Michael Moore produced a movie about developments in renewable energy driven by the need to reduce emissions. Its a series of recordings narrated by a desillusioned activist. Below we have listed claims made in the movie checked against our understanding of the facts.
In general our review is positive, Moore exposes the scam of biomass and of well financed enviromentalists. His criticism on solar and wind is not true or fair, the fact is that coal and gas plants are being shut down left and right because of wind and solar projects. The bottleneck is storage, and the fossil industry has worked very hard to avoid the development of batteries. So this documentary makes a “No Solution” argument. It’s message is “We are stuck, the methods we saw are not working” this bears out in the unreasonable dismissal of Ivanpah. Then the narrator wants us to accept mortality, so basically emrace death as a solution to the population problem. This is in line with a “No Solution” argument. It is an ideology we have written about. Many people, especially those that feel financially protected agree with this : People need to die.
The complete argument is however flawed. You can not fault environmentalists for more powerfull organizations to do the wrong thing in an environment where profit is king and banks like fossil fuel cashflow. Hence you can not dismiss technologies that are made to fail or look bad on purpose. This blame and distortion tell us that Moore is on the “let people die” side which is actually a pro-fossil position. The truth is that climate change will hit so hard that many people will actually die all over the world. There is no need to choose or accept, it will happen to these people and maby you will be amongst them.
This does not mean that we can’t dismantle the incentive structure of the fossil based system by force. This will happen, because no matter how much money you have you are not going to be safe, and soon you realize that building as much renewables as possible close to where you live increases your likelyhood of survival. Energy can do work we need done, clean energy can do it with very little overhead. Don’t believe this documentary when you get the feeling there is no way out. It does require you to do something though, which is get rid of the shills and dismiss the help of banks.
What is fundamentally needed is a forced escape from the economy, which can only be achieved by conquering terrirory independently. This could also mean conquer fossil resources to power renewable manufacturing. A close second is to become truely principled political alliance spanning all countries, but this is slow and a big ask of human’s feeble will. It is totally out of the happy go lucky environmentalists scope of behaviour, and of course apart from Moore’s criticism, this is the problem. You can’t fight for climate change without feeling like you are fighting.
Claims/statements and our fact check
Early events by environmentalists used fossil fuels as backup. True
Hydrogen for cars is usually produced from hydrocarbons. True
Solar panel manufacturing involves the use of coal. True
There is a gas transition driven by gas producers that draw attention to coal plants closures while expanding gas use. True
Battery storage is still at low capacity. True
Some solar panels live just 10 years. False, build for 30 years
Solar tower power plants use some natural gas. Can, don’t need to.
Fossil fuels are used to build, concrete pouring emits CO2. True
The energy return on energy invested of Ivanpah solar tower plant is negative (more CO2 emitted than it avoids). False
Germany is still a large coal user. True
Rare Earth mining exposes radioactivity on the surface. As does oil, gas and coal mining
Graphite use is somehow bad. False
Apple is still grid connected even if it produces solar electricity. Batteries needed.
No entity could be find that runs on exclusively on 100% solar and wind. Now some can be found, but its not a bad thing.
The Koch Brothers produce solar panels, glass and other products. As did Shell, to delay development.
Ivanpah relies on the most toxic and industrial processes we have ever created. False (the guide has an agenda)
There is a montage of industrial processes of mining, melting, slavery etc. which seems intended to link these activities to clean energy technologies. A bit frenzied. This is industry, it does not care about human lives.
Plants where cut down to build the Ivanpah solar power plant. True
The Joshua tree will be sacrificed in the name of progress. False
There are derelict houses in Dagett (supposedly around the SEGS solar power plants). True
The construction jobs for SEGS went when construction was done. As they do.
The solar arrays of SEGS have been raised to the ground. This is a link to the plant they visited. SEGS is located close to Kramer Junction, not Dagett, the plants still stand.
Ivanpah started falling apart. False
There may “not be enough planet left” to start over building renewable power plants. False
“Clean renewable energy and industrial civilization are one and the same”. Industry is machines to make stuff. You can make products that are good and that are bad, in ways that are good and ways that are bad.
We have reached peak production from our planetary resources (using fossil fuel). Duh, even the narrator started out realizing this.
The “people in charge” are not taking the limits of our resources serious enough. True they are driven by profit.
