point in the effect that the prolonged period of no sun spots is having. If you want to talk about a mini ice age in the not to distant future then we may have room for agreement.
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Ok, here’s
My Two Cents (full power to shields!):

It was meant to be a happy ending. It is a book after all. And the last chapter of that book, “Revelations” , is there to describe how in the end Good will triumph over Evil. Sounds good to me (‘sall good). Of course, there won’t be any human beings around to rejoice in that because…well, you know the rest. However some folks seem to think this End Thingy is gonna happen in this lifetime. And maybe so, but – don’t those people gain any skepticism at all from the countless generations in the past who believed the same thing?

I choose to believe humans will continue for a long, long time. We do learn from our mistakes. The human condition is improving (check any history book). We will find better, cheaper, cleaner sources of energy, and not as much because of climate change, or left/right wing conspiracies, as due to our necessity to provide more power to more people. To improve the human condition. It’s what we do.

“The meek shall inherit the earth.”

And the adventurous shall “…boldly go where no one has gone before!”
(When that happens, watch out – humans breed like rabbits. They’ll be everywhere in an exponential fashion.)

There’s a reason why that last part is so hard though. Like playing a computer game, each level gets progressively more difficult. The problems we face now and in the future are sure to be tougher and tougher, and we will meet those challenges as always – head on until we beat it. Because it is necessary for the next step. Because we have no choice but to conquer problems. To improve the human condition. It’s what we do.



BTW, what happens when you get “flamed” on this blog?
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
Quoting Legion:
>>>Come to think of it, the virus thing sounds good. The strong will survive.
_______________________________________________
I know many here would be in favor of it, with all the talk of "Darwin Awards", that so many here like to joke about when somebody dies from starting a generator indoors or surfing before an approaching 'cane, just know that most of you will not be getting a seat at the proverbial table, we will all be getting a "Darwin Award"


didnt Darwin retract his statements too?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
As the season wanes, GW hysteria waxes.

I am an unbeliever, for I release CO2 in the atmosphere every second. Those who believe in GW are in a sense self-contradicting, because they release CO2 each time they exhale.

*CO2 is natural and essential for life*

Water vapor is the main greenhouse gas. C02 is less than 1 percent of the total green house gases.

That's all I have to say for today lol....I am not getting into a debate.
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#296 -

You're a Good Man Charlie Brown!
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
It must be slow times when Dr. Masters has to introduce GW as an item of topic in the middle of the peak of Hurricane Season........good grief......

GLOBAL WARMING PEOPLE READ THIS.......
Arctic Volcanoes Found Active at Unprecedented Depths
and this
It's not Global Warming, it's Ocean Warming

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Murko:


I think that people who don't believe in man made GW just haven't read or understood the evidence. Same goes for people who believe in the christian god, or that the Abrahamic god is "love", or in the literal truth of the bible. People who can't evaluate the evidence, or base their beliefs on dogma are scientifically inept IMO.

It's nothing to be ashamed of. Some people just don't have the necessary scientific training and so are more open to received opinions. I have no weather forecast training and so I'm weather inept!

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.
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mik...that's just kinda how it happens...one thing leads to another...and before you know it...well...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
292. flsky
Equinox sunset
Link
Member Since: October 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1958
Legion. You need to know that J.Huxley died about 150 years ago.
His views must be understood in the context of the time he lived.
Much has changed, and WE are here now.
I am not sure that we can blindly proceed with the status quo. Just in case 50% of the Doom and Gloom spread by the Environmentalists of TODAY are correct, it would seem prudent to me to try to control/reduce some of the activities we perform that are causing concern among people in the know.
The fact that this may cause us some minor inconvenience is beside the point.
Come to think of it, the virus thing sounds good. The strong will survive.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
His brother?!?!?! Good grief!!!!

My sister is married to a guy named Steve...therefore, I must also be married to a guy named Steve...


When did you get married to Steve? I knew you guys were friends but...
How long have I been away from this blog?
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
Quoting presslord:
keith...she's playing stupid golf...
lol!
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keith...she's playing stupid golf...
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
262. why is my post quoted there? mine was just a joke on the word "germane", that's all.


