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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When the review called it an ANTI global warming movie and judging by the title I thought someone had finally made a spoof of the anti global warming nuts, the ones that scream the sky is falling all the time. That I'd go see. This sounds more like the same drivel that's put out all the time. Believe I'll have to pass on this one.
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Oh Goody!!! Another movie about us evil, wasteful, arrogant, all consuming Americans just can't wait to watch it.
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Is that very disorganized 'swirl' east of Florida the remnants of Fred???? Something else????
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No mudslides down this way lawn...more north.
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"The age of stupid"?

does that mean I get to post my weather forecasts on here again?

:)
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Quoting melwerle:
Thanks tornadofan but why no tstorms either? There was a 20 degree difference in temps between morning and evening...clueless to why we never get "weather." Just no high/low stuff going on? I sound like I'm 5 years old...geez...time to bust out the books on weather again...


You must get some storms because of all of the mudslides you get.
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The Maldives Islands may be a good place to visit, but I don't think I would live there. Highest elevation is only 7ft 7in above sea level. I would be afraid of a tsunami which they did have in 2004.

MALDIVES
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48. 789
Quoting StormW:
TROPICAL WEATHER SYNOPSIS SEPTEMBER 24, 2009 ISSUED 10:35 A.M. EDT
thanks stormW
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P.S. everyone!! London, UK is susceptible to storm surge flooding from the intense North Sea storm systems!! That beautiful system on the Thames River will eventually be over topped!! Not sure when, but I believe it will happen! Experts recently stated the Thames Flood Barrier is safe to 2060??

Mankind loves to build on barrier islands, in river valleys, in natural wetlands and in estuaries!! We know WELL these areas are subject to flooding, we put trillions of dollars of investment in those areas, the natural course of nature will ensure billions worth of damage, during a MAJOR storm or flooding event!!

The USA had the "Storm of the Century" in the early 1990's and the "Perfect Storm" during the 1990's!! Not to mention Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Gustav, Ike not too long ago!! I believe Global Warming is real, I am not 100% sold on the fact that MAN is the complete cause of this cycle! Nonetheless we need to make some INTELLIGENT decisions QUICK!! Or else, we may rebuilding cities over from SCRATCH, at an astronomical cost!!
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I will give the weather this though...it's consistent. You can pretty much plan an event outside without having to worry about an alternate plan. This week has been HOT though.
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Quoting melwerle:
Thanks tornadofan...we are really close to the mountains and about 20 minutes from the ocean. Lots of REALLY cool fog in the morning. Could use the rain...miss it huge but maybe El Nino will bring something...


Yep - I would be bored silly out there with the weather. Hope you have an entertaining El Nino-enhanced rainy season.
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Good morning Dr. Masters and the blogging crew!!

Thanks Dr. Masters for the update, maybe some signs of life in the Atlantic @ 30N 65W!!

I'll be in and out throughout the day!! Everyone be blessed!!
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Thanks tornadofan...we are really close to the mountains and about 20 minutes from the ocean. Lots of REALLY cool fog in the morning. Could use the rain...miss it huge but maybe El Nino will bring something...
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melwerle - It seems the air is too stable. I'm not too familiar with California weather, but the nearby ocean is pretty cool. The sinking air from nearby mountains seem to create stable conditions, squashing out rain chances.

If this El Nino things works out, you may get some more frequent storms this winter. Storm systems can get pretty nasty at that if memory serves. Maybe even a few tornadoes here and there - just no huge outbreaks.
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41. LBAR
People actually believe that we can control the climate? Wow. Just wow.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Here's JB's blog this morn.


THURSDAY 8:30 A.M.
WHAT DRIVES ME NUTS ABOUT TPC

Lets look at this mornings graphical tropical weather outlook:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo_atl.shtml

We notice an area near the Cape Verde Islands circled with low development potential. I have nothing against that, but why are we not also looking at the situation south of Bermuda, which is a cold low that is working its way down to the surface, and the situation in the southern gulf. While all three of these areas probably wont develop, the fact is the latter two are a) closer to land b) are in places where we can actually verify whether they are causing problems c) are of more interest to the general public and d) ar known ways late season storms occur.

The western Caribbean wave and the old front in the Gulf will intersect and with high pressure over Mexico now, we are liable to see the development of a low pressure in the southern Gulf that while unable to come north may develop enough to cause strong winds and heavy rain on the Mexican coast from Tampico to Vera Cruz over the weekend. But my point is what is so darn special about something way the heck out in the middle of nowhere, if the other two aren't getting attention.

