As I reported in a related post, State Reps. Sue Allen (R-92), Andrew Koenig (R-88), and Cole McNary (R-86) did their little bit for Missouri’s coal and electric industry Wednesday night by trying to make a case against the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) with a showing of the film Not Evil Just Wrong.
The film, created by Irish filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, who describe it as the advent of “the cinematic wing of the tea party movement,” is so full of factual errors that it would be impossible to catalog them all. Take a look at the trailer in the video above if you want an idea of the atmospherics.
As you might expect, the film pulls out the tried, if not so true, arguments of climate change skeptics: the earth is actually cooling; the analysis of the data supporting global warming is flawed; Greenland was once warm, which is how we know global warming is part of an inevitable, natural cycle that we might just as well sit back and enjoy.
However, the real aim is to trivialize the claims of those who worry about the effects of anthropogenic global warming and present them as dangerous to the well-being of the poor and down-trodden. Although not quite as hyperbolic, the argument is akin to Glenn Beck’s claim that progressives are equivalent to “slave owners.”
To present the global warming “scare” as overblown, the film suggests that worries about climate change are similar to the sensational media hype surrounding the Y2K problem, and the British mad-cow disease (BSE) epidemic of the mid-80s. The film ignores the fact that these were legitimate issues, and that their impact was lessened by government action – which is why BSE resulted in few deaths and Y2K caused only minor snafus. Of course, to bring up that fact would be to admit that global warming disasters might be averted by appropriate action as well.
It is in their presentation of the old, right-wing DDT fiction, however, that the filmmakers pull out all the stops. DDT regulation is meant to be understood as parallel to that of carbon emission regulation. To make sure we don’t miss the point, we are bombarded with images of dying, malarial children, disconsolate mothers and miserable, third-world living conditions that, it is implied, might be ameliorated if only DDT could be used. Juxtaposed are carefully selected and edited clips of fatuous-seeming, first-world environmentalists.
On one side you have an American “environmentalist”(?) living in comfortable circumstances in fertile, warm Uganda, who applauds the DDT ban, comparing the potential destruction of Uganda’s birds to “Elton John without his piano.” On the other, an Ugandan mother exclaims, “You’d rather save the birds and lose the people.”
Cute filmmaking, but unfortunately the premise is false. DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972 for agricultural use only, and in 2004 it was banned worldwide for agricultural use only. Although controversial, its use has never been banned for disease vector control and its overuse has resulted in DDT resistant mosquitoes.
False though it may be, this bit of film chicanery is important since it sets the tone for the gist of the movie: Al Gore, and by extension, the entire green energy community are elites promulgating bad science at the least and a cruel hoax at the worst (cue images of Hollywood actors, mansions, and poor Gore’s well-fed face). Their callous, environmental extremism, we are told, will have immediate negative, consequences for working Americans who depend on coal energy for their livelihoods (cue images of small town main street, children playing with kittens and running to catch a school bus, poor but honest and loving parents).
Enough to bring a tear to the eye if any of it were true. Perhaps those who wish to piggyback on this film to make the corporate case against ACES should familiarize themselves with the validity of its claims as well as the actual content of ACES first.