That will teach you!
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Quoting presslord:
it's like saying "It's raining while I'm having sex...therefore, my having sex causes rain..."
it's raining here now...

hmmm...Press what are you doing???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeauxNola:

I find the whole GW/Climate Change debate hilarious. People can't even agree on whether or not it exists, so do you really think anything will ever be done about it? ESPECIALLY on a global scale?

Use the Louisiana wetlands as an example. it has been proven beyond doubt that LA has been losing its wetlands at an alarming rate for decades. LA has been to the US congress countless times over the last 30 years asking for help in restoring the wetlands yet NOTHING EVER GETS DONE.

Without guaranteed proof of man made climate change nothing will EVER be done about it...and even then you will be lucky to have anything done in time to prevent permanent irreversible damage.

Environmental issues are great fodder for politicians but when it comes down to actually acting on environmental problems it is a completely different story.

i live in louisiana, and i can tell you that we are losing land because we are built on marsh. baton rouge isn't losing land the lower region is. there is nothing you can do about it. the lower region is sinking because we chose to build our homes, and businesses on marsh land. not caused by seas rising, but wet lands trying to become what they once were. we altered the land. i can tell you how to fix that. move! get out the marsh. simple.
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His brother?!?!?! Good grief!!!!

My sister is married to a guy named Steve...therefore, I must also be married to a guy named Steve...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good afternoon!

Long lasting rain has entered the Ohio Valley.
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Quoting presslord:
yea...pearland was just pokin' at me...give him a teeny weeny break...


yeah, i pretty much figured no one got the Smokey and The Bandit reference...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Fellow Bloggers! I've only been on WU about 30 days! Weather has been a passion of mine for almost 42 yrs! My highest level of education is only 33 credit hrs at a Community College!!

I look foward to blogging with you each day!! Tropics are boring right now, but there is weather going on everywhere!! You're all like a part of my extended family!!

Can we all please not argue? Global Warming is today's topic Dr. Masters chose to blog about! Let's not attack each other!! Thank you everyone, be blessed and let's ALL have a GOOD DAY!!! Bob Bordonaro
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Legion, attacking the messenger is the way to go, man.
I get attacked all the time, because I am of a slightly different persuasion to you, on this subject.
Dont take it personally. You are in good company. Al Gore and all of them too LOL.
Goes with the territory, so to speak.
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yea...pearland was just pokin' at me...give him a teeny weeny break...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting flsky:
THis declaration is dated April 24????????????



OMG, I pulled up the WRONG one! My VERY bad! Two declarations for GA, EXACTLY 6 months apart, go figure. Thank you so much for catching that dumb move, I'll go back and edit. Here's the correct one, sorry if it's jig-jaggy.

09/24/2009 at 13:52 EDT Georgia Emergency Management Agency
> STATE OF GEORGIA
> OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
>
>
> Presidential Disaster Declaration for Georgia Issued: Residents May Call
> FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA to Apply for Assistance
>
> ATLANTA - Governor Sonny Perdue today announced that President Obama has
> issued a Federal Disaster Declaration for individual assistance to aid
> residents of Cobb, Paulding, Douglas and Cherokee counties with recovery
> efforts in the wake of flooding that hit Georgia earlier this week. The
> portion of Governor Perdue's request covering other counties and aid to
> governments that sustained damage to buildings and public costs due to
> the storms is still pending.
>
> "The recovery is just now beginning," said Governor Perdue. "We have a
> great deal of work to do and I appreciate President Obama's approval of
> the disaster declaration. We will continue to work closely with FEMA as
> damage assessments continue and further assistance becomes available."
>
> The federal declaration covers individual assistance and can include
> grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious
> disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small
> Business Administration will also be available to cover residential and
> business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
>
> The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) is coordinating the
> state's response effort. "We are coordinating the recovery effort with
> our local, state, federal and volunteer partners," said GEMA Director
> Charley English. "Damage assessment teams are continuing to work with
> local authorities in all affected areas of the state to assess losses."
>
> Governor Perdue declared a state of emergency in 17 Georgia counties on
> Monday. The state of emergency cleared the way for the massive
> deployment of state personnel and equipment and paved the way for the
> Presidential Declaration. The Governor announced the federal declaration
> request on Tuesday after an aerial tour of the damaged areas.
>
> Residents and business owners in the four counties declared by the
> President as a major disaster area who sustained losses can begin
> applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.fema.gov or
> by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing
> and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8
> a.m. to 6 p.m. (local time) Monday through Sunday.
>
> GEMA is the lead state agency for coordination of emergency and disaster
> response activities. For more emergency information and updates, visit
> www.gema.ga.gov .
>
>
>
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correlation is not necessarily causation....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
262. why is my post quoted there? mine was just a joke on the word "germane", that's all.
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3 AOI with Tropical Update
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Quoting Legion:
Please instead of attacking the messenger, just look up what I said. Google "Julian Huxley WWF Eugenics" or "Eric Pianka ebola"