I have a yet another suggest to simplify all this. We divide the Atlantic into two zones. One that encompasses areas where TPC can go after as many non verifiable storms as they want, the Lee's, the Laras, the Nanas, you know the area that up until the satellite era we would have never even worried about storms unless a ship ran into them. Then we use the historical hurricane areas we have known about storms for years. We can go back and the area west of 55 west, to 20 north, then east to 35 west be one hurricane area that we can measure against history, then everything north and east of that, name away to your heart's content, they just don't count against the real history.

And we have to solve the non-named fiascos. It may not mean much to the guy in Miami, but if he saw the Atlantic City Press on Saturday, Sept. 12 and that was the front page of the Miami Herald, you can bet there would have been you know what to pay from the press down there. So instead of having them pull what they did, non-tropical non-tropical, which was laughable by the way to all the mets I have talked to about this, let's just get ourselves a subtropical list (alpha, beta, etc) so the borderline beasts that bring rapid pressure falls, heavy rain and rapid wind ramp ups, knock over trees, cause power outages, have calm centers, etc, can be put into a category.

It's not that hard and would clear up confusion. The simple qualification for the kajillionth time.. closed rotary circulation over water high than 25c, gales in one quad, name it. Keep the name on until dissipation.

But you watch the southern gulf the next few days... Look at the model http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/06/images/gfs_ten_03 6l.gif

Which system looks like a bigger problem, the southern Gulf or the weak wave which at that time is west of the Verdes.

So if this is supposed to be guidance over the next couple of days, why isn't the southern Gulf, closer to land and of more interest in the mix?

Ciao for now. ****



Long as we're talkin' 'bout pimpin' away the NWS and NHC to private business...
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Thanks tornadofan but why no tstorms either? There was a 20 degree difference in temps between morning and evening...clueless to why we never get "weather." Just no high/low stuff going on? I sound like I'm 5 years old...geez...time to bust out the books on weather again...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting melwerle:
my dumb question of the day - why don't we get tornados here in San Diego? I never understood them to begin with but we never really get severe stuff here...


I'd say the cause is a lack of thunderstorms.
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Umm... The Dark Knight showed in over 3000 theaters in the US alone JUST for the midnight showing on opening day. According to the sights that I read, this one only had 700 theaters worldwide. 3000 in U.S. > 700 in world.
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Quoting StormW:


I couldn't connect either, Taz. Site must be down.




thank you StormW
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting will40:


i couldnt get it either Taz



ok thank you this wanted too make sure it not this me then


oh in joying my new laptop

more on what it has in my blog
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting Tazmanian:
can any one see if this site is working for any one this AM i can seem too get on there this AM and wanted too make sure am not the olny one geting the same thing


Link


i couldnt get it either Taz
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
can any one see if this site is working for any one this AM i can seem too get on there this AM and wanted too make sure am not the olny one geting the same thing


Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting reedzone:
I think we may see some Subtropical development near Bermuda this weekend.


Link

Yea thats the area recon mentioned i think
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Who has Dr. Masters sold himself out to? Both side of this issue, like every other, are obnoxious. You really can't trust either side because they all have their own motivations. I have always found Dr. Masters to be pretty factual on this subject. I don't recall him ever pimping one side or the other. Can't say the same for a lot of the commenters on this blog.
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my dumb question of the day - why don't we get tornados here in San Diego? I never understood them to begin with but we never really get severe stuff here...
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I think we may see some Subtropical development near Bermuda this weekend.
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I'm leaving to go fishing in a little while. Blog may be slow, but I'm betting it will be some interesting as well as entertaining reading when I return!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 591
Or, if you don't like a movie even if it supports your "ideology"...

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Quoting LoneStarWeather:

When you have totally sold yourself out to a political ideology, you do things like that.



Ooo....stinging accusations so early in the morning!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 591
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
000
NOUS42 KNHC 241315
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
0915 AM EDT THU 24 SEPTEMBER 2009
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 25/1100Z TO 26/1100Z SEPTEMBER 2009
TCPOD NUMBER.....09-119

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK: POSSIBLE LOW LEVEL
INVEST NEAR 30N 65W AT 26/1800Z.


II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY.....NEGATIVE.
JWP




Interesting...
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5030
see the yellow flags near the center? some 25kt winds
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Quoting Orcasystems:
I have no idea why the movie review.. especially if he found it long, boring, and tedious to watch? Its like advertising something you don't want to sell?

Oh well.. time for work... later all :)

Blog Update
Reflector site for those at work, includes Dr. Masters & Weather456, daily update.


