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Michael Moore’s latest film targeted ‘renewables’ & accused ‘green’ groups of being in Big Energy’s pockets. It hit a nerve

Helen Buyniski
Helen Buyniski

is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

Michael Moore’s latest film targeted ‘renewables’ & accused ‘green’ groups of being in Big Energy’s pockets. It hit a nerve
The Climate Industrial Complex is calling for filmmaker Michael Moore’s head after his latest film skewered the hypocrisy of the “renewable energy” industry, exposing its leaders’ cozy relationship with the fossil fuel bogeymen.

Moore’s climate change polemic Planet of the Humans,’ directed by Jeff Gibbs, has been viewed over four million times on YouTube in just over a week. But just two days after the film’s release, timed for Earth Day, filmmaker Josh Fox led the charge to have Moore – once a “hero” of his – deplatformed over alleged disinformation. In an earnest letter, Fox demanded not only a “retraction and an apology” from Moore but for the film to be yanked from distribution entirely.

A who’s-who of environmentalist bigwigs signed on, slamming Moore for supposedly parroting “blatantly untrue fossil fuel industry talking points deceitfully misleading its audience on renewable energy” and attacking “important climate leaders” as well as “climate and anti-fossil fuel campaigns.”

Indeed, the critics stopped just short of calling the long-time environmentalist a “climate change denier” himself, doing their best to paint him as an agent of the same Big Business plutocrats whose quiet presence beneath the surface of the “renewable energy” industry he exposed in the film.

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Documentary distributor Films for Action actually did briefly remove the film from its online library, explaining it hadn’t seen the “finished product” but had picked it up based on Moore’s reputation – only to later reverse course, pointing out that censoring the film would give it “more power and mystique than it deserves.”

Which gets to the point of why Moore has been excoriated by the very forces that were once his allies on the deep-pocketed left. 

‘Planet of the Humans’ takes aim squarely at the dream that ‘biofuels,’ solar, and wind power will save the world from the rapacious fossil fuel industry, and by extension climate change itself. While much of the documentary was apparently filmed years ago, its conclusions remain timely, especially as renewables advocates demand the pandemic-induced crash become a “Year Zero” on which to build a new, renewables-based economy.

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Moore never for a moment deviates from his devotion to climate-change orthodoxy. However, he doesn’t shy away from accusing marquee names like 350.org’s Bill McKibben and the Sierra Club of being apologists for an industry that is in its own way every bit as destructive as oil, coal, and natural gas, in many cases requiring the continued usage of those much-maligned “dirty” fuels in order to maintain the narrative that “clean” energy can sustain civilization. 

The concept of “biomass” especially is revealed as a cruel joke, the euphemistic term covering up the fact that clear-cutting forests is framed as a “sustainable” energy source because the trees being fed into the woodchippers “will grow back.” 

The film claims to expose the destructive reality of “renewable” energy sources, pointing out the fact that solar panels require coal and unsustainable rare earth minerals to create – and that these projects’ financial backers are often the same people who made their fortunes on oil and gas. 

Moore notes that the dreaded Koch Brothers not only build solar plants, but manufacture a special type of glass used for the panels. They are present in every step of the solar energy generation process billed as humanity’s savior by a movement that smears its enemies as agents of those same Kochs. At the same time, fellow Big Business behemoths like Michael Bloomberg (who lumps natural gas in with solar and wind as a renewable energy source) and timber magnate Jeremy Grantham are shown signing on as sponsors for seemingly environmentally-friendly projects that on closer examination merely involve raping the planet from a slightly different angle.

Moore’s environmentalist critics make some valid points, mostly because much of ‘Planet of the Humans’ was filmed years ago. It is not up to date on the bleeding edge of renewable technology, and some of the environmental crusaders whose hypocrisy shines so bright on film have since tweaked their views. Bill McKibben wrote a detailed rebuttal complaining he no longer supports biofuels, even though he is on film refusing to condemn them. 

But the core problems with wind and solar have not been solved, and filmmaker Fox’s insistence that Moore’s claims are invalidated by the mainstreaming of renewable policy commitments – he actually cites the Green New Deal as “the most important policy advance on green energy of all time” – is laughable. New York’s “renewable” commitments, like the colleges and other institutions presented in the film, deem biofuels sustainable, and the Green New Deal itself has not only not been passed – it offers only the vaguest roadmap toward sustainability for some future US willing to pass it.

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Perhaps most telling is the critics’ demand that the film be pulled from circulation altogether because it is “dangerous.” Even if Moore were a “climate change-denying Koch Brothers shill” – which he’s clearly not – he’d be far from alone in the world of online cinema, as plenty of films matching that description are making the rounds daily without running into such shrill opposition from environmental heavy-hitters. 

But Moore has credibility in “green” and activist circles, and his expose has the ability to take the wind out of the sails of the popular movements currently exerting pressure on institutions and governments to divest from fossil fuels and invest in “renewables.” Who would take to the street to demand divestment from oil and gas knowing that money invested in “renewables” will only go back into the pockets of the same fossil fuel profiteers?

There are other complaints with Moore’s film, of course. Many have pointed to its apparent focus on what is euphemistically called “population control” as the only possible solution to the climate change problem. In fact, there are other ways – such as the world’s biggest resource-consumers, the military-industrial complex, winding down their activities – to rein in human consumption.

But most of Moore’s ‘green’ critics don’t take issue with the Malthusian – and understandably objectionable – notion that humanity’s problems can be solved ‘only’ by ridding the planet of all those ‘excess’ people, and neither do the oligarchs like Bloomberg and Grantham whose hypocrisy is exposed in the film. 

Indeed, the documentary’s critics and its maker differ only on their willingness to perpetuate the comforting delusion that the same people who created the climate change “crisis” could be trusted to solve it. So while these critics may deride Moore as an eco-fascist, it’s the subjects of his film who truly deserve that moniker.

As for who’s more dangerous – the companies suggesting biomass, living things like plants and animals, is a sustainable fuel on which to power the future; or a filmmaker pointing out their hypocrisy – that’s best left up to the viewer to decide.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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