Left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore is under attack from his putative climate allies with a newly released documentary taking on one of the sacred cows of the environmental movement: green energy.
“Planet of the Humans,” released this week free of charge on YouTube to coincide with Earth Day, argues that replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy is not only a pipe dream, but that solar arrays, wind farms and biomass are doing enormous damage of their own to the environment.
The blowback from the left was immediate. Josh Fox, director of the anti-fracking films “Gasland” and “Gasland Part II,” called on activists, scientists and others to sign a letter “demanding an apology and an immediate retraction by the [film’s] producers, director and other advocates.”
“It was very difficult to write this letter, because Michael Moore has always been a hero of mine,” Mr. Fox said, but argued that the latest documentary was “a blatant affront to science, renewable energy, environmental activism and truth itself.”
Written, directed and narrated by veteran environmentalist Jeff Gibbs, the film also accuses the green movement of selling out to corporate America, taking shots at leading figures such as former Vice President Al Gore, 350.org’s Bill McKibben, former Obama green-jobs adviser Van Jones, the Sierra Club, Virgin’s Richard Branson, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
“The only reason we’ve been force-fed the story ‘climate change plus renewables equals we’re saved’ is because billionaires, bankers and corporations profit from it,” Mr. Gibbs said in the 100-minute film.
Mr. Moore, the film’s executive producer, has admitted in interviews that he “thought solar panels lasted forever” and “didn’t know what went into the making of them,” referring to rare-earth minerals like quartz and the fossil fuels used in production.
He told Reuters that he used to support electric vehicles, but “I didn’t really think about, where is the electricity coming from?” More than 62% of the U.S. utility-scale power grid is run on natural gas and coal.
“[W]e are not going to be able to solar-panel and windmill our way out of this,” Mr. Moore said on CBS’s “Late Night with Stephen Colbert.” “We need a serious new direction.”
Free-marketers are unlikely to endorse the film’s proposed solutions — population control and drastic reductions in consumption — but that doesn’t mean they haven’t enjoyed seeing Mr. Moore reiterate their talking points on green energy’s drawbacks.
Quipped the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell: “‘Planet of the Humans’ should really be titled, ‘The Luddite Left Eats the Climate Industrial Complex.’”
“If global warming is really a problem, the solution can’t possibly be windmills, solar panels, burning biomass, and battery storage,” said Mr. Ebell, director of the CEI Center for Energy and Environment. “Climate and energy realists like CEI have been making these points for years, but now that leaders of the extreme anti-human, anti-industrial environmental fringe have reached the same conclusions, perhaps more people will start to pay attention.”
Heartland Institute senior fellow Anthony Watts, who runs the skeptical Watts Up With That website, hailed the film as an “epic take-down of the left’s love-affair with renewables by one of the left’s most known public figures.”