Home | About | Donate

'Demoralizing' New Michael Moore Film Attacks Climate Movement at a Time When Solutions Should be at the Forefront, Say Critics

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/04/28/demoralizing-new-michael-moore-film-attacks-climate-movement-time-when-solutions

Well that did not take long for “professional environmentalists” to attack this film. Having watched it twice now, I am thankful for the film makers to call out (to put it nicely) the hypocrisy of the proponents of these so-called green and nice energy sources. There are no energy answers to a species hell bent on consuming its way to suicide. As some folks have said, civilization is a heat engine and it matters not what energy you burn to keep it going. I suspect this hateful criticism about this film has more to do with those who are profiting off of these “green” energy solutions. This film is a rare thing these days, it tells the truth.


“These jerks like Bill McKibbin of 350. Org are in bed with the fossil fuel industry.”

This is akin to saying that “Hitler was actually a Jew who was trying to destroy Christianity”.
The Sierra club, founded by Ansel Adams, was the primary force that created a system of national parks in the U.S. You can not be more anti-corporate than that!
Also your claim that Green Peace is in bed with the Democrats (but conveniently left out the more culpable Republicans!) makes me feel that you may be a corporate plant. The Democrats are corporate tools, but their mentors are most definitely the Republicans.
I was not a fan of the film, but it was at least obvious to me that large holes in the film were obvious from the onset. For example no reference was made to hydro electric power, a clean, renewable and sustainable form of energy.
When “hydrogen fuel cells” were mentioned, an unidentified person explained that hydrogen could be obtained by extracting the hydrogen from natural gas, but no one mentioned that you could also make hydrogen gas from solar or wind generated power.
I’m not sure why Michael Moore attached his name to this production, but it was disappointing and I’m afraid the film eroded Moore’s credibility in the academic sphere.


I agree with the sentiment of this article (and thank you Common Dreams for including it)! Why did Michael Moore, whose films I have loved from the first one Roger & Me all these many years, decide to go over to the dark side? I think somehow he was tricked by the fossil fuel industry people into doing this film. Its got this guy Ozzie Zehner (author of “Green Illusions”), who really looks like a right-wing creep to me, saying things like photovoltaics are just as polluting as fossil fuels. Give me a break! I just get the impression he is being paid by anti-environmental groups to spout this nonsense. Also, the film goes into this 10 year old trope about how oh electric cars are no good, they just get charged up with electricity created using fossil fuels. That argument has been dismantled years ago. And besides, the point is, we eventually charge our electric vehicles with renewables. Just because RE aren’t used extensively yet doesn’t make electric vehicles some kind of mistake. I do feel the film is good in showing how the capitalists and their corporations are creeping into these environmental groups and trying (and probably succeeding) in taking them over with all their money. Perhaps this film is a good illustration of that. Watch it and weep!

Michael Moore Presents: Planet of the Humans | Full Documentary | Directed by Jeff Gibbs


This film has some serious flaws in it, no doubt about it. Yet, it does raise some important points about regularly and deeply evaluating the solutions to the climate crisis, in this case those related to the energy system.

However, it would be wrong to come away from watching this film saying that ‘renewable energy is bad.’ That would be seriously wrong.

We have no choice but to work to address the climate crisis, but always need to evaluate the solutions too. It is refreshing to hear/see the message that renewable energy solutions have costs too.

A big problem with the film is that while it points out many problems with a number of renewable energy solutions, we are left with no understanding of how they compare to the problems created by the current fossil fuel dominant energy system. My guess is that despite the many problems pointed out in the film, they are small compared to the problems posed by fossil fuel energy. As the film shows, the biomass “solution” is a major exception - it could be just as bad as fossil fuels when you add up all the costs.

Also, the film points out that not all renewable energy solutions are created equal - it matters not only what the solution is, but how it is implemented, and who implements it. For example, there is a difference between a huge, centralized solar array constructed in the desert and distributed community solar arrays or rooftop solar on homes.

Do we have to get off fossil fuels and fast, yes! At the same time, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that renewable energy is the silver bullet set of solutions out there.

The main point of the film is that to actually address the climate crisis, we have to turn around the ridiculous amount of material consumption we undertake, not rely on a transition to renewable energy alone.

We need systemic change, everywhere.