even if I accept your contention...there is absolutely no causal relationship to anything...
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Quoting RitaEvac:


I remember when there used to be more of those in the winter up there, but dont seem to happen as much


The last two winters have been quiet,I suspect something different this winter.
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Quoting tornadodude: About time we got some rain around here (:

T.D.: did you skip English class???
(My bad, I was gonna' be outta' here and then the GA disaster declaration came through.)
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Legion.
You refer to the "Gospel According to Julian Huxley", right.? (my italics)
There is no room for doubt there, in your view? And yet you doubt everything the Environmentalists state.
Why??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
262. hercj
Quoting pearlandaggie:
press, this one is for you:

Sheriff Branford: The fact that you are a sheriff is not germane to the situation.
Buford T. Justice: The Germans got nothin' to do with it.

i'll probably get banned for that one. sorry!
Quoting Legion:
>>>Well Pottery...the title of Dr. Masters blog IS "the Age Of Stupid"!
That should tell you something about this place
_______________________________________________


Why does everyody just think its a big joke? LOOK IT UP! This is a fact, not my opinion.
The true idealist will not give up his ideology even when confronted with the facts. Global Warming, Climate Change and when this fails whatever comes next will not be overcome by arguing the facts. I will ask all of you Global Warming believers, "What do you want to do about it". You see the answer is turn off your power, park your car, stop educating your children, no tv. When the tv goes how long do you think you are going to believe in GW. you will be in the dark, starving and cold or hot,however, the planet will be saved. Ok, you go first.
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261. flsky
THis declaration is dated April 24????????????

Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
EYI, Press, portlight people, Atlanta area people and all who may be interested:

Georgia Receives Presidential Disaster Declaration for Counties Damaged by Heavy Rains, Flooding
Friday, April 24, 2009 Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that President Barack Obama approved a Federal Disaster Declaration for 27 counties that the Governor requested aid for following a devastating period of severe weather beginning March 26 and continuing through April 10. Tornadoes, straight-line winds, hail, severe thunderstorms, flash flooding and flooding resulted in widespread residential, commercial and infrastructure damage across South Georgia.

"We have some hard work ahead of us and we appreciate the prompt response by President Obama and Acting FEMA Administrator Nancy Ward," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "It will greatly help the citizens whose lives have been disrupted."

The counties eligible to receive individual assistance include: Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Coffee, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Echols, Lanier, Lowndes, Miller, Mitchell, Pierce, Tift, Ware, Wheeler and Worth.

Residents and business owners in these counties who sustained losses can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (local time) Monday through Sunday.

Individual assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

The President has also designated that local governments and eligible private nonprofit organizations in the following counties: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Ben Hill, Berrien, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Early, Echols, Grady, Lowndes, Mitchell, Montgomery, Pierce, Toombs and Ware; will be able to receive federal funds to help offset 75 percent of the cost of the initial emergency response, debris removal and restoration of damaged public facilities.

This disaster declaration also makes all counties in Georgia eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program which provides assistance to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.

Governor Perdue made the request April 10 for a federal declaration after reviewing preliminary damage assessment figures submitted by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA). GEMA will request preliminary damage assessments be conducted in additional counties as further information on local damage reports becomes available. More counties may be made eligible after further evaluation by local, state and federal officials.

GEMA is the lead state agency for coordination of emergency and disaster response activities. For more emergency information, visit www.gema.ga.gov.

# # #

Member Since: October 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1958
Quoting iceman55:



Rainfall and MSLP




Holy crap a weather post lol
Vortmax. Yes indeed. I should have realised...

Good one, Flsky...
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Quoting presslord:
Awake...Thanks!

You're very welcome, so glad I could finally contribute something.
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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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