“There are too many humans using to much too fast”. Not too many.
Human population grows like that of any species in the wild. False, educated populations can shrink.
Fossil fuels caused a population explosion. True.
The impact of human consumption is terrifying. True
Are banks and industry interested in green energy for profit? Duh, they are interested in anything for profit, that is the problem.
The right has religion (a monopoly). Really?
The left has fear of death. No idea, sounds simplistic.
Cultures are local systems of solutions to common fears and problems. True
You can come across people with different solutions which can undermine your trust in your own ideas. True
Both people that think green energy is a solution and those that think fossil fuels will keep working are delusional. False. If you do green solutions right they are green and they are solutions. Plenty of examples of that.
The green community makes decisions because it is unwilling to accept death. This is tragic. Nonsense.
It appears the narrator wants environmentalists to commit suicide or accept the demise of earths life support systems. However that would run against basic human instincts. It is usually the rich that want the poor to die, and because you can’t really hang with banks as a true environmentalist, you are going to be poor if you have no army.
This is where the part against biomass begins. We have written about how it is a scam, how tree burning is something that is falsely sold as green, like “green gas”. It is true, we agree with the narrator 100%.
-end of intermission-
Biomass (as it turns out today) means burning trees. Yes it is a scam.
Biomass is not going to work. Yes, environmentalists HATE biomass. Climate changes is killing billions of trees in Canada who get sold off as biomass to powerplants. They should be dumped in the deep sea to sequester CO2
Biomass and waste burning is polluting. Duh
There is money put towards dirty energy projects by the rules made in large part by the dirty energy lobby. Duh
Michael Moore makes it seem that proponents of green energy support biomas and waste burning and shows an environmentalists lamenting the fate lf Lake Superior. This is some ju jitsu shit. NO ENVIRONMENTALIST IS FOR BIOMASS/WASTE BURNING!
Universities ignore wind and solar. Duh
Bill McKibben is a proponent of wood buring. Auch.
Waste and biomass burning is sold as “green”. Yes, that’s called Greenwashing
There is a movement that wants to burn all wood and biomass in the US. Duh
Environmentalists and climate activists are against burning trees. Duh
Language of well funded environmental groups around biomass is weak. Yes we noticed.
Green organization (Sierra Club) leaders allow biomass to be burned. Ok
Van Jones claims not to be aware of biomass burning. Ok
Bill McKibben tries to avoid saying anything about biomass. Ok
Environmentalist against biomass remains unnamed. Dr. Vandana Shiva. Why?
Have some environmentalist made a deal and become shills? Clearly
Green marketing has been driven by the desire for profit. Duh
Destruction capitalism is hiding under a “green” cover. Duh
It is suggested Sierra Club takes money from biomass loggers. Could be
Bloomberg organized to finance more biomass projects. Not surprising
Tree cellulose can be turned into fuel by several processes. True
Wallstreet banks are into the biomass trade. Duh
Green investment portfolios of banks are not green at al. No surprise
Banks pick a piece of green investments for themselves. No surprise
All Gore is in on the biomass burning scheme. We knew he is not kosher
Brazil is expanding sugar cane plantations without regard for nature. True, also Soj, its the law of the jungle.
Animal fat is used for fuel production. Disgusting, but yes.
Algae can be used to make biofuels. True, is a returning promise that never materializes.
Environmentalists are shills. Many not all. Easy to spot : They are doing financially well.
Creating markets for electric cars is bad. False
Selling solar panels is bad. False
The New York Times carries Exxon marketing for algae biofuels. Yes that is a promise that’s more than 2 decades old.
Earth Day is a distraction. True
The solar array could not power the speaker system. It actulally could as is’s 60 x 300 Wp = 18 KWp. That is plenty!
There is a lot of dirty money for “Greenwashing” events like Earth Day. Duh
The shills and greenwashing is something we don’t normally try to think about. False we do that all the time.
Awareness is needed for transformation. True
We are beyond sustainable already. Maybe. Humans will survive even if we have to live in domed habitats.
We need to take control back from money. This is hard without starting an army or a bank, the last we suggest in a previous post.
People are the problem. Nope, it is banks maximizing fossil fuel consumption calling it “economic growth” and the fact banks control our lives.
We will be like uran utangs stuck in a tree in an otherwise barren landscape. True. If you do nothing effective, you won’t survive.