Before we totally trash this film, I challenge any group of scientists and engineers that can be assembled to answer the following question: How much renewable energy can be made by renewable energy? That is, if we take solar panels and wind farms for instance, how far can the energy they produce be used into the future to mine the new materials needed, recycle those feasible, reassemble new versions of themselves, and reinstall such on the grid. It is a fascinating question and only an excellent team with full-on mastery of the first two laws of thermodynamics (and a helluva lot more) could answer such. Of course they would have to account for running our toys, too!


Thank you. I was thinking I’d seen an entirely different film, in Bizarro Land, as I’m not sure, where folks are getting their allegations? These folks who co-opted, yet another pretty practical, sensible movement into THEIR Greenwashing corporate celebrity cavalcade are the villans, here… not the whistleblowers with their inconvenient truths? We need to simplify our lives, live within our means and become more mindful of where our lifestyle choices lead us and effect others. If we regret the folks brainwashed by Fox, MSNBC and CNN, why should we fall for specious fantasies of virtue seeking yuppies? Kia plug in, LRVs & cycling instead of Teslas; conservation and regenerative agriculture instead of bailing out 96 reactors & 1.9 million fracked “bridge fuel” wells? It’ll take lots more than fantasy & delusional slogans





There happen to be very important issues uniquely and urgently brought forward in this film. Obviously, beltway environmentalism has nothing whatever to show for decades of patting themselves on the back. (Michael Moore, Jeff Gibbs and Ozzie Zehner have their shit together, despite it all, and it shows.) Sometimes the truth hurts:

Highly-compensated, thoroughly-compromised Climate warriors (and “renewable” energy entrepreneurs) who have nothing but pie-in-the-sky “renewable” energy myths to show for 13 years and hundreds of millions of dollars spent, respond to the documentary – certainly not to the damning facts presented by someone finally pointing out their ineptness and ties to bad actors and weak Democrats – but with Trumpian level denials and personal attacks. No wonder Fossil Fuel use is at all-time highs and rising and we are at 420 parts per million (ppm) Carbon in the atmosphere which is also rising and has never dropped* after all their useless efforts.

(*COVID-19 Response has lowered Carbon ppm in a couple months. The Climate Movement has never attained any drop in ppm since 350’s 2007 founding!)

The Meltdown of the Careerist Greens
by Michael Donnelly


The film looks at a number of major issues that must be examined eventually.

I agree that the film is inept at an embarrassing number of spots. Cruel to some people, insulting, all that.

Yes, corporate money wants to co-opt the climate crisis movement for purely political reasons, for example, to eventually get rid of the climate movement if possible. We need to be honest about their persistent forays.

Yes, photovoltaic panels are being manufactured in the economically cheapest way possible and right now cheap often means fossil fuels and land destruction. Often it’s not done in the greenest way possible. At the very least, silicon for PV panels could be preheated by storing concentrated solar heat in a big rockbed. If natural gas is now being used to preheat solar power towers every morning, perhaps engineers could find ways of using less natural gas or no natural gas.

More generally, we want the entire renewable energy industry to be vetted for all sorts of best practices, and we want other companies to turn their backs on slightly cheaper but unvetted renewable energy business deals. Also, we want stockholders and pension funds to take their investments and walk away from bad actor corporations and bad actor mutual fund managers too. Eventually these corporations have to actually pay their engineers to have the job done better, but right now environmental quality is still a joke at most megacorporations. The second half of the joke is that green corporate disruptive innovation is at zero point zero zero these days. The sooner this gets said, and loudly, the sooner all manner of wonderfully green products suddenly appear out of left field. The corps just need to find their wallets.

Clear-cutting of forests isn’t a best practice;it’s a cheaper practice for the logging company. Burning toxic garbage with bad pollution controls and calling it renewable energy is fraudulent.

I don’t see why population overload shouldn’t be mentioned by somebody. It’s still one part of the solution.

Not mentioned whatsoever is the ongoing Arctic meltdown that, if it gets to 100%, is certain to cause chronic worldwide agricultural failures. If something is quite certain to kill you and if you and your kids ignore it, then whatever. I guess you’re going to really be surprised some day.


Thankyou Common Dreams. Moore was a hero to myself and most people in the environmental movement. He has completely blown that status with this film. It was almost Trumpian in it’s manipulation of fact and it’s presentation would be laughable if it was’t so utterly depressing. Watch Moore’s interview with Steven Colbert from 3 days ago. Colbert looks astonished and barely able to keep from laughing at Moore which he actually does a couple times. Moore becomes completely unhinged at the end of the interview when he sings his song of hope. The lyrics bordered on insanity and it was really sad to see this former champion of justice and political sanity devolve into absurdity that we only thought we would see in a man like Trump. Just unbelievable. Rush Limbaugh and Breitbart’s Steve Bannon praised the film and recommending it as a must see. Does that not speak volumes of the reactionary element contained in Moore’s new film?