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

When you have totally sold yourself out to a political ideology, you do things like that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 850Realtor:
Did u click on that somewhere on the page about that buoy?


yes Latest Satellite Wind Map for this Area
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Did u click on that somewhere on the page about that buoy?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here's JB's blog this morn.


THURSDAY 8:30 A.M.
WHAT DRIVES ME NUTS ABOUT TPC

Lets look at this mornings graphical tropical weather outlook:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo_atl.shtml

We notice an area near the Cape Verde Islands circled with low development potential. I have nothing against that, but why are we not also looking at the situation south of Bermuda, which is a cold low that is working its way down to the surface, and the situation in the southern gulf. While all three of these areas probably wont develop, the fact is the latter two are a) closer to land b) are in places where we can actually verify whether they are causing problems c) are of more interest to the general public and d) ar known ways late season storms occur.

The western Caribbean wave and the old front in the Gulf will intersect and with high pressure over Mexico now, we are liable to see the development of a low pressure in the southern Gulf that while unable to come north may develop enough to cause strong winds and heavy rain on the Mexican coast from Tampico to Vera Cruz over the weekend. But my point is what is so darn special about something way the heck out in the middle of nowhere, if the other two aren't getting attention.

I have a yet another suggest to simplify all this. We divide the Atlantic into two zones. One that encompasses areas where TPC can go after as many non verifiable storms as they want, the Lee's, the Laras, the Nanas, you know the area that up until the satellite era we would have never even worried about storms unless a ship ran into them. Then we use the historical hurricane areas we have known about storms for years. We can go back and the area west of 55 west, to 20 north, then east to 35 west be one hurricane area that we can measure against history, then everything north and east of that, name away to your heart's content, they just don't count against the real history.

And we have to solve the non-named fiascos. It may not mean much to the guy in Miami, but if he saw the Atlantic City Press on Saturday, Sept. 12 and that was the front page of the Miami Herald, you can bet there would have been you know what to pay from the press down there. So instead of having them pull what they did, non-tropical non-tropical, which was laughable by the way to all the mets I have talked to about this, let's just get ourselves a subtropical list (alpha, beta, etc) so the borderline beasts that bring rapid pressure falls, heavy rain and rapid wind ramp ups, knock over trees, cause power outages, have calm centers, etc, can be put into a category.

It's not that hard and would clear up confusion. The simple qualification for the kajillionth time.. closed rotary circulation over water high than 25c, gales in one quad, name it. Keep the name on until dissipation.

But you watch the southern gulf the next few days... Look at the model http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/06/images/gfs_ten_03 6l.gif

Which system looks like a bigger problem, the southern Gulf or the weak wave which at that time is west of the Verdes.

So if this is supposed to be guidance over the next couple of days, why isn't the southern Gulf, closer to land and of more interest in the mix?

Ciao for now. ****
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 591
Link Here is a wind map located near the buoy
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
000
NOUS42 KNHC 241315
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
0915 AM EDT THU 24 SEPTEMBER 2009
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 25/1100Z TO 26/1100Z SEPTEMBER 2009
TCPOD NUMBER.....09-119

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK: POSSIBLE LOW LEVEL
INVEST NEAR 30N 65W AT 26/1800Z.


II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY.....NEGATIVE.
JWP


Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11274
http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/rmd.shtml

42057 and further N is 42056

Hope those are the right #'s? They look to be NDBC Moored Buoys.

First time I've ever looked at Buoys :)
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Quoting Orcasystems:
I have no idea why the movie review.. especially if he found it long, boring, and tedious to watch? Its like advertising something you don't want to sell?

Oh well.. time for work... later all :)

Blog Update
Reflector site for those at work, includes Dr. Masters & Weather456, daily update.


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI


It's called a movie review...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thx Doc...
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5030
can you give me the buoy number?
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Quoting 850Realtor:
Thanks...what would the pressure need to drop to before we are concerned about development?


something can develope at 1010 but other things need to be looked at such as wind shear around the area.
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Thanks...what would the pressure need to drop to before we are concerned about development?
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Quoting 850Realtor:
Is 29.84 in / 1010.50 mb? Just checked the buoy east of the Honduras/Nicaraguan border and it says 29.84. I could be wrong, don't know what I'm looking at...just learning.



Yes 29.84 is 1010.50
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have no idea why the movie review.. especially if he found it long, boring, and tedious to watch? Its like advertising something you don't want to sell?

Oh well.. time for work... later all :)

Blog Update
Reflector site for those at work, includes Dr. Masters & Weather456, daily update.


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511

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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.