“Planet of the Humans”

Judge for yourself

I watched the film “Planet of the Humans” on you tube where it is still available. Its made by Jeff Gibbs.

As the photo shows it has been savaged by green advocates as being inaccurate and indeed some of the passages in the film could benefit from more up to date data. Mr Gibbs has been attacked despite his long involvement in environmental causes which have resulted in him being honoured by the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honour.

The review by Pete Bradshaw in the Guardian (22 April 2020) makes interesting reading.

Big Oil and its corporate and banking representatives have, according to this film, found a way to rebrand themselves as green or greenish, to use the green movement for their own ends, and to get their mitts on the huge subsidies that taxpayers around the world are handing over to anyone claiming to be developing renewable energy resources, which turn out to be the same old fossil-fuel entities in different packaging.

Solar panels and wind turbines? These provide no energy when there is no sun or wind and degrade after only a few decades, says Gibbs. And in any case they need a lot of fossil fuels in their manufacture: silicon, cobalt, silver, graphite, rare earths – and of course coal. The same goes for manufacturing storage batteries. Factories claiming to have gone “beyond coal” again and again turn out to be relying on natural gas. Corporate behemoths such as Apple make spurious claims for their energy usage. But how about the ultra-fashionable new “renewable” energy source: biomass or wood-chips? This is basically a colossal logging industry that requires a lot of fossil fuel energy to harvest and transport the material. As Gibbs’ interviewees point out, you might just as well as burn the fossil fuels in the first place. And it is laying waste rainforests and areas of natural beauty.

This says Gibbs, is the queasy merger of environmentalism and capitalism.”

The focus on biomass in the USA is interesting, and I have questioned the benefits of using woodchip from the US (from felled trees) to fuel Drax power station in the UK. Equally the call by financiers for government funding of the investments that they want to invest in, is worrying. Better to allow a market system to apply complemented by forms of carbon pricing to price the externalities of carbon.

I worry that there is a resistance to engage in a debate about how economies reduce their emissions and the real cost of the mechanisms to achieve this. Simply vilifying anyone who questions the credentials of green investments will not lead to a roadmap which reduces emissions in a realistic and cost effective way.

I suggest you watch the film and make up your own mind. I’m not endorsing the film, but the questions posed should be addressed not merely denied.

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