This may give you some answers (worth a watch/listen, imo)—a 17 minute interview from Rising, The Hill
Michael Moore, filmmakers respond to criticism of new bombshell environmental film


There is no way to make, or recycle, steel and cement without CO2 emissions - becasue they require CO2 and CO-emitting chemical reactions. Ther is probably other stuff in this category - but those are th two big ones sice they are critical an everything that gets built, including wind and solar (and nuclear) energy installations. but then, shooting for a world with absolutely zero CO2 emissions is unrealistic. But cuts to maybe 90% of current emissions are doable.


After being in social services for several years I got involved in “environmental work” on a local level. I left disgusted due to the “politics” of large green groups and power trips by the smaller ones. They (the green groups) all worked with developers and were complicit in greenwashing in exchange for pittances thrown to the bits of nature hanging on (wetlands, woodlands). In reality it was just more and more and more development.

It was sickening.

The fundraisers were also sickening: a bunch of rich people buying tables at expensive events (some black tie) with “keynote” speakers so that they could look as if they were doing something and temporarily feel good. And then the wooing of politicians who were in bed with destructive corporations.

The mantra from most all of the environmental groups I worked with was:
Get the picture?
You can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet.


From the excellent talk Caroline links (rephrasing Gibbs’ infinite growth on a finite planet is suicide):

“I think the word enough is the dirtiest word in Capitalism, because there’s not supposed to be such a thing as enough.”

– Michael Moore


Technical comment regarding hydrogen - remember that hydrogen from hydrolysis is only an energy storage solution, and not a particularly energy-efficient one compared to storing the energy in a battery.


Yes! Thank you. Michael Moore is a true hero to me, always has been. However, I think the part in the article is good that instead of mentioning a little about population, a bigger thing is our consumption or way of life, over-doing x-mas lights, 5 tvs in a house, etc. Actually, I think the movie touched upon our way of life too. Anyhow, it was a great movie and a critical look at 350 and Sierra Club is welcomed. These orgs even changed their stances and programs after its premiere!! Thanks Moore and Gibbs.


Here are a few more articles about MM and what a great(?) guy he is:





Films like this are kind of like the bible. People read into it what they’re predisposed to. ALL of Moore’s movies have been lob-sided. When confronted, Moore has repeatedly explained:

95% of the material on the given topic is presented in a given way. I’m here to present another side of the topic. To expect me to go 50/50 is illogical. You already have 95% going one way.

Moore is presenting a side of the Green Movement that deserves FAR more attention than it has gotten. What he’s trying to point out is that it is not ‘the’ answer to addressing climate changes. It has significant issues of its own that need to be duly addressed. Not once does the movie rail against solar panels, wind turbines or even biomass. It tries to show the downside of these technologies. But God-forbid that ANYONE should point out the downside to the bible. That is heresy to the high priests.

And that FACT is that many of the high priests are, to one degree or another, in bed with the fossil fuel industry- an industry that treats every technology as simply a for-profit venture; fuck the environment.

Again, this is how I interpreted the movie. When the climate change high priests scream heresy, it’s either (1) they’ve become fundamentalists, or (2) they’ve been duly influenced by their wallet and their reputation. [BTW- Often (1) & (2) go together- it’s a matter of ‘convenience’.]


Q: What could this excellent catalog of everything MM ever said (which someone misinterpreted) possibly have to do with the issues raised by this film (e.g. the delusion of infinite growth on a finite planet)?

A: Why, nothing at all. The idea seems to be exile and shunning of MM from the family of decent human beings. Does anyone really believe in the ad-hom crap peddled here? Even the peddlers?


I just finished watching the film.
I would encourage everyone to give it a view.

The film was directed by Jeff Gibbs, a respected journalist.
The film has M Moore as it’s executive producer.
No voice or image of MM is in the film at all so to call it a M Moore film is a bit disingenuous, kinda on purpose, maybe given that Moore is ‘polarizing’?
And yes, Moore is promoting the film.

We are living in a time of exposing the great lies told to us and grotesque hypocrisy webs that surround them…
This film gets at both quite well.
The long greedy grip of the billionaires and our own illusions, all here and right now, to be looked at.