Climate skeptics praise Michael Moore’s new documentary exposing green energy

Fossil Fuel-Backed Climate Deniers Rush to Promote Michael Moore Documentary ‘Planet of The Humans’

By Richard Collett-White and Zak Derler


Climate science deniers and long-time opponents of renewable energy, many with ties to oil and gas companies, have seized on Michael Moore’s latest documentary to argue the case for continued fossil fuel dependence.

Planet of the Humans investigates the environmental footprint of renewable technologies such as wind, solar and biomass, and argues that the green movement has sold out to corporate interests. The documentary has been viewed over five million times on YouTube since its release last week to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.

But the film, produced by Moore and written and directed by his long-time collaborator Jeff Gibbs, has been widely criticised by energy and climate experts, who say it fails to provide context on the benefits of renewable energy and the negative impacts of fossil fuels, and is based on out-of-date information.

A group of environmentalists and climate scientists, including Professor of Atmospheric Science Michael Mann, who was this week elected to the National Academy of Sciences, has described the documentary as “shockingly misleading” and called for it to be withdrawn.

In contrast, the film has been heavily promoted in recent days by commentators known for their rejection of mainstream climate science and support for fossil fuels, including some with direct ties to the industry.

While the film’s anti-economic growth and population control message has not appealed to the free-market philosophies of many of these commentators, its criticism of renewables struck a chord, with the narratives used generally taking one of three forms.

Renewables are ineffective and more damaging than fossil fuels and nuclear’

The US-based libertarian Heartland Institute, which hosts “counter-summits” alongside UN climate conferences and has taken funding from fossil fuel interests including oil major ExxonMobil, was quick to host a podcast episode dedicated to Moore’s documentary.

One of the Heartland employees contributing to the podcast praised it for doing a “really good job of ticking off all the downsides” to renewables, which he claimed were the “least efficient way that you can try to generate electricity”.

Another said the “green weenies” could have “learned all of this stuff about the folly of wind and solar” by “coming to Heartland Institute conferences and reading our website”.

Myron Ebell, Director of Energy and Environment at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute and a regular speaker at Heartland conferences, has written a blog lauding the film. In the article, since reposted by the UK-based climate science denial campaign group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Ebell claims the film “exposes” every type of green energy as “phony, useless, and inextricably dependent on fossil fuel production and large-scale hardrock mining”.

Environmental commentator and nuclear enthusiast Michael Shellenberger also reacted positively to Moore’s film, tweeting that it proves “renewables are worse for environment than fossil fuels”.

In a column for Forbes, he argued nuclear power was the only answer to our energy needs, stating that solar panels require more materials to build and create more waste than nuclear plants. While solar panels can create a certain amount of potentially hazardous waste, around 80% of a panel is recyclable and solutions are being developed for the remaining materials.

Later interviewed by Sky News Australia’s Andrew Bolt, who has been criticised for repeatedly dismissing mainstream climate science, Shellenberger claimed most countries would need to use roughly 50% of their land to produce 100% renewable energy. Many studies have found the figure to be considerably lower.

Moore’s documentary was also the subject of an interview by the Canadian far-right news site Rebel News with Marc Morano, Communications Director of CFACT, a Washington-based free-market think tank that has claimed carbon dioxide is a “harmless trace essential gas in the atmosphere”.

Morano called Planet of the Humans an “amazing film” during the interview with host Ezra Levant, with the only downside being that Moore “believes in climate alarmism severely”.

Asked by Rebel News host Ezra Levant whether Moore produced the documentary because “he hated the fact these billionaires were tricking everyone”, Morano said the filmmaker “sees all the con that they’re doing and who’s profiting and who’s making money”.