Wednesday night, State Reps. Sue Allen (R-92), Andrew Koenig (R-88), and Cole McNary (R-86) presided over a gathering of about 50 mostly true believers at a presentation of the film Not Evil Just Wrong. The showing, at Maryville University in West County, was clearly meant to set the stage for an attack on the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) now pending in Congress.
Cole McNary effectively established the evening’s tenor, declaring in his opening remarks there is no need to be misled by claims of a scientific consensus that confirms anthropogenic global warming, because, after all, the scientific method is not consensus, but the process of verification and duplication of results. (He also, shades of Todd Akin, offered up the rather obvious fact that he is no scientist – though he has studied science – which leaves one wondering how he thinks all those scientists reach a consensus.)
Not Evil Just Wrong was, as one might expect, just more of the same, although somewhat more sophisticated in its presentation. In an interview on Fox with Neil Cavuto, one of the film’s creators, Irish filmmaker Phelim McAleer, speaks of the movie as the emergence of “the cinematic wing of the tea party movement,” so you would be correct if you expected lots of high dudgeon and little substance. A fuller account of its contents and methods can be found here.
The real evil that this film does, though, was only fully on display when the three state lawmakers lined up at the conclusion and attempted to use the misrepresentations and fuzzy equivalencies presented by the filmmakers to trash ACES. The gist: cap-and-trade (which Koenig seemed to think equivalent to a carbon tax), will hurt working families, result in lost jobs, higher taxes, all to no purpose, and alternative energy sources, with the possible exception of nuclear, are non-starters.
Of course none of these contentions can be accepted at face value – although most of those present seemed prepared to do just that. Comments ranged from references to the Heritage Foundation’s flawed analysis of ACES costs, to libertarian contentions that, while anthropogenic global warming may or may not be real, it is not proper for the government to play a role in mitigating its effects. Doubtless, many of those present will respond to the request to phone and write their congresspersons to express their opposition ACES.
Too bad that the audience did not get to hear their representatives discuss the actual content of ACES, explain to them that the cap-and-trade provisions are designed take effect gradually, that there are provisions for alternative energy research and development, and funds to soften the transition to clean energy for coal-dependent states like Missouri.
Too bad that their representatives, who are so concerned about the hypothetical evils of environmental extremism, don’t see fit to inform themselves and their constituents about those third world citizens who actually will suffer if global warming continues on its current trajectory. Why weren’t our lawmakers, on whom we rely for intelligent policy, talking about the effect of global warming on the Maldives, for instance? Or, to really bring it home, why no discussion of Missouri’s future in a warmer world? Why was there no mention of the security implications of global warming that our military have identified?
Perhaps it is because they were too busy trying to help energy industries paint a false picture of what is entailed in clean energy policy? Can we perhaps agree that such irresponsibility is both wrong and just pure evil?
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.