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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Awake...Thanks!
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By "Are you serious?" I don't think he meant "Is this true?"

I think he meant "Get some help..."
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About time we got some rain around here (:
link

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Google Georgia Guidestones

Why this hasn't been torn down by locals is beyond me
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FYI, Press, portlight people, Atlanta area people and all who may be interested:

THIS IS A CORRECTION TO AN EARLIER POST. PLEASE DUMP THE DECLARATION DATED APRIL 24!

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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246. flsky
Re-engineering the climate by brute force -- an interesting article re climate change from Atlantic magazine:

Link
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Just check out the Georgia Guidestones, it'll tell you everything about the depopulation of the world.
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post 240.
Are you serious?
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Very sad, Press.
Keep up the struggle.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Thank you :)
I have been saying that for years.
On Wikipedia you can check the statistics & effects of some of the major volcanic eruptions over the last tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years in various parts of the world.Some of these have had global climate change effects that some suggest may have brought the humans of the era close to the point of extinction ( Mount Toba in Sumatra approx' 76,000 years ago)So mankinds influence on the planets climate can be considered minor to those the planet causes by itself.
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pottery...I teach an adult education class at my parish every Wed. night...last night's topic was "Finding Common Ground"

my big take away for the evening: nobody wants to hear that crap...
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Nah I am just messing with you, loosen your girdle up just a bit lol
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


LOL Rita is calling for the end of your winter nor'easter season too and its only September lol

Come back in the winter of 2010 LOL


No, thats you trying to stir up the blog
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Quoting NEwxguy:


Nah,I stick around through the winter and follow the nor'easters,our hurricane season.


LOL Rita is calling for the end of your winter nor'easter season too and its only September lol

Come back in the winter of 2010 LOL
Quoting NEwxguy:


Nah,I stick around through the winter and follow the nor'easters,our hurricane season.


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


Tropics are about over, come back in 2010


Nah,I stick around through the winter and follow the nor'easters,our hurricane season.
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I find it very strange, that the mention of GW/Climate Change brings out the political mud-slinging here.
Also, that there are so many blogs, as sub-blogs to this one, that are so anti-government (read Obama here).
Why post these personal, rabble-rousing thoughts on a weather related blogsite? I note that several blogs around here do not tolerate any views that are opposed even slightly, to the authors viewpoint. These same blogs often take issue with what they percieve to be "censorship".
What a heavy load of you-know -what.
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Quoting JupiterFL:


dust in the wind?
ALL we are is dust in the wind...lol
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22582
I am so going Christmas shopping today; I am pissed that I missed Thanksgiving

So how is everyone's' December 1st going?
Quoting NEwxguy:
Came in to see whats happening in the tropics,but by the tone of the comments,obviously very quiet in the tropics.


Tropics are about over, come back in 2010
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Came in to see whats happening in the tropics,but by the tone of the comments,obviously very quiet in the tropics.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
It was written so it shall be done. The course is irreversable. I suggest you all to find your Maker, because in the end the only thing left is.......


dust in the wind?
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To anyone in Puerto Rico:

I am leaving for San Juan on Sunday. Will be there until Wednesday for work.

How has the weather been recently?

I am staying at the Marriot San Juan Resort and Stellaris. Where is a good restaurant around there?

TIA
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Quoting intunewindchime:
Rita, in the end, if there is any record to survive, the human race will be known to be the only earth species to have caused it's own extinction...
ttfn


The only thing left....Stardust.
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Rita, in the end, if there is any record to survive, the human race will be known to be the only earth species to have caused it's own extinction...
ttfn
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Wow, where's Atmoaggie? Then the Texas delegation would all be here.
It's been a strange but interesting afternoon. I am finally attending a mtng. tonight of a group called EMPOWER for women in disaster management (however, men ARE welcome), in DC.
Think I'll take a break for awhile, kind of need it, lol. Take care, all.
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The earth is fine, it's us that aint gonna be around. The earth has been a hellava lot worse than this before we came along. Were just a little tick on the surface, and the world will flick us right off when it's ready.
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we basically have nothing tropical to discuss.... bored people , left unattended,
that's trouble....

Bye
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Alright, I'm out, I have an English class to get to, hope ALL of you have a great rest of the afternoon, and behave :)

Later!
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214. better you than me...i'm probably already looking at a nice, long break from the blog :)
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Just like dinosaurs, we people will cease to exist. Poof, were just a feather riding the wind, and the next phase of life will come into play like it has been since the beginning of time.
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
207. there's actually a graemlin for that.....

Link



I was tempted!
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Iceman - that map makes it look as if the storm is heading for Europe. zzz...
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
207. there's actually a graemlin for that.....

Link


oh my LOL
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"Because the human beings, my son, they believe everything is alive. Not only man and animals. But also water, earth, stone. And also the things from them... like that hair. The man from whom this hair came, he's bald on the other side, because I now own his scalp! That is the way things are. But the white man, they believe everything is dead. Stone, earth, animals. And people! Even their own people! If things keep trying to live, white man will rub them out. That is the difference."

From the 1970 film, "Little Big Man"
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207. there's actually a graemlin for that.....

Link
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
202. personal attacks occur when someone is not winning the discussion. that's just the way it is...


true, it is sad.. :/ basically it is like boxing someone, and as soon as you start losing, you kick your opponent in the groin.
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205. kind of startling, isn't it? ;0
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Wow, I didn't realize that I was a dumb republican hick just because I live in Texas. Texas is a pretty large state and there are all kinds of people living here... just like everywhere else.
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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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